User Review: The North Face Backpack Bivy
Design: bivy with poles
Ease of Setup: the rear hoop is a bit tough to get set, I think the pole is just a tad too long; other than that - 2 minutes
Weight: 1 pound 13 ounces
Price Paid: $199.95
Bought this for fastpacking and have used it about 6 nights over the AT in CT/MA and NH.
Pros: easy to set up, packs down very small, lightweight
Cons: no bug netting, requires at least 2 stakes, little ventilation
This bivy is about 85% of everything I'd like in a lightweight solo. I was stuck in it for a 12 hour downpour and it kept me completely dry (I did seamseal it before going out). The fabric does tend to stretch out a bit a few hours after the bivy is initially set up and if you don't re-tighten you'll feel the fabric on your legs.
If it incorporated some king of bug netting allowing you to open the front a bit and somehow eliminated the need for stakes I'd give it 5 stars. This winter I think I'm taking it to a seamstress to add the bug netting, but for this summer, I bought a large square of netting and I just drape it over the unzippered opening.
Don't expect to get your backpack or an animal in it with you, there isn't enough room. I'm 6' and fit fine.