Marmot Alpinist Bivy. Has anyone tried it?

7:52 p.m. on February 22, 2009 (EST)
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12 forum posts

I'm considering on purchasing a Marmot Alpinist Bivy and unfortunately, I can't find any reviews on it. Does anyone have one and if so what are your thoughts? Let me say that the reason for my interest in a bivy is purely to protect my newly purchased Montbell U.L. Super Stretch down sleeping bag. I will rarely if ever use it as a "shelter". I camp in a small 2-man tent but the last thing that I want to encounter is getting the down bag wet. So, I am thinking on the line of protecting the bag from getting unexpectedly wet rather than using it to sleep on the ledge of a mountain. Also, does anyone know whether I would experience more condensation between the bivy and the bag by using a bivy in a tent in the first place?

If I'm being paranoid and have no reason to throw money away on a bivy than say so because I have no experience with down bags. If you have a suggestion for another way of protecting my bag that takes up little to no pack space and is roomy for the sleeping bag please share that also.

I must mention that I am impressed with the way the Marmot Alpinist Bivy looks. It seems that if I did use it as a shelter one could close it completely and still see out, breath comfortably and still be protected from the elements and insects. Lastely, I'm absolutely drawn to its roominess, lightweight and the small stuff size. Thank you in advance!

11:31 p.m. on February 22, 2009 (EST)
38 reviewer rep
1,902 forum posts

I have a Bibler Winter Bivy-weighs next to nothing and will keep your bag clean. Only drawback is the cross-chest zipper-a real pain to get in and out of. I have used it in my tent and carry it in my day pack, but believe me, for emergency use only outside the tent.

As far as bivies in general, I was enamored with the idea until I really thought about it. But then I realized- do I really want to be cooped up in one in bad weather? A big NO. It's bad enough in a small tent like my old SD Flashlight, which I did on more than one occasion, but a bivy? No thanks. It wouldn't take me more than about 5 minutes in a cold downpour in one of those things to realize what a bad choice I had made.

As far as being comfortable, etc. What about changing clothes, reading at night or just fiddling with your gear? Remember, with a bivy, your gear is sitting out in the rain-and so are you.

If you still think it's a great idea, get one, lay out in your yard in the dark in 40F weather and turn on the sprinklers for a couple of hours. You might not be so keen on one after that.

For high altitude mountaineering, sure, might be a good choice, but for the average bear, what's the point? If I can't carry an extra pound or two to be comfortable, I'm staying home. There are some super lightweight tents that get high recommendations-Tarptent and Six Moon Designs make some-I'd look at those before getting a bivy. Used Tarptents show up on lightweight sites all the time, usually because the owners are getting one of Henry's newer designs.

8:07 a.m. on February 23, 2009 (EST)
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12 forum posts

Hi Tom,

Thanks for your response but I think that because my post was so wordy you missed the piece that I already camp using a small 2-man tent and do not actually plan to use the bivy as a substitute for the tent except in an emergency. I will continue to haul the tent with me when I camp. My only reason for considering a bivy is purely to protect my brand new down bag from getting wet in the event of a mishap. I just don't know if I'm being paranoid and really don't need one since I am a tent camper. So I'm soliciting for ideas and of course I'm interested in hearing about anyone with experience with the Marmot Alpinist Bivy because I do like it's features.

Regarding your suggestion for the Bibler Winter Bivy, I've read too many comments about how ridiculously difficult it is to get the sleeping bag in and then to try and maneuver into the bag so I've pretty much scratched that model off of my list of possible bivy's. For that matter I'm scratching any bivy that only has a one slit opening at the top.

Thank you for your response Tom.

10:16 a.m. on February 23, 2009 (EST)
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1,142 forum posts

I don't have experience with the particular bivy you mention, but I've used others. A couple of points - if you are in a decent tent, you do not need a bivy. I share your concerns about getting down wet, I had the same fears when I got my first down bag. You may get some condensation on your bag if you rub against the tent walls, but that's minimal and will dry quickly; certainly a far cry from getting your bag soaked.

Second point - there will be some amount of condensation inside the bivy. Depending upon the conditions the amount of condensation will vary, but you will get some. Again, not enough to make your bag soaking wet, just damp.

The only times I use a bivy is when I sleep under a tarp for extra protection from the elements.

From what you describe, I would forget the bivy if you are using a tent.

10:50 a.m. on February 23, 2009 (EST)
82 reviewer rep
311 forum posts

Have used a bivy for both main shelter,sucks unless you are in a very protected site or using during a technical climb,and as a device to add extra warmth to my bag during winter trips.For the latter it works very well and as a emergency shelter it also works but as a main shelter only they have many drawbacks,room being the biggest.As a added point i have used down for the last 35 years and have never gotten it wet.I prefer down bags by far.

4:27 p.m. on February 23, 2009 (EST)
18 reviewer rep
133 forum posts


I 'm pretty sure your new bag has a DWR treatment. Unless you plan on camping outside of your tent, you should be fine. With care, you can keep your bag clean and dry. If you stay in a shelter, you may want something to protect your bag, but it does not need to be waterproof etc. From what you have stated, I think the Marmot Alpinist Bivy is not for you.

Use a bivy for tarp tent camping or winter camping. If you go this rout look at Mountain Laurel Design for some nice lightweight bivys. I just purchased the MLD Alpinist Bivy and love it!

6:37 p.m. on February 23, 2009 (EST)
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12 forum posts

OK I think I have made my decision to nix the bivy idea and have concluded that I'm just paranoid. I just got off of the phone with the Montbell tech (since I have a Montbell bag) and he states what everyone has already said and that is a bivy is completely not necessary since I'm a tent camper. So, thank you everyone for your responses and help! You are terrific! Problem solved!

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