The Vaude arrived yesterday and today I got time to play with it. Sadly, it’s been tipping it down here all day so I pitched it inside the house. So, not a review of it used in anger but more one about first impressions. Trying it for real will have to wait for now.
My first thought on opening the package was how small the packed size is. It’s tiny! It weighs 852 grams (30 ounces) including pegs, poles and three stuffsacks; two for the pegs and poles and one for the whole system. I can fit the bivy plus a summer quilt, NeoAir pad, cooker, food, waterproofs, insulating jacket and some spare socks in an OMM 32 litre pack with ease. It’s ideal for an overnighter (maybe two) or cyclepacking.
Once set up the bivi is, as estate agents might say, deceptively spacious. It’s easily long enough for me to lie down in comfort, plenty of room sideways and enough room above my head to fit in an empty, 30 litre rucksack. I’m 5ft 10ins and weigh 11.5 stones or 76 kg. Entry and exit is a breeze thanks to the long side entrance. What is particularly good is the headroom. There is no feeling of claustrophobia like I get when using the normal Bivvy bags that can be sealed up. I think if I used a self inflating mat instead of a NeoAir there would be even more headroom.
There are three vents to allow air to circulate but, oddly, only two of them have bug netting so the other one would have to remain closed in bug country. I might add a bug net to the third vent. The two with the bug netting are above the head area and at the foot.
I wouldn’t like to use this bivi in winter because long nights of 16 hours mean that I prefer more room in a shelter to move around, or cook, than the bivi offers. I’m pretty sure it could handle serious weather though – I can’t imagine it moving in a gale! But the space issue is the reason that I won’t be testing it for real for a few months yet when there are shorter nights. However, it looks ideal for what I wanted- a quickly erected, low profile shelter for three season use.
I think that I will also carry a micro tarp to make an area for cooking, sitting around and storing gear that has got wet rather than bringing it inside.
Watch this space!