Bivy in the Backyard

It was raining steadily around 10:30pm last night. Perfect weather for testing how my ultra-light bike camping equipment performs in the wet. I decided my experiment wasn’t about how wet I got setting it up — a test of technical skill and decision-making.  The test was about how wet I get sleeping in the thing — a test of materials and design. So, I cheated and inflated the Exped sleeping pad in the kitchen, threw it and my sleeping bag inside the bivy, and carried kit and kaboodle into the backyard.

I did great until ~4am, when I rolled off the sleeping pad. The wet leaves and ground immediately soaked through the bivy. Still, it took about a minute for me to shake off a really exciting dream to realize that I had puddled my sleeping bag.

I rolled off the sleeping pad in the middle of a crazy dream where I had to run away to Santa Fe after my brother shot my other brother (both dream-fictitious) with a high-gauge shot gun. Evidently, I was warm and comfy enough to hit REM sleep. As for the dream content -- I ate a quarter loaf of banana-chocolate chip bread and was reading (yup, in the bivy!) a Toni Morrison book before going to bed.

I wasn’t about to bail yet. I unzipped the bivy, extricated myself from the sleeping bag, wrung the water out of it, and climbed back in. My idea was to use my body heat to drive the moisture from the bag. I hadn’t tried this trick on a sleeping bag before, but I learned it in Iceland to motivate getting back into my wet cycling clothes.

I woke up again at first light, hungry (as usual), but climbed back in after finding I was locked out of the house. A little later, I unzipped the bivy into a brilliant bright blue North Oakland morning — still a bit damp, but warm and lively-like.

Tossed all the gear on the line to dry -- getting ready for another night in the wet!

Major findings of the bivy rain test … after the jump.

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