Anybody else try the SOL Escape Bivy? I found one on clearance for $35 shipped and…

Anybody else try the SOL Escape Bivy? I found one on clearance for $35 shipped and thought I'd give it a try. $50 is too rich for my blood given the mixed reviews and stories how it's a tight fit. Only been wanting one for 2 years.

The features I liked in the ads are the unobtrusive green color, heat reflective construction, and waterproof while being breathable.

I ran it through it's paces as best as I can with the temps running around 0 outside.

Initial test. I filled the stuff sack with water. The sack is made of the same material, without the nicer seams. The water poured out the seems, but no seeping on the main material. Sticking your hand in the bag, you do feel the 'space blanket' effect with nearly instantly warmer hands.

First night I climbed in it in bed, and tossed my usual quilt and wool blanket over me and the bag. I felt decidedly warmer than usual even with lots of skin contact to the bag. In the morning there was no clamminess so the breath-ability claim is substantiated in my book. If it didn't breath, I should have been swimming like a fish.

For the 2nd night, I decided to 'camp out' in my basement with my oldest 2 girls. The basement runs mid 60s during the winter. I rigged up a pair of hammocks for my girls out of bed sheets and lots of blankets. 
I slept in a hammock and the bivy wearing sweatpants and a tshirt. I froze! My trip out in 3 degree weather and strong winds in  down bags had me less chilled (although much colder in spots) than 65 degrees with this bivy. 3 am, I folded and grabbed my light down jacket and wool hat. Covering my torso and arms and I slept great the rest of the night.

This again confirms what I've known for a while. Space blankets need space in order to work. This bag is SO tight on me that I doubt I can get my summer weight down bag and myself stuffed inside. Warm thin clothes is the best I can hope for.

I think I may modify the bag by adding a heavy space blanket diamond to the bottom. Slit the bag about 3 feet and tape in a diamond shaped patch maybe 6 inches wide. I am going to try to seal the stuff sack with some Gorilla brand clear repair tape to see how well it sticks and durability before I cut the bag.

This isn't a down bag, for sure. I don't foresee any use for this in cold weather. It is also not a comfortable bag. Given the size and weight, it will be my ultralight summer setup. I will be using this bag a lot I expect simply because it's so svelte. Cowboy camping in my future in this bag for sure!

Anybody else try this bag?

In album 2015-02-22

244 grams for a waterproof bivy/sleeping bag seems like a great way to go ultralight.

Shiny on the inside. Supposed to reflect radiant heat back at you. As long as you don’t touch it.

Overnight in the hammock hung in the basement, 63-65f, and I froze wearing sweatpants and a tshirt. 3am I had to get my down jacket and a wool hat, and then I was good the rest of the night.

Some nice details such as nice finished seems on the inside, and a dart at the end of the 1/4 length zipper. Six foot four 235lbs for 2 nights really pushes out on the bag and the seems only settled a little bit.

I rigged up a pair of bedsheet hammocks for the girls, tied off the treadmill. They enjoyed it OK. Not a fan of the hammock yet. Practicing camping with them so they do better when we go for real.

There is something about being on the Ice Age Trail in single degree weather

Wife sent me packing with a buddy for my birthday. I think she started a dangerous precedent.

43 lbs missed the ultra light mark by a shade but that had food for a week, not two days. A pound of summer sausage weighs a pound. Who knew?

I was packing for -7f. Clouds rolled in last minute and it only got down to 3. But windy! Likely negative teens to twentys windchill in a hammock without one of those nice wrap around tarps. In fact, my 'tarp' was a wool blanket.

I fell in love with bits of my gear and learned to trust it better.

I got cold, but never froze. My buddy with twice the weight froze his butt off. He was cold for a full week after the trip.

Oh, the unexpected clouds? I drove home into a blizzard. #irony

In album 2/20/15

Yes, that is cast iron in the middle. Gotta hang onto that friend that is willing to pack cast iron!

Hanging out on a ridge between two lakes.

I need to practice my photo spheres.

This just looks cold.

I built an Altoids tin multi-fuel backpacking stove

I spent an hour or two on Youtube the other night, coming up with ideas for this. So, none of the ideas are original to me, but I didn't see a multi-fuel setup or a capillary action alcohol stove out of a Altoids tin. 

97 grams as it currently sits. It will gain a little bit of weight as I add a small fero rod and jigsaw blade, wind screen and protective wrap. The tin will be the handle for the small saw. I am also going to add a leather wrap around the tin. The wrap is to contain the parts and also be used for a base for keeping tinder dry when making a campfire. The leather thong will be long enough for a bow-drill.

The capillary stove is pretty cool. The fuel wicks up inside the metal wick by capillary action. The metal gets hot, vaporizes the fuel, and it burns. The X shape of the wick is to increase the amount of flame area while providing good air flow to the flame. The X is a slice of a soda can, folded down to the shape.
Currently, I have a problem with boiling of the fuel before it can vaporize, so the stove will spit little fire balls nearly a foot away! It needs work yet.

In album 2015-02-11

Capillary action alcohol stove burning. The fluid wicks up between the thin gap in the soda can wick. The hot metal vaporizes the alcohol, which then burns well. This will burn like this for 5 minutes on 6ml of denatured alcohol and then burn out in a matter of seconds.

All packed up. Everything fits into a regular Altoids tin.

This is in liquid fuel mode. The burner sits inside the tin which has the bolt stand offs to hold the pot. The mesh grate isn’t used in this form.

Wood burning mode. Small sticks can be placed between the pot stand posts. The grate allows air to get under the fire for better burning.

The pot stand is sized to work with metal water bottles.