View Full Version : Bivy or Para Tipi or Para Tarp

12-23-2004, 09:04 AM
I posted recently on my experience with OR bivy sacks. I absolutely despise being in a bivy if the top is closed. I feel totaly defensless. My question or thought has to do with a good viable alternative to a bivy. I have thought about a Para Tipi or Para Tarp. My concern with either one is in regards to the amount of time necessary to set them up. Bivy's are great for that, all I do is find a spot big enough for my bivy where I won't fall of the mountain and put my pad and bag in and crawl in. I can cook on the stove while in the bivy get some food in my gut, get out once before going to sleep to relieve myself crawl in and doze. I just absolutely hate it if the weather is bad and I pull the top over basically closing myself into what would make a very handy body bag. Kinda freaks me out. I would guess my time to be out of the bag bivy and able to defend myself is some where in the neighborhood of 30 sec. Way to long in my book.

Comments, experiences?

12-23-2004, 09:31 AM
So, after all that, what is your question?

12-23-2004, 09:40 AM
Experience deploying Para tipi or Para Tarp. How much time do they take to set up. Actual foot print size needed. I often find myself out either glassing until dark, or trying to get within range of something I want to be closer to in the morning. Trying to set up in dark is a pain, and trying to find a large enough spot to set up even a two man tent is sometimes difficult after dark. The reason I have used bivy's in spite of loathing them is they are fast to set up. I just need some real world stories and experience to validate a potential purchase decision.

12-23-2004, 10:10 AM
Okay....the actual in the rain time for the paratipi is not much. Pull out of bag, pound 5 stakes, measuring only one, the rest are just pull tight and hammer. Then set poles inside the tent. Go outside, finish pounding stakes. It is quicker than a dome tent, at least the out of tent time, since some of this is under the plastic.

Think of it this way. You have to pound stakes for most tents, so that's a wash, except there are probably about 4 more stakes on a paratipi in comparison to a 2 man dome. You don't have to stand outside to thread poles, you do that indoors. (Where I hunt, if I don't pound stakes, I just may see my tent 50 yds away, windblown down the trail.)

It's long..12.5 ft x 7.5 ft. But remember, you don't have to have a perfect plane to set it on, you just need a nice flat spot for your bed. The rest can tilt, have rocks or sticks, etc. No floor to worry about, and once you're in it, you can see the stuff you need to remove for a comfortable bed, as opposed to having it under a floor.

And when I'm done, I can assemble the stove in 5 minutes, and warm up nicely.

My paratarp hasn't been used as a tarp yet, that's the emergency shelter. So, I am no help on that, yet.

12-23-2004, 10:45 AM
I just got my paratipi and I would say under ten minutes to setup maybe closer to five. Only done it once in the back yard but I am coming over to Paradox to look around after Christmas. Hope I can find a place that is not solid rock over there to pound in the stakes. I will be using my trekking poles, weight without stakes and less poles is:
1lb, 14oz. Stakes may add another half pound depending on which ones. Looking forward to frying a filet on the little stove after dark. Got a good book, should be maybe in the teens, might snow. Should be a good test.

Lots of room, pretty quick setup for a bombproof shelter. I had it up the day the winds hit Denver this week. Set it up that morning, was not too bad and then the typhoon came thru while I was gone. Roofs came off, trees fell down, small dogs flying, Dorthey's house left Kansas for Oz.

When I got back home about 5 hours later I was amazed. It had pulled one stake out of the grass, the short pole in the back had fallen (gotta fix for that already, won't happen again) but it was still standing proud! I do not think setup in the dark with a headlight would be too dificult and once you are inside, you can complete your camp. Setup stove, do supper, warm up, dry out.

I liked you comparison on a bivy/body bag. I was in REI the other day with my daughter looking for a tent for a friend of hers who is going to Europe. I pointed out a bivy bag to her and she thought someone might carry her friend off in it. Wound up getting a Sierra Designs Clip 3 on a super sale. Everything you do is a compromise, but the little paratipi seems to do a lot of stuff pretty well.

12-23-2004, 11:22 AM
I have similar questions for anyone else out there with experience. Thanks, kevin, for the info you posted. I am considering EITHER a para tarp/sleeping bag cover combo OR a paratipi. My initial use for either will be for week-long summer scouting trips (I will be doing several of these), late summer sheep hunts, and October deer and elk hunts here in the Colorado Rockies. I am aware of what can be done with a paratipi. My questions concern the use of the para tarp/sleeping bag cover scenario. Are any of you doing this? If so, how's it working out? Negatives/positives? Are you using the para stove with this setup? My 4-season tent is OK, but IMO too heavy and I don't have the ability to have heat. Thanks in advance for any info you folks can provide!

Merry Christmas/Happy New Year!

12-23-2004, 11:23 AM
The ParaTarp,
makes the Paratipi look complicated. There is a great deal of room in it for you and your gear, and thats saying something coming from me. I use my treking poles but there is a pole kit you can get for it if you don't walk with sticks.

Normal Setup: (No Measuring)
1. Pound one rear stake
2. Draw tight at other rear stake and pound
3. Setup poles (There are 4 loops of 2 different colors and sizes along one hem for pole length, can be done blindfolded)
4. Put in front pole and pound front stake (This takes a little talent or a prusick/taughtline to do)
5. Strech tarp and pound stake on either side of door
6. Strech tarp and pound next set of stakes behind the door stakes (if desired)

Raining Setup:
Same as above but if you reverse steps 5 and 6 you can do 6 then 5 from inside the tarp (BTDTGTS).

Once inside the poles can be adjusted and even set to one side, if needed. I have slept with my head at the foot of this shelter and still didn't feel closed in. The nice thing is if all else fails one can still roll up in the tarp just like a bivy. It goes everywhere in my "Man" bag. My daughter can't wait for me to order one of those yucky brown ones so she can get her yellow one back.

Good Luck and Good Hunting


12-23-2004, 12:23 PM
I was reading one of your other posts and see that you are in the LARGE group like me. That being said I am in the 6'-1", 265#, football player clasification. Hope that helps

Good luck and Good Hunting


12-23-2004, 01:42 PM
If I am reading this right some where in the neighborhood of 5-10min. set up time. I forget about the stove. At times that would be real nice this year in second season we started out with decent weather but all of sudden it turned relatively cold having a stove in a remote situation would have been nice. I also forget about not having a floor, and not having to be as careful with site selection as you have to be wit a more standard 2 man dome tent.

I have always carried a tarp with me for emergencies. I cary one of the coated nylon ones. A buddy got caught out 3 years ago at night with another guy. My friend had on a small pack extra hat extra mittens, extra sweater, tarp, a couple of clif bars, roll of salami. Temps dropped into the teens. the built a fire tied off the tarp as a partial shelter and bact stop. Built a fire out front and waited out the storm. The most miserable people where his buddies that spent half the night out looking for them when they didn't return. He sure felt bad but they got disoriented in the storm and felt they should wait it out.

Since then I always carry a tarp, and my fanny pack size has increased to carry a more gear.

12-24-2004, 06:57 PM
If you are talking turbo scouting in the summer or hunting in early fall, I don't think anything can beat the Ultralight Hennesy Hammock. Super light weight. Setup is as fast as you can tie a few slip knots. No need for flat terrain if you're "on 'em". Stowing is a breeze...especially if you have snakeskins.

Typical scenario...scouting new area on the weekend. Time is precious. Moving quickly taking note of all pertinent topography, scrapes, sign, heavy traffic routes, etc. Gets dark enough to limit ability to gather additional information. Find a couple stout trees off of beaten path that you can "hang" from. No need to look for flat area.

1. Drop pack on ground or hang from tree.
2. Open pack.
3. Crank up Jet-Boil...boiling water will be ready shortly.
4. Locate one end of hammock and tie off.
5. Locate other end of hammock and tie off. Bungie tie rain/sun fly.
Shelter made in under a minute...anywhere.
6. Pop Ridgerest off pack and slide under bivied sleeping bag already inside hammock.
6. Sit down or lay down in comfort out of reach of mosquitoes. Eat food because dinner is now ready.
7. Quick clean up. Anything you unpacked is re-packed and ready for action come morning underneath you and out of the elements.
Sleep....very comfortably.
8. Wake up. Eat. Untie hammock ends and stuff everything in pack. Make sure nothing is left behind and...Commence your Rambling.

And that, my friends, is how it is done until the snow flys! Once the white stuff starts flying, snuggle up to the kifaru stove inside your 4 man!

Merry Christmas!

12-25-2004, 06:18 AM
Hey Bushcraft,
Maybe I'm not reading this right but what did you mean here....?
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> 6. Pop Ridgerest off pack and slide under bivied sleeping bag already inside hammock.
</div></div>Do you pack your sleeping bag inside your hammock? Does "bivied" mean it's in a bivy sack too? I have a heck of a time trying to wiggle into my bag in my HH Explorer Ultralite let alone into a bivy sack too.

I'm not nearly as fast as you at pitching in the dark. Last trip I farted around with it for a good 5 minutes or so trying to get it level (I was hanging sort of diagonal on a pretty good hill). Hanging options were few due to tree spacing. The ropes were over head high on one tree and about waist high on the other. It was kind of a pain but I was trying to stay out of the valley as I was afraid of it being a cold sump.

I'm curious too about the jetboil system. This is kind of a new setup but the reviews are good.

It sounds like you've really streamlined your rig.....good luck on the scouting.


12-25-2004, 11:05 AM

Yes the sleeping bag is already inside the HH, and in the event I'm "high and lonesome" during a ramble with no place to tie off, I carry the goretex bivy. I special ordered my bag to have the zipper on the same side as the bivy. This my be the answer to your wondering how I pull off getting in the bag to sleep. The bivy, if I'm in the HH is not zipped unless it gets real cold. Because the 3/4 Ridgerest doesn't stow that well in my Pack (Nimrod Pack Systems) I just lash it with one of the many compression straps on the outside of the pack and am able to use it "field expedient". Gotta love that inexpensive closed cell foam! I carry extra clothes, sleeping bag/bivy/HH and JetBoil inside the top pack. I carry food and an assortment of backwoodsy stuff in the bottom pack. Fantastic rig. I can't stand top loader only packs, and have thus, not picked up one of Pat's. Something about puking everything out of your bag just to get to something in the bottom and then repack everything is not something I would put up with. Maybe if he ran some full-length, heavy duty zippers down the sides...hmmm. My Nimrod is going on 12 years old now, has comfortably packed out lots of four legged critters, and still looks new. I can't say enough about it!

I picked the hammock idea up off a cousin who served in the Army as a Green Beret. For shelter if needed over his hammock (typical "banana back" netting type) he took his poncho with bungie cord in each corner and slip tied them off to whatever he could find. While I was busy assembling the fiberglass rods for my dome tent...he was done! I've never took a dome tent into the woods after that learning experience again (unless I'm accompanied by the lady)!

Merry Christmas!

Ed T
12-25-2004, 01:01 PM

Try a Kifaru Siwash pack. The panel load design has side zippers with a horizontal zipper into the sleeping bag compartment/bottom of pack. This bottom compartment can be separate or part of the main bag by attaching the interior flap. It is a great pack and I really like the panel load design.

Ed T

12-25-2004, 09:28 PM
On loading the pack...I keep all my loose gear (knives, flashlights, first aid, filter, toothbrush, etc.) in a zippered case that is flat and fits the LH bag opening perfectly.
Sleeping bag goes in first unstuffed into the bottom. Stove goes in up against my back on top of bag. Tipi/pegs go on top of bag behind stove. Then this case goes in along with food and clothing.
As I'm loading I'm compressing the bag in the bottom as I go and the bag squashes out into all nooks.
The tipi pole gets rolled up with my thermarest and ties on back.
I still have the top pocket and possibles pouch for anything that needs to be accessed quickly but I can easily reach in a grab the case out too.
I'll never need to access the bag, tipi, or stove unless I'm setting up.
So I don't see the need for any more compartments.
It works great for me.

12-25-2004, 09:42 PM
I should add that I've only ever had a Guide bag and my understanding is that the extra capacity that the Guide yields is built into the bottom compartment. This allows the sleeping bag to expand outwards leaving more space upwards for the remaining gear.
I don't know that a guy could load a standard LH with a winter bag in this fashion.............

12-25-2004, 09:56 PM
Ed T,

Thank you for the suggestion. I've reviewed the pack you suggested and remain enamoured with my current Nimrod system. Especially so after comparing modularity, functionality, camo,utility, and price.... - yow!


The top loading process you've described is exactly why I don't own one. Sounds like your process works well for you though. Different strokes for different folks, right?

12-25-2004, 10:33 PM
You betcha. Merry Christmas.

12-26-2004, 08:51 AM
2 issues on hammock's being above, timberline and trying to find to trees close to the right distance apart below timberline. Also I have slept in hammocks and dislike them almost as much as bivy sacks.

12-26-2004, 09:01 AM

Alas, there are two of us who dislike both of the dang things! Different strokes, and etc. To me, they are torture devices.

01-11-2005, 03:57 AM
I have a question reference the Paratarp...

I noticed that you have pics of the Poncho enclosing the open end, is it possible to use another Paratarp. Example, two men, each with a paratarp and you set them up to connect so that there are no openings. And if this is possible, can you put a stove into this configuration?

Thanks and I look forward to your responses.


01-11-2005, 04:31 AM

Yes, and there are pics of that configuration as well. See ParaPoncho.

01-11-2005, 08:45 AM
I see that there is a combo with two paratarps and a paraponcho between, but I was wondering about just the tarps without the poncho.

Also, I see that it is $30 more for the poncho with stove pipe port. Can you get this option on the paratarp?

If so, I think I am going to hook myself up with this deal. Thanks.


01-11-2005, 10:30 AM

Tarps alone will not link up.

Not enough room in Tarp for port; the drill there is to attach a stove pipe at the front of the Tarp, and we have a Kit for doing that.

01-11-2005, 11:37 AM
Sounds good. I think I need to call in to find out how that works. I really appreciate your quick responses and great information.


01-11-2005, 04:03 PM
I think after looking at this that a Para tipi would probably fit me the best. W/O stove weight is reasonable would work as a good overnight set up with weight comparable to a bivy. W/ stove me and a buddy would have a nice packable set up.

My only concern after some serious thought is when it has been raining and you aren't packing a stove you would be putting your stuff down on wet ground, as you wouldn't have a good heat source to dry stuff out.

01-11-2005, 04:34 PM

I too have used a bivy - The North Face Soloist Bivy which had a little hood roof (very little). I too felt like I was in a body bag. Sold it and have not gone back. I like what Patrick has to say about external heat in the Evolution of the Tipi essay. External heat in any inclement weather and the ability to sit around and not be in the sleeping bag would be a great benefit. Not having a Kifaru shelter yet I'm conjecturing but I would probably use a ParaTarp as an emergency shelter on dayhikes and go with the ParaTipi for a lightweight solo shelter. Of course for a grand adventure I'd probably kick it up a notch to the 6-man. /images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/wink.gif

Kevin B
01-11-2005, 04:38 PM
Unless you are in some of the wet west coastal areas, you can dump your "usual" stove and fuel source for the small stove and be close on weight. I doubt if I had no stove that I'd be motivated to use a tipi. The para is larger than most pack tents but it's the stove that makes it. No stove and you may as well save yourself some money and get a tent/bivy/tarp.

01-11-2005, 04:38 PM
A small groundcloth can cover that issue--just big enough to keep your bag off the ground (size depends on how much you toss and turn). Dancing light has a silnylon fitted groundcloth/tarp/pack cover that has a drawcord to pull up the sides for when you are sleepin in a puddle.

01-13-2005, 10:41 AM
I say if you have to defend yourself and 30 seconds is too long, shoot the vermin through the bags.

01-14-2005, 07:56 PM
Montroseman, something I see on the backpacking sites these days are quilts. Down sleeping bags without zippers basically. Velcro can be used as a button-up.

Some people make their own. I suppose you could make one from synthetic insulation as well.

I was just thinking about one of these as a solution to your speedy exit. In warm, dry, temps you could just lie beneath it on a blue pad or z-rest. Tyvek or one of those silnylon ground cloths would make it weather worthy without much weight and you could still get out of the quilt quick even if you had it fastened around you with a velcro button or two.

Just throwing some ideas out there, Glynn