Practical Backpacking™ Forums

Welcome to Practical Backpacking™ Forums (PBF).

You are currently viewing PBF as a guest which has limited access. By becoming a PBF member, you will have full access to view and participate in tens of thousands of informative discussions, to view links and attachments (photos), and will gain access to other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free! Click to Become a PBF Member! Be sure to also explore the Practical Backpacking Podcast.


Go Back   Practical Backpacking™ Forums > Practical Backpacking™ Gear Discussion > Shelters
HOME FAQ PBF GUIDELINES BLOG PODCAST GALLERY STORE CALENDAR Mark Forums Read

Shelters The Shelters forum is for the discussion of backpacking shelters (tents, tarps, poncho-tarps, bivy sacks,...).


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 05-20-2013, 11:28 AM
© 2006-2016 Practical Backpacking™ / All Rights Reserved
striker striker is offline
Practical Backpacking™ Junior Member
Backpack: Gregory Shasta, Gregory Jade 38
Sleeping Gear: MYOG down quilt
Shelter: Bilgy Tarp Tent
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: AZ
Posts: 35
Long term usage reports with Bilgy tarptent?

I found a few very nice posts here about the Bilgy tarptent pattern. I have found some reports on performance after a few uses or a season. My materials to make this are on the way right now. I was wondering if anybody may be able to report on the long term performance of this design?

Before I invest my time into making it I would like to know if there are any additional modifications to consider. I have already decided to make the floor out of urethane coated ripstop instead of silnylon to help with slippage.

Any insights would be appreciated!
Reply With Quote
Please Consider PBF Sponsors
  #2  
Old 07-08-2013, 01:07 PM
© 2006-2016 Practical Backpacking™ / All Rights Reserved
striker striker is offline
Practical Backpacking™ Junior Member
Backpack: Gregory Shasta, Gregory Jade 38
Sleeping Gear: MYOG down quilt
Shelter: Bilgy Tarp Tent
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: AZ
Posts: 35
Well, I just finished two Bilgy tents for a friend and I. I will be using mine for a week long trip at Yellowstone/Grand Teton at the beginning of August.

From the number of views on this thread it seems like people are interested in how this shelter will perform in the longer term. I'll report back after this trip and again after use in different conditions as I get more experience with it.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 07-08-2013, 03:03 PM
© 2006-2016 Practical Backpacking™ / All Rights Reserved
Reality Reality is offline
PBF Administrator & PB Podcast Host
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Oregon
Posts: 4,954
I'm sure there's interest, striker. We look forward to you sharing more information on this in the future.

Hopefully, others with experience will add more too.

Reality
Reply With Quote
Please Consider PBF Sponsors
  #4  
Old 08-12-2013, 02:00 PM
© 2006-2016 Practical Backpacking™ / All Rights Reserved
striker striker is offline
Practical Backpacking™ Junior Member
Backpack: Gregory Shasta, Gregory Jade 38
Sleeping Gear: MYOG down quilt
Shelter: Bilgy Tarp Tent
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: AZ
Posts: 35
This is a long post but I wanted to share answers to many of the questions I had before I made my Bilgy.

I just returned from a trip to Grand Teton where I slept in the Bilgy for a week in both backcountry and campground areas. The weather was mostly dry with a few rain showers, relatively low humidity, with lows in the 30s at night.

Overall, I am extremely pleased with the performance of the Bilgy. I think that my primary lesson from this first run with it has been that it is a TARP-tent, not a TENT-tarp. It is first and foremost a tarp with a few extra luxuries added. If you are expecting a tent, I think you would be less pleased with the Bilgy.

I was much more deliberate about selecting sites to pitch the Bilgy than I would be if I had a dome tent. While I didn't have any major issues, I was glad that I practiced setting it up several times prior to this trip because I think it would be easy to have a poor experience with the Bilgy if I had set it up poorly or had not read Mr. Gurwell's excellent advice for enjoying it.

Setup and takedown: Setup is quite a bit more fussy than with a free standing tent. I often asked a friend to hold one of the ridgepulls steady for me while I stabilized the tent during initial setup. I am confident in my ability to set the bilgy up on my own, and did several times but it is easier with a friend. Once the ridgeline and front side eave pulls are set, the Bilgy is very stable and you can mess with the configuration with little worry of it falling down.

I am beginning to see the appeal of tarps in terms of setup flexibility. Although the Bilgy has a screen "house" under the tarp, you can still pitch it in a variety of modes. Different configurations other than the normal pitch mode may cause sagging in the screened area. This makes the Bilgy look a bit funky sometimes. In other words, if you set it up in any mode other than "normal" the interior won't necessarily have a nice square look and the door might sag a bit. Once I got used to the idea I began to play around with different set ups and enjoyed having the ability to vary the ventilation and coverage a lot so this "cosmetic" issue doesn't bother me anymore. Each night I set it up in a slightly different way depending on the wind speed and temperature. This wasn't at all necessary but was fun!

The Bilgy Too (2 man) is quite large and requires a lot of ground space. I found this annoying at first until I realized that the eaves need not be on level ground, only the floor area where you will actually be sleeping. This adds greatly to the flexibility for set up locations. The pulls on the tarp are also large loops which make it very easy to set up the Bilgy using large rocks instead of stakes. The biggest issue is that it can be unpleasant to set up in wind as it is very lightweight and easily catches the breeze.

Takedown for the Bilgy is very fast. The bathtub floor attaches with velcro to the roof, making a large area to stow and pack up your gear if it is raining. This feature also makes it extremely easy to dump debris out of the interior without having to turn the entire thing inside out.

Comfort: My typical nights prior to the Bilgy were either spent sleeping out with no tent or sleeping in a 2 man camp dome, usually with my husband. On this trip I had the Bilgy Too to myself so I can't say whether it is comfortable for 2 people moving around. But, it is a palace for one person!

Ventilation is fantastic, even in heavy rain (with little wind). It rained twice on this trip, once it poured very, very hard. Both times there was little wind so I was able to keep the doors open and stayed completely dry. There was no condensation on the roof even during and after the rain.

On a separate night I ended up closing the doors because there was a cold breeze blowing through. It was damp that night but there was no condensation on the roof.

The large eaves are very, very nice. I especially enjoyed having the large covered front area. It is easier to move around under the front awning than under most small tent vestibules I have used.

Weather performance: As I mentioned above, it rained on two separate days. I stayed happily dry both times. The top sagged quite a bit during the first soaking, and less so the second time. This was not a bother, but could have been if it were windy and the tarp started to flap around. I am not terribly concerned because I believe that the tarp will continue to stretch less as it is broken in, and as I learn how to pitch it better. Mr. Gurwell suggests setting the front pole a bit off from straight so that you can push the pole closer to vertical if the tarp sags with moisture. This is very helpful and (I hope) is sufficient to keep a taught pitch during a storm.

I feel like my Bilgy is still relatively untested in wind. I did pitch it very low to the ground one night when I thought a thunderstorm was blowing in, but the wind ended up being very slight. It seems to be quite stable, but I do have some fears about the tarp sagging from rain and then being caught up in the wind. I'm sure I will get a chance to test this, hopefully once I have more experience pitching the Bilgy solidly. I believe that a more experienced tarp camper would have better ideas about where to locate the Bilgy and how to pitch it to say secure and dry. However, I think the Bilgy is WAY more forgiving than a tarp and is probably a good tool for me to learn and experiment.

To sum up, I am very pleased with the Bilgy so far. As I use it, I find additional thoughtful details that make it a unique and very versatile shelter. I will continue to test it in a variety of conditions and will post any new insights. Until I have weathered a windy storm in the Bilgy I will have minor reservations but I am confident enough to say that this will be my primary backpacking shelter for 3 season use.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 10-24-2013, 03:32 PM
© 2006-2016 Practical Backpacking™ / All Rights Reserved
striker striker is offline
Practical Backpacking™ Junior Member
Backpack: Gregory Shasta, Gregory Jade 38
Sleeping Gear: MYOG down quilt
Shelter: Bilgy Tarp Tent
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: AZ
Posts: 35
Quick Update:

I have now shared the Bilgy Too with another person for several nights and can report that the interior size is very nice for two. No wasted space but comfortable.

I also encountered heavy dew and condensation inside the tent for two nights. I will say that we were camping with two double-wall tent users, and ALL of our tents had the same issue. We were in a VERY damp area. The condensation on the roof was no bother. The walls are mesh so it didn't get on our sleeping bags or gear and we could easily dry it off with a rag. The Bilgy did not have more condensation than the other tents.

Overall, still happy with the Bilgy after about 14 use-nights so far!
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 03-19-2014, 03:58 PM
© 2006-2016 Practical Backpacking™ / All Rights Reserved
striker striker is offline
Practical Backpacking™ Junior Member
Backpack: Gregory Shasta, Gregory Jade 38
Sleeping Gear: MYOG down quilt
Shelter: Bilgy Tarp Tent
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: AZ
Posts: 35
People seem to be lurking on this thread, so I thought I'd add another bit of info and some pictures. I made a one man version of the Bilgy, which I tried out recently (only one night haha). Overall, I like it. It's a good size for one and I think that it is going to be comparable to or better than the two man in terms of weather-toughness. It was much faster to make than the two man, and I'm glad I did it.

Having now made three of these things, I can say that they are a great MYOG project and a really nice, lightweight, versatile shelter for 3 season conditions. The two man has seen at least 30 nights of use so far, and its in great condition. I've never had one fall down, despite often not setting them up very carefully, and several friends have spent multiple nights in the two man with me (only one at a time).

I have several pictures of both of the tents now posted in the gallery (not sure how to link here). If you are curious about any specific features or want to see some aspect of the construction up close I may be able to help you.
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Long Term Camping isen Camping 7 05-05-2009 02:59 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 02:25 AM.

Backpacking Forums


Powered by vBulletin Version 3.5.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright © 2006-2017 Practical Backpacking™
Practical Backpacking is a trademark of Absolutely Prepared™
Practical Backpacker is a trademark of Absolutely Prepared™
Practical Backpacking Podcast is a trademark of Absolutely Prepared™
Practical Backpacking Magazine is a trademark of Absolutely Prepared™