great for quick overnighters, but thats it.
I love trying out new shelter systems and decided to give this Bivy a try. The Recon packs super small (about the size of a tennis ball). I find that there's no good way to get rid of condensation, and Bivies are notorious for creating a lot of it. The Recon is better than most, but cant escape it. I woke up on an early fall morning with a really damp bag. And 4 stakes for a bivy is a lot when you consider stakes for the tarp aswell.
I do like it for a quick overnighter by the river to keep the bugs out on a clear night where no tarp is needed. (I attach tieouts to branches).
XLong Review for PNW Climate
Just received my "custom" XLong XWide Recon Bivy in Navy. It came in about 2 weeks from order date. I set it up after several days of heavy rain in 48'F day north of Seattle (February) for a test. I use a 8x10' flat tarp, 32'F bag, Xframe pad with a 1/8" closed cell underpad (instead of ground sheet), and a bug head net. My challenges in the past are shifting while sleeping, such that my sleeping bag is 8" outside of the tarp by morning, and there is often drizzle, rain or heavy fog that wets the bag. I also find that my sleeping system is only good to 45'F due to the lack of tent, sleeping cold, and I worry about condensation inside over my down bag, if I reduce tarp venting because of heavier rains.
Challenges I needed to address: I am 5'10" woman and I roll around a lot. I imagined a bag for splash protection, cut drafts and increase my sleep temp rating as 45'F is fairly common in summer here. I dislike sleeping with a little bug head net that touches my face. I have had a small animal charge at my head at 2am while sleeping (not fun). Originally I was thinking about buying an overbag and mosquito netting. This bivy is so much lighter and cheaper.
This bivy seems great during my 2 hour test, with tarp, in rain. I will try it with the raccoons in my yard tonight. Still need to try it on a trip.
What I like -- the xlong is great, I can tie it off a bit higher (because there is extra length) and have more water proofing of the base later come higher up my head area. Therefore, I can keep the opening higher on my tarp even when it rains as this protects my bag and me. There is approx 15" above my head when the bug net is zipped, but it touches my bag at mid chest (needs a third tether to keep it off my chest), so I would prefer to leave it open if bugs are low. The foot box is great protection and the drafts are gone, except where I have it open. Good ventilation, when zipped, though. Lots of room wide and tall for me, and I could flip over / side roll easily inside of it. Easy to get in / out with my right side bag zipper (lots of room).
Yep, recommended.... just note that there really isn't open space above your chest when zipped, the bug net "tent" area is over your shoulders and head area.. unless you rig up a means to lift the bivy in the middle, maybe if you have a very tall attachment point it would be better.