Thursday 27 March 2014

Borah Gear Side Zip Bivy Bag

I've had my Ti-Goat Ptarmigan Bivy Bag for a good number of years.

It's good and has served me well.

The three issues that I have with it are:

+ its not long enough
+ the mesh is not big enough.
+ it has a horizontal zip

To be honest, these are not big issues and I never thought much about replacing it.

Then there was some questions and answers on Twitter. Some about the Ti-Goat Kestral Bivy bag and some about the Borah Gear Side Zip Bivy. I also considered the MLD bivy bag but was not happy with the costs and the delivery times. MLD make exceedingly good gear, but, also make the wait for it exceedingly long.

The Kestral has a side zip entry and looks a good bag. It only comes in the same length as the Ptarmigan and it looks as if the mesh would be too low down from my face as I lay in it.

Then I saw Matt's comments on the Borah Gear Side Zip Bivy:

Matt's comments made me decide to go for for this bivy bag, but with slightly different customising.

I chose the longer version of the bag and asked John to customise the mesh to give me more than the Ptarmigan did, but with a solid top. This was done at no extra cost.

The cost was $85 + postage of $25. The package arrived a couple of weeks ago, just before I went on holiday. I had to pay about £13 handling and customs charges (not too bad).

I've only just had a proper look at it today.

Here it is next to my Ptarmigan Bivy.

I was struck by the width of the Borah Bivy. It makes the Ptarmigan look very narrow.
John got the mesh just as I wanted it. The top of my head has the M90 material to keep out draughts, but my face will be mesh covered. Less chance of condensation - which was not much of a problem with the Ptarmigan, if I managed to get the mesh in the right position.

There is a loop to raise up the the cowl and two tie outs at the foot end.
I've yet to play with it for real, but the difference the length, width and side zip makes over the Ptarmigan is remarkable, especially considering the weights are very similar.

The workmanship on the Borah Gear Side Zip Bivy is first class. John's customer service is excellent.

I would have put my Ptarmigan bivy up for sale, but, looking at it, it is looking a bit well used.


  1. MLD take note. There is competition out there more and more. Looks a cracking bit of kit at a good price.

  2. Hi Gordon - That really does look like a nice item! I'm waiting for a borah gear bivy I ordered four weeks ago but it hasn't been shipped yet :( :( How long was the lead time between order and confirmation of shipping for you? Thanks

    1. Hi David,
      Just back from using it for real. It is just so much better than the Ti-Goat Ptarmigan. I use a sleeping bag with no zip (Minim 300) and getting in and out of the Borah Gear bivy with the side zip is so much easier. There's much better space inside too - and, for me, a long bivy bag is much more comfortable.
      I'm sorry to see (on Twitter) that you've had problems with lead time from John.
      His reputation is for great customer service, so I hope that you get your delivery soon.

  3. Hi Gordon, very much enjoying reading your blog, especially this post. One question if you don't mind? I seem to remember reading that you prefer a bivy over an inner with your Trailstar as you are 6' 2". I too am 6' 2" and have just ordered a Trailstar and am looking at options to accompany it. Any thoughts from you would be most welcome.



  4. Hi Jono, some don't use either an inner or bivy bag. OK if your sleeping bag is warm and there's not much chance of midges etc. An inner will work but will not give you much headroom I have used tents with inners with low headroom in the past. Bearpaw Designs Pyranet looks good, as does the Six Moons Serenity net tent and MLD's new net inner. The Oookworks Oooknests are top notch, but a long waiting time.
    A bivy bag adds warmth and, with a net insert will keep midges etc at bay - at least when sleeping.