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Make Your Own Backpacking Tarps and Bivy Sacks

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Backpacking tarps and bivy sacks are both decent alternatives to a tent. They will usually be lighter on your wallet as well as on your back, especially if you make them yourself. I don't have much to tell you about making tarps (my experience consists only of one failed attempt), but Ray Jardine does. He'll tell you how in The Ray-Way Tarp Book: How To Make A Tarp And Net-Tent.

Some of you may even enjoy the process, but not myself. Somewhere around the hundredth hour of sewing I lost interest in making gear, except for the simple things. Tents and backpacking tarps are not simple things to make.

Making Bivy Sacks

A bivy sack, on the other hand, can be two garbage bags duct-taped together to create one large bag (then cut one end open). Use the extra-large bags. The ones I make weigh 4 ounces, and are 3'x7'. I use them for a weekend trip or an over-nighter, and throw them away.

At less than a dollar, the price is right. So there is your lesson on making ultralight bivy sacks. Only 4 ounces, it will fit in your pocket, and leave you only a little damp in the morning (from condensation; don't breath inside it). Hit the trail and you'll be dry in a few minutes. You really should only use this type of bivy sack in a dry climate, but I haven't had any real problems yet.

You can also check out the page on bivy sacks.



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The Ultralight Backpacking Site | Make Backpacking Tarps / Bivy Sacks