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DanO

question Any experience with a Bothy Bag/Mountain Shelter?

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Thinking of getting a Brooks Range Alpini Shelter 400.

 

http://www.brooks-range.com/alpini-shelter400-p/4005.htm

 

Any info or experience with bothy shelters?

 

Can two people sleep in a 4 man bothy for a night with only moderate misery? Thinking of using a bothy and pad combo with clothes. Could add in a SOL bivy and light quilt or a puffy. Mostly for summer usage but can be in any season , in cascades.

 

Is there a better bothy than the Alpini?

 

The other option is two people with SOL Bivi's, pads and a very light tarp.

 

This is for emergency use on lower moderate climbing routes. So looking for lighter than for intentional biving.

 

Thanks for reading.

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Oh man, looks miserable. Seems like an item that would be a good diy project. Using that in anything but sub 15 degree temps sounds like a recipe for creating a sort of sweat lodge, but without any of the warmth components.

 

Might be useful in a colder and drier range than the cascades by someone from Eastern Europe more than 25 years ago.

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Likely right on being a sweat lodge, from what I read from UK forums it is not a bad option for two or more people as it can be fairly warm for the weight, 10 to 20+ degrees F over outside temp. It is not as particularly good for an overnight as for a break in nasty weather.

 

I think I will try one out and see how it goes. One concern that I have is wetting out down gear. For me it would be used for emergency bivy, I think weight wise it can make sense, if your willing for two and more to only carry it and light pads with clothing.

 

I think the two man would be ok for super light for harder climbs, the four man for less hard climbs. The Two man is pretty tight and less likely to bring in gear, the four man should be more more comfy for two and can bring in gear or more people-if had too. This just my thinking, I have no experience, there are lighter bothies than the brooks range one, but it is said to be breathable, so that should help a little with the wetting out fog inside.

 

Thanks

Edited by DanO

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No experience with this item but it looks more useful to take along on a alpine rock climb with the chance of a bivy. Something where you are trying to sleep while sitting on a ledge in the rain.

 

I think you would be better off with a first light or something. A tent may weight a pound more than this bothy but at least you can sleep in it which is the point right?

 

 

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Prolly the best opinion of this is the owner of pro mountain sports. He is into crazy lightweight options. Jim Nelson. Ask him.

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http://www.fieldandstream.com/node/1006033122

 

 

I like to bring Firestarter, if one makes it to the treeline and has a ice axe or can get a stout stick to dig with then can make a fire bed. One way to entertain yourself for a long cold night. I actually prefer a tarp with long fire combo for emergency shelter but often pretty far above tree line, so hard to find dry wood in quanity.

 

Lack of being able to use fire with a bothy was bothering me, a fire bed solves this problem and is a way pass time for several hours.

 

Bothy bag steam bath!!

Edited by DanO

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I borrowed a friend's 2 person both for a while a couple winters ago to just try it out. I wouldn't want to sleep in one but it was a decent option for breaks/lunch when it was nuking out. They are really intended for situations above treeline where you just can't get out of the wind/rain/snow anywhere. It's actually quite impressive how warm they feel when you are in one, also impressive how fast the condensation starts, don't even think of wearing glasses in one and I would imagine it starts to get wet after a little while and less warm.

 

A 2 person one takes a little coordination with your partner, you have to sit down at the same time and it is quite cozy but works to have lunch or look at the map. I meant to sew one myself but never got around to it and the useful situations are relatively rare (mostly winter above treeline).

 

For summer climbing emergencies I would think a space blanket bivy bag and maybe just a simple ultralight tarp would be more versatile AND lighter. But maybe you get one and try it out and tell us? It was quite nice to get out of the wind on a couple trips and made a lunch stop a much more pleasant affair.

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So it seams that if conditions are really bad up high a bothy is a OK option for an emergency. A tarp bivy combo is likly better down lower and in not as bad conditions. I am thinking of equal weight systems and two or more people. I will try one out and see if I can get it to breath better and stay warm.

 

Another situation is where one person is carrying emergency gear for two or more for some reason. Then bothy may be better, especially in no trees for fire when stoped, IE above tree line or on sea shore etc. Otherwise tarp and fire is my preference for longer term stop.

 

Taking quick comfy breaks may make a bothy worthwhile enough to carry depending on the whole situation of trip out, and have emergency overnight shelter to boot.

 

Thanks

 

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OK, I think a bothy bag can be the best in certain situations. For what I want and most of what I do I am going look into getting a light square tarp. It is possible to fold a tarp into a small 2 man pyramide tent for two with a trekking pole (videos on net). A tarp bivy combo will leave you dryer in the morning and so less likely to wet out gear. And can do a fire if under tree line.

 

The lightest breathable Bivi's that are cost effective that I know of are Tera Rosa's tyvek bivy 5.5oz . SOL escape bivy 8oz, and SOL escape lite bivy 5.5oz. Look for the breathable escape bivy sacks. The more heavy one is equal to a 50 degree F sleeping from what read on the net. A non breathable blizzard bag is another option. Hope to have personal extra bivy gear weight under 1.5lb including pad and fire starting gear.

 

I think a bothy can be lighter and better in many situations but for me a light tarp and bivy should be more useful more often, so I will hold off on the bothy for the time being.

 

Thanks all.

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I borrowed a friend's 2 person both for a while a couple winters ago to just try it out. I wouldn't want to sleep in one but it was a decent option for breaks/lunch when it was nuking out. They are really intended for situations above treeline where you just can't get out of the wind/rain/snow anywhere.

 

This. Sleeping in one is doing it wrong.

 

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DanO I think you may need to do less reading about gear online and more actual things outside. It may change some of your theories into informed opinions.

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If I understand DanO's original question and conditions, then I use the Brooks Range Mountaineering Ultralite Guide Tarp. You can string it up like a tarp, or it is Velcro lined on three sides for a two person bivy. If you add velcro to the fourth side, then you can also use it as a bothy shelter by opening the long side (I've comfortably fit three people seated inside this way). I keep it stuffed in a slightly larger sack than what it comes with, making it easy to stuff and sit in the bottom of the pack. Its durable, brightly colored (I've used it as an identification panel for an approaching rescue helicopter), and only weighs 350gm.

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Ok I got a Brooks range 4 man bothy bag. Used it some in winter wa state in north cascades. 

In winter got it out at mt Baker ski area , got in it by myself with very warm clothing  no bivy sack with foam pad, didn't know the temperature.  Cozy warm, i actually dozed a little , for the time i was in there the consedation was very little. Another time i got into it during winter up at church mountain with the partner, it seemed ok enough for emergency overnight for both of us.

For me it is better than a bivy sack in nasty alpine irainy snowy conditions. It seems much warmer than a bivy sack. With it and very warm clothing a emergeny overnight is doable. Also it is good for breaks in nasty conditions. The only other product that i may consider instead would be a blizzard survival tube or bag. 

If one is lower down a tarp with fire may be better for a aemergency but getting a fire going is often very difficult

A 4 man bothy bag for 2 people is a good way to go for emergency overnight shelter in winter alpine conditions with warm clothing. I either carry my bothy bag or a tarp with some sort of bivy sack with fire starter on winter day trips. 

If a chance of being caught out up high in winter conditions the 4 man bothy bag is the best option for lightweight for two people.

The Brooks range bothy bag is described as breathable fabric with vents. This seems true to me as the consendation in it didn't seem bad, hardly any. It is hard to find a bothy made with breathable fabric, sadly Brooks range is out of business. If can find a bothy made with breathable fabric with good vents , that is worthwhile for possible overnight.

 

Edited by DanO

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I am not a bothy bag expert, but since there isn't much detailed info out there, here are my current thoughts. 

Get a lightweight one... 2 man version looks good for two with no packs inside, or one with a winter pack. Carry a 2 man bothy for very lightwieght, for technical rock or alpine routes or for one person usage.   Bothy bag or thin light bivy sack for emergency usage?  Personally I would go for a bothy bag. The warm air you breath inside the bothy makes it warmer than a bivy sack. It seems a lot of body heat is lost out by breathing which makes sense if you think about it. Of course it can get wet inside over time, if too bad may flip the bothy bag inside out. 

 

The 4 man bothy, two guys can be inside with packs and can lay down or mostly lay down flat or reclining. If in snow can dig a sitting or  reclining chair like shape. For emergency bivy this is as good as it gets. Expect the inside temp to be about 20 degrees F higher than outside, better than a thin bivy sack. Of course need to have enough flat space to set up everything.  A 4 man bothy bag allows one person to lay down with a pack inside, still a good option , still very warm. 

May add in a blizzard survival  tube,  bag, or blanket etc. Or one of the SOL breathable bivy sacks. I find that the 5.5 oz SOL breathable bivy sack to work well enough, one can fold the top fabric of this sack around the face since it does not  come with a around the face draw string.

The lightweight 2 man bothy bag weighs about 8oz,. About the lightest warmest shelter for two guys possible, but will be in a cramped sitting position.  The light 4 man bothy bag is about 16oz.  Look for venting when selecting a bothy bag.

 

 

Edited by DanO

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On the series "I shouldn't be alive" 

Young Couple Trapped On A Mountain During A Snow Storm | I Shouldn't Be Alive S5 EP3 |

A young couple trapped on a mountain ledge survives the experience. Based on a true story it looks like they used a bothy bag. They also kept all their fingers and toes! Look for it on YouTube. It is part of the wonder series , get out the popcorn.

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