Having to choose a product to spend the nights outdoors during the Transcontinental Race in 2017 I did a lot of research, I even studied every single product used by other participants in the past editions.
I wondered if it really made more sense to bring a sleeping bag, a waterproof bivvy or a simple fabric liner, or even not carry anything.
The size and weight factor is decisive, in the uncertainty of finding shelter every single night a bag/envelope was mandatory.
A sleeping bag, is cluttered and heavy even the in summer options, then in case of rain during an emergency stop it would become soaked and unusable.
An ultralight bivvy in plastic/aluminum is definitely a choice that saves space and weight at the price of taking a sauna every time you use it.
A fabric liner could be useful only if you stop indoors, in a bankomat’s cage or inside a bus stop, or coupled to a bivvy so as not to have the plastic or the aluminum part in contact with the skin.
In the end, the choice falls on a product produced by SOL, which stands for Survive Outside Longer, and it is precisely the name of the company that gives me confidence, along with the fact that Jesse Carrlson uses one, to convince me to opt for a brand.
The model I choose is not the ultralight plastic/aluminum one, nor the “luxurious” Escape model, but the Escape Light model which is the declination without frills (zipper and lanyard) of the latter that guarantees the impermeability of the material with a certain degree of transpiration.
The cylindrical case that contains it is of the same material as the bivvy itself and is really small in size, roughly those of a can of 33.
For the first Transcontinental I used the bivvy with a very cheap yoga mat (€ 3) bought at Decathlon, the peculiarity that this model is to fold superfast in a square, which eliminates the time, even the mental one, of rewind a standard mattress, as I had the luxury of being able to count on its 20 liters touring cycling bags, storing the mat was really a matter of seconds.
From the first night I found myself very comfortable using the bivvy with the mattress, the insulation was adequate and I was careful to end the day in a suitable place, so not in altitude nor near waterways. As the days went by the sack “softened”, the fabric effect became even more accentuated, making it perhaps a little less waterproof but more comfortable, after all I never had to sleep inside a bivvy under the rain.
Al rientro dalla Grecia, dopo almeno una decina di utilizzi, compresa l’ultima notte in traghetto sul ponte assieme a Riccardo, ho trovato nel sacco solo un paio di buchi provocati da qualche stoppa ed un piccolo strappo in un angolo.
Ho provveduto ad una riparazione casereccia applicando delle toppe di nastro americano da entrambi i lati.
Il biggie è stato usato per un intero anno di Trail e le Gravel su più giorni, l’ho lavato
Back from Greece, after at least a dozen uses, including the last night on the ferry bridge with Riccardo, I found in the bag only a couple of holes caused by some tow and a small tear in a corner.
At home I proceeded to repair it by applying some patches of American tape on both sides.
The bivvy was used for a whole year of Trails and the Gravels over several days, I washed it with some soap in cold water in a basin after each use and it always proved up to the next situation.
This summer it accompanied me for the second Transcontinental Race in 2018, using it this time even without a mat, directly on the asphalt if I could not find a bench or a table.
When he came back he did not have new holes and I continue to use it every time I need a small and light shelter, which is breathable and keeps me warm, the thermoregulation is determined by the amount of clothes that are kept on.