Oookworks Bivvy – A belated first impression

Its in the name.....

Sometime ago, Sean over at Oookworks sent me a prototype bivvy that he has been working on and wanted me to have a look at. Apparently since I like messing about with tarps and bivvies and the like I was the perfect fool tester to have an opinion about it. Well I have had a chance to play with it and so I have a few thoughts I wanted to put on (virtual) paper.

The Oookworks bivvy

What’s in the bag? Umm well a bivvy in all honesty. The total weight of the bivvy is a very modest 261g (273g with stuff sack). Of course this is without pegs. With 4 pegs its still only 300g and if you dont want to, you dont have to use any although I thoroughly recommend doing so. First reason is that you wont find yourself in the bivvy sliding down the hillside in some sort of luge run in the middle of the night. The second reason is that when pegs are used, the fabulous Oookworks corner strut doobries come into their own.

Corner strut cunningness

Once pegged out and tensioned on the corners you suddenly find you have a fully erected waterproof bath tub with a zipped bivvy cover over the top. The bivvy bathtub bottom is silnylon though I am sure that Sean would produce it to customer spec as per his other bottoms (ooer). The bivvy cover is impregnated, breathable ripstop nylon though again I am sure Sean will provide options. After all this is a prototype

The cover and floor of the bivvy

The cover has a half zip with double sided zip pulls which allows for ease of ingress and egress. The cover also has a shockcord closure on its top edge to allow the material to be pulled tight and gathered around the top of the torso. This is a useful feature as it will help prevent drafts into the body of the bivvy as well as creetchee crawlies.

side 1/2 zip and bivvy cover shockcord closure

I tried the bivvy with a thermarest regular sleep mat (51cm wide) and had ample room inside the bivvy bathtub as the photo shows. It will easily accomodate a full size Exped mat if you like a bit more comfort (ahem).

standard mat in the bivvy..oooodles of room

The amount of room “upwards” allows for the most lofted sleeping bag imaginable and has obviously been taken into account by Sean during his design phase.

girth is everything

All in all, I found I rather liked this bivvy bag (and I’ve had a few in my time). It is more than just a bivvy bag as it gives you a genuine bathtub floor as well. The corner struts really work well here and apart from the bathtub shape give extra rigidity and structure to the whole thing. As always the stitching is first class

corner and stitching

and the attention to detail very evident. Its a product I would use and I can see that this bivvy bag could prove to be a great seller. Of course this prototype is designed for a dry nights without a tarp or for use under a tarp in less clement weather. As with all Sean’s products, a plethora of options could make this the “go to” bivvy bag for use with or without a tarp. I am not sure if Sean is planning to mass produce these as yet but if you are interested then drop him a line and go from there. I already have some thoughts for a bespoke bivvy based on this prototype I might ask him to make for me πŸ™‚


About Saddlebags and Backpacks - a brewer's outdoor adventures

I am a keen hiker, camper, cyclist and general all round gear addict..... I also manage to be a professional brewer in my non-spare time :->
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18 Responses to Oookworks Bivvy – A belated first impression

  1. Looks a good bit of kit I might tap Sean up for one with a zippable midge net for the swede. I used a Bivvy last night and it’s tapered unpegged design is its major flaw causing multiple awakenings to untangle myself.

    • backpackbrewer says:

      exactly my toughts Daniel, the peggable aspect combined with bathtub design is surely a winner and unique in the market place

  2. hillplodder says:

    So the bright yellow bit unzips and removes completely to genuinely leave just the bathtub ? Looks good, if a bit more MYOG than Sean’s usual stuff. I could see me going for one of these.

    • backpackbrewer says:

      The prototype dosesnt have a completely removable top but again I am sure that Sean will be able to provide this as an option

      • Sean@Oookworks says:

        I did think about that. But then I thought the added weight of the zip…
        Could work though.
        In some of my more fevered imaginings I’ve even thought about a zip off down or synthetic quilt.

        • backpackbrewer says:

          could also work πŸ™‚

          what would be the weight of the smallest functional zipper be for an updown and round jobby?

          • Sean@Oookworks says:

            The ykk #3 zipper that I use now is as light as I’d want to go. 11g per metre. So a zip to go all around 3 sides would add about 40g to that particularly bivvy.

            I’ve just had a(nother) mad idea. Add a slight taper to the foot end, use a 1 oz cuben floor and a down top, and you could end up with a modular bathtub 2/3 season sleeping system weighing in at under 300g. That’s floor AND quilt. One would need a second mortgage to buy the blighter, though.

            Oh my. I was hoping for sub 5kg on my idea testing TGOc attempt next year. It could be sub 4.5kg now, allowing an extra half litre of single malt to be carried πŸ˜›

        • backpackbrewer says:

          40g for a full length zipper! thats nowt! get and do it man! I’ll be your tester πŸ™‚

          • Sean@Oookworks says:

            40g is nowt? 0.04kg is nowt!?
            Heretic! Stone the heretic! (But only with pumice stones, of course)
            Anyway, it would be more like 41g if you take into account the extra thread required.

          • backpackbrewer says:

            its nowt πŸ™‚

  3. Sean@Oookworks says:

    Thanks for the write-up, Dave. I appreciate you taking time out from your Yellow Jersey campaign to do this.

    Some thoughts…

    Used in most ‘mid’ type shelters you could dispense with extra pegs and use the shelter pegging points in the same way as the nests work.

    My original thinking with this was that it could make a good winter option for single skin outings. Not as luxurious as a nest, but a draughtproof barrier, bathtub floor, low weight and tiny packed size. I intend using this design in the SL3 and the Duomid this winter on some trips I have planned. I may die πŸ™‚

    If and when I decide where I’m going with it, custom options will of course be available. As you say, a mesh head section would be the obvious one.

    It’s a Chikara floor, by the way (admittedly a pieced one from offcuts). Sigh. Quality is wasted on you .

    MYOG, Hillplodder? How very dare you! πŸ˜‰ In all seriousness though, everything I do is MYOG. It’s basically just stuff I want to use that isn’t available elsewhere. Fortunately other folk seem to want to use it too.

    • backpackbrewer says:

      ahh the master speaks! I am not worthy! (grovel grovel) πŸ˜€

      I am sorry I did not recognise the chikara ground material….quality is wasted on me πŸ™‚

      It definitely works for the winter in a single skin shelter as the bathtub is clearly the edge required. As you say it cuts out drafts and provides extra protection against rain splash and spindrift. It also works outside of winter obviously but just needs a hood/net option if attempting midge-infested lands :0

      A beefier, more waterproof top sheet could also provide a standalone full bivvy option (would need hood option too)

      More options and thoughts than you can shake a stick at for this. Very viable potential product Sean all in all and already generating discussion and interest

  4. I really dig this bathtub floor+ bivy idea. Did Sean say the floor was one peice or did you need to seal the seams?

    • backpackbrewer says:

      Hi Philip,

      the floor was one piece from recollection (I’ve sent the bivvy back to Sean now as it was a loan). You could always drop Sean an email to confirm

      The concept is great I agree and it has so many modular options that could be added too

  5. northernwalker says:

    Like the idea of this very much. It would work very well with the my SL3 (although I will, at last, be giving my OookWorks BigNest a spin next weekend) πŸ™‚

    • backpackbrewer says:

      great. I look forward to the review and trip report. I am awaiting a trialstar nest from Sean shortly so will too be having a test run out soon πŸ™‚

  6. Pingback: Trailstar Nest & Bivi’s | Whiteburn's Wanderings

  7. gary says:

    Sean made me a version with a midgie net which I have used very successfully under a Golite Hut1. The net simply clipped to the handle of the walking pole which supports the hut and hey presto a 300g inner tent which keeps the wee beasties out of my hair and condensation off the down, I also plan to use it as a “guest bedroom” when i have someone already sleeping in my Oooknest under my SL3. Great kit.

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