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Reviews > Shelters > Tarps and Bivys > Integral Designs eVENT Crysallis Bivy > David Heyting > Test Report by David Heyting

Integral Designs Crysallis Bivy
Test Series

Inital Report January 23, 2007

Field Report April 29, 2007

Long Term Report June 26, 2007

Tester Information:
Name: David Heyting
Age: 29
Gender: Male
Height: 6’ 0”, 1.83 m
Weight: 205 lb, 93 kg
City, State, Country: Snoqualmie, Washington, USA

Backpacking Background:
I have been hiking and backpacking for over 15 years. A great deal of the backpacking that I do is related to mountaineering and rock climbing in the Pacific Northwest. When not climbing, I’m a hiker that tries to go light in order to push more miles. My main areas of exploration are the Washington Central and North Cascades, but have done lots of hiking in the British Columbia Coastal Range as well as the Oregon Cascades. I am also an avid adventure racer and compete in several races each year ranging from 2 hours up to 24 hours in duration. .

Product Information
Manufacturer: Integral Designs
Model: eVent Crysallis Bivy
Listed Weight: 1.8 lbs / .68 kg
Measured Weight: 1.9 lbs / .71 kg
Width: 30” (76 cm) at shoulders, tapering to 22” (56 cm) at foot
Length: 90” (229 cm) fits to 6’,7” (2.01 m)
Girth: 74” (188 cm) around chest, tapering to 52” (132 cm) around foot
MSRP: $255.00 US
Country of Manufacturer: USA
Color: Dark Green

Product Description:
The Integral Designs Crysallis is a waterproof bivy that uses eVent fabric. EVent Fabric is a direct venting waterproof barrier. As taken from the information on Integral Design’s website: “eVent fabric allows perspiration to dissipate and vent before it saturates the inside of the fabric.” It is also oleophobic, meaning that it remains free of body-oil contaminants. Items such as body oil can reduce a fabric’s ability to remain waterproof and can disrupt the fabric’s ability to breathe. The Crysallis features a dome like shape that provides extra room by the head. The dome shape is created by a wire that is sewn into place. The shape allows for more space and headroom. The dome also allows for better water drainage, by not allowing water to pool on the bivy. This design does not include any skyward facing zippers which can be a source of water infiltration. The bag his fully taped seams for waterproofing. There is a rear facing tunnel vent in the hood that allows for air flow and ventilation when the bivy is completely zipped up.

The bag is opened with a continuous zipper with two sliders. All zippers that are on the outside of the bag feature waterproof zippers. The dual sliders allow the top fabric to be peeled back to the waist. The top features a no-see-um netting to keep bugs out during dry evenings. The no-see-um netting and the dual sliders work in tandem so that the top eVent fabric can be peeled back while still allowing the no-see-um netting to keep the bugs out. The bivy is very roomy and as Integral Designs puts it “the Crysallis is ideal for trips where you will be sleeping fully stretched out.

Wire Dome

Initial Report - January 23, 2007

Initial Impressions:
My first thought of the Crysallis bivy was “roomy”. The bivy had plenty of room in the main space for moving around during the night. Knees can be brought up and down, without fear of stretching the fabric. I feel that the wire reinforced dome also looks to provide a nice space for my face. I like the fact that the wire is somewhat shapeable, thus I can modify the space by my face for comfort. The eVent fabric is softer than I expected, thus making the Crysallis a much more comfortable choice for an emergency shelter when I am not expecting to have to overnight, but pushing a very long day excursion.

The dual sliders are a nice touch for dry night or summer sleeping, where I do not need to be fully zipped. The dual zippers were easy to get at and open. This bodes well for the potential nighttime bathroom break. The positioning of the tunnel vent is also nice in my opinion as it is easy to access and adjust while in the bag. This helps with the claustrophobic feel that can accompany bivy sacks. The no-see-um netting seems like it will be great for summer and dry nights (typically if I don’t need to be zipped up then I would normally choose not to). However this provides the opportunity not to get eaten alive by insects. I did feel that opening the netting seemed to be more difficult when it was zipped up then opening the top flap. This is an item I will be exploring in more detail.

The Crysallis has fully taped seams, which should help to provide a watertight seal. The bivy sack did come with a tube of seam sealer and noted where it should be applied. I thought this was a nice touch by the manufacturer in terms of being up front about the limitations of their manufacturing processes and making a product that is completely waterproof. I also like the fact that the bag appears to be designed with water drainage in mind.

No-see-um Bug Net

Initial Likes and Dislikes:

Likes: The personal space it provides.

Dislikes: Dislikes: Potentially getting the no-see-um netting on and off quickly.

Field Report - April 29, 2007

Field Locations and Conditions Experienced:
During the Field Testing period, I have used the Crysallis for four solo overnight trips. All of these trips occurred within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area in the Washington Central Cascades. On two of my tips, I skied into my destination and spent a solo night out with the Crysallis. One trip was to Mt. Amabalis, in which I skied up to the summit which is at about 4,500 ft (114 m) and spent the night just below the top. That night I experienced a snow dusting and some light winds. The coldest temperature that I measured was right at 20 F degrees (-7 C) that night. I slept with the bivy completely zipped up on that outing. This was the coldest night that I spent in the Crysallis. On my other trips the lowest (recorded with my “weather center device”) temperature that I hit was 30 F degrees (-1 C). All of my trips except for one featured snow camping. On the one trip in which I was not sleeping in the snow, I spent a night under the stars on a Rocky ledge at an elevation of about 1500 ft (38 m) that is near my house in the foothills of the Cascades. During the testing period, I experienced a few nights with some light snow, however I did not experience any periods of straight rain.

The view as I ski into my camping location on the Iron Horse Trail in the Central Cascades

Field Performance:
So far I have been very happy with the performance of the Crysallis Bivy. I have broken out the functions of the Crysallis into three categories: Performance, Comfort and “The Extras”.

Performance - I have found the dual zipper system on the Crysallis, to be very useful. Besides making it very easy to get in and out of the Crysallis, it also aided me in the all important task of changing clothes, by providing more space. At times I found the bug netting to be a little bit annoying while zipping myself up and out, however I think that in the summer this will be a very valuable piece to keep my face from getting eaten alive, however the winter did not allow for many bugs to worry about. The zippers worked well and were easy to operate. The eVent fabric I found to perform quite well. I noticed very little condensation build-up during the night in the Crysallis. The fabric was able to easily to repel the snow dustings that I received. However, I do plan on putting the Crysallis through a better rain test, during the long-term reporting period. The fabric appears to be pretty rugged, I didn’t notice any scratching or issues, while sleeping on a rocky surface, which sort of surprised me a little bit. During my testing I slept with my sleeping pad inside the bag. Thus the eVent fabric was exposed consistently to the outside elements. The eVent fabric packed down well after all uses and seemed to retain its softer feel, even in cold conditions.

Comfort – The size of the bivy is great. I am 6 feet tall (1.83 m) and had lots of room and was able to stretch out just fine. While sleeping with the bag fully zipped up and found the Crysallis to be quite roomy. I really did not feel claustrophobic at all during the night. I like the fact that the wire dome can be molded and moved to fit my needs. Thus I was able to mold it in a position where I felt the most comfortable sleeping during the night. The tunnel vent, I felt was also able to provide nice air flow during the night. This equaled no issues with condensation build up. I am also able to look through the tunnel and see the outside, which is always welcome when sleeping fully enclosed. This seemed to provide for good circulation in the bivy sack at night. The zippers also made it easy for me to get in and out in the dark as they are easy to pull and move effortlessly. The fabric was soft enough on the inside of the bag when fully zipped up that it did not bother me when I made contact with it during the night with my face.

Setting out the Crysallis as I prepare my campsite

“The Extras” – Really for me the best added bonus was the zippers. I have used some bivys before where it was difficult to get in and out of and even more difficult to try to perform a task such as changing in the bivy. However the access and size of the Crysallis made these tasks easy.

Field Report Summary:
All in all I have found the Crysallis to be a good choice for a bivy sack that provides a little bit of extra room, while still being light enough to still work as an ultra-light option. The bag so far has been well constructed and seems to be pretty durable.

Field Report Likes and Dislikes:

Likes: The dual zippers and the roomy head space

Dislikes: Nothing really.

Continued Testing:
My goal for continued testing will be to put the Crysallis in some serious rain conditions, which should not be that difficult living in the Northwest. I also have some longer trips planned that will put me the bag for multiple days, I will be curious to see how I like the bag after a few nights in the outdoors.

Long Term Report - June 26, 2007

Long Term Test Conditions and Locations:
During the long term testing period, I was able to use the Crysallis on two more overnight trips. The first was an overnighter at Lena Lake on the Olympic Peninsula. The trail is a very moderate hike in to the lake only 3 miles (4.9 km) and 1125 ft (343 m) of gain. The night was actually quite pleasant; I slept with only the bug net over my head and experienced very moderate mighttime temperatures (lower 50's F - 10 C). The second trip was to the Taneum Ridge area near Ellensburg, Washington. I set up a base camp and then explored the surrounding areas during the day. My camp site was at just over 5,000 ft (1500 m). I expereinced overnight lows in the lower 40's F (4 C). Being east of the Cascade Crest, this is a much dryer area then the west side of the Cascades; however I still experienced some light rain during the night. Despite this I again just slept with the bug net zipped up. The net worked great as the insects were out in full force that night and I did not have any issues with any of them finding a way in the bivy to feast on me as I slept. During both trips I did not experience any issues with condensation, however this was probably due to the fact that I slept with the only the bug net fully zipped.

Long Term Performance:
During the testing period the Crysallis has held up great. The eVent fabric has been very durable. I have had no issues with the seams or zippers. I have been quite impressed with the moldable wire dome. I was a little bit worried that it would eventually wear down, break or be so warped from being stuffed in the carrying sack that it would eventually not function properly. However I found none of this to be the case. The wire has been easy to mold to my own personal needs even after being stuffed in its case for an extended time period. The wire also shows no signs of breaking down. It makes for a very nice touch while sleeping fully zipped up.

During the long term testing period, I was able to really use the no-see-um netting as the bugs were now out in bunches as the snow has melted. While sleeping, the net sort of hung down on my face, however I did not have any problems sleeping with the net touching my face as I tossed and turned during the night.

I have been very pleased with the performance of the Crysallis during the testing period. I found the bivy to be comfortable to sleep in as it provides me with great leg room and the ability to move around at night without feeling constricted. Also with the construction of the air tunnel and the wire dome, I did not feel claustrophobic during the night. The wire dome was easy to adjust and shape to meet my own personal needs while I slept. I had no issues with the breathability of the fabric nor did I experience any issues with water infiltration. The bag shed rain as it should and I didn’t notice any pooling issues during the night. The bug netting also performed quite well and held the mosquitoes at bay. All in all a very nice bivy sack.

Continued Use:
I plan on continuing to use the Crysallis for many trips in the future. It will be great to have along for solo trips, climbing trips where I will be descending a different route than then one I went up and for backpacking trips where I am trying to push the distance and want to try and shed as much weight as possible. It will definitely be a staple of my backpacking shelters. I already plan on taking it my next several overnight adventures.

Thank you to both BackPackGearTest and Integral Designs for this fantastic opportunity to test the Crysallis Bivy.

This concludes my Test Report.

Read more reviews of Integral Designs gear
Read more gear reviews by David Heyting

Reviews > Shelters > Tarps and Bivys > Integral Designs eVENT Crysallis Bivy > David Heyting > Test Report by David Heyting

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