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Reviews > Shelters > Tarps and Bivys > Titanium Goat Ptarmigan Bivy > Owner Review by David Loome

Reviewed item: Titanium Goat 'Ptarmigan' bivy sack
1 October 2009
Name: David Loome
Age: 22
Height: 5 feet 9 inches / 1.75 meters
Weight: 160 lb / 72.6 kilograms
Location: Flagstaff, Arizona- U.S.A.
Email: david (dot) loome at gmail (dot) com
Testers hiking background:
I have hiked about 11,000 miles (17,700 kilometers) on and off trail throughout North America, including established trails (AT, PCT, CT, JMT, etc.) various routes, and numerous long distance hikes of my own design. I enjoy hiking in all sorts of conditions. I increasingly prefer routes and do-it-yourself hikes to established trails. I always pack very light, but am not a gram-counter. I know what I need, and simply strive to bring only those things. In gear, I value simplicity, functionality and durability. My base weight is usually between 8 and 10 lbs. (3.6 and 4.5 kilograms)
Product information:
Manufacturer: Titanium Goat (
Year of manufacture: 2008
Claimed weight: 5.8 ounces (165 grams) for bivy, stuff sack adds 0.2 oz (6 grams) confirmed accurate on testers scale.
MSRP: $90-$115 US depending on options.
Product description
The Ptarmigan bivy is not waterproof and is not intended as a stand-alone backpacking shelter. This type of bivy is intended to compliment the sleeping/shelter system of the ultralight tarp camper: The bivy replaces a groundsheet, provides insect protection and additional protection from rain over-spray and from condensation or frost. It also adds a measure of warmth to a sleeping bag's temperature rating. When used in dry weather cowboy camping or within an 'AT' style shelter, the bivy makes a superb stand-alone shelter, providing additional warmth and insect protection while still allowing a view of the night sky, or without taking up the space of a tent inside a shelter.
The top of the bivy is made of a lightweight, highly breathable DWR treated nylon and the bottom is waterproof siliconized nylon. The two-layer hood of the bivy contains a full bug-mesh hood, over which the DWR nylon hood may be optionally zipped for additional warmth/protection. Each hood has a single guy-out loop located above the face area to hold the hood off the occupants face. The loops can be attached under a tarp, an overhead branch, a trekking pole stuck into the ground, etc.
The bivy is accessed by sliding feet first into a horizontal zippered opening at the top of the bivy at about the chest area, below the hood. The bivy is generously cut and will accommodate lofty bags and taller occupants, with a 76 inch (193 cm) chest girth, 48 inch (122 cm) foot girth, and an overall length of  87 inches (221 cm).
The construction of the bivy is excellent. All components are accurately cut and sewed, and seams are well finished. All materials are high quality.
Locations/Conditions of use
I have used the Titanium Goat Ptarmigan bivy sack frequently over a period of four months in a variety of 3-season conditions while backpacking, rafting and cycling. I estimate that the bivy has been carried for approximately 1,200 trail miles (1,930 kilometers) and has been slept in 60 times. About 50% of the time, the bivy was used in conjunction with a tarp shelter (Golite Lair 1 tarp). The rest of the time, it was used by itself while cowboy camping or while under a different sheltering structure (trail shelter, etc.)
I carry the Ptarmigan bivy whenever I am using a tarp as my primary shelter. I have used the bivy at elevations from 600 to 10,000 feet (183 to 3,048 meters) night time temperatures from 30-70 degrees Fahrenheit (1 to 21 degrees Celsius), conditions ranging from warm and dry, to cool and rainy, to dry and near-freezing. It has seen a lot of desert use and a variety of mixed use elsewhere. I should note that while I have experienced frost in the bivy, I have not used the bivy in extreme cold, and cannot vouch for its performance for winter use.
The Ptarmigan bivy has performed exceptionally well. The DWR top does protect against slight overspray and condensation, yet is highly breathable and has not yet condensed moisture within the bivy, even in humid, cool conditions. In most conditions, the top is so breathable that damp clothing or a damp sleeping bag will dry while inside the bivy.
The silnylon floor and raised 'bath-tub' style seam adequately protects against wet ground. The full mesh hood offers total insect protection with excellent ventilation. The bivy is roomy enough to read inside, and to fit lofty winter bags. Getting in and out of the bivy and setting it up is easy. When used with my quilt, I also like how the bivy helps keep the quilt wrapped around me and eliminates drafts.
For an ultra light product, the bivy is highly durable and shows few signs of wear- Only very slight abrasion of the nylon floor in a couple small areas. In order to protect the bivy floor, which is subject to the most abuse, I typically use my sleeping pad between it and the ground and place my backpack under my feet at night. The DWR finish on the nylon top becomes less effective over time, but this is easily remedied with an inexpensive DWR treatment. (Such as Revivex.)
The Titanium Goat Ptarmigan bivy is a highly functional and useful piece of gear, is well designed, and performs its intended functions very well. When compared to similar products, the Ptarmigan stands out for its low price, costing significantly less than functionally equivalent products with comparable weights. I would very highly recommend the Ptarmigan to anyone in the market for this type of bivy, particularly tarp and quilt users, and those in high bug areas who want a lightweight alternative to a tent.
What I like
-Exceptionally low weight for a variety of features and functions.
-Simple, functional design.
-Low price compared to functionally equivalent products by competing manufacturers.
-Reduces pack weight by replacing ground sheet, etc.
-High quality materials and construction.
-Full bug protection and weighs just a few ounces!
What I don't like
-Nothing. This is an outstanding product.

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Reviews > Shelters > Tarps and Bivys > Titanium Goat Ptarmigan Bivy > Owner Review by David Loome

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