Together, the bivy bag and camo tarp provide unparalleled protection from even the most severe rainstorms, keeping you and your gear dry.

Aqua Quest’s Mummy Bivy Bag and Medium Camo Tarp

There is only one thing that can make a trip into the backwoods absolutely miserable and that’s having everything you own soaking wet from an unexpected rainstorm. In some parts of the country the weather is unpredictable and flash storms can appear over the horizon in a matter of minutes. If not properly prepared, it only takes a few short minutes of rain to drench you, your gear and any supplies you may be carrying. If in a survival situation, this isn’t a good thing at all. Throw in nighttime low temperatures into the mix, and concocted for you are some dangerous conditions.

Since 1996, Aqua Quest has been developing and producing an array of waterproof equipment designed specifically to keep out the rain, from backpacks to dry bags to bivy tents and tarps. We took a closer look at just two of those products: The Mummy Bivy Tent and the Medium Camo Tarp.

The Mummy

Your sleeping bag may be designed to keep you warm but will it keep you dry? Made from Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU)-coated nylon, the bivy bag is softer, more pliable and lacks that plastic feel like Polyurethane Laminate or other waterproofing materials. Extremely compact, the bag rolls into a very small stuff sack for transport, but the bag itself is large enough to accommodate most mummy-style sleeping bags with ease. It is 91 inches long by 33 inches wide at the shoulders and 18 inches wide at the feet. Packed up, it is only 14 x 6 x 2 inches and weighs 1.26 pounds.

Together, the bivy bag and camo tarp provide unparalleled protection from even the most severe rainstorms, keeping you and your gear dry.

There are zippers on both sides for either handed sleepers and the zippers are positioned inward so it can be opened and closed from the inside. The bag features tie-down loops to keep it secure in windy conditions.

The lightweight material of the bivy bag is designed to allow flexibility and protection while compacting into the smallest space possible.
The zippers are supported by hook and loop fixture down both sides to help keep the water off of the zipper. The loop is just one of a few used to tie down the bag in the wind.
The seams are double stitched and heat-sealed to insure waterproofing.
The heat-absorbing black material used on the bottom of the bag is stronger and less likely to snag if used on the bare ground.

According to the manufacturer, the bivy bag will add an additional three degrees (F) of warmth against the cold. The heat-taped seams add to the 10,000 mm of hydrostatic resistance, a measurement of liquid pressure. For comparison, materials used in expedition intended for extreme conditions are often rated at 3000 mm.

The Tarp

Aqua Quest offers two different styles of tarps — Sil and Camo — in two different sizes: large and medium. While the large is 13 x 10 feet and great for many uses, the medium size, 6.5 x 9.8 feet is a perfect size for anyone’s survival needs, as it is sized just right for a shelter for one or two people.

At only 14 inches long and six inches wide, it fits into a very compact space and adds only a little weight to your pack.

The Medium Camo Tarp features ridge loops down the middle of the tarp on a reinforced webbing material, so the tarp can be set up in a wide array of configurations.
Each of the four corners have strong pockets for poles.
Four large tie-downs made from the webbing material can be used with stakes to secure the corners.
The seams are double stitched and heat-sealed for waterproofing, which this tarp is highly rated for at 20,000 mm of hydrostatic resistance, suitable for a monsoon.
Along both sides are large and small loops for tie-downs, while the middle loops are reinforced for maximum strength.
The matching bag keeps the tarp folded in only 12 x 6 x 2 inches of space.
We had a little difficulty returning the tarp to its original dimensions so it would nicely fit in the bag; perhaps a slightly larger bag would be nice — or folding directions.

Made from 70-D nylon fabric, it is heavily coated with TPU to make it extremely waterproof, twice the rating of the bivy bag (at 20,000 mm). The seams are heat-taped, and there are heavy-duty pole inserts built into all four corners, double stitched for extra strength. There are wide loops on the sides, 39 inches from each corner, while the 18 smaller reinforced loops are roughly every 12 inches. The centerline of the tarp features webbing loops for a variety of configurations.

Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the March 2015 print issue of American Survival Guide.

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