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Comments about Sierra Designs Sierra Dsgns Zagori Bivy Sack - 2010 Model:
My Zagori has a flexible rod (the new one has a pre-bent aluminum pole) that holds the rain cover and bug screen off your face along with some weather proof vents. The REI Minimalist only has a screen over your face which means you have to set up a small shelter over your face if there is the possibility of rain. And, the REI screen lays right on your face (which I don't like). So even though the Zagori weighs more, I figured it would be easier to set up with little additional weight due to no need for additional shelter and as a bonus, keep that screen off my face. I place my down bag and air mattress inside the bivy on top of a plastic ground cloth. Then I roll it all up and put it in in my Golite Fast Pack or Pinnicle backpack. This way I don't need a stuff bag, and it has kept my bag dry even when my waterbag leaked. And when I am ready to camp, I just unroll the whole kit and kaboodle and blow up my air mattress. I never tested the Zagori in the rain (so I never had the rain cover fully closed), but I did use it snow camping and trail camping. There is condensation, but I have found that to be true with the REI bivy and it appears that other bivies have that problem. However, the condensation is on the surface, and does not soak my down bag. I have a friend that used a lean to with no bivy on a trip to the High Sierras with thunder storms every afternoon/evening and his bag was soaked due to condensation (it didn't rain at night). We couldn't dry it as we hiked in the sunny morning and seemed to finish in the rain. Good thing he had a synthetic insulated bag and a space blanket. The only reason I don't like this bivy is because it is not large enough in diameter to let me get dressed inside like my REI minimalist is and I'm 5'9" 150 lbs and flexible. Maybe the 2010 is bigger as I bought mine last year. I'd check though, because if it is pouring outside, you will want to be able to dress within the bivy. There is also the modesty issue too if you camp with others. P.S. For winter camping, I use a thermarest and a closed cell foam pad, not an air mattress.