Whilst laying in my Unishelter watching the sun rise recently I begun to reflect on why I like this shelter. It is a bit more than a bivy and tarp and it weighs more than the lightest tents but for me it is my preferred option. As it provides an easy and quick solution to setting up camp, it provides that next to nature feel whilst also providing ample shelter in rainy conditions. It allows me to camp in small areas where a tent would not be suitable. The bivy has lots of space inside and it is possible to change clothes whilst inside the bivy. Entry and exit can be a challenge in the rain but a little planning can be helpful.
Things I have learnt are
1. Pack your sleeping bag and other dry clothes inside the bivy, it both saves a waterproof pack liner and allows you to assemble the bivy with your dry gear well away from the entry and thus moisture.
2. Plan at least one non cook meal if you bivy bound.
3. A container to save you midnight visits to the a nearby tree can be invaluable when it is raining.
4. Organise your gear for a quick exit in the mornings when it is raining.
5. Have your camera ready for those sunrises you will see whilst still half asleep.
6. Choose a site which gives the maximum benefits of seeing the surroundings and appreciating the stars and other sights at night.
7. A small tarp (or umbrella) can be used to protect you upon entry and exit in torrential rain.
8. Enjoy the experience and learn as you go along.