If you are a hiking enthusiast, you know how much it means to carry your backpack light. You don’t want to be dragging yourself throughout the whole hike with the extra weight of shelter.
Believe me, I didn’t know bivy sack would be so much more convenient until I used it myself. It allows you to set up camp almost anywhere and anytime you like.
On one of my hikes to the mountains, I took the bivy sack instead of the tent. What I found was, it was a lot lighter than tents, take up very less space in your back pack and it’s so easy to set up.
In this review, you will see why bivy sack is important and what are the factors you need to look at before buying one.
- Best Bivy Sacks in 2017 (Top 5)
- Why do You Need Bivy Sack?
- How to Choose Bivy Sacks?
- Bivy Sack Review
- 1. Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy
- 2. Rab Ridge Raider Bivy
- 3. Black Diamond Big Wall Hooped Bivy
- 4. Rab Alpine Bivi
- 5. Outdoor Research Helium Bivy
- The verdict
Best Bivy Sacks in 2017 (Top 5)
Why do You Need Bivy Sack?
Bivy sacks are for hikers like you and I, who want light weight emergency weather protection. The original bivies were like the waterproof sleeping bag covers that protected extreme athletes from rain or provided them with a temporary emergency shelter.
Over the years, bivy sacks have evolved and are now available with fabrics that make it water proof and breathable and better suited for the user. It is here to serve the needs of climbers who want light weight emergency weather protection for sleeping bags during multiple-day ascents, particularly on big walls.
As an outdoorsy person myself, I know for a fact that bivy sacks are the way to go. Some of the mentionable features of bivy sacks that make them so great are:
- Light weight
- Ease of finding a place to sleep.
- Very quick to setup or pack away, even in the dark. Helpful if you need to make a quick departure
- Close to nature. You are out because you love the nature and with bivy sacks, you can actually fall asleep gazing at the stars. You can enjoy the nice breeze and just feel the nature.
- It is more in bivy sacks than it is in tents.
- It is also cheaper than tents.
How to Choose Bivy Sacks?
The proper selection of shelter as discussed earlier is an essential part of the entire journey. The place that we are hoping to visit has a significant say in arriving at the decision.
The use and features of bivy sack determine the experience of your hiking adventure. The shelter needs to be waterproof, safe, condensation resistant, breathable etc.
Several factors have to be taken into consideration before setting a perfect match between your experience and bivy sack. Some of the things that should be taken into consideration are:
The most important factor to look at is the weight of the bivy sack. It is also one of the most important features of bivy sack.
If you are an avid hiker, you know as well as I do that light weight hiking equipment allows you to get to your destination faster without tiring you too much.
Cutting out on the weight can make a big difference in your whole experience. A good bivy should be a lighter camping option than a tent with the equivalent protection.
Usually bivysack have enough space for one but it can get a little claustrophobic. However, abivy is also a very liberating experience.
It is lightweight and it protects you from rain and bugs and what not. So this is the thing you need to consider. If the space or the tightness of the sack is too uncomfortable for you, go for other options if not, bivy is the way to go.
As I have already mentioned, the small packed size of bivy is the reason people use this. When going hiking or trekking, you’ve so many things in your backpack that you don’t want the extra weight.
Too often I have left my things back in my car because I didn’t want those to be an inconvenience in the trip. So, getting a bivy can make that extra space for the things you don’t want to leave behind.
There are these models of bivythat include separate tent poles and can have the long obstructive sticks stored elsewhere (perhaps on the outside of a pack or along the inside wall) so that the bivy inside the stuff sack can be crammed into any available spot in a pack.
By dropping down from a tent to a smaller bivy, you might be able to
free up a significant space and make room for something more important.
When determining which type of bivy sack you’d like to purchase, an important consideration should be the shelter’s fabric. Because the shelter is so confined, breathability will be extremely important.
The last thing you want to do when camping is wake up to a sleeping bag and tent soaked from condensation. Certain materials will help ward of moisture better than others.
All bivy sacks included in this review are made of waterproof/breathable fabrics such as for example Gore-Tex, eVent and Pertex. Waterproof/breathable fabrics differ by their waterproof performance, breathability and durability.
You’re in the wild and the last thing you wan to worry about is the wet tent. There are certain things you need to look into to make sure that doesn’t happen.If it’s Goretex or eVent, then don’t worry, you’re fine. If it’s not, check the hydrostatic head rating. 10,000 or more means you’ll stay dry in all but the worst weather; lower than that and it’ll probably start to seep through in heavy weather and puddles.
If it’s Goretex or eVent, then don’t worry, you’re fine. If it’s not, check the hydrostatic head rating. 10,000 or more means you’ll stay dry in all but the worst weather; lower than that and it’ll probably start to seep through in heavy weather and puddles.
Unlike tents, bivy can be a little claustrophobic for some people. You need to make sure you’re buying the right brand and right products for that.
Branded fabrics will all be fine (e.g. Goretex, eVent and Pertex) but cheap, non-branded materials can be a problem, leaving you feeling sticky at best or with pools of water inside at worse.
Don’t ever settle for products that are cheap because with bivy, the cheap products are usually the ones with the problems. They are either not condensation resistant or breathing is uncomfortable. There will be trade off between these two if you go for any product you.
That is why we’ve the 5 best bivy sacks for 2016.
Bivy Sack Review
This bivy is perfect for you if you are getting yourself into some shaky weather. This bivy comes with pole with offers protection in all seasons. This single pole can be used to create overhead space or left at the trailhead to save weight.
The fabric of this bivy is waterproof, Highly-Breathable, Fully Seam- Taped, Durable, No-See-Um Mesh. It comes with Hydro seal Floor and Anti-Fungal Coating on Floor to ensure its usability in the wild.
The bivy is designed witthsleeping Pad Straps, Five Stake Loops, One Guy Line Loop, Internal Mesh Pocket, High-Volume Toe-End. All these features are to accommodate to make you feel comfortable. The high volume toe end makes it easy for a normal person to fit in.
Out door research alpine bivy comes with DelrinSingle-Pole System which can help to create that extra space you need.
This bivy weighs around 32.0oz/907g which is very light considering the features it has and comparing with other kinds of shelters.
The outdoor research alpine bivy is rugged and comes with extra head room. Like I said, it is pretty lightweight and has an extremely fast setup time with just one plastic tent pole.
The features aforementioned are useful for increasing its durability, water resistance and keeping the insects out.
Features I like:
- Condensation resistance
The perfect spacious bivy for any outdoor activity is the rabridger raider bivy. It may be comparatively heavier but it serves best for all those adventure racers who don’t want to give up weather protection for weight savings.
This two pole solo tent is very cozy, spacious with enough space and headroom. This is like the hybrid of tent and bivy- provides the facilities of both in one.
It comes with the zippered vent, which improves ventilation and blocks rain. he Ridge Raider is a light-weight, waterproof single-person bivi, designed for solo mountain use.
It comes with single, head-end DAC Pressfit™ pole, and head door entry, which makes it the ideal minimalist bivi for use when mountaineering or trekking in the mountains.
It is quick and easy to set up with the sleek besign and can be packed down to 30cm x 16cm (12 x 6 inch). Seriously, what else can you ask for? There is little to no condensation and the Ridge Raider has a single, lightweight DAC Pole which hoops over the head to offer extra breathing space
It facilitates 1 person and weighs around 1033g with packed size 30×16 cm. This makes it a perfect bivy for light weight travelers who want that little extra comfort. Thanks to its small footprint and freestanding design, this bivi can fit almost anywhere, making it great for wild camping in rough terrain.
Features I like:
- Gives the best of both worlds (bivy and tent)
- Generous bathtub waterproof nylon groundsheet
This bivy sack is rather huge compared to other ones but it is ideal taking a shelter on exposed rock ledges – or anywhere weather resistance is worth a few extra ounces of features. It is storm proof and comfortable.
Unlike other bivies, this one is not made just to withstand light disturbances in the weather. The black diamond big walla hooped bivy can resist incredible water, wind and bug built with heavy duty fabric.
There can be some issues with the condensation because of the fabric but it does come with a thick and bendable wire. This saves weight as compared to pole and provides extra headroom.
I had doubts when I took it out for testing nut turns out, even though its heavy, it pays opff in comfort. The ToddTex wall fabric is soft and fleecey-feeling on the inside while the DWR treatment on the outer shell keeps water out.
Like, I have already mentioned, this particular product is quite heavy weighing Long] 870 g, (1 lb 14 oz) and packed size of packed Size : [Long] 15 x 33 cm (6 x 13 in). But that is just a small price to pay for the weather protection it provides.
This is the product I recommend you bring when you are going to places with hard core weather like dry storm or when you have to sleep on the mountains and walls.
Big wall climbers like you and I, looking to stay warm and dry in the event of a storm would do well to pick up this product, as it weighs less than a tent or porta-ledge fly yet is exceptionally strong and waterproof.
Features I like:
- Extreme weather protection
- Easy to set up
For those who want the lightest and the most reliable bivy, look no more. Alpine bivy is a high quality, single person ,water proof bivy designed for use on light weight alpine expeditions and summit attempts.
This particular bivy has one of the smallest packed size with with water proof fabric I have taken this one out on most of my outings and there are no discomfort in case of breatheableness and fitting in.
This is so comfortable to carry and pack with just 625g weight and 13cmx25 cm pack size. The bivy is easy to set up and comes with wide sleeping bag profile design and removable no-see-um mesh zip door.
The Rab alpine bivy is shaped like a mummy to fit technical sleeping bags and it has end zip entrance with protective external storm flap. It is Made using a durable and breathable fabric, which makes it highly breathable and offers decent weather protection. the Rab alpine Bivy comes in a standard, wide-sleeping bag design,
Of all the products I’ve reviewed, this one is the lightest and the minimalist bivy sack. The other bivy sacks come with poles and wires for assisting the head area suspension but this one has no such thing. That is why I like to call it the minimalist.
It maybe small but it has no condensation problem and is suitable for all hikers, mountaineers, and climbers for emergency shelter.
Features I like:
- Small size
- Weather protection
With the same features as the outdoor research alpine bivy, this one has an edge over the other one. Outdoor research helium bivy is much lighter (weighing only 18 oz) than the outdoor research helium bivy because if the material this one uses.
Of all the outdoor research bivy, this one is the lightest weighing only 18 oz. This bivy won’t take any space in your back pack and still when taken out, acts like a tent.
Outdoor research helium bivy comes with a curved pole which suspends the fabric 19.5 inches high at the peak, creating plenty of head room unlike any other conventional bivies.
If you aren’t claustrophobic then you can just ditch the shockcorded Delrin overhead pole and save a little ounces of weight for your backpack. It has a good functioning zipper that works really well from inside as well as the outside.
It survived hours of rain and storm when I took it out for testing so you can say that it passes the protection test well. So, of course this bivy is waterproof, lightweight and durable.
This minimalist shelter has high volume toe end and removable no-see-um mesh netting at the opening which add comfort. Condensation can be bit of a problem with this shelter so its better to take it out where it doesn’t have to be completely sealed and in dry weather.
Features I like:
- Light weight
- Weather protection
Shelter is the most important part of any outdoor experience. You need to feel protected and safe when you’re out in the nature. Tent and sleeping bags maybe the traditional form of shelter but with the invention of bivys, both of them are slowly being replaced.
From my experience what I have known is that here are so many factors you need to look into before you buy yourself a shelter. You need to make sure its comfortable, spacious, safe etc. Taking all these into consideration, I believe Rab Ridge Raider Bivy is the one you need to go for.
It may seem like a bit too much of an investment but when it is worth every penny you spend. So, go on buy yourself a bivy and make the most out of your outdoor experience because when it comes to shelter, you don’t want to compromise.