If you do not want to carry a tent when backpacking, then a bivy sack is a perfect solution. There are many advantages to considering this kind of temporary shelter if you are hiking. However, there are many things that you should take into account to know how to choose a bivy sack. A bivy sack looks more like an enlarged sleeping bag and it can protect you against weather elements without any need for a camping tent.
This guide gives you information about the measures that you can take to buy the right product. It also reviews the best sacks available on the market.
Advantages of Using an Alpine Bivy Sack
There are several advantages of using bivy sacks over traditional camping tents. Bivy sacks are advantageous in that they are smaller than the one-person tent, hence portable when backpacking. If you are going for an overnight trip, a bivy sack with gore-tex is worth considering since it is convenient and has the size of a sleeping bag.
It is easy and faster to set up than tents. This feature makes them with gore-tex ideal for short trips. The sack is also easy to disassemble so you can easily pack your gear when leaving the campsite. You can pack the sack in your backpack.
The other notable aspect is that you can sleep inside the bivy in all four seasons. The sack is warmer than a tent which is also another benefit if you intend to use it when it is cold.
However, bivy sacks also have their own downsides. You have limited space to move around when you are inside the sack. It only fits one person with a sleeping bag and sleeping pad so you cannot share it with your partner. You should also leave your camping gear outside since the sack has no storage space inside.
If your trip is going to last long, then a bivy sack can inconvenience you. The smaller size of the sack makes it significantly different from a camping tent. You would rather another viable alternative like a tent if you know that you will spend a long period camping. Larger bivy sacks will also let you put your sleeping pad inside, which makes it a perfect solution.
How to Choose Bivy Sack
There are different factors that you should consider to be in a position to choose the best bivy sack. There are also different types of bivy sacks available on the market and so you must conduct your research to get the best brand.
Duration of Your Outing
It is undoubtedly true that the duration of your outing and way you will use the bivy sack will determine how you can get the best product. Since the shelter is temporary, you should know your exact needs. These sacks are ideal for short duration trips since they are lightweight and easy to set up.
If you are on a long-distance hiking adventure, then a bivy sack might not be the right deal. The sack might also not be suitable for places with rough terrain, hence the need to consider a tent if you believe that you will stay longer while camping.
The material of the Sack
It is crucial to consider the quality of the material when you want to buy a bivy sack. For instance, since this product is a perfect substitute for a camping tent, you should consider elements such as durability. You must look for a sack with durable material, preferably with gore-tex membrane and ripstop nylon keep you dry since you will be using it in the jungle. It is also important to consider if the material is easy to clean.
The other element about the quality of the material of the sack pertains to waterproofing. Since this product is a temporary shelter, you must ensure that it is waterproof to keep your sleeping bag and sleeping pad moist at bay when you are sleeping inside. You must also know the weather conditions of the place where you will be using the product and ensure you would be able to keep your sleeping bag dry.
The other issue you should consider is that bivy sacks with poor breathability can cause problems such as condensation. Your warm breath can condensate on the inner walls of the sack which can make it damp inside. This will cause discomfort hence a fine balance between water resistance and breathability can help solve this particular challenge.
However, it is difficult to solve this equation since improving the breathability of the sack can compromise on the aspect of water resistance. It is therefore important to make sure that you do not use the sack in areas known for humid conditions.
It is important to consider the weight of the sack before you buy one. Essentially, the main reason for buying a bivy sack when you are backpacking is that it is lightweight compared to a tent. It is recommended that you compare the weight of the sack to get the appropriate one that is easy to carry.
In the same vein, you should also consider the size. Sacks that come with poles can take up more space in your backpack, which can make them inconvenient. You must also make sure that you can the right sack that can perfectly fit you when you are sleeping.
Another feature that you can consider is a hoop on the bivy sack which helps to increase airflow as well as give your head extra space. The hoop is at the head end of the sack, but it requires a pole to sustain it which can add weight to your sack.
Above all, you must consider the price of the product so that you buy something that fits your budget. All the same, you should not compromise quality over cheap commodities since these may not last long. You can also use customer reviews to get an insight about what other people who have bought the same product say about it.
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Best Bivy Sack 2020
There are different types of bivy sacks with gore-tex that you can get on the market. The following are some of the products that you can consider to buy.
The woodland camouflage consists of waterproof as well as moisture-vapor-permeable material. Initially designed for military sleep system, the bivy bag also boasts of sealed heat seams for maximum warmth when it is cold. The sack has a wide top and it has sufficient space inside.
- Reasonable price ($129)
- Heavier than other bivy sacks
The Summit Bivy consists of a sack system designed to offer a self-supporting canopy system around your face. The system uses light aluminum poles and it enhances breathability and movement when you are inside. This bag is ideal weather protection for emergency situations, snow camping and you can also use it for multiple trips in the wilderness.
The bag is made of waterproof fabric which is also breathable. The sack also consists of contoured wood to give you comfort when you are sleeping. It also has sufficient space such that you can sleep comfortably.
- Waterproof/breathable top fabric
- Facial ventilation
- Comes with a stuff sack
- Roomy and comfortable foot box.
The Snugpak Stratosphere consists of lightweight aluminum poles that help to create a canopy around the head area. The canopy helps to improve breathability as well as movement while you are sleeping. You can also get protection from the canopy against bad weather and a roll away mosquito net to keep other unwanted elements away.
The bivy bag is ideal for light backpacking and other related activities like hiking. It also features meshed ventilation for quality aeration when it is hot. Though smaller than a tent, the snugpak stratosphere has features that can help you enjoy your rest in comfort.
- Enhanced breathability and protection
- Taped and sealed seams
- Full-length zip
- Can sustain severe weather
- Roll away mosquito net
This bivy bag is ultralight and compact and it features lightweight aluminum pegs and collapsible shock cord poles. It is also fast and very easy to set up and you can do it in about a few seconds. It also comes with a mesh panel that you can unzip at night to enjoy the stars at night as well as enhance breathability.
The bag is 100% waterproof and it is comfortable compared to other bivy sacks. It has enough room that can enable you to move around and perform other tasks like reading a book inside. You can also change clothes inside the sack which also consists of wider shoulder and foot areas. It has storage space for your gear.
- Compact and ultralight
- Fast to set up
- Good ventilation
- 100% waterproof
This bivy bag features waterproof and breathable material that is designed to protect you against bad weather elements. It has nothing to set up though it is heavy.
- Dual zip
- Great weather and bug protection
- Low head height
- Small sleeping space
From the list above, the Aqua Quest Hooped Bivy Tent is probably the best since it resembles a small tent though smaller in size. It boasts of unique features that you cannot get on other sacks like large space that gives you free movement inside. However, if you want a bivy sack, you must know what exactly you want to use it to get the best product.