What Is A Bivy Tent

The Art of the Bivy: When a Bivy Sack is Better Than a Tent

Yes, it is true. The bivouac sack (also known as a “bivy” sack) is nothing more than a waterproof cover for your sleeping bag with a breathing hole—the ultimate bear burrito, loaded with your aspirations to fulfill those ultralight targets you set for yourself. Bivies are also referred to as “cramped.” The “miserable evenings” are those spent in the harsh wilderness when your physical and mental endurance are tested to the limit by the car’s physical and mental challenges. For many, they are merely a form of insurance against unplanned evenings in the hills, and they hope that they will never be used.

The usage of a bivy bag on long backcountry expeditions is essential for mastering the delicate art of light and rapid travel, especially when the conditions are favorable.

First, what is a bivy sack?

Single-person, minimalist shelters that provide an additional layer of protection from the elements for you and your sleeping bag—think cowboy camping with a full-body shell—bivy bags are becoming increasingly popular. In order to protect you from wind and precipitation, bivies are often built of waterproof or water-resistant fabrics that are somewhat larger than your sleeping bag and mattress combined. Originally intended for use as emergency shelters, bivy bags and bivy shelters are now available in a variety of designs.

Full-featured bivyshelters, on the other hand, add a pound or two to your pack but have an interior pole for more headspace as well as full-length zippers, providing a small-tent-like sleeping environment.

Who is the bivy adventurer?

The decision to bivy is a matter of priorities and objectives. Adventurers who travel quickly and with small packs prefer this ultra-efficient shelter because it allows them to travel without being weighed down by their belongings. These adventurers are compelled to forego the luxury of sleeping in a tent in exchange for the luxury of carrying a lighter, smaller load on their backs or in haul bags. They are more concerned with completing an objective than they are with relaxing at camp. Bivy sacks have traditionally been used by alpine and big-wall climbers for hunkering down during multi-night objectives in technical terrain where sleeping ledges are too small to accommodate a tent.

Why choose a bivy sack over a tent?

Bivies have the same level of freedom as humans under the correct circumstances. They help you feel more connected to the outside world, and they need a genuine commitment to the minimalist philosophy, which is a significant accomplishment in and of itself. Here’s why a bivy may be your best buddy while tackling major mountain challenges: 1. a reduction in the amount of weight The smallest and lightest bivies are only a few grams in weight. MSR’s Pro Bivy, which was designed to fulfill the demands of professional alpinists and serious explorers, weighs only 283 g and is extremely light (10 oz).

  • ), making it ideal for throwing in a pack lid as an emergency shelter on everything from all-day treks to backcountry ski vacations.
  • Some items are down to the size of a burrito (the food sort), and they are vanishing into bikepacking bags and small alpine pack packs.
  • Spaces for sleeping And it’s in tricky terrain that the bivy really shines.
  • Rock ledges, climbers’ nooks on rugged scrambles, snow caves, and narrow wilderness places that are too small to set up a tent all become viable real estate for a night under the stars when the temperature drops below freezing.
  • Water-resistant, breathable ripstop fabric is used for the top layer of MSR’s bivies to decrease condensation and keep you drier and more comfortable on the inside.
  • In contrast, bivies provide an extra layer of warmth to minimalist evenings under the peaks during high-pressure systems in the shoulder seasons or on summer alpine excursions in the summer.
  • It also allows you the flexibility to take both or just one component depending on the trip’s needs and conditions.
  • There will be no pitching.
  • Bivies allow you to get back on the road faster because there is nothing to construct after a long day and nothing to disassemble the next morning.
  • Additionally, the weight-to-protection ratio and efficiency of these lightweight shelters are remarkable.
  • Although bivy camping, which takes place outside in the open with the vastness of the mountains around you, is a distinct experience from tent camping, which takes place within a tent and has no feeling of location.

When you have an immersive, first-person perspective, the peaks of the Picket Range or the red rocks of the Southwest seem closer, bigger, and more rough.

The Art of the Bivy: 14 Tips for a Comfortable Bivouac

Bivies have the same level of freedom as humans under the correct circumstances. They help you feel more connected to the outside world, and they need a genuine commitment to the minimalist philosophy, which is a remarkable accomplishment in and of itself. Here’s why a bivy may be your best friend when climbing in the mountains. a reduction in body mass Some of the smallest and lightest bivies are only a few grams in weight. With a weight of only 283 g, MSR’s Pro Bivy is designed to fulfill the demands of professional alpinists as well as serious explorers (10 oz).

  1. Packability Bivies are really useful when it comes to losing weight because of their ultra-compact design.
  2. With a smaller load, you can cover more ground and navigate more easily across difficult terrain.
  3. Bivies are a great way to expand your camping options because they only require the length and breadth of your sleeping arrangement.
  4. Temperature Control Similar to a light rainshell jacket, bivies trap in a few degrees of warmth and retain that heat more effectively than a tent; this elevates an open night on the ground and allows you to get the rest you require.
  5. The nature of bivies makes them significantly more pleasurable when the weather is pleasant; most of them will provide little protection in a severe storm blitz in the Cascades or Rockies.
  6. A bivy plus an arpexpands your forecast possibilities while maintaining weight below or similar to that of a one-person tent.
  7. Efficiency There is no set-up time required.
  8. We won’t bother you.
  9. You may use all of the time and energy you’ve saved to get ready for the next day.
  10. The ability to become immersed in your surroundings Although bivy camping, which takes place outside in the open with the vastness of the mountains surrounding you, is a completely different experience from tent camping, which takes place within.

When you have an immersive, first-person perspective, the peaks of the Picket Range or the red rocks of the Southwest appear closer, bigger, and more rough.

  1. Seek for an area that is protected from the elements
  2. Sometimes, popular climbs will have bivy sites surrounded by rock walls. Make certain that you are not settling down in a narrow water channel (pay close attention to the features surrounding you)
  3. Place the items you need to keep warm in the bottom of your sleeping bag. a. Before going to bed, remove any damp layers. On frigid evenings, insert a hot water bottle filled with Nalgene ® in a core zone (such as the crotch or arm pits) for rapid warming. Cooking should be done a decent distance away from your sleeping area, much as when you’re camping in a tent. Tighten the hood of your bivy up over your face, but avoid breathing within it, since this might cause condensation. A buff or balaclava is an excellent choice for a lightweight face mask. During the day, if at all feasible, turn the bivy inside out and allow it to air out
  4. While camping in the snow, consider bringing an ultralight tarp below as well as two sleeping pads — one closed-cell and one open-cell — to provide additional insulation from the ground. See these recommendations for snow camping
  5. Because the bulk of your belongings will not be covered, consider investing in a backpack liner/cover to keep the rain at bay. As an added measure of protection, consider purchasing a water-resistant sleeping bag. Make use of these suggestions to upgrade your bivy experience from one of austerity to one of luxury. Check out the weather prediction! And take pleasure in having a lighter load on your back.

Other factors to consider

Seek for an area that is protected from the elements; many famous climbs will have bivy sites surrounded by rock walls. Make certain that you are not settling down in a narrow water channel (pay close attention to the features surrounding you) Stack the items you need to keep warm at the bottom of your sleeping bag; Before going to bed, remove any damp layers. For quick warming on frigid evenings, insert a hot water bottle filled with Nalgene® in a core zone (such as the crotch or arm pits). Cooking should be done at a reasonable distance from your sleeping area, just as you would if you were tent camping.

  1. A buff or balaclava can be used as a lightweight face mask to keep your face clean and protected.
  2. While camping in the snow, consider bringing an ultralight tarp below as well as two sleeping pads — one closed-cell and one open-cell — to provide additional insulation from the cold ground.
  3. To provide additional protection, consider purchasing a water-resistant sleeping bag.
  4. Take pleasure in carrying a lesser load;

MSR’s bivy offerings

MSR provides two high-performance bivies for backpackers who want to keep things simple.

Pro Bivy

OurPro Bivywas created to fulfill the demands of professional alpinists who are looking for a lightweight, ultra-simple shelter for their rigorous expeditions. For long-term durability, it is equipped with a tough ripstop nylon floor that has been treated with our proprietary Xtreme Shield waterproof coating. On top, the 2-ply breathable ripstop nylon helps to regulate moisture, allowing you a more comfortable night’s sleep when hiking in difficult terrain.


It was created to fulfill the demands of expert alpinists who are looking for an ultra-simple shelter for their strenuous activities. For long-term durability, it is equipped with a tough ripstop nylon floor that has been treated with our patented Xtreme Shield waterproofing system. On top, the 2-ply breathable ripstop nylon helps to regulate condensation, allowing for a more comfortable night’s sleep when hiking in tough territory.

  • Tent? Thank you, but no thanks. Tarps are my preferred method of protection. Picks from the MSR Staff: 5 Quick and Easy Pieces
  • Which is better for you: a three-season or a four-season tent?

What is a Bivvy Bag? (And can it replace my tent?)

The use of a Bivvy Bag is one of the most basic forms of shielding from the weather in our magnificent natural environment, and it is also one of the most affordable. Sunrise, sunset, and the night sky — these are the “3 S’s” of Bivvy splendour. Although a tent is the most apparent and typical answer, it’s important to know that there are many other alternatives available, and even better, many of these solutions weigh far less than a full tent – such as a Bivvy Bag – when compared to a full tent.

You see, Bill has transformed himself into something of a Bivangelist over the course of the last year or so, and it looks that his efforts have finally paid off.

Generally speaking, bivvy bags may be divided into two categories: those with some type of structure (e.g., a hoop or pole) to keep the bag off your face (such as the UD Ultralight Hiking Bivy) and those without.

The Macpac Alpine Cocoon is the bag I used for my testing, and it is a non-structured design. If you pack strategically, you can fit your entire bag behind your back and beneath the lid.

What is a Bivvy Bag?

In its most basic definition, a Bivvy (Bivouac) Bag is a bag constructed of a lightweight waterproof base fabric (typically nylon) and a waterproof (and preferably breathable!) top. Consider it to be a very thin, light, and waterproof outer bag that wraps over both your sleeping mat and sleeping bag to protect them from the elements. “Bivouacing is defined as camping without the use of a tent or other typical shelter. “This is a weapon that soldiers and mountaineers commonly employ.” Oxford Languages is a collection of languages published by Oxford University Press.

You’ll need a sleeping mat, a sleeping bag, a backpack, and yourself.

Why use a Bivvy Bag?

A bivy is the ideal choice if you want to reduce the weight of your pack while still feeling comfortable in an open fly-only configuration. These shelters are traditionally designed to be used in extreme environments such as alpine, mountaineering, and snow camping, where they provide an additional layer of protection against the elements. However, for those of us who aren’t as committed to extreme adventures, they can be used as the primary shelter. When it comes to bivvy bags, there are undoubtedly many advantages and disadvantages to consider.

are you one of them?


In terms of weight, the Macpac bivvy falls somewhere in the middle of the pack compared to other bivvies on the market. There are several that I’ve seen that weigh 1.5kgs, which doesn’t make much sense when you consider that you can acquire a roomy 2 person tent for that price. or even less. Choosing a location for your tent:You know that feeling you get when you arrive at a campsite for the night and look around and either the ground is too hard to get a tent peg into (or on rock), or you’re off the beaten path and there isn’t enough space for your tent or convenient trees, sticks, or poles to set up a fly?

  1. The great Biv doesn’t require any of those things to function properly.
  2. In addition to saving you weight in your pack, a bivvy bag can be packed down to a size that is far smaller than an average 1 person tent.
  3. Hmmm, a small, easily transportable size.
  4. This means that not only is your shelter smaller and lighter, but you may not need to carry as much additional gear to remain warm as you would otherwise.
  5. Magic.
  6. Is there anything you can smell?
  7. It’s so fresh, so crisp, and there’s a lot of it.
See also:  How Much Does A Coleman Tent Trailer Weight

It appears in both the advantages and disadvantages.

(See the disadvantages.) The rest of the time, it’s been great because it allows me to roll up a 99 percent dry bag within minutes of emerging from my bag, which is a much better performance than my tent would have provided.

‘Geez, I hope I never have to use it’).

If you’re a good packer, your entire belongings should fit inside the bivvy bag with ease.

This not only keeps your pack dry and protected from the elements and frost, but it also keeps your food out of reach of wild animals.

Do you have a bug bear?

When it comes to mosquito repellent, I am content to smear a small amount on my face and arms and then put in some ear plugs to block out the rest.

This bivvy has a separate insect mesh layer that you can zip closed on hotter nights to keep the rest of the bag closed off from Louie* while still allowing you to enjoy the fresh air.


I wish you the best of luck with your privacy. Because of this, tasks like getting dressed, taking a sponge bath, and just spending time away from people might be difficult to accomplish. As a result, if I’m working as a guide with customers in the wilderness, I’ll bring a tent with me to sleep in. Privacy: There isn’t much space to move around, change, cook, or think. Getting into and out of your bag: It takes a little practice, but you’ll be grateful if you’ve mastered the Downward Dog or Cobra when first getting into and out of your bag.

  • Rain, rain, go away: One of the major drawbacks of bivvies is having to set up and get everything inside while also changing out of damp clothes in the rain, which is a hassle.
  • If it’s simply sprinkles or light rain, I’d be OK, but if it’s anything stronger AND the temperatures are below freezing, I’ll definitely bring the tent.
  • with just a bivvie.
  • This is not my idea of a fun couple of days away.
  • well, it would make everything unbearable.
  • It exists in both the advantages and disadvantages.
  • In the Blue Mountains, it took place in Deep Pass.

It was 0 degrees Celsius, and the region around my sleeping bag’s top (where my breath was warmer than the air) and the surrounding area of the bivvy were dripping wet, and I mean soaking wet.

It will be interesting to see how it performs in more humid conditions in the coming months.

Consequently, in those moments when you need to zip everything up and cuddle down, entirely blocked off from the outside world, if you don’t love tight places, you might not appreciate a bivi bag or a sleeping bag.

After all is said and done, a huge Biv is not for everyone.

A bivvy such as the Macpac Alpine Cocoon* is a fantastic option if you’re trying to downsize, minimize your gear, and remain comfortable in all weather conditions.

Louie: Aussies, you’re well aware of who I am. Caro is a Macpac Ambassador, which means she represents the company. It’s possible to purchase my time, but you won’t be able to buy my viewpoint.

The Key To Socially Distant Camping With Friends? Bivy Sacks!

Have you ever slept in an abivy sack? If you don’t, you’re missing out on a lot. Not sure what a bivy sack is or why you should use one? Read on to learn more. Please continue reading. A bivy sack is a hybrid of a sleeping bag and a one-person tent that is used for camping. They provide the same level of protection from the weather as a tent, but they are smaller and lighter to transport. In addition to being extremely popular with solitary explorers and expert mountaineers, these tents are also excellent for social outings and backyard sleepouts.

The results were unanimous: bivy sacks are the most comfortable, convenient, and social way to sleep outside, according to everyone.

Here are the top ten reasons why we prefer bivies over tents, and why you should consider switching up your camping style as well.

They are more comfortable.

1) Spend less time setting up camp, and more time enjoying the view.

You can make the most of your time on the route if you’re attempting to cover a large number of miles and planned long alpine-start-style days with a bivy bag. As a result, they’re easier and faster to set up after dark and to take down before the sun comes up, giving you even more daylight to enjoy your time outdoors.

2) Sleep virtually anywhere.

The most enjoyable aspect of a smaller shelter footprint is the chance to camp in places where a tent would never be able to fit. Sure, you’re perched on the precipice of a sheer cliff. Alternatively, a crowded campsite on a sunny weekend when the only sites available are too tiny for a tent is more likely to occur. For example, if you have a group of four people yet a pair of two-person tents will not fit side by side. Tent guy lines have a tendency to increase the size of your tent without increasing the amount of area you’ll be able to enjoy.

3) It’s the ideal solo shelter.

The most appealing aspect of a smaller shelter footprint is the ability to camp in places where a tent would never be able to fit. Of course, you’re perched precariously on the precipice of an incredibly steep cliff. Alternatively, a crowded campsite on a sunny weekend when the only sites available are too tiny for a tent is more likely to be encountered. Alternatively, if you have a group of four but a pair of two-person tents will not fit side-by-side, you may use a three-person tent. Tent guy lines have a tendency to increase the size of your tent without increasing the amount of room you’ll be able to enjoy within your shelter.

4) It’s also regarded as “the social shelter.”

The instant you pitch up camp, if you have more than two individuals on your trip, the odds are good that each couple will flee to their own tent, and you will not see them again until the following morning.

When it comes to bivies, though, the celebration doesn’t stop once you get at camp. By sleeping in bivy sacks—even if they’re just six feet apart—you can spend more time with your pals and less time worrying about each individual zipping up and zoning out in their respective tents.

5) No more disturbing your partner’s sleep.

If you find yourselves kicking, snoring, and rolling over into each other on a regular basis in your tent, you may want to consider making some additional space for yourself. Bivies may be tiny when packed, but they offer plenty of space inside for moving around, stretching out, and even storing goods.

6) Save weight and space for the fun stuff.

Slimmer bivies are great for trail runners who want to save weight while still performing well on the route. Whether that means packing lighter to move more quickly across the miles—or leaving more room for anything you want to do on the trail—is entirely up to you. Whatever you want: beer, doughnuts, literature, whatever.

7) Waterproof protection without the stuffiness.

It’s possible that you’re using the improper bivy if your experience with it is similar to sleeping in a large plastic bag. Because the technology used in our bivy line is both breathable and waterproof, it is ideal for use in a variety of climates. There will be no stuffy condensation buildup, and there will be no weather leaking in. That is all there is to it.

8) Stargaze from the comfort of your shelter – without worrying about bugs.

We design the majority of our bivy bags with an extra-large head area and a mesh screen to keep pests out while still allowing you to see the Milky Way. If the weather is favorable, let the outer layer of the tent open to enjoy the views of the night sky. If the weather begins to deteriorate throughout the night, a fast zip will keep you safely covered from the elements until the morning. There’s no need to fumble about trying to attach a tent fly!

9) Bivies are more reliable in bad weather or emergency situations.

With a tent, there are several things that may go wrong, such as a damaged pole or a defective zipper. The aim of a tent is defeated if it cannot stand up or keep out the elements, which is especially problematic during flash storms or excessively frigid temperatures. Bivies, on the other hand, are more likely to resist harsh conditions since they only have one point of entry and departure and do not rely on poles to work. You should also look at the Helium Emergency Bivy if you’re seeking for something that is specifically intended for the “worst case scenario.”

10) Breakfast in bed.

Everything about slowly waking up to sunrise, sitting up in your bivy, and firing up the stove without ever having to leave your sleeping bag is fantastic! The majority of your camp tasks may be completed from the comfort of your shelter, if you want. We guarantee that once you’ve experienced the freedom of a bivy in the bush, you’ll never want to go back to a confining, bulky tent. Check out our most recentCollection of Bivy Sacksto learn how you may improve your camp set up right now. **Photos courtesy of Elise Giordano.

One-person tent vs bivy sack: which is best for you?

The Alpkit Hunka is a kind of hunka. (Photo courtesy of Jasper Winn.) Choosing between a one-person tent and a bivy sack used to be a simple decision. Years ago, they were at polar opposites of the weight and comfort spectrums, respectively. Bivy sacks were just giant orange plastic garbage bags; they were light, inexpensive, and easy, but they were plagued by moisture, and in all but the worst rain, you were better off sleeping outside the bag. Even the lightest tents were leadenly heavy in those days, but they were incomparably more comfortable.

One-person tents have become significantly lower in weight, yet they remain more comfortable and, for the most part, more costly than two-person tents. It is now feasible to establish a reasonable comparison between the two shelter systems as a result of all of this information.

  • The greatest tents are the most effective kind of shelter money can buy. Among the best one-person tents available are: the most necessary little tents available on the market
  • Checklist for camping: do not leave home without it

Most people are familiar with tent camping, but it may be time to branch out and try bivy sack camping. The ideal situation is to have both in your quiver of equipment so that you may select the one that is most suited for the situation at hand on each expedition. Just keep in mind that they are two completely different approaches to camping.

Bivy basics

The Alpkit Hunka bivy sack is a lightweight, breathable sleeping bag (Image credit: Jasper Winn) Despite the availability of contemporary materials, bivy sacks remain a straightforward idea; essentially, a bivy is a waterproof, breathable bag that is worn over a sleeping bag to provide protection from the elements. In seconds, you can hurl one down anyplace and snuggle inside it to find refuge from the elements. While a lightweight tarp-poncho is not necessary for a survival experience that goes beyond basic survival, it is recommended for weather that is more challenging than low-level summer sleep outs because it allows you to erect a shelter over your head end, allowing you to sit up, eat, read and otherwise do more than simply lie-flat in a “body bag.” As a teenager in the 1980s, I used one of these bags while riding a thousand miles of dirt roads throughout Iceland in a month of rain, which was a significant advancement at the time.

These give a small amount of room at the head end, however not quite enough to allow one to push oneself up on one elbow to eat or read while sitting.

Tent talk

Lightweight tents, like bivy bags, nonetheless demand careful campsite selection and the development of outdoor skills. They also require more area – as well as more time – to set up, but even the smallest of them has enough space for a little more than just lying down when finished. In the face of day after day of severe weather, sleeping in a tiny tent will allow you to get better sleep, keep your gear dryer, and generally operate better than if you were reliant exclusively on a bivy sack for cover.

See also:  Where To Donate For Tent City Homeless

Long distance hikers who use lightweight tents frequently write about rips, broken poles, and other mishaps.


When it comes to shelter, a bivy sack is the most basic of all. It may be used as a simple throw-down and climb-in bed for the occasional night, as a super-light choice for long excursions, or as a handy emergency back-up to carry in your luggage in case you find yourself facing an unexpected night out. Bivy sacks are great for stealth camping; choose distant and secluded locations, sleep late, then wake up and go on as early as possible. When I stop at campgrounds on long hikes for showers and convenience, I pack the bivy sack and the rest of my gear into my backpack and keep it somewhere secure until the next day’s walk.

The bare minimum of functionality enables a pleasant night’s sleep in weather up to the temperature limit of the tent’s design, while many individuals utilize their knowledge and experience to use ultra-light tents in climates and settings much beyond its intended use.

If there isn’t enough space, you’ll be forced to retreat to the safety of your bivy bag.

A tent, no matter how claustrophobic, is a far superior option to being stranded in a bivy sack on a wet day in the wilderness. Other advantages of using a tent include a little more privacy and protection for your belongings if you find yourself in a campsite or a public place.


A bivy sack design brief should prioritize simplicity; a breathable, waterproof bag that is large enough to allow your sleeping bag to loft without feeling restrictive and long enough to allow you to get well down inside in bad weather is ideal. Added features usually detract from the functionality of a product; if you find yourself looking at hoops and pegs and extra space, you might want to consider purchasing a tent. The use of zip fasteners makes me feel claustrophobic; pull over hoods with lots of overlap over the mouth are preferable, especially when the hood is large enough to hold and protect delicate items from the elements.

  1. When it comes to a bivy sack, size matters, both in relation to your own body and in relation to your needs; the more extreme the conditions you’re likely to encounter, the more comfort you’ll gain from having more volume and length.
  2. Alpkit, for example, makes the Hunka in two different sizes.
  3. Other manufacturers’ bags have a wide range of measurements, which must be carefully compared to your own demands before purchasing.
  4. Nonetheless, some designs are more straightforward to construct than others.
  5. Furthermore, the smaller the footprint – including the area for guy ropes – the greater the number of makeshift campsites that may be used effectively.


According to the majority of experienced users I’ve spoken with, including myself, the less features on a bivvy bag, the better it is. The mouth can be closed with Velcro, a zip, a drawstring, or, in rare circumstances, a large overlapping cowl that fits over the top of the mouth. In most cases, the only additional feature that is appreciated is a zippered insect resistant mesh screen over the bag’s mouth that can be closed. However, a tiny pocket near the entrance, where you may store a torch or other goods that you need to discover quickly in the dark, can be quite beneficial as well.

  1. It is possible to put a loop tag on the top edge of the bag’s mouth to tie it up to a tree limb in order to increase ventilation.
  2. Keeping it simple and adding adaptability to your bivvy pack means toting along a light tarp or tarp-poncho for extra shelter.
  3. As a result, hooks to hang a torch above and kit pockets to keep necessary goods close at hand are recommended.
  4. Vents that are strategically positioned can assist to reduce condensation.

As with bivvy bags, select a color based on whether you want to stand out or whether you prefer to fit in with the surroundings. When it comes to other people’s enjoyment of the outdoors, the latter factor – reduced visual pollution – is also taken into account.


The cost of a bivvy bag and tarp system is cheaper than the cost of a tent, and there is a sweet spot at which you don’t receive many bivvy bag advantages for the additional money spent. If you’ve never tried bivvying before, consider purchasing one of the cheapest but still breathable bags available (new and used military Gore-Tex bags are available on websites for around £30/$40) to give it a try first. Bivvy bag campers who have a lot of experience have worked their way up from the ubiquitous orange plastic bag, through cheaper breathable bags, and finally to something more expensive.

This is understandable given the increased complexity of the design and manufacturing process, as well as the higher cost of the materials.

Good and bad

Bivvy bags have a number of advantages, including their low cost, simplicity, adaptability, the ability to lay one out and sleep anywhere, and their small weight. They require a certain level of expertise to put to use in inclement weather or on extended journeys. When you include a tarp or a dual-function poncho-tarp, you significantly increase the usefulness of the shelter while simultaneously increasing the weight penalty and necessitating the learning of additional bushcraft skills. And, when you sleep in a bivvy, you truly are sleeping “outside” — this is the sensation that most bivvy bag campers describe as one of its most appealing aspects.

  • When they are closed or sealed, they become claustrophobic, and even with good breathable textiles, there is often condensation on the inside.
  • On warm evenings, they might get hot and moist as their capacity to breathe is hindered.
  • If you are not careful, getting into and out of your bivvy bag in poor weather may quickly saturate your clothes and sleeping bag if you are not careful.
  • In many regions, an insect proof inner tent may provide fantastic respite from mosquitoes and black fly, and you can store the majority of your gear inside the tent to keep it dry.

Micro tents, on the other hand, can only be set up in a single configuration and require relatively flat ground as well as a somewhat greater footprint area when compared to a bivvy bag. They are still too tiny to securely cook in, and in warmer areas, they can become oppressively stuffy and humid.

One-person tent Bivvy bag
Price More expensive Cheaper
Convenience A little more complicated to set up, heavier and bulkier to pack and carry Easy set up, can be used most places, smaller and lighter to pack and carry
Protection from the elements Better protection Some protection
Versatility More functional Basic functionality, not intended for prolonged use
Space More space for your gear and to move around Claustrophobic once zipped


If I had to pick, I would choose for the lightest, roomiest, simplest, and best-made bivvy bag I could find in order to maximize the benefits of minimal weight, adaptability, simplicity, and affordability while minimizing the disadvantages. Then, as previously indicated, it’s definitely worth investing in a lightweight tarp-poncho to further increase the level of comfort. A one-man tent that can compete with a bivvy on convenience and weight must offer tangible advantages such as extra space, keeping out insects (a top reason in my opinion), and weather-resistant design to keep you, your gear, and especially your sleeping bag dry in inclement weather or when camping overnight (meaning you can take a lighter down bag).

  • Both have their advantages as well as their drawbacks.
  • On longer excursions in less-than-ideal weather, I would always bring a tarp with me to broaden my options for being comfortably dry and comfortable.
  • However, there is an inexhaustible thrill in the simplicity of things.
  • A proven lightweight one-man tent suitable to the circumstances you expect may make a significant difference in your comfort, as well as your ability to eat, read, sit up, and – perhaps most significantly – dress and undress when out in the wilderness.
  • Following a chaotic upbringing in west Cork, Jasper Winn began embarking on lengthy cycles, walks, horse excursions, and kayak voyages across five continents, which he has documented in books, magazine articles, radio and television broadcasts, and a documentary film about his exploits.
  • He has kayaked across Ireland and cycled over the Sahara desert, among other accomplishments.
  • The rider learned that the only way to return back was to turn around and pedal north again after traveling from north to south across Algeria on a bicycle.

To bivy or not to bivy? That is the ultimate question

Setting up a bivy sack camp for backcountry hunting. Chris Neville provided the photograph. About 17 years ago, the idea of hunting in a bivouac manner began to appeal to me. When I was looking for a way to remain dry in the wilderness, I was intrigued to the fact that the abivy bag provided a very lightweight and simple solution. Since then, I’ve continued to use a bivy for virtually all of my overnight hunting trips, despite the fact that there are some excellent lightweight tent choices available now.

Even though I recognize the disadvantages, I feel that a bivy sack is a compelling shelter alternative that more people should consider using. It is my firm belief that using a bivy has improved my chances of becoming a more effective run and gun elk hunter.

So what exactly is a bivy sack?

A bivy sack is a small waterproof shelter that may be used by one person. What it really is is just a bag into which you can slip your sleeping bag, and it is meant to protect you and your sleeping bag out of the elements while you are sleeping. Bivy sacks were initially used as a minimalist shelter by thru-hikers and climbers on multi-day expeditions to conserve resources. Some bivys are little more than a waterproof bag, while others are equipped with poles to keep the cloth from getting in your face and on your head.

OurgoHUNT Gear Shop carries two of the top bivy bags available on the market: the Outdoor ResearchAlpine and the Helium.

So why use a bivy sack over a tent when hunting?

In a bivy bag, you can practically sleep anywhere you want. Photograph courtesy of Lorenzo Sartini


The capacity to swiftly put up a bivy over a tent is the most significant advantage of using a bivy. A deer or elk bed on a steep hill, for example, will work if you need to set up camp in a position where you wouldn’t be able to pitch a tent otherwise. You really only need a flat area about 6′ x 2′ to set up shop. A bivy is a lightweight, highly portable shelter. In the evening, you may be in bed and ready to go in minutes, and in the morning, you can be packed and ready to leave in the same amount of time.

Because they are waterproof, they are a useful addition when employing a floorless shelter and stove combination (no need for a tent footprint).

The Outdoor ResearchHelium bivy weighs 17 ounces, whereas the Outdoor ResearchAlpine bivy weighs 2 pounds.


An overnight bag doesn’t have much storage for your belongings. Lorenzo, on the other hand, can fit his dog Buck in one. Brady Miller is credited with taking the photograph. Others are concerned about feeling claustrophobic, particularly when the lid is closed. There is no way to get dressed in one, and even with a pole/hoop feature, there is little headroom over your shoulders. There is perhaps enough space inside one to read a book, but only just barely. It is not advisable to ride through numerous days of severe weather, such as.


If you expect terrible weather to last for many days, consider pairing a bivy with a tarp or a floorless tipi/tent.

This necessitates hanging your luggage during the day to allow it to air out—assuming you have the ability to do so.

Using a tent without zipping it up can also be a problem if you don’t sleep with your head outside under the stars. However, in the many years that I have used one, I have never had an issue, and on most nights, I sleep with my head outside under the stars as well.

Roughly, how big are bivy sacks?

The Alpine and Helium bivy bags have the same measurements as each other: a maximum width of 26 inches, a maximum length of 84 inches, and a maximum headroom of 20 inches. Both rooms have 12.6 square feet of floor area. The two Outdoor Research bivys that we carry are among the most spacious on the market today. Even with some of the newer, thicker 3″ plus sleeping pads and lofty sleeping bags, both will allow you to sleep with a sleeping pad and your bag inside. On a bivy sack, the bug net system is demonstrated.

See also:  How To Wash A Coleman Tent

Additionally, both of the types we sell include a single pole that extends up over your head to provide you with some headroom when fully closed, as well as a bug net with a zipper that allows you to leave the lip slightly open while still keeping bugs out.

Bivy sack materials

The Alpine is comprised of three-layer Gore-Tex respiration-positive fabric for maximum breathability. The upper is made of 30D ripstop nylon, and the floor is made of 2L nylon plain weave taffeta. Every seam is internally taped to keep moisture out, and it is machine washable. The Helium is constructed of Pertex Shield+ 2.5L 100 percent nylon with a 30D ripstop upper and a 70D TPU laminate floor composed of 100 percent nylon Pertex Shield+ 2.5L 100 percent nylon. Every seam is internally taped to keep moisture out, and it is machine washable.

Ripstop nylon may be used for a variety of applications.

Pertex may not hold up as well in the long run, but Gore-Tex has a proven track record of being both robust and waterproof while maintaining its waterproofing properties.

Both of these sleeping bags contain inside straps to prevent your sleeping pad from shifting or sliding about as you sleep.

How small can they be packed up?

When I tuck my bivy into my backpack for a quick camp setup at night, I prefer to keep my sleeping bag inside the bivy. Chris Neville provided the photograph. In a stuff bag that is about the diameter of an Algene bottle and about twice as long as it is wide, theAlpine and theHeliumcan be stored together. When I’m hunting with a bivy sack arrangement, I either don’t use a stuff sack at all or keep my sleeping bag in the bivy and stuff both in a 13L or 15L compression or dry sack, depending on the situation.

The difference between the Helium and the Alpinebivy sack

If you’re planning on using it as a stand-alone shelter without a tarp or floorless shelter, I’d recommend the Alpine bivy sack. It will be more robust and will allow for greater ventilation. Also, if I were hunting in conditions where heavy condensation might be an issue, such as places with wide temperature swings or where extended rain is expected, which might cause you to keep your lip closed, causing your breath to condense, or if I were camping in humid climates, lowlands, or near water sources, I would probably use the Alpine.

I would recommend using it in conjunction with a tarp, especially if there is a chance of heavy or prolonged rain in the future.

It is, however, incredibly light and quick, and if you are hunting in more arid settings and just encountering little rain or showers, the Helium would be an excellent choice.

In conclusion

Demonstrating the amount of space available inside a bivy sack and tarp camp setup. Chris Neville provided the photograph. For the following reasons, bivy hunting has helped me become a more effective elk hunter: I’ve discovered that tent camping tends to keep me confined to a certain region, resulting in me spending time trekking when I should be hunting. Elk are large, they move fast across the ground, and they are often only active for a brief period of time in the morning and evening hours.

If you are searching for a one-man shelter that is lightweight, simple, and will keep you dry while also assisting you in being more successful, try adding a bivy sack to your gear list.

What is a Bivy Bag?

A number of our employees have bivy bags, which they use on a regular basis. This is a camping style that we like a great deal. You undoubtedly feel more connected to the environment and your surroundings as a result of this experience. From the safety of your sleeping bag, being able to gaze up at the night sky is a truly unique experience, and it is one that everyone should attempt at least once in their lives. Going while the weather is nice is the greatest way to get started, but it’s important to note that this is not the case for everyone.

Some of the following questions should be taken into consideration:

  • What do you want to accomplish with it? Emergencies, quick and light overnight excursions, prolonged multi-day excursions, mountaineering, and solo excursions are all possibilities. How often do you intend to make use of it? Trips to the beach every now and again in good weather? Use on a regular basis for three or four seasons? Extremely rare, life-threatening scenarios
  • What kinds of situations are you most likely to encounter while you’re putting it into action? Is it intended for use on open mountain tops, or is it intended for use in protected glens or forests? Are you in need of bug repellent?

If you want to make your bivy trip more pleasurable, it’s necessary to think about how you’re going to put it up in the first place. Take into consideration your selection of a sleeping mat and sleeping bag. Use a pad that is appropriate for your journey and the bivy you have selected to bring. The lighter model bivys work best when paired with lighter pads, while four-season and winter bivys work best when paired with a warm and sturdy model. In either case, the bivy must be able to withstand the terrain and weather conditions you’re likely to experience while on the trail.

Some of the more slimline and compact bivy bags may not be able to accommodate a large warm sleeping bag with a lot of loft.

Finally, consider using a tarp in conjunction with your bivy setup.

When there is a chance of rain or when I am traveling with others, I find that the weight penalty is well worth it because it provides a comfortable communal place.

Bivouac shelter – Wikipedia

Abivouac shelters are any of a range of improvised camp sites or shelters that are generally of a temporary nature and are used mostly by troops or those who are hiking, biking, scouting, or mountain climbing. When people think of camping, they often think of sleeping in the open with a bivouac sack, but it can also refer to a shelter made of natural materials such as a structure of branches to form a frame, which is then covered with leaves, ferns, and other similar material for waterproofing and insulation, or with duff (leaf litter) for insulation.

The nature of the bivouac shelter in contemporary mountaineering will be determined by the level of readiness of the expedition; in particular, if current camping and outdoor gear can be incorporated into the shelter.


The wordbivouaci is of French origin, and it ultimately stems from a Swiss German usage of the wordBeiwacht from the 18th century (beiby,Wachtwatch or patrol). An additional watch would be kept by a military or civilian force to strengthen vigilance at an encampment, and it was defined as follows: Following its adoption by the troops of theBritish Empire, the phrase came to be known asbivvy for abbreviation.


AnetoPeak (3,404 m (11,168 ft)) may be seen in the background of this bivouac shelter in the Pyrenees range. Single-sided designs allow for easy access while also allowing the heat of a fire to enter the shelters, whereas full-roofed designs provide significantly better heat retention and insulation. Generally speaking, the roof should be at least a foot thick and opaque to prevent sunlight from passing through. Construction of artificial bivouacs can be accomplished using a range of materials, ranging from corrugated iron sheeting or plywood to groundsheets or a purpose-built basha.

  1. A bivouac shelter can be constructed in a number of different ways.
  2. The ‘roof’flysheet is strung along its ridge line by a string that is attached between two trees that are spaced at an appropriate distance from one another.
  3. It is important to provide a space between the ground and the sheet in order to guarantee that there is sufficient air movement to prevent condensation.
  4. The majority of the time, a basha is made of reinforced nylon with eyelets and loops or tabs strategically placed along all four sides of the sheet and occasionally across the two central lines ofsymmetry.

In terms of construction, the basha is extremely adaptable, and it can be erected in a variety of configurations to suit the particular conditions of the site. (The term is also used to refer to a certain sort of bivouac bag from time to time (see below).

Bivouac sack

In Benediktenwand, Germany, a bivouac sack (in red) is seen covering a guy who is sleeping in a sleeping bag. A bivouac sack is a sort of bivouac shelter that is smaller in size. In general, it is a lightweight, waterproof shelter that is portable and may be used as an alternative to bigger bivouac shelters. When compared to tent-like shelters, the major advantage of a bivouac sack shelter is the rapidity with which it can be set up and the ability to fit into a small area. As a result, bivouac sacks are a popular alternative for hikers, bikers, and climbers who have to camp in confined spaces or in unfamiliar territory.

It is possible that the humidity will condense on the inside side of a basic bivouac sack, making the occupant or the sleeping bag wet.

Recent years have seen the introduction of morewaterproof/breathable textiles, like as Gore-Tex, which allow some humidity to travel through the fabric while blocking the majority of external water.

Tradition dictates that the user’s face be covered by his or her bivouac sack until just a little opening is left for breathing or looking through.

It is bad practice to completely zip up a bivouac sack, both because of the obvious risk of hypoxia and because of the drastically increased amounts of condensation that will build within the bag.


Climbers in the German region of Saxon Switzerlandin the Elbe Sandstone Mountains refer to overnighting in the open air asBoofen (roughly translated as “open air”) (pronounced “bo-fen”). In most cases, the location chosen for overnight stays consists of an overhang in the sandstone rock or a cave, which is referred to as a Boofe (“bo-fe”). This has frequently been modified to include a sleeping room and a fireplace. When it comes to the national park itself, boofen is only authorized at approved areas and only in conjunction with climbing, while burning fires is strictly prohibited in these circumstances.


Count Henry Russell-Killough, known as the “hermit of the Pyrenees,” is often credited with the development of the bivouac, which allows people to camp in remote and hostile locations. He would bivouac in the open, constructing a blanket of rocks and earth or relying on a simple bag to keep him warm and dry. In 1953, the climber Hermann Buhl was forced to bivouac alone on a rock ledge at 8000 m altitude in order to survive until the following morning on his ascent of Nanga Parbat, and this served as an example of a bivouac made in an emergency situation.

Modern bivouacs have evolved to provide climbers and explorers with higher degrees of comfort than in the past. In comparison to hanging hammocks, modern portaledges (vertical camping’s version of a tent) are more comfortable, safer, and more dependable alternatives.

See also

  • Mosquito net
  • Shelter half
  • Swag (bedroll)
  • Bothy
  • Bivouac (ants)
  • List of human housing types
  • Mosquito net
  • Swag Wilderness hut
  • Portaledge
  • Mountain hut- a permanent shelter that can range from a refuge to a lodge in the mountains.


  1. “Bivouac,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Obtainable on December 13, 2016
  2. Abcd James Bradford is credited with inventing the term “bradford” (2004). The International Encyclopedia of Military History is a resource for those interested in military history across the world. Routledge & Kegan Paul
  3. Mark, you’ve got a problem (2004). Alpine Climbing: Techniques to Help You Climb Higher Mountains. Mountaineers Books
  4. “How to Build a Basha.” timeoff2outdoors.com
  5. “How to Build a Basha.” retrieved on the 5th of October, 2020
  6. Steve Howe and Dave Getchell are among those who have contributed to this work (March 1995). “I’m going to bed.” Volume 23, number 139, pages 143–169 in Backpacker magazine. ISSN0277-867X. Retrieved on June 21st, 2013
  7. M. Camenzind, M. Weder, and E. Den Hartog. Camenzind, M. Weder, and E. Den Hartog. Body moisture and the thermal insulation of sleeping bags were investigated at the “Blowing Hot and Cold: Protecting Against Climatic Extremes” symposium. KN4-1-KN4-15 (Dresden, NATO RTO-MP-076 2001)
  8. “Where to find free, legal bivouaccamp sites in Europe.” Dresden, NATO RTO-MP-076 2001
  9. “Where to find free, legal bivouaccamp sites in Europe.” 200926. Retrieved on 200905
  10. “Become an FT subscription to read | Financial Times.” 200926. “Become an FT subscriber to read | Financial Times.” “9 Legendary Bivoacs,” which was published on November 7, 2001, was retrieved on November 7, 2001. Adventure Journal is a journal that chronicles one’s adventures. The original version of this article was archived on January 21, 2021. “Big Wall Vertical Camping: How Does It Really Work?” was published on the 13th of December, 2016. The Dyrt Magazine, accessed on 2019-05-15 and retrieved on 2019-09-07

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *