Would you agree with us if we said that the primary and essential need for camping, backpacking, hiking, mountaineering gear begins with your tent? You will also agree that, unfortunately, a tent is heavy. It means carrying a large and heavy item in your backpack, taking up space and tiring you more and more as the hike goes on.
Apparently, a bivy sack is an excellent alternative to a tent. Bivouac sack, which is also known as bivy or bivvy or bivi is smaller than tents, and is lightweight, which offers a more convenient and easier way to carry anywhere. For those who don’t want to waste time and energy carrying and setting up tents, bivy’s offer a very good solution.
We came up with a list of very good bivys for you to get to know them, and eventually make up your mind on whether buying one or not. A list of the most important features to look for is also included, that way you can pick wisely and accurately, based on your needs and plans. Just scroll down, read, and then get ready to go camping.
Our Top Picks
|Product Name||Weight||Size When Open||Specific Features||Price|
|Aqua Quest M05GC||2.4 lb||35.43 x 27.56 x 90.55 inches||Waterproof, ultralight, compact, breathable, fast and easy setup, comfortable, air vent, 70D RipStop fabric, PU coating, heat taped seams, ‘Batwing’ stiffeners.||Check price on Amazon|
|Tennier Woodland||2.4 lb||31.88 x 14.17 inches||Waterproof, moisture-vapor, seams heat sealed, permeable material, breathable, comfortable.||Check price on Amazon|
|Outdoor Research Helium||2.4 lb||19.5 x 26 inches||Waterproof, breathable, lightweight, fully seamed taped, anti-fungal coating on the floor, five stake loops, safe, durable, comfortable.||Check price on Amazon|
|Arctic Monsoon Arrow||3.7 lb||95.66 x 31.88 x 15.74 inches||Lightweight, aluminum poles, 190T polyester shelter, 180g PE beach mat, comfortable, portable, durable, foldable, waterproof, windproof, easy setup, mosquito net, breathable.||Check price on Amazon|
|Aqua Quest Mummy||1.26 lb||33.46 x 3.95 x 91 inches||Waterproof, 70D RipStop fabric, laminated PU coating, heat taped seams, breathable, ultra light, compact, fast & easy setup, versatile, comfortable.||Check price on Amazon|
|Survive Outdoors Escape||0.53 lb||31 x 84 inches||Waterproof, drawstring hood closure, side zip, durable, hard wearing fabric, breathable, high visibility orange exterior, comfortable.||Check price on Amazon|
Features to Consider Before Buying
Choosing a bivy, especially for those who have never used one before, is not as easy as it looks. A bivy is not a sleeping bag, but it’s not a tent either. It is an item of its own category, and as a result has different features, from water resistance to width and height, that make it better or more comfortable.
Waterproof resistance is probably one of the most critical factors when evaluating a bivy sack for your adventure. One should always consider whether the night will be cold or warm, rain or snow.
Whatever weather may come about, a good shelter should be able to offer protection without ruining the camping experience. A bivy is generally waterproofed and well insulated.
Waterproofing quality is one of the great qualities of good bivy. It offers external weather protection, but might undermine internal breathing.
Therefore, it is great to consider how well the bivy ventilates as well as the condensation degree that is building up inside. This is very important to determine the performance and value of the said product.
One of the main problems with condensed exhaled air is that it gets overheated inside. It will stack within the sack, and probably, it can cause enormous discomfort.
To avoid these issues, keep the zippers open as often as possible. If such a sack has a pole that offers more spaces around the head area, then it has good ventilation due to the extra air between your body and the bivy walls.
Different variety of fabrics may work differently in different situation. Consider the type of fabric being used in making the bivy that will suit to the weather. If the bivy sack is made from mesh, it will offer little protection against precipitation.
On the other hand, if it is waterproof, it will keep you warm and dry when it is cold, but will leave you sweaty in warmer conditions, which may also interfere with your breathing.
However, there are still some bivies that are designed for all season protection, which can be used in wintry conditions, in alpine conditions, in summer conditions, and so on.
Lighter camping option is perhaps one of the qualities of a good bivy sack compared to a tent, which offers a similar kind of protection. It characterized extra bug netting instead of shell fabric, which reduces the total weight of the bivy.
Also, it is important not to choose a too lightweight bivy sack. It will sacrifice the protection as well as the comfort that you need.
This is probably one of the most important matters to consider. The comforting bivy rating may consider insect protection, roominess, ease of use, and also a variety of additional features like gear pockets or sleeping pad straps.Uncomfortable bivy can turn the user away from this option for good.
Top Bivy Reviews
In this section we give you the reviews of the top bivys in the market. We carefully chose those bivys that will make your experience more reliable and better. They are all different and have different specs and features, so make sure you read all of them carefully and choose based on what you are looking for.
Aqua Quest M05GC
Price: $110 – $170
Weight: 2.4 lb
Dimensions: 35.43 x 27.56 x 90.55 inches
Specific features: Waterproof, ultralight, compact, breathable, fast and easy setup, comfortable, air vent, 70D RipStop fabric, PU coating, heat taped seams, ‘Batwing’ stiffeners.
Best use: Hiking, camping, survival and travel.
Description: The Aqua Quest M05GC bivy tent is made in the Pacific Northwest. It is made from 70D (Denier) RipStop Fabric which uses a special reinforcing technique to make them resistant to ripping and tearing.
During the weaving process, the thick threads are entwined at regular intervals in a crosshatch pattern. Mostly, these intervals are typically 5 to 8 mm (0.2 – 0.3 inches).
This Bivy Tent featured PU (Polyurethane) coating fabric which made from synthetic woven base fabric with a waterproofing coating. The PU coating is applied to a single side of the base fabric, which makes it water resistant, flexible and lightweight.
Also, this is more waterproof unlike other single walled shelters. It has a 10,000 mm waterproof rating and has 3000 gr/m2/day breathability rating.
Furthermore, this is so easy to set up. If you are a magician, you can easily setup this in a second; but if you’re not, it will only take 2 minutes for you to set up.
You can either zip or unzip the front panel, depending on your desire. If you unzip, you will see fully the beautiful sky above. On the other hand, if you zip, you can still catch the glimpse of the sky through the clear TPU window.
Another important thing to mention is its comfort ability. It has more space that other bivys. You can easily move around, have snacks, read a book, or even changing clothes.
It can comfortably accommodate anybody up to 6’6’’ long. It has extra wide foot and shoulder areas. Additionally, it features an air vent in the head section including ‘batwing’ stiffeners to elevate the foot bed which increases the comfort and the flow of the air.
Most importantly, since 1996, the Aqua Quest designed and tested the waterproof gear, which originally based in the Pacific Northwest. All products of Aqua Quest are protected and guaranteed by AQ’s, and with a Two Year ‘No Worries Warranty’.
- Very good waterproof features, it will keep the rain at bay
- Very warm
- The breathability isn’t the best, so the condensation is an issue
- The stakes to set it up aren’t very good
Related: It’s simple to choose what to buy alongside the bivy, the Klymit Static V Sleeping Pad is the perfect add-on to sleep comfortably.
Price: $50 – $60
Weight: 2.4 lb
Dimensions: 31.88 x 14.17 inches
Specific features: Waterproof, moisture-vapor, seams heat sealed, permeable material, breathable, comfortable,
Best use: Camping, backpacking, hiking, survival.
Description: The Tennier Woodland bivy cover is made in the USA. It is waterproof and is very ideal even it rains in which the bivy remains relatively unaffected by water or it resists the entry of water under specified conditions. You can still enjoy your outdoor moments during wet night.
Additionally, it is waterproof, moisture vapor permeable material, which means that it has the ability to allow the water vapor to pass through it. Vapor permeability is concerned to form the water into gas.
Therefore, when the water finds its way into the system, vapor permeability will allow it to escape as moisture vapor. This is a very modern and an innovative breathability feature. For those who have used a bivy before, they will know that breathability tends to be a concern, but this technology reduces it quite a lot.
Furthermore, it is the component of the MMSS (Military Modular Sleep System), in which this Camouflage Bivy is designed to cover the Patrol including the intermediate sleeping bags for cold weather.
- Good breathability
- Very high quality
- Slightly heavier than other models
- Slightly bigger (when packed) than other models
Related: This bivy works very well with the Tennier Industries 8465 Sleeping Bag. The Bag is very warm and ideal for camping in cold weather.
Outdoor Research Helium
Price: $160 – $180
Weight: 2.4 lb
Dimensions: 19.5 x 26 inches
Specific features: Waterproof, breathable, lightweight, fully seamed taped, anti-fungal coating on the floor, five stake loops, safe, durable, comfortable.
Best use: Backpacking, survival, boating, outdoor adventures.
Description: The Outdoor Research Helium bivy is a safe and durable bivy for outdoor adventures. It comes with a one Delrin pole to suspend the head part and equipped with ‘no-see-um’ to keep the insects away. It is waterproof which is designed to prevent water from passing or entering through. It assures you to keep dry inside when it rains.
This Helium Bivy uses Pertex Shield material, instead of Gore-Tex Respiration Positive. It is significantly lighter, something like 510 grams. But the disadvantage of Pertex Shield is that it does not provide good breathability unlike the Gore-Tex, which makes it more prone to condensation issues.
Also, this bivy is breathable, lightweight and comfortable which is ideal for your outdoor adventure. Aside from that, it has fully taped seams. It involves taping every seam on the gear regardless of where it has been situated to guarantee heavy duty water proofing.
Fully taped seams will not only creates an air tight seal between you and the elements, but will also add valuable strength and longevity to your bivy.
Additionally, this model has anti-fungal coating on the floor, which inhibits and prevents the growth of a fungus on the gear. It also has 5 Stake Loops that are provided at each corner to secure the sack to the ground.
- Very lightweight
- Easy to set up and pack
- Mesh doesn’t hold very tight when it has been set up
- The waterproof feature isn’t the best
Related: The Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Mattress is a good sleeping mattress to take with this bivy. It’s lightweight and easy to take anywhere.
Arctic Monsoon Arrow
Price: $70 – $100
Weight: 3.7 lb
Dimensions: 95.66 x 31.88 x 15.74 inches
Specific features: Lightweight, aluminum poles, 190T polyester shelter, 180g PE beach mat, comfortable, portable, durable, foldable, waterproof, windproof, easy setup, mosquito net, breathable.
Best use: Hiking, mountaineering, backpacking, survival, relaxing.
Description: The Arctic Monsoon Arrow bivy sack is made of 190T Polyester. T refers to thread count or number of warp and fill threads in a square inch. (Warp and fill refer to the threads that are interlaced at right angles to create the cloth). Therefore, 190T means 190 threads per inch.
Polyester is more stable against the influence of the UV (Ultraviolet) radiation, which is very important for awnings.
The Arctic Bivy Tent is suitable only for one person. This is perfect for soloing. This is very portable, foldable, lightweight and very easy to set up by one person.
Steps: First, put the floor stakes in, then, get inside and inflate the bladder arch, set up the guy lines in front and back, then, you’re done! Additionally, it has 180g PE beach mat which is constructed with lightweight aluminum poles that make it windproof, waterproof and highly durable to be carried with any adventure trip.
Also, it has well ventilated fly shelter that provides the best protection for rainy and windy day. On the other hand, if it is in a good environment, you can easily remove it.
Furthermore, this bivy tent comes with a mosquito net inside. You can lie down and take your peaceful rest inside the tent, enjoying the beautiful sky above. Also important thing about Arctic Monsoon is that it guarantees a 1 year, 100% Product Quality Guaranteed.
- It comes with a mat included
- Waterproof protection guaranteed
- Very warm
- More complicated to set up as it resembles more a tent than a bivy
- Can be an issue for claustrophobic people
Related: The Teton Sports 1021 Pillow is a good match to buy alongside this bivy. The bivy includes a sleeping mat, but not a pillow. Completing the combo makes sense.
Aqua Quest Mummy
Price: $50 – $80
Weight: 1.26 lb
Dimensions: 33.46 x 3.94 x 90.55 inches
Specific features: Waterproof, 70D RipStop fabric, laminated PU coating, heat taped seams, breathable, ultra light, compact, fast & easy setup, versatile, comfortable.
Best use: Hiking, camping, backpacking, survival.
Description: The Aqua Quest Mummy bivy sack is a waterproof gear suitable for your outdoor adventures. Since 1996, Aqua Quest is proudly serving the entire America with great designed and tested waterproof gear. Their ‘Mummy’ sack is more waterproof than the others.
It acquires 10,000 mm waterproof rating, and 3000 gr/m2/day breathable rating. This ‘Mummy’ Bivy is versatile and comfortable. It can fit anybody up to 6’6” long (2 meters) and has an extra wide for your maximum comforts. It has zippers on both sides, left and right, to fit and zippered the sleeping bags.
Also, this is so very easy to set up. It will only take you a minute to set up. Just remove it from the sack, lay it down, and then put the sleeping bag inside, then you’re done! You will now enjoy the beautiful sky above.
Additionally, this ‘Mummy’ is made from 70D RipStop Fabric, which is a resistant, to tearing and ripping. This is very durable as it uses thick threads in which they are interweave at regular intervals, mostly 5-8 mm intervals, in a crosshatch pattern.
Aside from that, it also featured PU coating fabric, which makes the fabric water resistant, lightweight, and flexible. This is more waterproof than the other single walled shelters.
- Very light weight
- Very compact when packed, this bivy is ideal for any sort of trip
- Zippers on both sides, very easy handling
- Very limited breathability
Related: The manufacturer of this product also offers the Aqua Quest Combo Tarp which you can save a lot more money because of the lesser price it offers compared to the regular price of these highly rated large silk tarp and a Bivy Bag.
Price: $40 – $60
Weight: 0.53 lb
Dimensions: 31 x 84 inches
Specific features: Waterproof, drawstring hood closure, side zip, durable, hard wearing fabric, breathable, high visibility orange exterior, comfortable.
Best use: Hiking, backpacking, survival, boating, outdoor adventures.
Description: The SOL Escape bivvy uses a highly durable fabric that is resistant in tears and punctures through heavy uses. This is really water resistant gear that will surely keep you dry even during wet and soggy conditions.
Escape Bivvy is so different from most other ultra light shelters. The other shelters, builds up condensation inside the gear as you get warm that will leave your clothes sodden wet, unlike Escape Bivvy that has no longer issue about condensation and will avoid you from choosing between staying warm and staying cold.
Additionally, this model uses proprietary fabric that will surely let the moisture escape and that will keep that snow, wind, and rain remains on the outside.
It also features side zip and drawstring hood closure so you can seal out elements entirely. Furthermore, the high visibility orange exterior of this bivy will make the rescuers to locate you easily, even in areas with wide and high trees covered.
- The lightest bivy
- Excellent breathability
- Has a see through feature
- The easiest one to carry around
- It’s not as steady as others, it’s an emergency bivy basically
- Not as warm
Related: The Survival Frog TACT Sleeping Bag is the ideal sleeping bag to buy with this bivy. It’s small, compact and sets up quickly.
Already know what is the perfect bivy for your adventure? Well, probably, due to numerous reasons, the hikers, climbers, and backpackers may be interested in a model for their outdoor adventures.
This product is far better than a tent. A bivy can be the smaller alternative of a tent, and has the lighter weight. It also allows you to sleep in a multitude of places, while tent will not possibly make it.
Take with you the bivy sack that you think is the best for your needs. On the above reviews, you can see and check the good features of the model that might suit to your needs. Remember that planning ahead is key, and we hope with this guide we have helped you doing just that.
If you think we have left out any of the great products out there, please let us know in the comments section below. Also, can you think of any other product that would be a good match with a bivy? Please let us know!
I’ve never heard of a bivy sack, but now I’m getting one. They’re the perfect hybrid between a tent and a hammock. What are the pros and cons of a bivy sack?
The pros would be that they seal you away from wet weather and bugs. The cons would be that you have to unzip yourself to get out, and you might have a hard time getting inside.
I have never used this and would like to try it. Will it be a good option for camping and hiking both? I would like to know whether we can sleep in this without a tent?
Yes, yes, and yes!