Are you planning a solo trip into the Great Unknown?
If you unexpectedly have to camp out overnight, you will need to make sure you are protected from the elements. However, carrying a full tent with you is likely to seem like too much of a chore.
So what’s the solution?
The best bivy sacks are designed to be especially compact and lightweight while providing the protection you need. Bivy sacks come in a wide range of different designs, styles, and even shapes.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the top options and find the perfect one for you…
- Top 10 Best Bivy Sacks Reviews
- 1 Tennier Woodland Camouflage Waterproof Bivy Cover
- 2 Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy
- 3 RAB Alpine Bivi
- 4 Snugpak Stratosphere 1 Person Bivvi Tent
- 5 S.O.L. Survive Outdoors Longer Escape Series
- 6 MSR AC Bivy Sleeping Bag
- 7 Sierra Designs Backcountry Bivy Yellow/Blue
- 8 Outdoor Research Helium Bivy
- 9 RAB Survival Zone Bivi
- 10 BLACK DIAMOND Big Wall Hooped
- Best Bivy Sacks Buying Guide
- So what's the Best Bivy Sacks?
Top 10 Best Bivy Sacks Reviews
1 Tennier Woodland Camouflage Waterproof Bivy Cover
If you are especially tall, you may find that most bivy sacks are a little snug. This can make getting comfortable a bit of a challenge. If you head and shoulders are not fully covered, this could also cause you to suffer from a chill.
Fortunately, the Tennier Woodland Camouflage Waterproof Bivy Cover measures a full 84 inches long. The shoulder width is also an impressive 35 inches, while the width at the feet is 23 inches. This will provide you with the extra space you need to be truly comfortable.
Want to know the best part?
The Tennier Woodland Camouflage Waterproof Bivy Cover is so spacious that there is enough room to fit a sleeping bag inside. There are also plenty of practical features that help to ensure pure comfort and protection. The overall design is especially compact, which makes it easy to roll up and fit into a backpack.
With this bivy sack, you can be sure you will be treated to pure quality and durability. In fact, this is the model of choice for the US military. It comes complete with a tough Gore-Tex membrane that makes this model fully waterproof.
It should be noted that at the Tennier Woodland Camouflage Waterproof Bivy Cover is a bit on the heavy side. However, if you are taller than average, you are sure to appreciate this longer and more comfortable design. The snap storm flap and full length zipper help to provide easy access while keeping you snug.
- Boasts a fully waterproof design.
- Features a cool camouflage pattern.
- Ideal for taller people.
- Comes with a special storm flap.
- Designed to be extra spacious.
- A bit on the heavy side.
2 Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy
While sleeping underneath the stars can be a real joy, being attacked by insects can be a real issue. The whine of mosquitos and other bugs can be extremely irritating and can transform a relaxing experience into an endurance test. Also, if bugs find their way into your bivy sack, you can say goodbye to a good night’s sleep.
Safe and sound…
Fortunately, this pesky problem is eliminated by the Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy. This mighty model is fitted with a mosquito net to help keep bugs at bay. It is designed to be fully waterproof and comes with fully taped seams to help keep you warm and cozy.
As an added bonus, this bivy sack weighs just two pounds. Even if you are trekking for many miles at a time, you are unlikely to notice the extra weight. The Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy comes complete with a special carrying sack that can be attached to the outside of your backpack to save on space.
Built to last…
The three layers of Gore-Tex provide a virtually indestructible barrier between you and the elements. If the wind starts to blow, you are sure to love the special storm flap. No matter what nature throws at you, you are sure to feel safe and secure.
If you are the sort of sleeper who likes plenty of space, you may find that this model is rather narrow. The coffin shape of the Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy may be a little restrictive for some people. However, this streamlined design helps to make you extra snug and provides enhanced protection against the elements.
- Made of high-quality GORE-TEX.
- Comes with a special carrying sack.
- Delivers excellent weather protection.
- Includes a special mosquito net.
- Boasts fully taped seams.
- May be slightly narrow.
3 RAB Alpine Bivi
When you are out in the wilderness, you need to make sure that you are extremely visible. The last thing you want at night is for another trekker to stumble across you or even mow you down. Therefore, the best bivy sacks should stand out from the terrain so that they will not go unnoticed.
The RAB Alpine Bivi boasts a bright red or chocolate brown design that will not go unnoticed. The compact design mimics a classic mummy shape and is especially striking.
But is it just a pretty face?
Despite its minimalist design, the RAB Alpine Bivi is designed to keep you very warm. This is due to the reinforced three layers of material that deliver impressive weatherproofing. The zipper is at one end of the bivy sack to help prevent heat from leaking out of the sides.
The underside of the bivy sack has also been reinforced to help provide protection against rocks and rough terrain. This model is extremely light, which is exactly what you need when you are on an outdoor adventure. Even if you are climbing cliffs and hiking through valleys, this model will not drag you down.
It should be noted that the RAB Alpine Bivi is designed to retain heat and will keep you very warm. In fact, if you are camping out in the summer months, you might actually find that you get a little too toasty. However, this is ideal for sleeping outside in the fall when you want to leave the tent at home.
- Boasts a compact design.
- Delivers impressive weather protection.
- Provides enhanced condensation resistance.
- Weighs just 16 ounces.
- Reinforced with 70-denier nylon
- Not ideal for summer use.
- Not especially compact.
4 Snugpak Stratosphere 1 Person Bivvi Tent
Are you looking for a bivy sack that will provide you with enhanced protection? If you are traveling alone, you are likely to want all the protection you can get. While a usual bivy sack might be a little flimsy, a full tent may be too much to carry.
Snug and dry…
Fortunately, the Snugpak Stratosphere 1 Person Bivvi Tent is designed to be the perfect balance between the two models. The 50D ripstop nylon comes with a PU coating that has an impressive 5000mm waterproof rating. This material is also especially breathable and delivers an 8000mm hydrostatic head rating.
If you are the sort of person who likes plenty of space, you are sure to love the overall design. A couple of lightweight poles are provided to prop up the top of this bivy sack. They prevent the material from being too close to your head and face while still delivering pure protection.
Keep mosquitos at bay…
The Snugpak Stratosphere 1 Person Bivvi Tent is also fitted with a special mosquito net. This will eliminate the concern of bugs getting into your sleeping bag during your slumber. The mosquito net can also be detached if you prefer to help make the sack a little lighter.
At a total of 39 ounces, the Snugpak Stratosphere 1 Person Bivvi Tent is one of the heaviest bivy sacks around. However, it is still much lighter than the average one person tent. This makes it the ideal model for solo hikers who don’t want to compromise when it comes to comfort.
- Made of highly waterproof material.
- Lightweight and especially compact.
- Comes with a basic repair kit.
- Includes a mosquito net.
- Boasts a durable side zipper.
- This model is very heavy.
5 S.O.L. Survive Outdoors Longer Escape Series
When you are exploring the Great Outdoors, you need to be fully aware that things can go wrong. Even if you are expecting things to go smoothly, being prepared is essential. If you or a member of your team has an accident, you may be stranded for several hours.
A born survivor…
The S.O.L. Survive Outdoors Longer Escape Series has been designed to provide you with protection until help arrives. This mighty model is designed to be very versatile so that it can rise to the challenge in numerous situations. In addition to serving as a bivy sack, it can also be unzipped to create a huge space blanket.
In fact, this model is so large that it can cover a couple of people when it has been fully unzipped. It is designed to reflect body heat, which means that you will be able to stay especially warm. Even if the temperature suddenly plummets during the night, you should be able to stay toasty.
Snug as a bug in a rug…
The S.O.L. Survive Outdoors Longer Escape Series comes with waterproof seams that help to keep out the elements. The drawstring hood will help you to stay especially snug. The large side zipper also makes it especially easy to get in and out of the bivy sack.
With a total length of 64 inches, the S.O.L. Survive Outdoors Longer Escape Series is a little short. In fact, if you are rather tall, you are likely to find that your head and shoulders are exposed. The width of 34 inches may also be a little snug and close for comfort.
- Comes with a special carrying sack.
- Delivers 70% heat reflectivity.
- One of the lightest models around.
- Boasts a very compact design.
- Weighs just eight ounces.
- Not ideal for tall people.
6 MSR AC Bivy Sleeping Bag
If you are the sort of person who likes to travel light, you won’t want to carry a large backpack. There is nothing worse than being weighed down when you are trying to climb a rock face or follow a winding trail. However, you will still want to be as protected as possible when day turns into night.
Small yet perfectly formed…
Fortunately, the MSR AC Bivy Sleeping Bag is one of the most compact models around. At a little over ten ounces in weight, you will hardly even notice that you have it with you. It comes complete with a special carrying sack that can be clipped to the outside of your backpack.
The sealed nylon fabric is fully waterproof and specially coated to prevent groundwater from seeping through. If you find traditional bivy sacks a little stuffy, you are sure to love the design of this model. While the large mesh panel delivers excellent ventilation, it perfectly prevents bugs from getting inside.
If you want to save on space and weight without compromising on comfort, this is the model for you. In fact, the MSR AC Bivy Sleeping Bag is one of the most comfortable bivy sacks around. Although the waterproof shell doesn’t come with a zipper, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
- Features a zippered mesh pillow.
- Weighs just 16 ounces.
- Boasts an especially compact design.
- Delivers impressive ventilation.
- Provides good shoulder width.
- The waterproof shell doesn’t feature a zipper.
- The fabric is a little thin.
7 Sierra Designs Backcountry Bivy Yellow/Blue
Sometimes, the best things in life truly come in small packages. With its very compact design, the Sierra Designs Backcountry Bivy Yellow/Blue will not take up too much space. In fact, it even comes with a cool stuff sack that can be clipped onto the back of your regular backpack.
The whole design packs down to just 3 x 10 inches, while the weight is just 14 ounces. However, the Sierra Designs Backcountry Bivy Yellow/Blue delivers very impressive waterproofing. The design is especially durable and reliable, while no poles are required.
But there’s more…
The Sierra Designs Backcountry Bivy Yellow/Blue is simply packed with features that true survivors are sure to love. The mesh window panel pops out without the use of poles to protect your face from bugs. This also helps air to circulate more freely throughout the whole of the bivy sack.
As an added bonus, the cool blue and yellow design really stands out from the surrounding terrain. You will not have to worry about hikers accidentally tripping over you while you are snug and sound.
If you are especially tall, you may find that the length of this bivy sack is insufficient. The good news is that the Sierra Designs Backcountry Bivy Yellow/Blue also comes in a longer version. Although the longer version is slightly heavier, it is a small price to pay for pure protection.
- Boasts a highly visible design.
- Utilizes waterproof and breathable top fabric.
- Features fully taped seams.
- Set with a mesh window panel.
- Comes complete with a special stuff sack.
- Not ideal for especially tall people.
- The zippers are not completely waterproof.
8 Outdoor Research Helium Bivy
If you dislike enclosed spaces, you are likely to find that traditional bivy sacks are a little restrictive. Having to cover your head and face with fabric may well fill you with anxiety. However, this is necessary if you find yourself stranded in the Great Outdoors and the weather takes a turn for the worst.
So what’s the solution?
The Outdoor Research Helium Bivy features poles and pole sleeves that can be used to raise the head portion. In fact, this raises the height to a little over four inches. This should help you to get the rest that you need while still enjoying full protection.
This model serves as the perfect balance between style and substance. You are sure to love the bright and bold paprika color, while a pewter version is also available. While you will be treated to enhanced comfort thanks to the wide and tall design, there are also plenty of practical touches.
Come rain, come shine…
The Pertex Shield material is designed to be fully waterproof. The specially sealed seams also serve as a barrier against the wind. A bug screen has been built into the lining so that even if you unzip the outer material, you will still be protected.
To top it all off, the overall weight of just sixteen ounces makes this bivy sack very easy to carry. The overall design is very compact, despite the inclusion of durable poles. The design is especially wide at the shoulders to help you to feel protected and safe.
- Provides plenty of headroom.
- Delivers complete weather resistance.
- Weighs just 16 ounces.
- Features fully sealed seams.
- Comes with a built-in bug screen.
- Not especially resistant to condensation.
9 RAB Survival Zone Bivi
At first glance, this bivy sack might not look like much. It doesn’t boast all the gadgets and gizmos that make other models that out from the crowd. There is no shiny exterior or special side zipper to provide easy access.
Let’s take a closer look…
While it may not win many prizes for style, the RAB Survival Zone Bivi is especially practical. The 70D Hyperlite Storm fabric is especially tough and durable while also being waterproof. Not only is the material breathable, but the overall design also provides you with plenty of space when you are sleeping.
The upside of this basic design is that the RAB Survival Zone Bivi is especially light. Despite the fact that it is a generous 95 inches long, it rolls up incredibly small. Even when the terrain gets especially tough, you are unlikely to notice the weight of this model.
The lack of a side zipper means that it can be rather difficult to get in and out of this bivy sack. Access is provided through the top, and you have to wiggle your way down. However, once you have mastered the technique, you are likely to enjoy sleeping in the RAB Survival Zone Bivi.
- Features a drawcord entrance.
- An impressive 95 inches long.
- Delivers excellent weatherproofing.
- Made of 70D Hyperlite Storm material.
- Rolls up especially small.
- Rather difficult to get in and out.
- Not the most attractive model around.
10 BLACK DIAMOND Big Wall Hooped
If you prefer a little extra space when you sleep, the BLACK DIAMOND Big Wall Hooped is an excellent option. This is ideal if you suffer from claustrophobia but still want to reap the benefits of a bivy sack. Even if you have to seal this model over your head to experience true weatherproofing, you’ll still have plenty of space.
The extra space is provided by the flexible wire that has been sewn into the material. You will be able to bend this wire to the desired shape to help you feel more comfortable. This also helps to reinforce the whole design and make it significantly more durable.
Want to know the best part?
The BLACK DIAMOND Big Wall Hooped comes with special welded tie-in points for enhanced security. This allows you to anchor the bivy sack to the surrounding terrain. Even during extreme weather, you can be sure that this model will stay firmly in place while you take shelter.
As an added bonus, the hooped design is very quick and easy to set up. The Todd-Tex waterproof and breathable material is designed to be especially durable and reliable. This model also utilizes a PTFE membrane that has been bonded to both the face fabric and internal fabric.
There are also plenty of other special features that help to provide you with full protection. The no-see-um mesh and taped seams help to keep bugs and the elements at bay. The dual zipper also helps you to make a quick escape when nature calls.
- Dual-sided zipper and mesh covered opening.
- Boasts a very lightweight design.
- Provides plenty of space.
- Features a fully anchored design.
- Delivers rain and condensation resistance.
- Rather bulky when rolled up.
Best Bivy Sacks Buying Guide
As you are sure to have noticed, the best bivy sacks come in a wide range of different styles. While this provides you with plenty of choice, it can help make selecting the perfect model a little tricky. Here are some of the key factors that you should bear in mind when checking out the top options.
The last thing you want when setting up an emergency camp is to get attacked by the elements. Therefore, it is essential that the bivy sack you choose is highly waterproof. The ‘hydrostatic head’ (HH) scale has been created as a guide to perfect waterproofing.
The higher the HH number, the more waterproof your bivy sack will be, with the maximum being 20,000 HH. Ideally, you need to search for a bivy sack that is at least 12,000 HH. If your bivy sack is waterproof, it is also likely to provide you with enhanced protection against the other elements.
If you have to spend several hours or even days in your bivy sack, it could quickly become hot and stuffy. Therefore, good ventilation is absolutely essential. Search for a model that is made from a material such as Gore-tex, eVent, or Pertex.
If the weather is especially warm, you will want to choose a bivy sack that comes with mesh panels. You should be able to unzip the outer material while still being protected by the mesh. This will allow the air to circulate without allowing bugs to enter.
- The Weight Factor
Like with all types of outdoor gear, you will want your bivy sack to be as light as possible. However, you will not want to compromise when it comes to durability. Choosing a model that is compact as possible is also essential if you are planning on hiking long distances.
Selecting a bivy sack that boasts the perfect balance between weight, size, and durability can be a bit of an art form. While cutting out certain features may reduce weight or size, they may also make the model less functional. It is important to weigh all the factors carefully and pay close attention to your specific needs.