Best Bivvy Bags
A bivvy bag can be used in many ways and should always be adapted to your needs. Whether you are planning a trekking tour with or without an overnight stay in the mountains, a hike around the national park or you plan to camp – there is the right bivy bag for every application. Before deciding on a bivy sack, you should know that there are different models to choose from, that differ in terms of quality, functionality and especially price. Many interested parties therefore want to first find out about the material, the area of application and the functionality of a bivy bag.
What is a bivvy bag suitable for? What material is it made of? On such and similar questions, we have put together on this website some of the most important information about bivy sack and bivouac for you. In addition, we present you with some models, with all their advantages and disadvantages and useful customer reviews – because a bivy bag should have a high level of quality and functionality – and that is exactly what we want to offer you.
1. Bivy bags tested – Which is the best bivvy bag?
On this website we want to introduce you to the different bivy sack models, with all their advantages and disadvantages, so that you can find a reliable and functional bivvy bag for you and your next tour. Whether you want to hike from hut to hut, go on a pilgrimage path or enjoy nature in the mountains, alone or with friends. For this purpose, we have taken various breathable, waterproof, PU-coated emergency bivy sacks made of rip-stop nylon, bivy tents etc. scrutinized and put together, on the basis of test reports, customer experience, information and based on the price-performance ratio, in a comparison table. You can expect many models with various membrane materials such as Gore Tex laminate, breathable models by Aqua Quest, different versions of Carinthia bivy sack, Exped bivy sack, whether with hoods or storm collar, taped or with welded seams, with reflective imprints and much more.
Here you will find a clearly arranged table with bivouac sacks, listed according to the most important criteria. If you want to know more about a specific model, just click on the desired model in the menu bar, or simply click on the product in the table.
2. What is a bivvy bag?
For experienced mountaineers, it is of course a bivy bag, to pack in your luggage, because especially in the mountains, it can quickly lead to a weather change. If you don’t include a bivouac sack in your tour, this can have dangerous effects, as rainwear often doesn’t help much with constant rain. But, what is a bivy sack? Where does the term come from? And what is a bivy bag for? What it serves?
The bivy bag could be described as a thin outer shell, which is pulled over the sleeping bag when sleeping outdoors to protect it from moisture, wind, but also from unnecessary pollution.
You could say the bivy bag is an all-rounder. This water-repellent and warming shell, thanks to its properties, can turn into an emergency shelter in no time at all. It offers the best protection in alpine terrain at high wind speeds and low temperatures and is the experience-bringer. Thanks to the bivy bag, you can confidently enjoy the night under the starry sky, whether alone or as a couple. Because bivi bags are available in different sizes, which are also suitable for two people.
Bivy Bag – The Lifesaver
It is advisable to always take a bivyy bag on tour, as it can happen that you can’t reach your hut in time or it suddenly comes to a weather change. Here the bivy bag shows its true function, because it allows to create a night camp in the mountains and in emergency situations.
Not infrequently, the bivy bag has already proven to be a true lifesaver, because in combination with the right sleeping bag, the Biwi protects the body from ice, rain and cold. Thus, it is not only suitable as a tent replacement, but also has a variety of other practical functions. For example, you can use it as a rescue blanket, or put an injured person on it and drag it to the nearest hut. In emergencies, you can also draw attention to yourself with the bivouac sack, by waving the colorful sheath back and forth. He is both a reliable rain cover, which can also be used as a waterproof pad, as well as a practical sun or wind protection. Often it is also used as a head pad or pillow.
The term Bivouac
But where does the bivouac sack come from? The term bivouac comes from the French of “bivouac”, which means camp or night camp and is thus also used by the army. While the main guard was often in a shelter, the “bîwake” was stationed in the open air, mostly in tents or cabin-like lodgings. The task of the watch party was to identify the approaching enemy at an early stage and to put the main guard on alert at the right time. Today, the term bivouac has also found its way into alpinism, which is understood as a more Spartan and less comfortable accommodation in the high mountains, for the purpose of an intense nature experience, or an emergency shelter due to an alpine emergency.
3. Bivy sack forms – different sizes and models
The shape depends mainly on the comfort you want, but also on the application area.
- Bivy bag for 2 persons
As mentioned earlier, manufacturers offer bivy sacks in various sizes, including bites for one or two people. The advantage of a two-person bivvy bag is that only one person must wear the protective outer shell on the trekking backpack. This will reduce the total weight and also allow additional equipment to be taken along for the planned high mountain tour. The disadvantage here is probably that a separate night in different places is not possible. In addition, a bivouac for 2 persons proves to be convenient in the sense that one can warm each other here.
- Open bivy bag
An open bivy bag has the advantage that you can breathe freely and comfortably, as the face is exposed. However, these bivouac sacks are more intended for use in a tent or under a tarp. You can find models with hoods or ones that close at the shoulders and thus offer no protection against incoming water. Also versions with zipper are possible, others are in turn closed with a drawstring. In other words, if you plan to bring an open bivouac sack, you should be sure you are staying in a cabin or tent, or at least having a tarp with you.
- Closed bivy bag
The closed bivouac sacks ensure complete rain protection and can therefore also be used as a tent replacement. They are an ideal sleeping bag cover that can be closed from the inside with a Velcro fastener or a drawstring. Many also have a lateral opening to ensure better breathing. With a closed bivouac sack you should always pay attention to a sufficient breathing and oxygen supply, so as not to suffer from an oxygen deficiency. Therefore, many models offer a possibility, or strings, over which you can attach the hood to rocks or branches.
Although many models are made of breathable materials, you should never close such a bivy bag completely. Thanks to the lockable bivvy bag you are well protected in humid environments, such as snow holes. In addition, these models provide additional protection against rain and are ideal for overnight under the open sky. As a disadvantage, the condensation is considered by breathing air and because you have to be careful to get enough fresh air, so as not to suffer a carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Rectangular bivy bag
You will find bivy sacks in rectangular form, which are also ideal for covering a snow cave, as well as various models with rods in which the mattress fits comfortably. This form of bivouac is also called a bivouac tent.
4. Tent or bivouac tent?
The bivouac tent could be described as a mini tent, which accordingly weighs a bit more and is less suitable for a climbing tour, for example. For this purpose would be used models with an additional opening on the belt, to allow for self-assurance. Bivy tents provide a higher level of comfort, as long as they have a rod in the head area, which keeps the fabric away from the face. As an additional comfort, many models also have a mosquito net. These models, especially when made of breathable materials, are also suitable as sleeping bags in tropical areas or permanently high humidity areas, where they can of course also be used without an additional sleeping bag.
A disadvantages of bivy tents would be the higher weight (due to the linkage/bars) and the low, but required, construction.
5. Modern materials and technologies – the right protection
Bivy bags are available in different materials. Decisive in the choice is the area of application. Different models with different functions can be found on the market and this leads to significant price differences. Simple models are made of PU-coated polyester, these are not breathable, but due to the material very light. Many weigh just over 100g. Note also the pack size, which should be as low as possible. Some, even two-man bivouacs, fit comfortably in the lid compartment of a trekking backpack. In order to decide on the right bivouac sack you should especially consider the accommodation options during the tour as well as whether you plan to use the bivvy bag as an emergency shelter, or to use it as a regular sleeping accommodation. Thanks to the bivouac sack, the body stays protected from ice and snow and can’t cool down. Climbers and high mountain tourists are well advised with a bivy bag if they want to protect themselves from cold and wet.
- Waterproof bivy bag
Waterproof bivvy bags are made of polyester. They are usually very light in weight and cheaper than the breathable variants, but they have the one disadvantage that accumulates condensation in the interior after a short time. Especially when using the PU-coated bivy sack during the winter, condensate builds up in the cold due to body heat, making the sleeping bag wet. As a result, it no longer warms properly and there is a risk of freezing. Those who want to use the bivy bag in combination with their sleeping bags as a regular outdoor accommodation, should think about a breathable variant. However, if you only want to take the bivy bag with you as an emergency equipment for the tour in the mountains, then a reasonably priced, waterproof bivy sack should be enough for you.
- Breathable bivy bag
If you want to spend the night outdoors at low temperatures, you should rather resort to a breathable bivvy. Here are bivouac sacks from Gore Tex, or Sympathex, or Event, a vapor permeable membrane. The Gore Tex laminate is a waterproof and windproof material that is used as an upper material for tents and bivouac sacks. It is extremely breathable and permeable to oxygen and exhaled carbon dioxide. Some other positive features of this material are its light weight, it is much lighter than traditional protective covers, and its reduced packing volume.
Thanks to this unique technology you have the possibility to completely close your bivouac sack (or tent) to protect yourself from cold or rain. This keeps the warm air inside and you don’t have to open the bivy bag to ventilate it. The amount of condensed water is greatly reduced and condensate, which should occur anyway, is quickly discharged to the outside. These models are usually heavier and more expensive unlike bivvy bags made of waterproof PU coated nylon. In addition, you should pay attention when buying, if the material may be re-impregnated according to the manufacturer after use.
- Bivouac sacks as a combination of different materials
Bivi bags are often found as a combination of different materials. For example, to make a bivy bag lighter, a lighter, non-breathable material is used for the underside of a breathable bivy bag.
In any case, ventilate well or close the bivvy bag well, depending on the membrane, to generate the necessary gas pressure (Tex membranes).
Substance that may also be used is, for example, cotton, which, although not waterproof, is extremely effective against flying sparks. You should be careful with conditionally waterproof fabrics that can only be used under tarps or in the tent. So the material Tyvek, which is otherwise very light and breathable. There are also taped bivouacs that are more compressible, easier to dry and lighter in weight. Through the attached tapes, the seam is sealed so to speak and sealed.