Mountaineers and backpackers have long been on a quest to find a sleeping tent that is compact, compresses tightly, and is lightweight to carry. The best solution for some is a bivy sack. Original bivy sacks started as waterproof sleeping bags that provided temporary emergency shelter and sleeping space for adventure-seekers. Today’s bivy sacks reflect body heat to protect the body from the elements longer than laying on the ground out in the open. They have the added benefit of being fully sealed to keep out bugs, snakes, and other animals.
Bivy Sack vs. Sleeping Bag
Regular sleeping bags have many purposes. Kids’ sleeping bags are a “must-have” for families with children. Kids’ sleeping bags are lightweight, colorful, and may reflect a child’s favorite characters or celebrities, but they are intended for indoor use. Heavier sleeping bags work best for tent or RV camping to help keep them warm and dry, regardless of the weather.
Bivy sacks were designed for a greater purpose. The idea behind a bivy sack is to fully enclose the body to protect it from the weather and anything else in the wilderness that will bother you while you are sleeping. Mountain climbers, backpackers, and other extreme athletes can’t be unnecessarily bogged down by extra size and weight in the back pack. Their sleeping system needs to store as tightly and as compactly as possible, while being lightweight. The down side to bivy sacks is that they are confining. A one-person dome tent may be a better choice for someone who is claustrophobic.
Our Favorite Bivy Sack Reviews in 2018
Survive Outdoors Longer Emergency Bivy—Read Product Reviews
Price: $12.82 at Amazon.com
This bivy is made from heat-reflective polyethylene that reflects up to 90% of your body’s heat back to you. It’s the same material that Adventure Medical Kit’s world famous emergency blankets are made from. The bivy sack is ultra-light, ultra-warm, and seals you into the sack to protect you from the elements.
Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy—Read Product Reviews
Price: $186.39 at Amazon.com
Seal yourself up tight in this bivy with 3-layer Gore-Tex respiration-positive fabric. The floor is made of nylon and is hydroseal coated to be waterproof. It has a single overhead shock-corded Delrin pole and end-opening zipper with a wide storm flap. It’s tall enough for thicker mats for a comfortable night’s sleep.
SE EB1220R Emergency Sleeping Bag—Read Product Reviews
Price: $8.53 at Amazon.com
Sleep warmly and safely in this 3’ x 7’ lightweight emergency sleeping bag with heavy-duty fabric. It’s aluminized with PE material that reflects body heat to create warmth and it weighs only 5. 8 ounces. It’s tear-resistant and reusable. It comes in a high-visibility orange color and stores in a drawstring carrying bag.
Moore Militaria Modular Sleep System—Read Product Reviews
Price: $175.49 at Amazon.com
Have confidence in your gear with this bivy that is standard military issue. It includes the mummy style patrol bag, black mummy style intermediate bag, weather resistant camouflage Gor-ex bivy cover, and a 6 or 9-strap compression stuff sack. Stay warm even when temperatures range from 50°F to -50°F.
Snugpak 92860 Stratosphere 1-person Bivy Shelter—Read Product Reviews
Price: $134. 93 at Amazon.com
The Snugpak is an excellent choice of a 1-person bivy with full length side zipper that stands up to severe weather. It’s breathable, yet highly waterproof. It includes lightweight aluminum poles that create a self-supporting canopy. It also has a roll-away mosquito net in front of the hood and a meshed ventilation section at the back.
Kelty Trail Bivy—Read Product Reviews
Price: $64.95 at Amazon.com
Snuggle into this bivy and you’ll be tucked in as tight as a mummy. It’s a bit over-sized, so it fits easily over your head and will accommodate the larger sleeping bags. Get in and out of the bivy easily with the U-shaped zipper. The fabric is waterproof, yet breathable, and it has a large mesh vented window.
Winterial Single-person Bivy Tent—Read Product Reviews
Price: $68.98 at Amazon.com
Do your mountain climbing or backpacking three seasons of the year with this bivy that is perfect for summer, as well as colder temperatures during fall and spring. It has a ventilated mesh roof and a full-coverage rain fly. It comes with three bundles of strong cord and 14 heavy-duty stakes.
When you know that you will be hiking or backpacking in remote areas, you need to be keenly aware that the terrain before you is uncertain and the weather is unpredictable. It’s great to plan ahead and it’s even better to be fully prepared for any situation that you may encounter. Taking a bivy along that keeps you warm, no matter what the temperature is, will give you a good night’s rest so that you can tackle any challenges that you may face on your trip.