Best Bivy Sack Reviews 2018

Choosing the best bivy sack can be an uphill task. There are a great many options on sale, and not all of them are high-performing shelters. We’ve combed the bivy sack market and now, we give you the top makers of this minimalist outdoor shelter and one bivy from each that we love. If for any reason you don't want any of these, feel free to check out their other bivy sack offerings.
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Type
Size
Material
Protection
Extras
Our Top Choice
Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy
Outdoor Research is the maker of technical accessories and apparel for the dauntless outdoor explorer.
It keeps you warm even in snow, and is easily assembled and disassembled. It is well-constructed and backed by great customer service.
The zipper needs cautious handling so it doesn’t catch the mesh.
Compact
13 x 11 x 3 inches, 1.4 lbs
GORE-TEX
Waterproof
Durable
Best Value
Survive Outdoors Longer Escape Bivvy
Survive Outdoors Longer is one of the Tender Corporation brands, whose mission it is to provide innovative products for your next adventure.
This lightweight bivy packs into a compact size. It’s constructed with high-grade, breathable materials.
Some people might find it a narrow fit.
Emergency
8.5 x 4 x 6.2 inches, 1 lb
Mylar
Waterproof
Durable
Black Diamond Big Wall Bivy
Black Diamond makes some of the best equipment available to its family of climbers and skiers across the world.
It is a waterproof, single-wall, free-standing bivy with abrasion-resistant material. It’s easy to set up, and a breeze to pack up too.
Prolonged wetness reduces its breathability.
Long season
15 x 6 x 5 inches, 1.9 lbs
ToddTex
Waterproof
Dual-sided zipper
Tennier Modular 4-Pc Sleep System
Tennier Industries Inc. creates some of the best value products for the modern soldier’s comfort.
Changing temperatures aren’t a problem for this bivy. Its layers can be added or removed to fit the weather. The hoods can serve as pillows on warm nights.
It is somewhat heavy.
4-piece
6.3 x 4.7 x 2.1 inches, 1 lb
GORE-TEX
Waterproof
Compression sack
Chinook Nylon Bivy Base Bag
Chinook Technical Outdoor is a specialist in the production of outdoor gear for user delight and comfort.
It fits any sleeping bag and provides affordable, waterproof protection in a compact and lightweight package.
An isolated case of condensation has been reported.
Compact
11.2 x 4.2 x 4.2 inches; 1 lb
Waterproof nylon fabric
Waterproof
Ultralight

(Updated )
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Watch Our Bivy Sack Review

How Do I Choose the Best Bivy Sack?

The great outdoors can be fun and educational, especially if you have the right gear. You get to learn about the world around you by watching nature at work. There’s also a feeling of accomplishment when you look up at a hill or mountain and know that you’ve already scaled that height.

A good deal of thought is usually put into preparing for a great time outdoors, and it can be a bummer when, in spite of all the planning, something as unpredictable as the weather shortens or outrightly ruins it. There really isn’t much that can be done if your hiking, climbing or camping has been interrupted by the elements - or is there? We think there is, and dedicated outdoors lovers know this. The solution lies in the use of portable shelters, usually tents or bivy sacks.

While a tent offers more room and comfort, bivy sacks are minimalist options that do not have the bulk and weight of tents. They are designed for the backpacker, biker or climber on the move who’s in the need of emergency weather protection during multiple-day ascents. The word "bivy" is actually short for "bivouac," a temporary camp with tent or cover. Bivys are designed to keep snow and rain out, draw out the vapor from the sack and keep you warm. That’s a lot to expect from such lightweight items, but they deliver, and excellently too.

Condensation and breathability are the essential features to look for in a bivy sack. Condensation occurs when the water lost from the body in the form of vapor has no means of escaping the bivy. Breathability is the feature of bivy sacks that allows it to escape. It’s also important to consider the weights of these units. They should be light enough for a biker to conveniently carry on a mountain bike, or for a hiker to attach to a hiking backpack. The fabric should be tough and abrasion-resistant, as it will be seeing a lot of contact with rugged terrain, high winds and probably intensive sunlight. These features will cost you some good money, so make the right choice. Don’t skimp on price - get yourself one that will last a great while.
Price
Basic bivy sacks do not cost as much as those that have more features. A basic bivy is usually a single unit made with a waterproof material, with a zipper (or two) that protects you from getting any precipitation on you while keeping you warm. Bivy sacks with more features may have mesh nettings that keep out bugs and insects, sleeping bag straps or some other innovation. Needless to say, choosing a bivy from the latter group means you’ll be parting with more dollars.

Another factor that accounts for the price difference of bivy sacks may include brand. There are manufacturers whose products have established a high standard and continue to push the boundaries of innovation. Such brands usually have a large base of loyal customers who readily pick up each product released as soon as it’s announced. We do not believe that choosing cheap bivy sacks will save you money. Cheap ones may not be well-made and will put you at the mercy of the elements.
Features
Mountaineering, hiking or camping are attractions that outdoor enthusiasts cannot resist, but the fun can be dampened when you realize that your gear isn’t in top-notch order. Freezing temperatures and pelting rain do not make the most appealing of invites to spend a night outdoors, do they? We advise you to consider some of the following features before choosing the best bivy sack for you:
  • Type: bug nets, minimalist, four-season, emergency
  • Size: dimensions and weight
  • Material: two-layer 40D ripstop nylon/ 40D ripstop nylon with DuraShield (R) polyurethane and DWR
  • Protection: against water and weather
  • Extras: loops, anti-fungal treated materials
Looking for bivy sacks with these features in mind will go a long way in helping you choose the right one for you.
Construction and Design
Different materials are employed in the construction of bivy sacks. The major characteristic each should possess is water resistance. Waterproof material is what makes a bivy work. Materials used for the construction of bivy sacks include polyurethane (PU), which is usually used for the bottom or floor of a bivvy bag, but can also be used for the entire bivvy. The problem with using this material is that it sometimes does not allow water vapor produced in the bivy to escape, causing condensation to form in the sack.

Another fabric in use is Gore-Tex, which is made up of an inner layer of ultra-thin PU, a middle layer of PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), and an outer layer. The PTFE layer is porous, with about 9 billion holes per square inch that are nearly the size of vaporized water particles, but 700 times larger than rain drops (pretty cool, right?). The E-Vent is similar to Gore-Tex, but doesn’t have an inner PU layer. Other materials include Pertex, DWR (Durable Water Repellant) coating, polyethylene and polypropylene. These materials have one thing in common: they’re all waterproof.

Another thing to consider is the size of the bivy sack. An average bivy has dimensions of about 87 x 30 inches and weighs less than 10 ounces. This is roomy enough for an adult to sleep in, and light enough to be carried in your gear without hampering your fun. Some of them are longer and wider, with more room for some of your gear, especially items that should be kept dry.
Performance and Ease of Use
Condensation is a common issue, even with bivies featuring the latest technology, but it’s usually reduced to the barest minimum with good bivy sacks. A condensation-free bivy interior is usually dependent on the type of material used. Not only do bivies have to be waterproof, they also have to be breathable. This is the quality that allows water lost from the body through vapor to be able to pass through the material into the external environment.

The zipper placement in a bivy sack might be the difference between a great bivy and an okay one. They serve as both door and window for these shelters, and will see lots of use. Zippers that are not sewn in properly will catch the fabric of the bivy, and it can be a tad annoying when you have to wrestle with the zipper each time to get in and out of your bivy.
Where they’re placed can also determine something as relevant as how much air gets in and out of the bivy. Some bivies have zippers in their head and foot areas, while others have zippers only in their head areas.

Some manufacturers create a boxed foot and head space in their bivys, which also enhances the spaciousness of the bivy. Some of them are hooped; they have a flexible rod sewn into the top head area of the bivy, giving you more air space. An extra feature is the anti-fungal treated floor of some bivies. This means that mold or mildew does not grow on it, even when it has been stored without drying. Some brands have poles that allow the cover flap to be held up and away on those warm nights. To keep you warm, some brands have utilized heat-reflective material that traps your body heat within the bivy, so that you’ll stay warm even in snowy regions.

What is the Best Bivy Sack?

You already know that with bivy sacks, the more features you get, the more money you should expect to spend. However, not all these features will be necessary, since a bivy is basically a Spartan shelter and more features will probably weigh you down. Now that you’ve read our buying guide, choosing the best bivy for you should be a lot easier. Let’s take a look at the bivy sacks under review.
Our Top Choice
The Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy features the GORE-TEX Respiration Positive fabric for protection from precipitation and removing condensation. Its overlapped zipper keeps the weather out and lets fresh air in. For warmer climes, the Outdoor Research Bug Bivy with netting and nylon floor is a great option. You may want to check it out too.
Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy with 3 Layer Gore-Tex Floor

Outdoor Research Bivy Sack 242833OR


Features
Outdoor Research, or OR, is an award-winning, US-based company that was established in 1981 by Ron Gregg, a brilliant scientist and adventurer. The Outside Magazine Gear of the Year Award in 2012, Men's Journal Gear of the Year Award in 2012 and an ISPO Award are only some of its accomplishments. Being the passionate innovator that it is, Outdoor Research isn’t resting on any of them. This company was created by an adventurer for the enjoyment of fellow adventurers, with its technologically advanced and superior quality gaiters (this particular item played an important role in OR’s creation), apparel, storage and bivy sacks.

The Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy is made with Gore-Tex fabric that’s more waterproof than other fabrics used in the manufacture of bivies. It has a greater waterproof durability over time. This means that you can take those long hikes and climb those heights as often as you desire, without having to worry about this bivy holding up and keeping you dry, because it is designed to do exactly that.

Gore-Tex is a breathable fabric and doesn’t allow moisture to build inside the bivy. It is also fully seam-taped to prevent water from finding its way into the bivy, so even on rainy days (and nights) you are fully protected from any water seeping in. The overlapping zipper gives you extra protection from precipitation. This zipper design means you can leave it open some inches for ventilation and not be affected by the rain.

At 87 inches long and 25 inches at its widest point (the shoulders), this is a roomy bivy that should accommodate most people. At its foot end, it has a width of almost 20 inches. The head of the bivy features a stiffened piping that gives shape to the top, and the bottom section has the same, but not as stiff. It has a zippered foot vent that allows moist air that may have formed at this end of the bivy to escape; it (the zipper) is about 13 inches long and is accessed from outside, under the storm flap.

Other great features of this bivy include:
  • A hydroseal, anti-fungal coated floor that keeps water and mildew out
  • No-see-um mesh at the head that allows air in while effectively keeping bugs out
  • Sleeping pad straps that’ll hold your sleeping bag in place
  • Internal mesh pocket for storing batteries, small flashlights, etc.
  • Five stake loops and one guy-line loop for extra-securing the bivy
With all these features, the Alpine Bivy makes a great all-seasons bivy.
Best Value
Survive Outdoors Longer’s Escape Bivvy has waterproof seams, and a drawstring hood closure with a zip that keeps out the elements for warmth and dryness. Its bright color makes emergency rescue easy. For a non-minimalist emergency bivy, check out the Survive Outdoors Longer Emergency Bivvy, a 3.8 ounce bivy that keeps you warm on an unexpected night in the open.
Survive Outdoors Longer Escape Bivy with Heat Reflective Fabric – Available in 2 Colors

Survive Outdoors Longer Bivy Sack 0140-1228 - Orange


Features
Tender Corporation is the proud maker of the internationally acclaimed Afterbite - an insect bite treatment. It’s also the parent brand of Survive Outdoors Longer and a number of other brands. It was established in 1973 and became a corporation in 1977; it has since been guided by two concepts, adaptability and change. Tender Corporation promises to continue improving and adapting for the success of its customers and the motivation of its employees.

Survive Outdoors Longer’s Escape Bivvy is constructed to be lightweight for easy packing. This means easy carrying for hiking, camping and recreational activities. This bivy is made with a proprietary fabric that’s not only durable but breathable, with its micropores, as well. It allows moisture from your body to escape through it, thus creating a condensation-free interior for a comfortable night outdoors.

The inner surface of this proprietary fabric is heat-reflective. When you’re wrapped in it, the heat produced by your body is trapped within the bivy – as much as 70% of it, effectively keeping you warm even on icy nights. The product is long-lasting due to the quality and strength of its materials, which can stand any kind of weather conditions. Its seams are waterproof. When its zipper is pulled close and its hooded closure is drawn shut by its drawstring, you can get a good night’s rest without worrying about what the weather is doing outside.

The Escape Bivvy is also designed to be used like a traditional sleeping bag. At 84 x 31 inches, it’s roomy enough for nights spent outdoors, and when packed into its accompanying stuff bag, its 8.5 ounces don’t add any troublesome weight to your gear.

This bivy’s bright orange color means that in the (unwanted) event of an emergency, it’ll be easily spotted by a rescue team, even in areas with dense tree cover. Some other features it has include:
  • When compared to products by other brands, it is quite affordable
  • High fabric material that endures intensive use without puncture or tear
  • Windproof to keep you safe even in high winds
  • Comes in a stuff bag for easy storage and portability
The Black Diamond Big Wall Hooped Bivy is a lightweight bivy designed with climbers in mind. It features a sewn-in Derlin rod, factory taped seams, RF-welded material, Toddtex breathable material and a coated nylon taffeta floor. If you want a bug net type, get the Black Diamond Bipod Bivy, which is another lightweight bivy. It maximizes head and shoulder room and has a large zipper.
Black Diamond Big Wall Hooped Bivy – Available in 2 Colors & 2 Sizes

Black Diamond Bivy Sack BD810209YELOLNG1 – Yellow - Long


Features
Since 1957, Black Diamond has supplied its customers with inventive gear designs that have set the pace in many areas. This is a brand that’s all about climbing and skiing, and it considers itself the purveyor of the world's best gear for these activities. The company itself is made up of a team of committed climbers and skiers who are in the unending process of improving the quality of the brand through a hands-on approach. With a dedicated workforce in Asia, Europe and the US, Black Diamond is hard at work, creating a promising future for skiers and climbers worldwide.

The Black Diamond Big Wall Hooped Bivy features a dual slider zipper, which can be opened to a desired length for improved air flow in and out of the bivy. The opening has a no-see-um net covering that will let the air in and keep mosquitoes and other flying and crawling pests out. It has waterproof, RF welded fabric (the RF welded fabric means that the fabric is not only impenetrable, but resistant to tearing). It also has a Spectra runner that is sewn in its side for the attachment of loops, ropes and lines for secure anchoring.

The wall of this bivy is made with Toddtex trilaminate fabric that is waterproof and breathable, while its floor is made with 70 Denier coated nylon taffeta. With these, you’ll be protected from the elements. Water won’t seep up through the bivy’s bottom, thus keeping you dry. Another feature that keeps precipitation out is the factory-taped seams, with a complete absence of any seams at all on the storm flap and rain gutter. At 99 inches along its length and 35 inches across its shoulders, this bivy is spacious. If you’re under six feet, it might even accommodate your boots and some of your gear.

Some of its other features include the following:
  • Boxed head and foot ends offer extra comfort and room
  • Stuff sack for portability and ease of storage
  • Tube of Seam-Grip is included to seal the seams
  • Applicator is also included for use with the seal
  • It also includes a patch kit.
The Tennier Modular Sleep System is a four-part bivy that can be used separately or together. All its seams are heat-sealed, and its Gore-Tex cover is waterproof. A patrol bag, intermediate bag and stuff bag make up the rest of the system. If a sleeping bag is all you want, try the Tennier US Military MSS Intermediate Sleeping Bag. It's a component of the Modular Sleep System.
Tennier Military Modular Sleep System 4 Piece with Goretex Bivy Cover & Carry Sack

Tennier Bivy Sack 8465-01-445-6274


Features
Tennier Industries Inc. is a top contractor for the United States military for technically constructed items, gear and sleep systems. This company is committed to product quality, product improvement and innovation through redesigning and compliance with the particular nature of military specification. Its manufacturing processes combine sophistication with cost effectiveness, enabling it to meet the demands of the military and sub-contractors. By outperforming its competitors, Tennier has grown to become the military sole provider of sleeping bag systems.

The Tennier Modular Sleep System is a combination of four different sleeping components that can either be used separately in warmer climes, or together as an inter-operable system that keeps out the cold even at extremely low temperatures. It consists of layers, with the outer layer being a covering for a user to shield from weather conditions. The other two parts could be used as patrol sleeping bags and extreme climate conditions shelter bags. Various components are used independently, but if combined, they can also create a unique sleeping compact system. The last component serves as a packsack that all other components can fit into easily for movement. The system is fairly easy to assemble; each bag is equipped with a number of snaps allowing them to be used independently or with one another. This conjoining of the bags ensures that they perform as a single unit. This is military gear with military-grade specifications.

Similar products on sale by Tennier include:
  • The ACU Digital Bivy Cover: 100% water and windproof cover with a two-way zipper that allows for both top and bottom ventilation. It’s also machine-washable and non-flammable
  • The Multi-Season Sleep System: A lightweight system that contains Tennier’s recently developed insulation and high-tenacity fabric
  • The ECWCS GEN III L6: Moisture and vapor permeable, waterproof Parka-Trouser known as the hard shell Layer VI of the Gen III Extended Cold Weather Clothing System. It’s made for use in cold and wet weather
Earning the military’s trust isn’t an easy task, but Tennier Inc. has done just that with its reliable sleep systems.
The Chinook Base Bivy features a 3000mm PU coated nylon fabric and factory-taped seams. It’s roomy and comes with its own stuff sack. If you’d rather have a waterproof bivy that’s breathable and offers facial ventilation, consider the Chinook Summit Bivy Bag.
Chinook Waterproof Ultralight Nylon Bivy Base Bag

Chinook Bivy Sack 11105


Features
Chinook Technical Outdoor is inspired by the beautiful Canadian outdoors and a great love for nature. By utilizing its immense experience in this field, it endeavors to create nothing less than excellence, and its resilience has paid off for 20 years and counting. It has broken new ground in general outdoor products, including sleeping bags, tents, apparel, technical cookware and much more.

The Chinook Base Bivy is a lightweight solution to your outdoor protection needs. It features waterproof nylon material that keeps all the rain and snow out, no matter how hard it falls. If you’re worried about the weather turning sour when you’re out enjoying the sights and sounds of Mother Nature, this bivy is a practical way to stay one step ahead.

Its contoured hood allows more space, and that can mean a lot if you’re claustrophobic. To further get you snugly protected from the elements, there's a roomy foot box. This way your legs don’t get cramped from staying in a limited range of positions for the period you’re in the bivy (and that can be an unexpectedly long time in some storms).

The Base Bivy's factory-taped seams do not allow groundwater to seep into your bivy and soil your sleeping bag or dampen your space. With its 88 x 36-inch size, it’s quite roomy.

Here’s another bivy from Chinook for your consideration:
  • The Chinook Ascent Bivy Shelter: Has a facial ventilation system and waterproof fabric

Get the Best Bivy Sack of 2018!

We hope you’re as excited as we are to get out in one of these bivies, so let’s not get in your way. Enjoy your bivy!

Our Top Choice
Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy
Best Value
Survive Outdoors Longer Escape Bivvy
Black Diamond Big Wall Bivy
Tennier Modular 4-Pc Sleep System
Chinook Nylon Bivy Base Bag