The 5 Best Bivy Sacks in 20186 min read

By Ben Griffin

Hiker Extraordinaire

If you are a hiking enthusiast, you know how much it means to carry your backpack light.

You don’t want to be dragging yourself throughout the whole hike with the extra weight of shelter.

Believe me, I didn’t know bivy sack would be so much more convenient until I used it myself.

It allows you to set up camp almost anywhere and anytime you like.

On one of my hikes to the mountains, I took the bivy sack instead of the tent.

It was a lot lighter than a tent and took up much less space in my pack.

In this review, ill walk you through my process for finding an awesome bivy sack.

Ready? Let’s go!

The Shortlist My 5 Favorite Bivy Sacks

Bivy Sack Best Feature My Grade
Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy Great internal storage, comfort, and durable. I use this bivy sack. A 🏅
Rab Ridge Raider Fine gauge mesh and very light A-
Black Diamond Big Wall Hooped Waterproof B+
Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy Compresses to the size of a waterbottle B+
Outdoor Research Helium Bivy Great value B

^^Below, I’ve written more detailed reviews, but you can click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

Why Do You Need Bivy Sack?

Bivy sacks are for hikers like you and I, who want light weight emergency weather protection.

The original bivies were like the waterproof sleeping bag covers that protected extreme athletes from rain or provided them with a temporary emergency shelter.

Over the years, bivy sacks have evolved and are now available with fabrics that make it water proof and breathable and better suited for the user.

It is here to serve the needs of climbers who want light weight emergency weather protection for sleeping bags during multiple-day ascents, particularly on big walls.

As an outdoorsy person myself, I know for a fact that bivy sacks are the way to go.

Some of the mentionable features of bivy sacks that make them so great are:

  • Ease of finding a place to sleep.
  • Very quick to setup or pack away, even in the dark.

    Helpful if you need to make a quick departure

  • Lightweight
  • Close to nature.

    You are out because you love the nature and with bivy sacks, you can actually fall asleep gazing at the stars.

    You can enjoy the nice breeze and just feel the nature.

  • How To Choose Bivy Sacks?

    The proper selection of shelter as discussed earlier is an essential part of the entire journey.

    The place that we are hoping to visit has a significant say in arriving at the decision.

    The use and features of bivy sack determine the experience of your hiking adventure.

    The shelter needs to be waterproof, safe, condensation resistant, breathable etc.

    Several factors have to be taken into consideration before setting a perfect match between your experience and bivy sack.

    Some of the things that should be taken into consideration are:


    The most important factor to look at is the weight of the bivy sack.

    It is also one of the most important features of bivy sack.

    If you are an avid hiker, you know as well as I do that light weight hiking equipment allows you to get to your destination faster without tiring you too much.

    Cutting out on the weight can make a big difference in your whole experience.

    A good bivy should be a lighter camping option than a tent with the equivalent protection.


    Usually bivysack have enough space for one but it can get a little claustrophobic.

    However, abivy is also a very liberating experience.

    It is lightweight and it protects you from rain and bugs and what not.

    So this is the thing you need to consider.

    If the space or the tightness of the sack is too uncomfortable for you, go for other options if not, bivy is the way to go.

    Packed Size

    As I have already mentioned, the small packed size of bivy is the reason people use this.

    When going hiking or trekking, you’ve so many things in your backpack that you don’t want the extra weight.

    Too often I have left my things back in my car because I didn’t want those to be an inconvenience in the trip.

    So, getting a bivy can make that extra space for the things you don’t want to leave behind.

    There are these models of bivythat include separate tent poles and can have the long obstructive sticks stored elsewhere (perhaps on the outside of a pack or along the inside wall) so that the bivy inside the stuff sack can be crammed into any available spot in a pack.

    By dropping down from a tent to a smaller bivy, you might be able to free up a significant space and make room for something more important.


    When determining which type of bivy sack you’d like to purchase, an important consideration should be the shelter’s fabric.

    Because the shelter is so confined, breathability will be extremely important.

    The last thing you want to do when camping is wake up to a sleeping bag and tent soaked from condensation.

    Certain materials will help ward of moisture better than others.

    All bivy sacks included in this review are made of waterproof/breathable fabrics such as for example Gore-Tex, eVent and Pertex.

    Waterproof/breathable fabrics differ by their waterproof performance, breathability and durability.


    You’re in the wild and the last thing you wan to worry about is the wet tent.

    There are certain things you need to look into to make sure that doesn’t happen.If it’s Goretex or eVent, then don’t worry, you’re fine.

    If it’s not, check the hydrostatic head rating.

    10,000 or more means you’ll stay dry in all but the worst weather; lower than that and it’ll probably start to seep through in heavy weather and puddles.

    If it’s Goretex or eVent, then don’t worry, you’re fine.

    If it’s not, check the hydrostatic head rating.

    10,000 or more means you’ll stay dry in all but the worst weather; lower than that and it’ll probably start to seep through in heavy weather and puddles.


    Unlike tents, bivy can be a little claustrophobic for some people.

    You need to make sure you’re buying the right brand and right products for that.

    Branded fabrics will all be fine (e.g.

    Goretex, eVent and Pertex) but cheap, non-branded materials can be a problem, leaving you feeling sticky at best or with pools of water inside at worse.

    Don’t ever settle for products that are cheap because with bivy, the cheap products are usually the ones with the problems.

    They are either not condensation resistant or breathing is uncomfortable.

    There will be trade off between these two if you go for any product you.

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