11 Best Ultralight Bivy Sack Reviews In 2019

    Lightweight Bivy sacks are particularly easy to setup, and by and large protect you from harsh weather conditions.
    Features to keep in mind include size, weight, headspace, bug nets, coated floor, color, insulation, Gore-Tex, internal pockets, etc.
    Ultralight Bivy sacks run anywhere from seven ounces to just under three pounds.
    Most Bivy Sacks run from 6-7 feet long and average between 34 and 38 inches in width.

Best Ultralight Bivy Sack Reviews

Best Of ListIn-Depth Comparison Chart
  1. Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy

  2. Editors Rating:
    (4.8 / 5)

    Best Overall Bivy

    Weight 1.4 lbs
    Packed Dimensions 15"L x 4"W
    Assembled Dimensions 84"L x 26"W
    Hooped Yes
    Current Price $249.00
    Pros Ultralight at just under 2 pounds, Fully taped seams for extra weather protection and warmth, Durable hydro seal coated waterproof nylon floor to prevent any water seepage into the bivy sack from below, Gore-Tex for added circulation,
    Cons Some condensation builds up especially in the warmer months, , , ,
    Our Take:

    The Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy is one of the best Bivy sack on the market today.

    It’s 7 feet long and 2 feet wide so it should be able to fit even the tallest camper with at least some gear.

    At just under 2 pounds you get a lot of Bivy sack while keeping your pack weight low.

    Along with its ultralight weight, the Alpine bivy sack packs down to 15″x4″ which helps save a ton of room in your pack, especially when packed in a stuff sack.

    The setup couldn’t be easier with 1 pole to run through the headspace to create a dome over your face, also protected with no-see-um bug netting and sleeping pad straps to help keep your sleeping pad in place for extra comfort.

    You get a Gore-Tex weather resistant body and a nice hope over your face.

    It works great even in the snow!

    We love this Bivy Sack.

    Read our full review of the Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy


  3. Chinook Summit Bivy Bag

  4. Editors Rating:
    (4.7 / 5)

    Best Budget Option

    Weight 2 lbs
    Packed Dimensions 22"L x 14"W
    Assembled Dimensions 80"L x 34"W
    Hooped Yes
    Current Price from $252.84
    Pros Lightweight at 2 pounds, Waterproof and breathable, There's the option for staking for even more space, Lots of space for even taller campers, Dependable bug netting
    Cons A little heavy for a bivy sack, , , ,
    Our Take:

    The Chinook Summit Bivy Bag is comfortable, spacious bivy sack that lightweight backpackers will love.

    It packs down very tightly into your pack to about the size of a football and weighs about 2 pounds, which is on the heavier side for a bivy, but more than makes up for with over 7 feet of space to lay down inside of with plenty of space at the head once you install the aluminum poles.

    Also, keep in mind that the poles make the packed size a bit bigger.

    The bivy alone is even more compressible.

    The fabric is waterproof and very breathable on the top and bottom.

    There’s also the added bug netting which not only keeps the critters out but allows you to open up the top on a clear night for added circulation of air.

    As opposed to most other bivy sacks the Chinook Summit is big enough to fit your pack inside.

    There’s also the ability to stake which will give even more room.

    The only complaint is there is a bit of condensation build up, but that’s to be expected from bivies.

    You’ll be very comfortable in this bivy.

    Read our full review of the Chinook Summit Bivy Bag


  5. Outdoor Research Helium Bivy

  6. Editors Rating:
    (4.5 / 5)

    Weight 1.1 lbs
    Packed Dimensions 15"L x 4"W
    Assembled Dimensions 84"L x 29"W
    Hooped Yes
    Current Price from $168.95
    Pros Ultralight weight of 18 ounces, The hooped feature for greater comfort while you sleep and bug netter., Long enough for taller campers, Packs down to the size of a water bottle, Waterproof
    Cons Condensation builds up, , , ,
    Our Take:

    The Outdoor Research Helium Bivy comes with a lot of great features that we love about Bivy camping.

    The sack weighs in at around 18 ounces and offers enough size to easily fit someone over 6 feet inside or someone under 6 feet with gear.

    There’s bug netting over the face gives some ventilation and bug protection, along with the hooped feature over the face to help keep the bivy sack material off your face while you sleep.

    This gives you the ability to open up the top and let more air inside on clear nights.

    There is also the option to stake the Bivy sack down and stretch out for added space and comfort.

    The floor is hydrosealed and anti-fungal coated and the fly is also coated for weather protection.

    On the downside, the Bivy gets very hot and humid if completely shut and there will be condensation issue, but this is to be expected for most Bivy sacks.

    Read our full review of the Outdoor Research Helium Bivy


  7. Outdoor Research Molecule Bivy Long Bag

  8. Editors Rating:
    (4.4 / 5)

    Weight 1.4 lbs
    Packed Dimensions 10"L x 5"W
    Assembled Dimensions 87"L x 29"W
    Hooped Yes
    Current Price from $169.95
    Pros Ultralight 23 ounces, Anti-fungal waterproof floor coating, Bug netting over the face allows you to open up and let in fresh air, ,
    Cons No hoop at the head to keep netting off your face, Some condensation build up which is like most other bivy sacks, , ,
    Our Take:

    The Outdoor Research Molecule Bivy Long Bag left us a little hot and cold.

    On one hand, you get the great Bivy quality that Outdoor Research is known for, on the other hand, this Bivy leaves a little more to be desired.

    There’s no pole over the head to keep the bag off your face which can be a bit of a nuisance while trying to sleep.

    You also experience some condensation, especially in more humid climates.

    But you do get a lot of space and it is roomy enough to fit some gear inside while keeping the bugs and rain outside and weighs about 23 ounces, which should work great for the ultralight backpacker.

    You also get the durable, waterproof, anti-fungal-coated 70D floor, with a vented foot box to let some of the stuffy inside air circulate.

    Read our full review of the Outdoor Research Molecule Bivy Long Bag


  9. Military Goretex Bivy Sack

  10. Editors Rating:
    (4.2 / 5)

    Weight 9 lbs
    Packed Dimensions 12"L x 3"W
    Assembled Dimensions 80"L x 30"W
    Hooped No
    Current Price $145.99
    Pros Lightweight at 2 pounds, Military issued quality, Gore-Tex breathability, ,
    Cons Material resting on your face throughout the night, , , ,
    Our Take:

    The Military Outdoor Clothing Previously Issued U.S. G.I. Woodland Camo Gore-Tex Bivy Sleeping Bag Cover is a Genuine U.S. military-issue Bivy sack with plenty of space inside with a military quality guarantee that will keep you warm and cozy inside even in sub-freezing temps.

    You also get a Gore-Tex exterior for breathability, and at 2 pounds you’ll hardly notice the sack in your pack.

    The only complaint is the lack of space at the top head due to no hoop, but overall a great bivy for the simple lightweight backpacker or as an extra layer to keep warm in cold environments.

    Read our full review of the Military Goretex Bivy Sack


  11. Snugpak The Ionosphere 1 Man Dome Tent

  12. Editors Rating:
    (4.1 / 5)

    Weight 3.3 lbs
    Packed Dimensions 17"L x 5.25"W
    Assembled Dimensions 94"L x 39"W
    Hooped Yes
    Current Price $164.99
    Pros Excellent waterproofed materials, Ultralightweight at 2 and a half pounds, Fresh air freely circulated, ,
    Cons Heavy for a Bivy sack, Small for a tent with little headroom, Zippers seem to be problematic and can break easily., ,
    Our Take:

    The Snugpak Ionosphere 1 Man Dome Tent lays at the intersection of tent and bivy. Its super lightweight at 2 and a half pounds and takes very little time to setup, consisting of just two aluminum hoops to run through the attached seams.

    It handles the rain and wind quite well along with a nice exchange of fresh air coming in and air going out while keeping you warm if the temps dip down.

    The Inner Tent is constructed of 190t Nylon with Polyester Mesh and 50D Polyester No-See-Um-Mesh which will help the tent handle the wear and tear of the trail.

    There’s also the option attach the rain fly which is 210t Rip Stop polyester with a 5000mm waterproof polyurethane coating that offers top-notch waterproofing. With no rain, you can just cover your face with the mesh bug net allowing more fresh air inside while falling asleep under the stars.

    You’ll find plenty of room inside for you and some of your belongings. Good value for a single bivy style tent.

    Read our full review of the Snugpak The Ionosphere 1 Man Dome Tent


    Weight 2.4 lbs
    Packed Dimensions 10"L x 6"W
    Assembled Dimensions 81"L x 34"W
    Hooped Yes
    Current Price $151.93
    Pros Good ventilation, 88 inches to fit even the tallest campers plus a heavy duty sleeping bag, Can stake down to get the full legnth and width, ,
    Cons Heavier for a Bivy, Not totally waterproof, You also may want to invest in better stakes., ,
    Our Take:

    The Snugpak 92860 Stratosphere is a great lightweight Bivy that works well in cold temperatures.

    Because it’s a little smaller it might sleep a bit warm in hotter temperatures, but the outer material is breathable and you get good protection against the rain.

    It’s also long enough to fit a taller person and a hooped top to keep the material off your face.

    Unfortunately, there might not be enough room to fit you plus your gear unless you are traveling super ultralight and you’re on the smaller side.

    Although there is definitely enough room to fit a full winter sleeping bag.

    Bug netting gives ventilation when the weather gets warm.

    There’s also a second screen closer to the foot box which also helps with circulating air.

    At 39 ounces packed, its a little heavy for a bivy but you get a more advanced setup along with the ability to stake and a reliable rainfly.

    Read our full review of the Snugpak Stratosphere One Person Bivvi Shelter 92860


  13. Aqua Quest Hooped Bivy Tent

  14. Editors Rating:
    (4.1 / 5)

    Weight 1.8 lbs
    Packed Dimensions 16"L x 5"W
    Assembled Dimensions 90.6"L x 35.4"W
    Hooped Yes
    Current Price from $109.99
    Pros Extra coated water protection, Lightweight, Hooped headspace, Bug netting for circulation and bug protection,
    Cons Kind of heavy for a bivy sack, Condensation build up, Not well ventilated, ,
    Our Take:

    The Aqua Quest Hooped Bivy Tent worked great for wind and rain protection.

    The Bivy is good sized especially for a Bivy is about as lightweight as most at just under 2 and a half pounds.

    The Bivy is designed with ripstop nylon which keeps it super durable and helps avoid excessive wear and tear.

    The waterproofing is outstanding consisting of a dual coating of TPU (Thermoplastic PolyUrethane) and either DWR (Durable Water Repellent) or Silicone impregnation for a 10,000mm rating.

    There’s also mesh netting over the face for improved circulation and bug protection.

    There’s enough room for a sleeping pad as well which will add to the comfort and keep you warmer on colder nights.

    The extra space in the shoulders and feet were nice to help avoid claustrophobia and materials scrunching up, along with increased airflow around the inside of the bivy sack.

    Unfortunately, there was a bit of condensation buildup on the inside.

    Otherwise, this is one of the more spacious and comfortable Bivy’s we’ve tried.

    Read our full review of the Aqua Quest Hooped Bivy Tent


  15. MOC Woodland Camo Gore Tex Bivy Sack

  16. Editors Rating:
    (4 / 5)

    Weight 2 lbs
    Packed Dimensions 19"L x 5"W
    Assembled Dimensions 90.6"L x 29.5"W
    Hooped No
    Current Price $128.95
    Pros Lightweight at 2 pounds, Military issued quality, Gore-Tex breathability, ,
    Cons Material resting on your face throughout the night, , , ,
    Our Take:

    The Military Outdoor Clothing Previously Issued U.S. G.I. Woodland Camo Gore-Tex Bivy Sleeping Bag Cover is a Genuine U.S. military-issue Bivy sack with plenty of space inside with a military quality guarantee that will keep you warm and cozy inside even in sub-freezing temps.

    You also get a Gore-Tex exterior for breathability, and at 2 pounds you’ll hardly notice the sack in your pack.

    The only complaint is the lack of space at the top head due to no hoop, but overall a great bivy for the simple lightweight backpacker or as an extra layer to keep warm in cold environments.

    Read our full review of the MOC Woodland Camo Gore Tex Bivy Sack


    Weight 2.8 lbs
    Packed Dimensions 12"L x 3"W
    Assembled Dimensions 91"L x 32"W
    Hooped Yes
    Current Price $89.98
    Pros Big for a Bivy, Advanced setup still quick and easy, Great outside water protection, ,
    Cons Heavy for a Bivy sack at 2.8 pounds in your pack, Condensation build up collects at the head, , ,
    Our Take:

    The Geertop Ultralight 1-Person Waterproof BIVY Tent is another hybrid Bivy/tent that offers the lightweight portability of a Bivy with the space of a tent.

    You get 7 feet of space inside and a 3 pole frame system made from aluminum for a durable/quick setup.

    The unit with all the pieces weigh in at around 2.8 pounds which is heavy for a Bivy, but light for a tent.

    All packed up it’s about the size of a large water bottle at 19″x5″.

    The floor and fly are both coated for excellent weather protection.

    The fly coating rates at PU 5000mm, the floor at PU 10,000 Staking helps prevent water build up on the bivy and keeps it stretched out for extra space for you and a heavy duty sleeping bag to fit.

    There is a bit of condensation that seeps through when its wet outside, but if you’re looking for a super roomy/low-maintenance bivy sack this may be a good choice for you!

    Read our full review of the Geertop Ultralight 1-Person Waterproof BIVY Tent


ImageNameOur RatingPriceWhere to BuyWeightSizePacked SizeHooped?
Military Modular Sleep System 4 Piece with Goretex Bivy...Military Goretex Bivy Sack (4.2 / 5)$145.99Buy on Amazon9 lbs80"L x 30"W12"L x 3"WNo
S.O.L Survive Outdoors Longer S.O.L. 70% Reflective Escape...Survive Outdoors Longer Escape Bivvy (3.8 / 5)from $13.99Buy on Amazon.5 lbs91"L x 32"W12"L x 5"WNo
Snugpak Ionosphere 1 Person Tent, 94 inches x 35 inches x 28...Snugpak The Ionosphere 1 Man Dome Tent (4.1 / 5)$164.99Buy on Amazon3.3 lbs94"L x 39"W17"L x 5.25"WYes
Tennier Woodland Camouflage Waterproof Bivy CoverWoodland Camouflage Waterproof Bivy Cover (3.7 / 5)$129.99Buy on Amazon2.2 lbs84"L x 36"W4"L x 3.5"WNo
Snugpak Stratosphere 1 Person Bivvi Tent, Waterproof, OliveSnugpak Stratosphere One Person Bivvi Shelter 92860 (4.1 / 5)$151.93Buy on Amazon2.4 lbs81"L x 34"W10"L x 6"WYes
Outdoor Research Molecule Bivy Long, Hops, 1SizeOutdoor Research Molecule Bivy Long Bag (4.4 / 5)from $169.95Buy on Amazon1.4 lbs87"L x 29"W10"L x 5"WYes
Outdoor Research Helium Bivy, Pewter, 1SizeOutdoor Research Helium Bivy (4.5 / 5)from $168.95Buy on Amazon1.1 lbs84"L x 29"W15"L x 4"WYes
Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy, Mojo Blue, 1SizeOutdoor Research Alpine Bivy (4.8 / 5)$249.00Buy on Amazon1.4 lbs84"L x 26"W15"L x 4"WYes
GEERTOP Ultralight 1-Person Waterproof Bivy Tent, CamouflageGeertop Ultralight 1-Person Waterproof BIVY Tent (3.9 / 5)$89.98Buy on Amazon2.8 lbs91"L x 32"W12"L x 3"WYes
Military Outdoor Clothing Previously Issued U.S. G.I....MOC Woodland Camo Gore Tex Bivy Sack (4 / 5)$128.95Buy on Amazon2 lbs90.6"L x 29.5"W19"L x 5"WNo
Chinook Summit Bivy Bag (Blue)Chinook Summit Bivy Bag (4.7 / 5)from $252.84Buy on Amazon2 lbs80"L x 34"W22"L x 14"WYes
Aqua Quest Hooped Green Bivy Tent Waterproof, Lightweight...Aqua Quest Hooped Bivy Tent (4.1 / 5)from $109.99Buy on Amazon1.8 lbs90.6"L x 35.4"W16"L x 5"WYes

Ultralight Bivy Sacks

As camping trends turn more minimalist, backpackers are turning more to reliable ultralight shelters like bivy sacks.

Hikers on the trail are asking more out of their lightweight gear than ever before.

Most of all they’re realizing that no shelter covers your lightweight backpacking needs like a bivy sack. They’re light and very compact and consequently take up very little space in your pack.

As a result, you do lose a bit of comfort compared to a tent.

Yet when your goal is to cover more ground and not cooking marshmallows and telling ghost stories, the best bivy sack will get you through the night while easing the strain on your body from hiking.

They’re particularly easy to set up, and by and large protect you from harsh weather conditions.

In this article, we hope to help you find the best bivy sack for your journey in addition to giving you some tips on how to shop for these lightweight shelters.

How To Choose The Right Bivy Sack

It’s probably safe to say that if you’re even entertaining the thought of sleeping in a bivy sack that you have a decent amount of camping experience and can tolerate sacrificing some modern day luxuries.

Therefore we don’t recommend bivy sack camping for the beginning backpacker as it can require a lot of adjustment.

However, once you start checking the features you’ll notice that newer bivy sacks offer a decent amount of luxury.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

best bivy sack, man in bivy sack outside, best bivy sack for camping, best ultralight bivy sack

The Aqua Quest Bivy Sack is loaded with great features like stakes and bug netting.

Up until recently finding a good bivy sack was easy because there wasn’t much to them other than just simply using it as a waterproof sleeping bag cover.

The original bivouac shelters were designed by the military to provide waterproof, lightweight shelter for soldiers.

Since then the technology has only gotten better because of companies like Gore-tex who created their patented waterproof, breathable bivy exterior.

In fact, nowadays bivy sacks are built like mini 1-person tents.

While we do believe these newer specs have made bivies usable by more people, you the backpacker have to have an honest gauge of what you can tolerate.

Can you stand the confined space of a bivy sack or do you need extra space to sit up and move around?

Due to their lack of space, a lot of campers are initially turned off from camping in bivy sacks.

Yet there is more benefit to them than meets the eye.

BIVY SACK FEATURES

best bivy sack, man in bivy sack outside, best bivy sack for camping, best ultralight bivy sackEven though the Bivy sack seems like an easy thing to shop for, there are definitely some features that you can miss out on if you don’t do your research.

These ain’t your granddaddy’s bivy sacks!

Features to keep in mind include size, weight, headspace, bug nets, coated floor, color, insulation, Gore-Tex, internal pockets, etc.

BIVY SACK SIZE:

Most Bivy sacks run from 6-7 feet long and average between 34 and 38 inches in width.

Even if you’re on the larger side, you should be able to fit inside the bivy with a sleeping bag.

Bivy sacks really earn their keep when packed down in your backpack.

Even the bigger sacks can compress down to the size of a small thermos.

sunset over mountainsBIVY SACK WEIGHT:

The point of the Bivy sack is to keep weight off your back and take less space in your bag.

Consequently, they’re made with lightweight materials including lightweight polyester, thick denier RipStop nylon, high thread count polyester, laminated polyurethane coating in addition to the aforementioned Gore-Tex.

Bivy sacks run anywhere from seven ounces to just under three pounds.

Anything over 3 pounds and you might as well upgrade to a tent.

In many cases, the line dividing tent and Bivy sack is becoming more and more blurry.

BIVY HEADSPACE

One of the biggest bivy buying decisions you’re going to have to make is whether to get a bivy sack with a hooped rod for the head or not.

 

In fact, this small feature actually can make a huge difference in comfort.

Without a hooped-dome headspace, you can’t actually close the bivy sack all the way without the materials rubbing against your face. while you sleep.

No matter how rugged and experienced you are, this can be a nuisance to deal with.

Nevertheless, hooped rods themselves are super lightweight and don’t add much to your pack.

BUG NETTING

best bivy sack, man in bivy sack outside, best bivy sack for camping, best ultralight bivy sack

This Outdoor Research Bivy Sack comes with bug netting which allows you to let fresh air circulate inside the bivy, while keeping the bugs out.

The bivies with the hooped head dome rods will also come with a layer of mesh bug netting that lays over your face.

This is great for those nights where you want to keep the top open but also don’t want to spend your night with mosquitos buzzing in your ear or creepy things crawling all over your face.

On a beautiful, clear night you can star gaze yourself to sleep.

This feature really enhances the experience.

GORE-TEX

(OR ANY OTHER WATERPROOF, BREATHABLE COATING)

Gore-Tex is a breathable, waterproof membrane made from a thin layer of polytetrafluoroethylene that contains over 9 billion pores per square inch.

This helps to keep moisture out while fresh air is circulated in and out of the fabric.

In addition to bivy sacks, you’ll also find Gore-Tex on ultralight backpacking tents, hammocks, and hiking boots.

We highly recommend sticking to Gore-Tex products as their level of performance is the market standard.

Although there are other great waterproof products out there.

BIVY SACK NEGATIVES

Of course, there are a handful of negative aspects to sleeping in a Bivy sack.

If they were perfect everyone would use them and the tent industry would crumble.

In fact, they might not even be right for you.

The hard truth of a bivy sack is that you do sacrifice the space that you get in a tent.

As an illustration just think back to when you sat in your tent and thought about how you were cramped.

best bivy sack, man in bivy sack outside, best bivy sack for camping, best ultralight bivy sack

Many smaller bivy sacks, like the S.O.L don’t offer much space.

Now imagine not even being able to sit!

In fact, once you’re in a bivy sack you have to stay lying down the whole time you are inside.

This can get old, fast.

That being said, if you’re like a lot of ultralight backpackers and don’t anticipate spending more than your sleep time inside, by all means, a bivy sack might be perfect for your needs.

The fact is we all have different sleeping requirements.

Some people need more space than others to sleep.

Heck, some people have specific pre-sleep rituals before they fall asleep that they bring on the trail!

But then there are those who lie down, close their eyes and don’t open them for 8 hours.

In either case after a long day of backpacking, even if you’re a light sleeper, you might be so wiped out that you could sleep through a tornado.

In this case, a bivy sack is all you need.

LOCATION

tree in forestWhere are you going and what time of year is it?

How cold will it be? Is the terrain rocky or grassy?

If the terrain is a bit more hilly and rockier a bivy sack might be the best option.

Unlike a tent which needs to find a space to fit its exact footprint, a bivy sack can provide a more flexible solution.

Generally speaking, what is the bug situation like?

If it’s more humid you might be in store for more mosquitos so bug netting will be a must, otherwise good luck getting any sleep at all!

WEATHER

Above all, no matter what kind of weather you run into a decent bivy sack can handle it.

One of the best qualities of the bivy sack is its versatility.

Especially if you’re venturing into unfamiliar territory the bivy will serve you well since it can be set up easily and on the fly.

If you plan on seeing a lot of rain then a tent might serve you better as it will be more comfortable to stay inside for longer periods of time.

On the other hand, why are you planning to hike somewhere only to stay inside your tent for long periods of time?

BIVY SACKS KEEP YOU WARM

best bivy sack, man in bivy sack outside, best bivy sack for camping, best ultralight bivy sackTemperature can also be a deciding factor.

Bivy sacks are built for warmth, so needless to say you won’t need one in July in Arizona.

Even when the weather dips into the 60’s and 50’s a bivy will keep you very warm.

Especially when paired with a cold weather temperature rated sleeping bag, a bivy sack can keep you toasty in frigid weather conditions.

If you get hot easily while sleeping makes sure your bag comes with Gore-Tex as this will keep the temperature regulated and you’ll avoid overheating.

Sleeping with the head zipper open is also an option.

This is where a hoop and bug netting come in handy.

Once you’ve taken all these factors into consideration, you’re ready to find the best bivy sack for your lightweight adventure!

 

Posted in ,
Cairn subscription Box

Is A Survival Subscription Box Worth It?

By Erik | February 15, 2019 | Comments Off on Is A Survival Subscription Box Worth It?

Why A Waterproof Bivy Sack Is More Than Just A Sleeping Bag Cover

By Erik | December 9, 2018 | Comments Off on Why A Waterproof Bivy Sack Is More Than Just A Sleeping Bag Cover

7 Reasons You’ll Love The Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy

By Nick P | December 9, 2018 | Comments Off on 7 Reasons You’ll Love The Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy

Nick P

Nick spent his mostly unsupervised youth raising hell in the woods and ponds of 16 Acres in Springfield, MA (AKA Hell's Acres). He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY and loves hitting the northeast trails when his schedule allows and camping on his roof deck when it doesn't.