About Bivy Sacks
If you’re hitting the trail this season, then one of the most important pieces of gear you’ll need as an overnight camping shelter.
If you’re looking to go ultralight, or at least cutting weight from your pack than an ultralight bivy sack will be a great option.
Although tiny, ultralight bivy sacks come in a number of different styles and sizes and there are a lot to choose from.
And don’t be fooled by their size. A good waterproof bivy sack can be one of the most protective camping shelters you can sleep inside since most bivies are made with Gore-Tex.
A Gore-Tex bivy sack is really the industry standard at this point and we recommend always looking for this feature.
A good example of this is the Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy
However, a bivy sack isn’t for everyone and you may be more comfortable in a one-person backpacking tent.
Be sure to check below for ratings and reviews of the best ultralight bivy sacks available today, along with a buying guide and video to help you find the best bivy sack for your next adventure!
Best Bivy Sacks - Updated January 2020
Bivy Sacks Buying Guide 2019
How to Pick
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.
BIVY 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.
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.
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.
(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.