Top Bivy Sacks Reviewed

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.

Trying to find the best bivy sack for your trip can be a challenge, especially if you’ve never camped in a bivy sack before.

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!

Top Bivy Sacks Rankings

  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. Aqua Quest Hooped Bivy Tent

  12. 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


    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. Snugpak The Ionosphere 1 Man Dome Tent

  14. 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


  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


Last update on 2019-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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.

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

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.

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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.