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.

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!

Best Bivy Sacks - Updated January 2020

  1. Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy - Best Overall Bivy
  2. Editors Rating:
    (4.8 / 5)
    Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy
    Functional Details: Delrin Single-Pole System; Color: Mojo Blue
    $249.00
    Weight 1.4 lbs
    Packed Dimensions 15"L x 4"W
    Assembled Dimensions 84"L x 26"W
    Hooped Yes
    Current Price $249.00

    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.

    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

    Read our full review of the Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy


  3. Chinook Summit Bivy Bag - Best Budget Option
  4. Editors Rating:
    (4.7 / 5)
    Chinook Summit Bivy Bag
    Waterproof/breathable fabric top and waterproof ripstop nylon bottom fabric; Factory-taped seams are completely waterproof
    Weight 2 lbs
    Packed Dimensions 22"L x 14"W
    Assembled Dimensions 80"L x 34"W
    Hooped Yes
    Current Price Price not available

    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.

    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

    Read our full review of the Chinook Summit Bivy Bag


  5. Outdoor Research Helium Bivy
  6. Editors Rating:
    (4.5 / 5)
    Outdoor Research Helium Bivy
    Poles: yes; Pole Attachment: sleeves; Seams: fully sealed; Dimensions: 26 x 87 x 20in
    $178.95
    Weight 1.1 lbs
    Packed Dimensions 15"L x 4"W
    Assembled Dimensions 84"L x 29"W
    Hooped Yes
    Current Price $178.95

    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.

    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

    Read our full review of the Outdoor Research Helium Bivy


  7. Military Goretex Bivy Sack
  8. Editors Rating:
    (4.2 / 5)
    Military Goretex Bivy Sack
    Comfort in Temperatures Ranging from 50°F to -50°F; Made in the USA; Military Issue; Includes: Patrol Bag, ICW bag, Bivy Cover and Stuff Sack
    $324.99
    Weight 9 lbs
    Packed Dimensions 12"L x 3"W
    Assembled Dimensions 80"L x 30"W
    Hooped No
    Current Price $324.99

    Military Modular Sleep System 4 Piece with Goretex Bivy Cover and Carry Sack is going to simplify your gear. This is a US military inspired total sleep system, that includes 2 separate sleeping bags, a bivy cover, and a stuff sack.

    Pros
    • Lightweight at 2 pounds
    • Military issued quality
    • Gore-Tex breathability
    Cons
    • Material resting on your face throughout the night

    Read our full review of the Military Goretex Bivy Sack


  9. Snugpak Ionosphere Dome Tent Bivy
  10. Editors Rating:
    (4.1 / 5)
    Snugpak Ionosphere Dome Tent Bivy
    Inner Tent constructed of 190t Nylon with Polyester Mesh; 50D Polyester No-See-Um-Mesh; DAC Feather lite NSL anodized poles with press fit connectors
    $189.95
    Weight 3.3 lbs
    Packed Dimensions 17"L x 5.25"W
    Assembled Dimensions 94"L x 39"W
    Hooped Yes
    Current Price $189.95

    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.

    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.

    Read our full review of the Snugpak Ionosphere Dome Tent Bivy


  11. Snugpak Stratosphere Bivvi Shelter
  12. Editors Rating:
    (4.1 / 5)
    Sale
    Snugpak Stratosphere Bivvi Shelter
    Ultra compact 1 person shelter; Zip; Full Length side Zip; Stands up to severe weather; Poles; Aluminum with Screw Lock Tips
    $151.93
    Weight 2.4 lbs
    Packed Dimensions 10"L x 6"W
    Assembled Dimensions 81"L x 34"W
    Hooped Yes
    Current Price $151.93

    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.

    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.

    Read our full review of the Snugpak Stratosphere Bivvi Shelter


  13. Aqua Quest Hooped Bivy Tent
  14. Editors Rating:
    (4 / 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 $109.99

    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.

    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

    Read our full review of the Aqua Quest Hooped Bivy Tent


  15. MOC Woodland Gore Tex Bivy
  16. Editors Rating:
    (4 / 5)
    MOC Woodland Gore Tex Bivy
    Genuine U.S. military-issue Gore-Tex bivy sleeping bag cover; Waterproof and windproof; designed for military modular sleeping system
    $129.50
    Weight 2 lbs
    Packed Dimensions 19"L x 5"W
    Assembled Dimensions 90.6"L x 29.5"W
    Hooped No
    Current Price $129.50

    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.

    Pros
    • Lightweight at 2 pounds
    • Military issued quality
    • Gore-Tex breathability
    Cons
    • Material resting on your face throughout the night

    Read our full review of the MOC Woodland Gore Tex Bivy


  17. Woodland Camouflage Bivy - Best Bivy Without a Hoop
  18. Editors Rating:
    (4 / 5)
    Sale
    Woodland Camouflage Bivy
    NSN: 8465-01-416-8517; Waterproof; Woodland Camouflage; Made in the USA
    $129.99
    Weight 2.2 lbs
    Packed Dimensions 4"L x 3.5"W
    Assembled Dimensions 84"L x 36"W
    Hooped No
    Current Price $129.99

    The Woodland Camouflage Waterproof Bivy Cover offers classic Bivy coverage that’s good enough for the US Army.

    It’s one of the most durable Bivy’s on the market today and includes Gore-Tex weather protection with ventilation that can withstand colder temperatures as well as avoiding condensation build up inside the bivy.

    Pros
    • Gore-Tex for added air circulation
    • Enough room for a sleeping pad
    • lightweight at 2.5 pounds
    • Military grade warmth and weather coverage
    Cons
    • No hoop to keep the Bivy material from resting on your face
    • You may also get some condensation build up

    Read our full review of the Woodland Camouflage Bivy


  19. SOL Escape Bivvy - Best Emergency Bivy
  20. Editors Rating:
    (3.8 / 5)
    SOL Escape Bivvy
    Bivvy blanket measures 84 x 31 inches, and weighs approximately 8.5 ounces; Reflects 70% of your body heat back to you to prevent heat loss and trap warm air
    Weight .5 lbs
    Packed Dimensions 12"L x 5"W
    Assembled Dimensions 91"L x 32"W
    Hooped No
    Current Price Price not available

    The S.O.L. (Survive Outdoors Longer) Escape bivy is an excellent cover bivy for the ultra-minimalist backpacker. It is particularly popular with the mountain biking community.

    There’s not much to it other than to slide it over your sleeping bag for rain and temperature protection. It weighs only 3.8 ounces and kept us comfortable in a short overnight trip in sub 50-degree temps.

    Pros
    • Ultralight at 3.8 ounces
    • As basic and simple setup as you'll find
    • Paired with a warm mummy sleeping bag will deliver plenty of heat
    • Good value for the basic Bivy that it is
    • Simple heating technique by using your own body heat
    Cons
    • Very small
    • Won't keep you too warm without a sleeping bag
    • Tears easily

    Read our full review of the SOL Escape Bivvy


Last update on 2020-01-25 / 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.