To be able to fully enjoy their adventures, people who love travelling in the backcountry, hiking in nature or going on camping trips, always prepare for the essentials: sleeping, safety and hygiene. Whether you are an experienced adventurer or a beginner, carrying everything you need, so that you’ll be prepared for any situation that might occur, is vital.
This is why there is are many high-quality camping items, like a flashlight, a sleeping system, a first aid kit, a water filter and so on. One such item, that can make a huge difference in your nature experience, is the bivouac sack, also known as the “bivy” sack.
Some may not consider them to be essential for wilderness adventures, others may dread using them, as they only use them as insurance for nights in the hills, but the truth is that bivy bags offer many unparalleled benefits, and if you know how to use them, you can easily fall in love with them and never go back.
Simply put, bivy sacks or bags are shelters for a single person, designed to provide you and your sleeping system with additional protection against the elements. In a way, they create a shell around you, keeping you safe, dry and warm. The sacks, which are slightly larger than your sleeping bag and your mattress, were originally designed as emergency shelters, used especially by climbers for terrains where they can’t put a tent. However, nowadays they come in many different styles, sizes, with different features and are made from different materials, and they are widely used by all kinds of adventurers.
Benefits of Choosing a Bivy Beg Over a Tent
There are many reasons why you should purchase a good quality bivy bag and carry it with you any time you set off on a trip in nature. As the ultimate minimalist shelter, it will provide you with a different kind of freedom. In fact, while you can choose to use it solely as an emergency shelter, your new bivy sack can take the place of your tent and become the perfect addition to your essential backpacking equipment.
Sleep Under the Stars
The whole camping experience can get much better with a bivy, not only because it’s easier to use and to carry, but also because it opens up more possibilities for sleeping, and gives you a way to immerse in nature on an even deeper level. One of the best things that you get when you choose a bivy to protect your body from the elements, instead of in a tent, is that even though you are technically inside, you are in essence sleeping out in the open, under the stars, with the beauties you’ve come to explore surrounding you in a more direct way.
Create a Shelter Anywhere
Bivy sacks are especially useful when you are hiking through rough terrains and you have to spend the night. Unlike tents, which require more space, bivies are very convenient in any environment where you can open up your sleeping bag. With the same length and width as your sleeping bag and sleeping pad, they give you the opportunity to stay sheltered whether you are somewhere where you can’t open a tent, or you simply want to spend the night under the stars.
Carry Less Weight
One of the main reasons why a bivy bag can be such a valuable asset for your outdoor adventures is that they are quite lightweight and they won’t take up too much space in your backpack. The best thing is that with so many different models, you can find compact bivies that can weigh anywhere from 100 g to 1 kg and can be folded down to incredibly small sizes.
Stay Warm and Dry
Wrapped around you, almost like a swaddle, bivy sacks hold the heat of your body much better than a tent. They are made of materials that don’t allow the warmth to escape, which makes for a luxurious sleeping experience in the wild, allowing you to get the necessary rest to recharge for the next day.
Furthermore, the top layer of the bivy bags is made of water-resistant and breathable fabrics, which are able to keep you dry and comfortable, while avoiding condensation from your body naturally produced vapour. But a good quality bivy sack also allows quick ventilation.
Aside from keeping you safe from cold and moisture, bivy sacks will also protect you from the wind. For warmer nights, some people decide to ditch the sleeping bag and simply sleep inside their bivy instead. Some also pair it with a tarp.
Save Energy and Time
When you want to sleep after a long day without too much fuss, bivy sacks are the best choice. Unlike setting up a tent in the night, and then disassembling it and packing it again when you decide to continue with your hike, bivy bags don’t require anything. This helps you save energy and time, but more importantly, it saves you the annoyance of having to set up the tent when you are so tired.