For years, I’ve wanted to try camping with a Bivi Bag. For those not in the know, a Bivi/Bivvy/Bivy bag (I’ve seen it spelled in every way imaginable) is basically a jacket for your sleeping bag. It is used instead of a tent and is just a waterproof bag that goes over your sleeping bag.
They are brilliant for lots of reasons. Firstly, they are cheaper than tents and also a lot smaller and lighter which makes them brilliant for adventures when travelling on foot, bike or kayak! My £27.95 Hawk bivi bag is just 950g compared with almost £100 ultralight tents that weigh in at the best part of 2kg.
They are also a lot more exciting; you can really feel the outdoors around you. You even get to look at the stars as you fall asleep. They are also brilliant for wild camping as they are smaller and stealthier and have a much smaller footprint and outline. Bivi bags are also very quick to set up and a doddle to use.
- Get the Bivi out the stuff sack and lay it out on some flat ground.
- Slide in your sleeping mat or place it under the bivi. I prefer it inside the bivi to keep it clean and to help to prevent puncture.
- Pop your sleeping bag inside the bivi and climb in.
- Now, zip up the hood. You can use a mesh opening if the weather is good or a waterproof one in the rain.
- Leave a little opening to let your breath leave the bivi and help prevent condensation (which you get in even the most expensive bivi bags.)
I ended up getting a Highlander Pro-Force Hawk Bivy Bag which is an excellent entry level bivi bag. It is made with a thick, waterproof and breathable AB-TEX Trimax laminate material, which has a Hydrostatic Head of 4000mm so you know you are going to stay dry even in very rainy weather.
The waterproof taped seams ensure that not even a drop of water is getting in along the joins in the fabric. It is also breathable and allows moisture to evaporate whilst maintaining an impenetrable barrier to the rain.
This bag is a really good size. I’m 6 foot tall and there was enough space for my pack at the top end of the bivy. Alternatively, if you want to have more room you can just put your gear in a waterproof sack outside. It’s got a wide chest area too, so despite being encased in waterproof fabric, you don’t feel as if you are in a coffin.
My Highlander Hawk bivi bag packs down into a tiny 21x9x9cm ripstop stuff sack making it brilliant for all kinds of adventures. It’s a really strong bivi bag that is packed full of awesome features and comes at a bargain price. If you’d like an entry into bivi bags then I’d strongly recommend starting out with a bag just like this.