Bivouac sacks, otherwise known as bivy, bivvy or bivi bags, are small, lightweight shelters that offer a more convenient, easier to carry alternative to traditional one man tents.The majority of wild campers start off their camping careers in a tent. However, a tent is heavy and as time goes by many campers make the switch to bivvy bags, giving them a lighter, more compact and easier to carry sleeping solution than having to lug their tent around with them wherever they go.
Besides their being light weight, bivvy bags are well insulated and waterproofed, giving you protection from changing weather conditions weather you’re camping, cycling, hiking or some other activity that sees you spending an extended period of time in the great outdoors.
They also help to bring you closer to nature, allowing you to camp out under the stars without being cut off from your surrounds by the four walls of a tent.
Here are our picks of the best bivvy bags on the market. We’ve chosen these bags based on their quality and value.
The SnugPak Stratosphere bivvy bag is a full-featured one man alternative to a tent, giving you a light weight sleeping that’s perfect for all-weather, being rated for all 4 seasons, and fits snuggly in your pack back.
It’s fully zipped on one side, has a built-in mosquito net in front of it’s hood to keep out bugs, and a meshed section at the back to improve ventilation. The outer and bottom layers are made of Nylon and have a waterproof rating of 5,000 HH and 8,000 HH respectively, making the Snugpak Stratosphere ideal, even in heavy rain.
Weighing in at a little over 1kg, the Stratosphere bivvy comes complete with a set of 7 ultralight alloy pegs, used to keep the spacious head canopy up, and a compression sack, making it easy to pack away and carry, and is one of the best hooped bivvy bags in the SnugPak bivvy bag range.
Read our full SnugPak Stratosphere Bivvy Bag review
The Aqua Quest Hoopla bivvy bag is breathable, comfortable and waterproof, whilst at the same time being extremely compact, lightweight and great value for money. It comes complete with a single pole, allowing for quick and easy setup, and is rated for all four seasons, making it perfect for use all year round.
Its constructed from laminated ESTER PU Coated 70-D RipStop Nylon Taffeta, which has a hydrostatic resistance of 10,000mm, and comes complete with a single, lightweight aluminium pole to keep the head section lifted up and away from your face. In terms of weight, the whole setup weighs in at 1.1kg, making it one of the lightest hooped bivvy bags currently available, both within the Aqua Quest bivvy bag range and generally, within the wider market.
Overall, there are better options than this bivvy bag, however, being one of the best value hooped bivvy bags on the market it’s great for those who are looking for a bag that provides a little extra room than a traditional bag and are on a budget.
Read our full Aqua-Quest ‘The Hoopla’ ultra light bivvy bag review
The Highlander Hawk bivvy bag is a low-cost, waterproof and breathable bivvy bag that keeps you warm, dry and comfortable in even the heavier of downpours. This Highlander bivvy bag also has a super low profile, is ultra-lightweight, and is rated for all 4 seasons, making it perfect for use throughout the year.
It features a wire-supported mesh screen, increasing ventilation and protection from midges and mosquitos. It’s also constructed from AB-TEX Trimax laminate, a breathable, waterproof material that has been specifically designed for use in outdoor clothing and accessories. AB-TEXT allows moisture to evaporate whilst providing an impenetrable barrier to rain, giving the Highlander Hawk a high level of waterproofing whilst ensuring it retains its excellent breathability.
Overall, the Highlander Hawk is a great, lightweight and highly waterproof bivvy bag if you’re on a budget and is definitely our pick of the low cost, military style bivvy bags available on the market.
Read our full Highlander Hawk bivvy bag review
If you haven’t used a bivvy bag before it’s worthwhile getting to know more about them and they benefits they offer over traditional tents before going ahead and making your purchase. The clear and obvious benefit is weight and hassle, something that bivvy bags have over tents, making them much more convenient and easier to use, but in addition to these, there are a whole host of benefits that using a bivvy bag can bring when camping.
Learn more about bivvy bag benefits
There are a number of materials that are commonly used to manufacture bivvy bags. Many of these materials can be found combined, working together to make them more comfortable and waterproof, whilst keeping them lightweight and compact. These materials include Polyurethane (PU) and Silnylone, Gore-Tex, E-vent, Pertex, DWR, Polyethylene and Polypropylene, among others.
Learn more about bivvy bag materials
One of the main reasons people opt for bivvy bags over traditional tents is their much lower weight and pack size. Typically bivvy bags weight somewhere between 200g to 1.5kg, with some higher end bags weight even less. Weight very much depends on the type or style of bivvy bag you go for, with hooped bivvy bags tending to weight more than military bivvy bags, and the material they’re constructed from, which older, more traditional materials usually weight more than more modern, high-tech materials.
Learn more about the factors that contribute to bivvy bag weight