Best Bivvy Bags 2017 – Buyer’s Guide

Last updated: September 17, 2017 at 7:38 am

Best Bivvy Bags

Bivvy bags offer a light-weight, compact and highly portable shelter that is ideal for many outdoor activities that require a couple of nights stay in the great outdoors.

Their weight and size makes them extremely versatile, far more so than a heavier, cumbersome tent, making it possible to throw a bivvy bag in your backpack without adding too much weight, making them a great sleep solution whatever your outdoor activity.

A high-quality bivvy bag will typically be up to twice as light as a one-man tent, as well as benefiting from a pack size that is up to 30% smaller, making them an excellent choice for anyone looking for a light-weight, compact sleep system for their next hiking, fishing, or camping trip.

In this article we’ll take a closer look at some of the best bivvy bags on the market, giving a good overview of the benefits, features, and specifications of each, providing you with all the information needed to make an informed decision on which bag is best for you and your requirements.

Best Bivvy Bags 2017

Here is our list of recommended bivvy bags. We’ve chosen these based on their quality, waterproof rating, carry weight and value for money to make selecting the right bivvy bag easier.

If you’re more interested in a particular style of bivvy, such as a military or hooped style, you can find out which of these we recommend on our best military bivvy bags and best hooped bivvy bags pages.

Bivvy Bag Name Fabric Waterproof Weight Pack Size  
SnugPak Stratosphere Coated nylon 5,000 1.13kg 31cm x 14cm CHECK PRICE
Aqua Quest Hoopla Coated nylon 10,000 1.1kg 40cm x 13cm CHECK PRICE
Aqua Quest Mummy Coated nylon 10,000 575g 38cm x 13cm CHECK PRICE
Highlander Hawk Polyester 5,000 600g 20cm x 15cm CHECK PRICE
SnugPak Bivvi Paratex 5,000 340g 13cm x 10cm CHECK PRICE

1. SnugPak Stratosphere Bivvy Bag

Snugpak Stratosphere Bivvy Bag

The SnugPak Stratosphere bivvy bag is a full-featured, ultra-lightweight alternative to traditional one-man tents, giving all a bivvy that is rated for all 4 seasons with all the benefits of a tent with considerably less weight.

It features a built-in mosquito net in front of its hood to keep out bugs, a meshed ventilation section at the back and is fully zipped on one size. The out and bottom layers are constructed from Nylon and have a waterproof rating of 5,000 HH and 8,000 HH, making this SnugPak bivvy bag perfect in even the heavier of downpours.

The SnugPak Stratosphere weighs in at a little over 1kg and ships complete with a set of 7 ultralight alloy pegs, used to keep the head canopy up, and a compression sack, which makes packing the bivvy bag away after use easy.

  • Zip: Full length side zip
  • Fabric Outer: 50D Nylon Rip stop (5000mm HH)
  • Highly Breathable (5000g/ m2 Moisture Permeability)
  • Fabric Bottom: 70D Nylon Taffeta with PU coating (8000mm HH)
  • Poles: 8.5 mm Aluminium (Outside diameter) with screw lock tip
  • Seams are waterproof and taped
  • Stands up to severe weather
  • Small Pack size
  • Ultralight alloy pegs

  • Weight: 1.13kg (including pegs)
  • Dimensions: 230cm(L) x 106cm(W) x 49cm(H)
  • Pack Size: 31cm(L) x 14cm(W)
  • Seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter

  • Spacious, especially around the head
  • Extremely compact when packed
  • Very easy to setup
  • Made from high quality materials

  • Lacks good ventilation
  • Can be prone to condensation buildup
  • More of a 3 season bivvy bag, than a 4 season one

2. Aqua-Quest ‘The Hoopla’ Ultra Light Bivvy Bag

Aqua-Quest 'The Hoopla' ultra light bivvy bag

The Aqua Quest Hoopla bivvy bag is a comfortable, breathable and highly waterproof bivvy bag, that offers an small, compact pack size, ultra lightweight and great value for money. It ships complete with a single aluminium pole that allows for quick and easy setup. Its also rated for all 4 seasons, making it a great bivvy bag to use throughout the year.

Made from laminated ESTER PU Coated 70-D RipStop Nylon Taffeta, the Hoopla bivvy bag is has a hydrostatic resistance rating of 10,000mm. It weighs in at 1.1kg, which combined with its small pack size, making this Aqua Quest bivvy bag incredibly portable and easy to carry whether you’re just out camping, or hiking, cycling or any other more strenuous activity.

All in all, there are other bivvy bags out there that we’d recommend ahead of the Aqua Quest Hoopla, however, with its low price tag, it’s a great option for those on a budget who are looking for the extra room that a hooped bivvy provides over a more traditional bivvy bag.

  • Waterproof and Breathable Laminated ESTER PU Coated 70-D RipStop Nylon Taffeta (10,000 mm Hydrostatic Resistance, 3,000 g/m2/day)
  • Heat Taped Seams for Increased Impermeability
  • Extremely Lightweight and Compressible Material
  • Ultra Convenient Single Aluminum Pole Set-Up
  • Outside Layer Rolls Down To Base Providing Excellent Insect Protection
  • Fixed Rear Panel Mesh For Added Circulation and Condensation Prevention
  • Front Vent Increases Circulation and Breathability
  • Clear TPU Window Allows for a Clear View of the Beautiful Night Sky

  • Weight: 1.1kg (including pegs)
  • Dimensions: 230cm(L) x 90cm(W) x 70cm(H)
  • Pack Size: 40cm(L) x 13cm(W)
  • Seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter

  • Easy to setup
  • Spacious and lightweight
  • Made from quality materials
  • Features a window on top
  • Great in wet weather, as very waterproof

  • Stakes are of low quality
  • Breathability and ventilation aren’t great
  • Depending on weather conditions, condensation can get bad

  • Waterproof: Aqua Quest are industry leaders in waterproof gear, so it’s no surprise that their Mummy bag is more waterproof than most others. 70D RipStop fabric + Laminated PU coating + Heat taped seams = Waterproof rating of 10,000 mm & Breathability rating of 3000 gr/m2/day
  • Ultralight and compact: The Mummy weighs in at only 575 g and packs down incredibly small. Packed Size = 38 x 13 x 8 cm. Compressed = 17 x 10 x 8 cm
  • Versatile: Extra wide for maximum comfort, and long enough to comfortably fit anybody up to 2 m. Zippers on both sides to fit left and right zippered sleeping bags. Use it by itself, or inside any other shelter, such as a tent, boat, under a tarp, in a cold building, etc.
  • Fast and easy setup: Remove it from the included carrying sack, lay it down, put your sleeping bag inside… Done! Time to look up at the beautiful night sky! Cold or raining? Pull the drawstring tight to minimize your exposure to the elements.
  • 2-year warranty: All Aqua Quest products are protected by AQ’s Two-Year ‘No Worries Warranty’.

  • Weight: 1.26 lbs / 575 g
  • Waterproof rating: 10,000 mm
  • Breathability rating: 3000 gr/m2/day
  • Area: 91 x 33 in / 230 x 85 cm
  • Width at Shoulders: 33 in / 85 cm
  • Width at Feet: 18 in / 45 cm
  • Packed Size: 15 x 5 x 3 in / 38 x 13 x 8 cm
  • Compressed Size: 6.5 x 4 x 3 in / 17 x 10 x 8 cm
  • Fits anyone up to 6’6″ / 2 m

  • Easy to setup
  • Ultralight and small pack size
  • Features heat taped seams
  • Very waterproof, performing well in wet weather
  • Zippers on both sides, accommodating left or right zippered sleeping bags

  • Condensation can be a problem
  • Breathability and ventilation aren’t great

Read our full review

4. Highlander Hawk Bivvy Bag

Highlander Hawk Bivvy Bag

The Highlander Hawk bivvy bag is one of the best, low-cost bags on the market, being highly breathable and waterproof, ultra-lightweight and rated for all 4 seasons, it’ll keep you dry, comfortable and warm in even the heaviest of downpours.

This Highlander bivvy bag is constructed of AB-TEX Trimax Laminate, a material that works to allow water vapour to escape whilst providing an impenetrable barrier to keep out the rain. This breathable, waterproof material has been specially developed for use in outdoor clothing and accessories. It also features a wire-supported mesh screen which increases ventilation whilst providing better protection from midges and mosquitos.

In conclusion, the Highlander Hawk is a great low-cost bivvy bag, offering an ultra-lightweight, waterproof and compact bivvy at incredibly great value, which is why it’s our pick of the low-cost bivvy bags on the market.

  • Waterproof to 5000 mm hydrostatic head
  • Wire supported waterproof mesh mosquito screen
  • Waterproof taped seams
  • Elasticated drawcord opening
  • Waterproof and breathable Trimax AB-TEX laminate
  • Carry bag included

  • Material: Polyester Ripstop
  • Weight: 600g
  • Dimensions: 230cm x 80cm x 60cm
  • Pack Size: 20 x 15 x 8cm
  • Seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter

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5. SnugPak Bivvi Bag

SnugPak Bivvi Bag

The SnugPak Bivvi Bag is designed to be the ultimate lightweight, durable, compact and low cost sleep system, offering complete protection from the rain and better breathability than other bags in it’s price range, both of which work to keep you dry throughout the night. It’s pack size is impressively compact, fitting into a compression sack that’s just 16cm by 8cm, and weight in at 340g, making it extremely portable and easy to carry.

There are a number of technical advantages and qualities of this bivvi bag over others within it’s price range, notably it’s waterproofing, being rated in excess of 5000mm. This rating means that the SnugPak Bivvi Bag is considered fully waterproof, making it a great choice for use all year round or for those intending to use the bag in parts of the world that see frequent, heavy rainfall.

Made from Paratex dry fabric, the SnugPak Bivvy Bag is highly durable and great in windy conditions as it’s designed to provide protection from the wind. It’s easy to clean and take care of as the outer fabric is treated with a durable water repellent that can be dried in a tumble drying on a cool, low setting, immediately after washing and retreatment.

Overall the SnugPak Bivvy Bag offers great value for money, being fully waterproof, compact and lightweight, all at a relatively low price. This makes it a great option for those looking for a four season bivvy bag on a budget.

  • Made of Paratex Dry, a lightweight, durable, 100% waterproof and breathable fabric. It makes an ideal protective shell for any of our sleeping bags, weighing only 300g. Exceptional breathability ensures user comfort in all conditions.
  • Hydro Static Head in Excess of 5000mm (Hydrostatic Head) over 1500mm are generally considered waterproof
  • Outer Fabric can be treated with a Durable Water Repellant (water repellency can be maintained by a cool tumble dry after washing and periodic re-treatment with suitable after care products such as Nikwax or Grangers)
  • Supplied with its own stuff sack
  • Colours – Olive, Black or Coyote Tan

  • Colours Available: Olive, Black, Desert Tan
  • Dimentions: 75cm Width, 30cm Foot, 220cm Length
  • Origin: Manufactured in UK
  • Sizes: Adult
  • Weight: 340g

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Why choose a bivvy bag over a tent?

The most obvious reason to opt for a bivvy bag over a tent is their reduced weight and pack size, making them far easier to take with you on hiking or other outdoor activities without adding too much to the overall carry weight of your backpack.

They’re also far easier to setup, just needing to be rolled out and they’re ready to use, making them ideal when camping in wet or windy weather, both of which can make setting up a traditional tent tedious. As well as their easy setup, they also require less space to pitch than a tent, making it possible to pitch a bivvy bag pretty much anywhere, with minimal effort or fuss.

Bivvy bags tend to be better suited to colder or humid weather conditions due to their ability to keep you warm and dry. In warmer, dry conditions, a tent can be a better option, as their design offers far more comfort in such weather.

What to consider when choosing the best bivvy bag?

1. How long you’ll be camping

Arguably, the length of time you’ll be camping out is a significant factor in deciding whether a bivvy bag is the right choice for you.

The general consensus is that bivvy bags are best suited to short, overnight trips, rather than longer, multi-night expeditions into the great outdoors.

This is primarily due to the lack of comfort that they offer when compared to a traditional tent, which can take its toll after several nights.

However, with their small pack size, lightweight, four-season waterproof rating, and ease of setup, they’re perfect for those short one-nighters when hiking, fishing or any other outdoor activity.

2. How much weight you’ll be carrying

Weight is one of the most significant reasons that someone would choose a bivvy bag over a tent and is something that is a concern for all of your outdoor gear, not just your choice of sleep system.

Although it’s true that all bivvy bags are lightweight, some of those on the market are lighter than others, which can be a significant deciding factor on which bivvy you decide on.

Numerous things can impact the carry weight of a bivvy bag, such as whether it’s a hooped bivvy or not, as these tend to be heavier due to their design and use of a single pole, as well as the materials a bivvy bag is made from and its overall design.

3. Pitch space and pack size

4. Weather conditions you’ll be camping in

Final Words – Wrapping it up

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