Bivy sacks go by several different names. Sometimes they’re referred to as a sleeping bivy and other times they’re known as bivy shelters. Regardless of what a person calls them, however, these bags are designed is to protect a person when they most need it the most. It’s a tent/sleeping bag combination that can be the difference between making it out of a survival situation or falling prey to hypothermia. It’s also a good choice for campers, hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts looking for a minimalistic solution to sleeping in the great outdoors. We’ve decided to investigate them so that we can help our readers find the best bivy sacks available for them.
Quick Summary of the Best Bivy Sacks
- Best Overall: Tact Bivvy Emergency Sleeping Bag 2.0 (Amazon) – Review
- Best Value: Go Time Gear Emergency Thermal Bivvy (Amazon) – Review
- Best Affordable: Mezonn Survival Bivy Sack Set (Amazon) – Review
Best Overall: Tact Bivvy Emergency Sleeping Bag 2.0
This bivvy sack is designed to be the one tool that a person can depend on in an emergency. Not only does it comes with a compact thermal bivy sack cover, but it also comes with a survival whistle, para-tinder, and a stuff sack. This is everything a person needs for an emergency, which is why so many people are not only keeping one of these in their home survival kits and bug out bags but also for keeping in the trunk of their car. After all, no one knows when they’re going to break down along the side of a road during a snowstorm. People who have this bag in their car will be better able to survive an emergency than a person who doesn’t have one.
Let’s examine this bivy sack kit and see what makes it tick, shall we? This kit features a lightweight sleeping bag that weighs under 5-ounces and is made out of a thin reflective polyester film. This material is capable of reflecting up to 90% of the person’s body heat back to them while they’re in it, which can be a lifesaver in an emergency. The one thing that we noticed about this sleeping back was that while it was very warm, as well as windproof and waterproof, it didn’t breathe very well. In fact, it didn’t breathe at all, which means that the person sleeping inside of it may begin to sweat inside of it if it’s not very cold.
Another thing that we liked about this bag was that it compresses down very well into its nylon stuff sack, so it’s compact and easy to take anywhere. Because its sack is made out of durable nylon, it won’t rip or tear when it’s packed with other gear. That makes it easy to place in a BOB, emergency kit or even to pack into a suitcase for traveling.
Best Value: Go Time Gear Emergency Thermal Bivvy
Just so we’re clear to all of our readers, bivy sacks aren’t meant to be used as regular sleeping bags. No, they are instead designed for consumers who want a simple and effective emergency option. They are tools that are put into vehicle emergency kits, placed in a bug out bags, or are kept around for an emergency situation. They are designed to keep the consumer warm when there’s no source of heat and they’re being threatened by the elements. As such, they are probably one of the most important survival tools a person could own, one that is more important than a first-aid kit or an emergency cell phone charger.
And this sleeping bag kit does it’s just as an emergency tool very well. It’s a bivy sack that can be used as a sleeping bag, an emergency blanket or can even be used as an impromptu survival shelter. It’s manufactured using 26mm polyethylene that helps to reflect up to 90% of the person’s own body heat back to them. This will help them conserve more of their body heat and protect them against hypothermia. Another important feature found on this sleeping bag is that it has seam-sealed edges. These edges help to keep wind, snow, and rain out of them while the user is sleeping in them.
Another thing that we liked about this sleeping bag was that the exterior of it was a bright orange, which makes it extremely visible to rescue teams or first-responders. And this bag has a paracord drawstring that holds it shut and in an emergency could be used as survival cabling for securing it as a shelter. At the end of this drawstring is a 120-decibel survival whistle, too. This whistle can be used to get the attention of emergency responders if need be. And probably best of all, this kit only weighs 4.1-ounces, so it can be packed into almost anything and is easy for the consumer to carry with them. Now there’s no reason not to be prepared.
Best Affordable: Mezonn Survival Bivy Sack Set
Honestly, when we first reviewed this bivy sack we weren’t initially impressed with it. We thought that the carrying pouch wasn’t very durable and we had serious doubts as to whether it would hold up to constant use. However, having said that, we do have to say that we were impressed with the rest of the kit. It comes with a whistle that can be used in an actual emergency, and it has a carabiner that allows it to be attached to the bag of a backpack, saddlebag or even a purse. And because it only weighs around 4.8-ounces and the pouch is only 8.2-inches, this bivy sack set should be easy to stow into just about any bag.
Once the sleeping bag is unrolled and taken out, the consumer will find out that it’s approximately 80.7-inches. That’s 6-feet 7-inches long, which is long enough for most people to use, or can even be used by two adults at the same time when necessary. Although the sleeping bag was a little bit thinner than we thought it would be, we have to say that it did a good job of reflecting the consumer’s heat back to them. This sleeping bag will reflect up to 90% of the person’s body heat back towards them, which is enough to help them survive a very cold winter night if necessary.
Weighing all of its pros and cons, we feel that this is one of the best budget bivy sacks we’ve reviewed. It’s not the same quality as some of the premium sacks, but it does do its job well and costs approximately 50% less than these other ones. That makes it a good choice for consumers who want a bivy sack for emergency use but don’t want to spend too much money on it.
A Guide To Buying Bivy Sacks
Having just gone through some of the bivy sacks that we feel are the best, we think it’s time to do a deeper dive on the subject. That’s because we wanted to not only tell our readers how useful these are, and list the ones that we feel are the best, but we also wanted to make sure that our readers know what to look for when shopping for them. Therefore, we’ve decided to write this guide; a guide that should illuminate this subject quite well for everyone who takes the time to read it.
The Advantages & Disadvantages Of Bivy Sacks
Before we start informing our readers how to purchase the best bivy sack for them, we thought that it might be appropriate to talk about the advantages and disadvantages of these products. Let’s start with the advantages first. The main advantage of these sacks is that they’re very portable and are easy to slip into a backpack, handbag, or into an emergency kit. Most of them weigh around 4-5 ounces and are only a few inches in size when they’re packed. This makes them suitable for campers, climbers, or anyone else who is out in the elements and might need an emergency shelter. And these are great for that purpose. In an emergency, these sacks can certainly save a person’s life.
Now, that we’ve spoken about the advantages of bivy sacks, we’re afraid that we have to now turn our attention to their disadvantages. As great as these sacks are, they’re not perfect, and they’re not intended to be a replacement for a real tent and sleeping bag. That’s because they don’t have the same insulating properties as a regular sleeping bag, and because they’re made out of polyethylene, the user’s body heat can cause condensation to form inside of them while they’re being used. This makes them poorly suited for humid or tropical environments. Fortunately, these bags are mostly used by people who need protection in cold weather, so that shouldn’t be much of an issue at all.
How To Purchase The Best Bivy Sacks
Okay, this is most likely the part that most consumers who have been reading this article have waited for, so let’s not waste any more time and just jump right into the thick of it. The following are some of the things that the consumer is going to want to consider before they purchase their new bivy sack.
Make Sure It’s An Appropriate Size
The first thing that the consumer should think about when choosing a bivy sack is its size. The person wants to make sure that the sleeping back is large enough for their needs, but that it folds up into a size small enough to be easily packed away for future use. Generally speaking, these sleeping bags should at least be 78+ inches long and at least 35+ inches wide for it to be useful. And when the bivy is properly packed, it should be only a few inches in size. Some consumers might want to consider the weight of the bivy sack, but that’s not usually necessary because most of them weigh under 6-ounces anyway.
Make Sure The Bivy Sack Is Weather Proof
Notice how we said that the bivy sack should be weather-proof and not just waterproof. That’s because almost every single bivy sack sold is waterproof, but not many of them are weatherproof. What we mean is that bivy sacks are usually made out of nylon and/or polyethylene, so they naturally prevent water from soaking through them. However, not all of them are weather-proof, meaning that snow, wind, and rain can get through the openings in the bag. Therefore, the consumer should make sure that it has pretaped seams, so water and wind can’t work themselves into it.
Some Final Things To Think About
The above items are just the basics of what the person needs to consider when buying a new bivy sack, but there are probably still a few more decisions the consumer is going to want to make to ensure they’re happy with their purchase. The following bullet points are some of the other things that consumers might want to think about before considering a bivy sack to be the best one for their personal needs and expectations.
- Bivy Sacks With Mesh Face Shields Are Best For Mosquito Infested Areas.
- Consider Bivy Sacks Equipped With Survival Whistlers And/Or Paracord.