5 Best Bivy Sacks

Rilor Staff
Update: October 9, 2021
Table of Contents

The best bivy sacks are essential amenities for ultralight outdoor applications. These bivy sacks are the way to go for mountaineers and hikers who want to shed tents on their luggage. 

The quality of modern bivy sacks is already far from their predecessors. They already possess sufficient waterproofing to protect your sleeping pads from being drenched by the rain. They are also breathable and offer a degree of insulation. 

For ultralight outdoor pursuits, the following bivy sacks should be able to accommodate your needs. 

5 Best Bivy Sacks

Outdoor Research Helium Bivy 82 inches3-season
S.O.L. Reflective Escape Bivy 84 inches3- 4-season
Snugpak Special Forces Bivvi Bag 90 inches3-season
Outdoor Research Bug Bivy 89 inches3-season
Black Diamond Bipod Bivy 92 inches3-season

1. Outdoor Research Helium Bivy


The Outdoor Research Helium Bivy is a trusted option for a bivy shelter. This one is the lightest unit from the brand; it only weighs around a pound, making it an ideal choice for minimalists and adventurers who are always on the go. But just because it is lightweight doesn't mean that it is flimsy. This bivy tent is tailored from the Pertex Shield+ fabric, which exudes breathability and waterproofing without compromising its ruggedness. 

Furthermore, the bivy has fully taped seams so that water, moisture, and other elements won't breach it. Meanwhile, its floor fabric is constructed from a 40-denier Hydroseal, which is durable enough to shield you from ground moisture and rainwater. This bivy also features an overhead pole, spacious toe space, and detachable no-see-um mesh on its opening for superior comfort. 


  • Seasonality - 3-season
  • Capacity - 1 person
  • Material - Pertex Shield+ fabric/Hydroseal fabric
  • Weight - 1 pound
  • Length - 82 inches

2. S.O.L. Reflective Escape Bivy


This ultralight bivy from S.O.L. is definitely a survivalist's choice. It can help you navigate the cold weather, thanks to its reflective quality. Specifically, the bivy can reflect up to 70% of your body heat so that you'll not experience heat loss while under heavy precipitation. Of course, the bivy itself has superb waterproofing. Its seams have been sealed, and its drawstring hood lets you lock yourself against external elements. 

The construction of this bivy is also trustworthy; it can last multiple uses without wearing out. The material used on its shell and floor is tear-resistant that is impervious to punctures. Furthermore, it is also waterproof. Interestingly, you can also use this bivy as a form of a slipcover or blanket for sleeping bags. But on its own, you can still guarantee that it can provide you warmth and protection while in the wild.


  • Seasonality - 3- 4- season
  • Capacity - 1 person
  • Material - Waterproof fabric with a reflective layer
  • Weight - 0.55 pounds
  • Length - 84 inches

3. Snugpak Special Forces Bivvi Bag


Tailored for a sturdy, waterproof Paratex Dry fabric, the Snugpak Special Forces Bivvi Bag presents itself as a conducive shell for outdoor applications. It is capable of protecting you against the elements. Surely enough, this bivy bag is lightweight, having a weight of less than a pound. Hence, it can provide off-grid trailers a reliable form of shelter without having to deal with the bulk. 

Moreover, the Snugpak Special Forces Bivvi Bag is built to be windproof. It is efficient in shielding its users against the cold air. At the same time, the fabric used in its construction traps heat so that you can remain warm and cozy. During rain and snow, you can rely on the water-wicking capabilities that the bivy bag has to offer. If you are not using it, you can collapse and store it into its compact stuff sack. 


  • Seasonality - 3-season
  • Capacity - 1 person
  • Material - Paratex Dry fabric
  • Weight - 0.76 pounds
  • Length - 90 inches

4. Outdoor Research Bug Bivy


This bivy shelter from Outdoor Research is only applicable if the skies are clear from dark clouds. Specifically, this shelter features a no-see-um netting, which veers away from the traditional full fabric construction of bivy sacks and shelters. The net itself has tiny holes that let the air in while preventing the insects from bugging you. With the pole on the overhead of this amenity, you'll prevent these critters from getting to your face. 

This bivy features a long-zip architecture so that you can easily enter inside it. Oppositely,  Straps are also in place to ensure that your sleeping pad won't move out of place. If you tend to wiggle around while you are in the dreamland, these straps will prevent you from messing up your setup. You'll find the mesh pockets installed on its body useful. You can stow your nighttime accessories and essentials in them.


  • Seasonality - 3-season
  • Capacity - 1 person
  • Material - No-see-um netting
  • Weight - 1 pound
  • Length - 89 inches

5. Black Diamond Bipod Bivy


The Black Diamond Bipod Bivy was designed to become a perfect alternative for single-person tents. This one is a shelter that you can pack without worrying about its weight. But at the same time, you can guarantee that it can shield you from unfavorable atmospheric conditions. It has a minimalist structure, which can be seen by its single-pole design. It offers plenty of room where you can lay down and sleep comfortably, wherever you are. 

This unit is constructed from the ToddTex single-wall fabric, which is both waterproof and tear-resistant. It is also windproof without sacrificing the ventilation that it provides to its users. During cold nights, this bivy is capable of adding insulation to your sleeping pad or sleeping bag. Meanwhile, there's a large zippered access point on this bivy that enables quick entry and exit. Overall, the Black Diamond Bipod Bivy is definitely an ergonomic shelter for ultralight applications. 


  • Seasonality - 3-season
  • Capacity - 1 person
  • Material - ToddTex fabric
  • Weight - 1 pound
  • Length - 92 inches

A Guide In Choosing The Best Bivy Sacks

Bivy sacks are there to present as alternatives to tents. Most of us are fond of using tents whenever we head outdoors. However, there are instances where bringing them can cause obstacles. For example, mountain climbers, cyclists, and ultralight backpackers would want to shed as much weight as possible. Hence, even in their shelters, they tend to look for lightweight substitutes. 

Honestly speaking, sleeping pads and sleeping bags should already be enough to give you a sound sleep while you are out in the open. But they are only good enough if the skies are clear and there are no critters around you. You still need a form of a shell that can incubate you from the elements. 

Bivy sacks and shelters are there to help you on this matter. They work similarly to a tent, minus the weight and the bulk. They ensure that their users remain dry and bug-free.

There are some considerations that you need to take into account when choosing bivy sacks. Here are they:


Always check the length and shoulder width of the bivy sack. You have to make sure that you can fit your sleeping amenities inside it--as well as yourself. You have to remember that these bivies have limited space already. So there's no need for you to restrict it even further. There's nothing wrong with picking a sizable bivy since most of them can be packed compactly. Having enough room for you to move around gives the extra convenience for you to be able to sleep comfortably.

Meanwhile, other bivy sacks have poled headrooms. This means that they provide a "breathing space" between your face and the bivy sack. Other people don't mind that their bivies don't have this feature. But for some, the extra convenience can make the difference.


A bivy sack that is not waterproof is not good. You should never settle for water-resistant models. Always pick an option that can shield you from the rain and moisture. The only exception here is those bivy sacks that have been advertised to have meshed or netted overheads. They are designed to be used only during calm weather conditions. However, if you are mountaineering or going to a destination where things can get moist and watery. 

Of course, you should also prioritize bivies that offer windproof construction. This might sound a little bit excessive, but you wouldn't want your lightweight shelter to be toppled over by strong gusts of wind. In cases where you are under turbulent conditions, your safety and convenience are much more secured with these windproof options than those that are not. 

The weather defense of a bivy sack can also be gauged on how seamless it is. Essentially, you would want its seams and gaps to be taped and welded, ensuring that there are no potential entry points for water, dirt, and insects.

Breathability And Insulation

You have to ensure that your bivy can provide sufficient ventilation. It should be able to keep you dry without making you feel that you are being steamed inside. Modern bivies use fabrics that allow air to circulate inside and outside them. They are suitable shelters if the weather is hot, but you don't want the bugs to get inside the tent. 

During frigid expeditions, you should rely on bivies that have insulating capabilities. Specifically, they are those bivy sacks that have reflective layers that bounce the heat generated by your body. In fact, some of these bivies can improve the insulation of sleeping bags by at least ten percent. So that's something that you have to consider, especially if you are expecting low temperatures along the way.

In Summary

The best bivy sacks are the optimal shelter for outdoor goers who don't want to carry tents on their journey. You can still use them on multi-day hikes and tours since they have ample durability and weatherproofing in their architecture. They can shield you from the rain and the elements without being too cumbersome. And for a lot of people, such an experience is the best way to enjoy off-grid excursions. 

That's it for now. If you have other inquiries, feel free to ask me in the comment section below.

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