Last Updated: March 18, 2022
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Best Bivy Sack

Bivy sacks are one incredibly useful item. They can be a substitute for a tent where there isn’t enough space, carried along as an emergency shelter, become a place for your dog to sleep, or a storage tent for your packs. No matter what you end up using your bivy bag for, they are a must-bring item when spending time in the wilderness.

However, not all bivys are made equal and can differ a lot when it comes to durability, breathability, and weather resistance, so we are here to shed some light on things.

Our Top Picks

Below, you’ll find a collection of the best bivy sacks on the market reviewed in detail with pros and cons so you can find and buy the ideal bivy sack for your next adventure into the backcountry.

Top Product Overview

MSR Quick-Pitch Waterproof Pro Bivy Emergency Shelter
Best Lightweight
  • Super lightweight and compact
  • Excellent weather resistance & breathability
SEE ON AMAZON →
Sierra Designs Backcountry Bivy Bag for Backpacking, Camping, Bikepacking and Mountaineering, Ultralight, Minimalist Waterproof/Breathable Top Fabric (Long)
  • Very affordable for the quality
  • Light and compact for easy carrying
SEE ON REI →SEE ON AMAZON →
Black Diamond Equipment Big Wall Hooped Bivy - Yellow - Long
  • Made from extreme cold conditions
  • Excellent weatherproofing
SEE ON BLACK DIAMOND →SEE ON AMAZON →
RAB MR-19-OL Survival Zone Lite Bivi-Olive Shelter
  • Super lightweight at 8 oz
  • Great breathability and waterproofing
SEE ON AMAZON →
Snugpak Stratosphere 1 Person Bivvi Tent, Waterproof, Olive
  • Excellent waterproofing so you stay dry
  • Super affordable for the quality
SEE ON AMAZON →
AquaQuest Pharaoh Bivy Sack, Waterproof Outer Shell for Sleeping Bag, Minimalist Stealth Shelter, Olive Drab
  • Great waterproofing and breathability
  • Roomy and spacious inside
SEE ON AMAZON →
Tennier Woodland Camouflage Waterproof Bivy Cover
  • Durably made from Gore-Tex materials
  • Great weatherproofing and breathability
SEE ON AMAZON →
Black Diamond Hooped Bivy
  • Durable and well made
  • Fully waterproof and breathable
SEE ON AMAZON →
LytHarvest Ultralight Bivvy Bag Tent, Compact Single Person Backpacking Bivy Tent Military - 100% Waterproof Sleeping Bag Cover Bivvy Sack for Outdoor Survival, Bushcraft
  • Nice headroom compared to others
  • Quick and easy setup
SEE ON AMAZON →

Best Bivy Sacks


Best Lightweight

MSR Pro Bivy Bag

MSR Quick-Pitch Waterproof Pro Bivy Emergency Shelter

The MSR Pro Bivy Bag is one of the most lightweight bivy bags on the market and most likely the best bivy to go for if you want your pack to be as light as possible.

This bag weighs just 10 ounces and compacts down to just 8×4 x4 inches so you’re always going to have space for it and it’s never going to weigh you down.

It is made from 20d ripstop nylon and features Xtreme shield waterproofing which is said to last 3 times longer than others.

It stands up well to the weather and it’s breathable too in order to stop and condensation build-up so you wake up dry and have a good night’s sleep.

It can be a little tricky to get in and out of this bag as there is no zipper, so you’ll have to master some shuffling. The lack of a zipper also means that water can drip in through the overlapping closure.

But, it is made to be an emergency bivy sack for alpine use, so the thinner 20D fabric and lack of zipper bring the weight down.

Pros

  • Super lightweight and compact
  • Excellent weather resistance & breathability
  • Made from durable fabrics
  • Comes with a 3-year warranty
  • Waterproof coating lasts up to 3 times longer

Cons

  • No zip so water can get inside
  • Fabric is a little light

Product Information

  • Weight: 10 oz
  • Packed Size: 8 x 4 x 4 inches
  • Materials: 20D ripstop nylon
SEE ON AMAZON

Best On A Budget

Sierra Designs Backcountry Bivy Bag

Sierra Designs Backcountry Bivy Bag for Backpacking, Camping, Bikepacking and Mountaineering, Ultralight, Minimalist Waterproof/Breathable Top Fabric (Long)

The Sierra Designs Backcountry Bivy Bag is one of the best bivy bags when it comes to affordability vs quality and if you’re shopping on a budget this is one to take a good look at.

The bivy sack is made from 20 and 30D ripstop nylon which is an excellent material overall but it’s a little thin so you’ll want to use the bivy with care.

The lighter material is what makes this bag so lightweight overall, weighing just 14 oz. It won’t weigh your pack down at all and you’ll always find some space for it considering it packs down to just 1 x 6 x 4 inches.

It has great waterproofing and breathability so you can rest assured that you’ll wake up dry and comfortable. It also features mesh netting so that you can open it up on warm nights and not get bitten by any mosquitos.

There are no poles with this bivy sack so you’ll end up with the top layer on your face but there is a guy rope attachment point you can attach to a near tree to raise it.

Overall, this is probably the best bivy sack around for the price and it ticks all the important boxes too.

Pros

  • Very affordable for the quality
  • Light and compact for easy carrying
  • Excellent waterproofing that works
  • Made with quality materials
  • Awesome breathability so you're dry
  • Has mesh netting to stop the bugs

Cons

  • No structure so the bivy sits on your face
  • Not very long to sleep in
  • The fabric is quite thin at 20 & 30D

Product Information

  • Weight: 14 oz
  • Packed Size: 11 x 6 x 4 inches
  • Materials: 20D & 30D ripstop nylon
SEE ON REI
SEE ON AMAZON

Best Extreme

Black Diamond Big Wall Hooped Bivy Bag

Black Diamond Equipment Big Wall Hooped Bivy - Yellow - Long

The Black Diamond Big Wall Hooped Bivy Bag is one of the ideal bivy sacks around for use in cold alpine conditions. It’s the closest you’ll ever get to sleeping out in the snow without a tent.

It bag features a hooped design meaning there is a sewn-in flexible wire where your head goes that raises up the bivy sack. This means you don’t have any fabric sitting on your face and it gives you a feeling of space while sleeping.

The head area also features mesh bug netting so you can stare a the stars on warm nights, or use the dual zippers to tuck up warm and fully enclose yourself when it’s cold out.

The Todd Tex polyester material is tough, durable, and is excellent when it comes to keeping you warm and dry. It can handle all extreme weather types plus it breathes well to let condensation out and keep you as dry as possible.

Weighing in at 1 lb 12 oz, it is not the lightest bivy sack around by a long shot but the weight has to be there for extreme weather protection. Considering what it can do and that it packs up to 14.17 x 4.72 x 4.72 inches, we are happy with the extra weight.

Extra features include taped seams for better waterproofing and tie-downs for anchoring.

Overall this is by far the top bivy sack for use in extreme conditions.

Pros

  • Made from extreme cold conditions
  • Excellent weatherproofing
  • Breathes well so you stay dry
  • Super durable and long-lasting
  • Quite light and compact for the quality

Cons

  • A little expensive

Product Information

  • Weight: 1lb 12 oz
  • Packed Size: 14.17 x 4.72 x 4.72 inches
  • Materials: Todd Tex polyester
SEE ON BLACK DIAMOND
SEE ON AMAZON

RAB Alpine Survival Zone Lite Bivy Bag

RAB MR-19-OL Survival Zone Lite Bivi-Olive Shelter

The RAB Survival Zone Lite Bivy Bag is the best bivy bag around if you’re looking for an emergency shelter outside of extreme conditions.

It weighs just 8 oz and packs down to a mere 8 x 5 x 4 inches making it very carriable for those ‘just in case’ emergency situations.

The RAB Apline bag is made from 30D Pertex Endurance fabric which is pretty durable overall but with such a low D number it is a little thin and needs to be treated with care. 

The weatherproofing on the material is excellent and it breathes well too. It’s an ideal energy shelter for mid-spring to mid-autumn but we’re not sure how it would fair in extreme conditions.

There is no zipper on this bivy sack, so getting in and out would require a little shuffle or two. The bag closes with an overlap and a drawcord and is said to let no water in, but in reality, we can’t see this always working.

Overall it’s one of the best emergency bivy sacks or for use in warmer months.

Pros

  • Super lightweight at 8 oz
  • Great breathability and waterproofing
  • Packs down super small
  • Made with durable materials
  • Dries out quickly

Cons

  • Hard to get in and out of
  • Not for cold conditions

Product Information

  • Weight: 8 oz
  • Packed Size: 8 x 5 x 4 inches
  • Materials: 30D Pertex Endurance fabric
SEE ON AMAZON

Snugpak Stratosphere Bivy Bag

Snugpak Stratosphere 1 Person Bivvi Tent, Waterproof, Olive

The Snugpak Stratosphere Bivy Bag is more of a tent that meets a bag in its design. It’s certainly the bivy sack when it comes to spaciousness but loses points due to its weight.

Weighing in at over 2lbs, this is one of the heaviest bags featured and this is due to its pole design. Unlike other bags, this bivy uses two tent poles to raise up the end you sleep on making it super spacious.

There is maximum headroom in the bag and at 91 inches long, more than enough space for a comfortable night.

It’s made from 50D ripstop nylon on top and 201T nylon on the bottom making it super durable. It’s also waterproof to 5000mm and 8000 mm, top and bottom, ensuring no rain gets to you.

There is a full-length zipper along the side for easy access and it comes with a mosquito net for those hotter nights.

The only other issue with this bivy sack, outside the weight, is that it doesn’t breathe well, so condensation build-up is a factor your should consider.

Overall, it’s probably the best bag when it comes to space but the high weight and lack of breathability bring it down.

Pros

  • Excellent waterproofing so you stay dry
  • Super affordable for the quality
  • Nice and roomy inside with headroom
  • Comes with a mosquito net for hot nights
  • Durable and well made for long-lasting use

Cons

  • Much heavier than others
  • Not the most breathable

Product Information

  • Weight: 2.5 lbs
  • Packed Size: 12 x 5 inches
  • Materials: 50D ripstop & 210t nylon
SEE ON AMAZON

Aqua Quest Pharaoh Bivy Bag

AquaQuest Pharaoh Bivy Sack, Waterproof Outer Shell for Sleeping Bag, Minimalist Stealth Shelter, Olive Drab

The Aqua Quest Pharaoh Bivy Bag almost made it onto our top three bivy sacks but fell short due to a few design flaws.

Made of 70D ripstop nylon, this is bivy sack has excellent durability and with heat taped seams, creates a seal to block you from the elements.

The fabric is rated to 10,000 mm of waterproofing and thus will keep you dryer than most bivy sacks out there. Plus it’s super breathable too with a moisture vapor transmission rating of 10,000 gr/m2/day so that condensation build-up is minimal. And when you have a night in your sleeping bag ahead of you, this is all great news!

To top it all off, the bivy bag comes with a lifetime warranty, so where did they go wrong?

Well, it’s a bit heavier than others at 1.1lbs, and the fabric sits on your face, but these are manageable issues overall. The real problem is that there is no zipper.

Without a zipper, the bivy sack is hard to get into, and the included drawcord closure doesn’t create a good enough seal to stop the elements from getting inside, which is what got it our best budget bivy sack award.

Pros

  • Great waterproofing and breathability
  • Roomy and spacious inside
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty
  • Made with durable materials
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Quite heavy compared to others
  • Fabric will sit on your face
  • Hard to get in and out of
  • No zipper so water will see in

Product Information

  • Weight: 1.1 lbs
  • Packed Size: Compressed 6.5 x 4 x 3 inch
  • Materials: 70D ripstop nylon
SEE ON AMAZON

Tennier Woodland Camouflage Waterproof Bivy Bag

Tennier Woodland Camouflage Waterproof Bivy Cover

The Tennier Bivy Bag is the second bag featured that can be used all year round, even in extreme conditions, and this is thanks to the use of Gore-Tex as its base material.

Gore-Tex is highly durable, breathable, and waterproof. you’d usually find it in high-end alpine clothing as it creates an excellent membrane that stops water coming in but lets air out.

This means the bivy sack will always keep you dry from the outside and the inside by letting all the condensation out.

This bag also features a full-length zipper making it easy to climb in and out of plus a storm flap that reduces the build-up of any snow or rain that might fall in the night.

It stacks up to be great but it’s not the best bivy bag when it comes to weight and space. Weighing 2.5 lbs, without any poles in the design, makes it one of the heaviest around plus it has large packed dimensions, so carrying this around will be a burden.

Also, the interior space is minimal too and you’ll be sleeping in a cocoon with very little wiggle room.

Pros

  • Durably made from Gore-Tex materials
  • Great weatherproofing and breathability
  • Quite affordable for the quality
  • Includes a storm flap to stop moisture build-up
  • Heavy duty and for extreme temperatures

Cons

  • Incredibly heavy compared to others
  • Tight-fitting and not spacious

Product Information

  • Weight: 2.5 lbs
  • Packed Size: 12.9 x 8.4 x 3.3 inches
  • Materials: Gore-Tex
SEE ON AMAZON

Black Diamond Hooped Bivy Bag

Black Diamond Hooped Bivy

The Black Diamond Hooped Bivy Bag is a step down from the Balck Diamon Big Wall featured above and is a bag best used for 3 season camping.

This bivy bag also featured a hooped design that integrates sewn-in flexible wire at both ends that raises the bivy sack to give you a good amount of space to sleep in.

The fabric won’t touch your face as your lie in your sleeping bag and the gaps provide some room for air to circulate helping with condensation build-up.

This model from Black Diamond is made from Todd Tex single-wall fabric which is fully waterproof and breathable too so you’ll be kept dry from the inside and out.

It also comes with a zipper to seal out the elements which also makes it a bit easier to climb in and out of compared to others.

The bag is a little heavy at 1lb 12oz. and bulky with a pack size of 19 x6 inches, but this is expected based on the durability and weatherproofness of the thicker fabric and hooped design.

It’s certainly one of the top bivy bags around for colder conditions but the Big Wall version has it beaten.

Pros

  • Durable and well made
  • Fully waterproof and breathable
  • Comfortable to sleep in
  • Quite spacious overall
  • Easy to get in and out of

Cons

  • A little heavier and bulkier than most

Product Information

  • Weight: 1lb 12 oz
  • Packed Size: 19 x 6 inches
  • Materials: Todd Tex fabric
SEE ON AMAZON

LytHarvest Ultralight Bivy Bag

LytHarvest Ultralight Bivvy Bag Tent, Compact Single Person Backpacking Bivy Tent Military - 100% Waterproof Sleeping Bag Cover Bivvy Sack for Outdoor Survival, Bushcraft

The LytHarvest Ultralight Bivy Bag is the top bivy bag in the review when it comes to affordability and if you’re on a budget and willing to forgo some features, it might suit you.

It’s more of a bag meets a 1 man tent thanks to its poled design. At both ends, you’ll find tent poles, stake down points, and even a guy rope or two which makes the bivy have great headroom compared to others.

You’ll also find it does well when it comes to durability being made of 190T polyester and the 5000mm waterproof coating handles the weather well too.

This ultralight bivy is quick and easy to set up and slide into but it’s overall not so spacious, quite heavy, and bulky to carry around and it doesn’t breathe that well.

So despite the affordability of the bivy sack, there are some issues, so you do get what you pay for, like with all outdoor gear.

Pros

  • Nice headroom compared to others
  • Quick and easy setup
  • Simple to slip into
  • Good water resistance and ventilation
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • Not that spacious inside
  • Doesn't breathe well
  • Quite heavy

Product Information

  • Weight: 1.6lbs
  • Packed Size: 17 x 4 x 4 inches
  • Materials: 190T polyester
SEE ON AMAZON

What To Look For In The Best Bivy Sack

Waterproof Rating

Every bivy is made different and each one is more or less waterproof than the rest. You’ll notice ratings of 5,000mm or 10,000mm and the higher the more waterproof the bivy sack will be. But what does this rating actually mean?

It’s based on a hydrostatic head scale, meaning that a cylinder is put against the fabric, and water is slowly added. Once the water breaks through, the volume is measured in mm and the fabric has its waterproof rating. So a 10,000mm rating means it took 10,000 mm of water to break through the fabric.

A 1,000mm bivy will handle light rain, a 5000mm bivy will deal with medium downpours, and a 10,000 mm bivy sack can manage the heavy stuff. If you want something fully waterproof go for 12,000mm or more, or choose one made of Gore-Tex.

Ventilation & Breathability

Unfortunately, it’s not just excellent waterproofing your bivy needs to ensure you wake up dry, as, without good ventilation and breathability, the condensation build-up that happens while you sleep inside the bivy can have you waking up damp.

Ventilation comes down to the design of the bivy sack and ones that include poles, wire, and zippers are best. The raised roof makes air circulation a lot more efficient and you can open your zipper on a dry night to let the air out.

Breathability comes down to the material the bivy is made out of. Gore-Tex and Pertext are excellent breathers while other materials like nylon have to sacrifice breathability for better weather protection and vice versa.

To pole or not to pole?

A pole-less bivy is pretty much a weatherproof cover for your sleeping bag and you to sleep in. These days they are quite comfortable but the lack of poles means they are a little claustrophobic and tight-fitting which is not what everyone enjoys. Although this is excellent for emergencies.

A bivy sack that uses poles or wire-like the Black Diamond bivy bags featured, provides a lot more space and room to move around in. They are more like a tent than a bag overall and will shed water and snow a lot better than a pole-less design. But, carrying along some poles means they weigh a lot more and take longer to set up.

Weight & Packed Size

The whole point of a bivy bag is to either replace a tent with a lighter option or to carry it around along with a tent as an emergency backup shelter. Either way, for it to be useful it has to be lighter than a normal 1 man tent would be.

When searching for an emergency shelter that you hopefully never have to use, make sure to pick the lightest bivy around with the smallest packed size you can find that still ticks all the right boxes – durability, breathability, space, and weatherproofing.

If you want a bivy bag to replace a tent, things like space and comfort will be higher on your list than weight, and thus a poled or wired design will be worth the extra weight but only if it weighs less than a tent, some of which are just over 2lbs these days.

Comfort & Space

Aside from all the other factors mentioned above, which all invariably will affect your comfort, the last thing to tick off when looking for the best bivy bag is space.

You don’t want to feel like you’ve been cocooned up by a giant spider that’s waiting to eat you when you are deep inside your sleeping bag. Thus, you must check its dimensions.

If you’re tall you want a bag that’s at least 90 inches long and 30 inches wide at the shoulders, and this goes for anyone who feels a bit claustrophobic too.

If the idea of sleeping with the fabric touching your face is a simple NO in your eyes, then you’ll have to pick a bivy bag with poles or wires that keep the front head section slightly elevated.

Our Favorite Bivy Bags

The best bivy bag, if you’re looking for a lightweight option, is the MSR Pro Bivy Bag. It weighs just 10 ounces, compacts down tiny, plus it comes with excellent water resistance and breathability to ensure you wake up fresh and dry from a good night’s sleep. It is an emergency bivy bag though, so bear in mind the fabric is quite light at 20D and there is no zipper.

Sale
MSR Quick-Pitch Waterproof Pro Bivy Emergency Shelter
  • Lightweight, breathable bivy shelter for high-alpine camping
  • Measuring 88-inch length and 36-inch width, its compact design fits in small nooks and crannies too small for a tent

The best bivy bag, if you’re on a budget, is the Sierra Designs Backcountry Bivy Bag. It’s light, packs down small, has excellent waterproofing and breathability, plus it’s well made and comes with a big mesh for warm nights. For the money, you really can’t beat this bivy bag.

Sierra Designs Backcountry Bivy Bag for Backpacking, Camping, Bikepacking and Mountaineering, Ultralight, Minimalist Waterproof/Breathable Top Fabric (Long)
  • Designed to fit our Backcountry Bed and sleeping pad
  • Large U-shaped opening to make getting in and out easy

The best bivy bag for extreme conditions is the Black Diamond Big Wall Hooped Bivy Bag. This bivy bag will protect you in all weather conditions, has tie-downs to keep you on the ground, breathes well, and its hooped dual zipper design means you have some space around your head for a comfy night’s sleep, even on the top of a mountain.

Black Diamond Equipment Big Wall Hooped Bivy - Yellow - Long
  • Sewn-in flexible wire creates air space
  • Dual-sided zipper and mesh covered opening