What Is a Bivy Sack and Why Do You Need One?


Camping enthusiasts are constantly looking for equipment that is lighter and easier to pack. If you want a more simple camping experience, one-person tents may already be on your list of choices. However, you may consider going even smaller and lighter with a bivy bag. In this blog post, we'll explain a bivy bag and discuss why it can be the greatest option for anyone looking to spend the night in the wild.


What Is a Bivy Bag?

 A lady in a red and blue bivy with just her face showing

Credit: Envato Elements/ Sotnikov Misha


A bivy/bivvy bag, also known as a bivouac sack, is a one-person tent that provides you, and your gear such as sleeping bags with additional weather protection from light rain and other mild weather conditions. These bags were originally designed as temporary shelters but are now available in a variety of designs. Today, bivy shelters are used as survival shelters, ponchos, and tarps and are often made of waterproof or water-resistant materials.


Types of Bivy Sacks


Bivy bags can be of two types :


1)  Traditional Bivvy Bags

 A bright orange bivy sack

Credit: LACD


The basic bivy sack is the most widely used type of bivy bag. Typically, the bottom rung of these sacks is made of tough nylon that has been waterproofed by urethane coating. On the hand, the upper layer is often constructed of ripstop nylon, a lightweight fabric that has been laminated to be waterproof and breathable.


2)  Face Lifter Bivvy Bags

 A blue bivy sack with a see through net on the front and a yellow pillow inside

Credit: Outdoor Research


The face lifter bivy sack has a bug net window, a water-resistant top, and a waterproof bottom. These bags are typically used in conjunction with a tarp and are not a standalone shelter. In addition to having mosquito netting, these models frequently have hoops to keep the sack off your head.


Why Do You Need a Bivvy Bag?


Confused if you should go bivy camping? Here are 4 reasons why you should carry a bivy bag during your next outdoor adventure:


1)  Bivy Bags Can Be Used in a Variety of Situations

 A couple lying next to each other in their bivy sacks looking at their phones

Credit: Envato Elements/ Image-Source


If you want to reduce the weight of your pack but don't feel safe sleeping in the open, a bivy is ideal. They are customarily designed to facilitate alpine, mountaineering, and snow camping, adding an extra layer of weather resistance in these harsh conditions.


2)  It Reduces the Time Spent Setting Up Camp

 A lady sleeping in her blue bivy in the fields with the sun coming up

Credit: Envato Elements/ Simol1407


If you want to cover a lot of ground and have long alpine-start style days planned, a bivy enables you to make the most of your time on the route. You can spend more time outside since they are easier to set up after dusk and take down before dawn.


3)  Wild Camping With a Bivy Is Easier Than With a Tent

 A man leaning on a rock while lying in his orange bivy drinking coffee

Credit: Envato Elements/ cavanimages


Unlike tents, bivies don't protrude above the surface of the ground. The modest profile helps in keeping you safe and undetected. As a result, finding a campsite is simpler. For example, you can use a bivy to make your camp behind a bush, under a car, or behind a wall.


4)  Bivy Bags Occupy Minimal Space

 A lady standing in her orange bivy drinking out of a blue flask with a lake and trees in the background

Credit: Envato Elements/ wayhomestudioo


Finding a place to set down a bivy sack is simple since it requires the same amount of space as your sleeping bag or quilt. When choosing where to set up your bivy bag, simply choose a location that is level and big enough for you to lie down.


How To Use a Bivy Bag

 A couple setting up their bivys in a field of dry leaves in a forest

Credit: Envato Elements/ Image-Source


To use a bivy bag, simply follow these easy steps:


1) Place your sleeping mat/sleeping bag inside your bivvy sack after rolling it out.


2) Pull the sack up over your head once you are inside it, leaving a space for your face.


3) If the sack has a drawstring, tighten it around your face to help retain the warm air within.


4) Make sure you cover your bivy bag with an emergency shelter in case of severe weather.


Do You Need a Tent When Using Bivy Bags?

 An Emergency USA emergency shelter in its bag on a log with a army knife and compass next to it

Credit: Emergency USA


Since a bivy bag is not big enough to hold your backpack, outdoor gear, and hiking boots, you might need additional shelter. Having additional shelter will prevent wet gear and serve as a fallback if your bivy bag malfunctions. If you want something portable, an emergency shelter is a fantastic option.

As the name implies, emergency shelters are used in emergencies. They are the lightest and simplest type of tent available and are made to shield you from external elements. These shelters also help in maintaining body heat and are often composed of Mylar material. Most people who utilize them are survivalists or outdoor enthusiasts. If you are looking for a reliable emergency shelter, have a look at Emergency USA.




We hope that this article has given you a better understanding of what a bivy bag is. Keep in mind that a bivy bag is not suited for everyone. These bags are best used if you want to simplify, minimize your load, and be one with nature. If you want to boost your protection and security, invest in a good tent and a sleeping bag.