Best Bivy Tents

The Best Bivy Tents

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Everyone knows the importance of having proper shelter when you’re on a camping trip or a multi-day hike. This is where a bivy tent comes in. While full-sized tents are more comfortable and versatile, if you’re travelling light, a bivy tent is a great alternative. We’ve rounded up the best bivy tents that’ll give you a lightweight shelter for your outdoor adventures.

How to Choose the Best Bivy Tent

Weight and Size

If you’re looking for the best bivy tent, then you’re looking for it to be small and lightweight. The reason why outdoor enthusiasts opt for a bivy tent is that they offer a lightweight and portable alternative to a traditional tent. If you’re on a solo trip or multi-day hike, lugging around a tent is a hassle.

On average, a high-quality bivy tent is twice as light and around 30% smaller than a regular two-person tent. Aside from the fact that they’re lightweight and compactable, they’re also quick to assemble, so, if a sudden storm hits you, you’re not going to be let out in the cold.

Warmth

Back in the day, bivy tents were literally a tent shell which was why people weren’t fans of them – they didn’t provide any warmth and could only be used during the hot summer months. However, nowadays, the bivy tent can provide the temperature range of a sleeping bag. So, bivy tents are not just a summer tent alternative, but rather, can be used throughout all four seasons.

Though, since bivys sometimes come with breathable fabric on the top, unless covered, they’re not great for rain. But, like I said, if you place a tarp over top of the bivy, you’ll be well covered.

#1 Snugpack Bivy

Price Range
$$
Professional Camping Rating
9.6 / 10
WeightPacked SizeMaterialAll-Weather Protection
42.3 oz. / 1199 grams 3 cm x 10 cmParatex DryYes

If you’re going to be hiking or camping in areas that are known for rain, then you’ll want a bivy which will protect you from evaporative heat loss and, of course, the rain itself.

It’s lightweight, waterproof and windproof, ideal to protect you from all the elements year round. Though, it’s still small enough to throw into your backpack without having to weigh you down. What’s great about this bivy is that it’s usable all year round, rather than just spring and summer.

The fabric is made of Paratex Dry which is highly breathable and allows the moisture to escape, preventing any condensation from occurring. The 5000mm Hydrostatic Head ensures that you stay dry and wind-free while you’re enclosed inside.

It also maintains humidity which maintains your body temperature.

This bivy also comes with a stuff sack, so you can neatly store your bivy and reduce the volume, giving yourself extra space in your backpack. The bivy is shaped to match any mummy-style sleeping bag, as it’s tapered at the bottom to minimise unused space.

In terms of price, it’s a mid-range bivy that comes with everything you need, so, it’s worth the price tag.

#2 Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy

Price Range
$$$
Professional Camping Rating
9.3 / 10
WeightPacked SizeMaterialAll-Weather Protection
30.3 oz / 859 grams39 cm x 10 cmGore-Tex FabricYes

This is one of the best bivy tents on the market right now. It’s made with 3 layers of Gore-Tex respiration positive fabric with a hydroseal coated waterproof floor and fully taped seams.

Remember when I said some bivys aren’t ideal for the rain? Well, not this one. Rain or shine, the Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy withhold up through harsh weather conditions.

On top of everything, it only weigh 2 pounds, so, throwing this in your backpack won’t weigh you down.

The Gore-Tex fabric is tear and abrasion resistant, while also providing you breathability at the same time. Condensation issues can typically arise in lower-quality bivys, however, that’s not an issue with this bivy. The design allows you to place the fabric above the head, using a pole that’s included.

For a bivy it’s also well featured as it comes with an internal mesh pocket, insect mesh and sleeping pad straps. It includes everything you’re looking for in a bivy. Though, it is slightly more expensive than other bivys, if you’re an avid backpacker or mountaineer, this is a good investment. Of course, if you’re just starting out, there are other less expensive options which still do the trick.

#3 Rab Alpine

Price Range
$$$
Professional Camping Rating
8.8 / 10
WeightPacked SizeMaterialAll-Weather Protection
18 oz / 492 grams30 x 10 cm70D Coated NylonYes

The Rab Alpine is a high-quality minimalist bivy which won’t empty out your wallet – that is, if you’re someone that’s actually going to use it.

Whether you’re on solo trips or multi-day hiking adventures, you’re going to need a bivy that’s lightweight and reliable. This is why the Rab Alpine is on the list. It’s the smallest and lightest product that I’m reviewing, so if weight is a major concern, then look no further.

It’s made of a 3-layer e-Vent material which provides ample breathability and weather protection. If you’re looking for a pole system to suspend the fabric around the head area, this bivy doesn’t have it. Staying true to the minimalistic design, however, it is designed to fit mummy-style sleeping bags.

The bivy itself isn’t very roomy, but if you’re thinking condensation will be an issue, it won’t as the e-Vent fabric opts for excellent breathability. Ideally, this bivy is great for mountaineers and alpinists, as it’s designed to tackle difficult weather while making sure you’re kept safe and warm.

If you’re a beginner hiker, there’s no need to buy a professional bivy. You can find another bivy that won’t cost you as much as they’re mentioned on this list.

#4 Mountain Warehouse Bivy

Price Range
$
Professional Camping Rating
8.4 / 10
WeightPacked SizeMaterialAll-Weather Protection
11.9 oz / 340 grams225 cm x 75 cmRipStop and PolyesterYes

If you’re looking for a bivy, however, not necessary wanting to invest too much into it – maybe you’re a beginner hiker or on a budget, this is a great option for you.

It provides you and your sleeping bag the extra protection you need from the elements. It’s one of the lighter divy bags in this article, so, it’ll help shave off a couple pounds from your backpack.

It’s waterproof membrane prevents any water from leaking through the fabric, however, it’s probably best if you’re using it through harsh conditions, you cover the divy with a light tarp. Of course, it comes with taped seams and ripstop fabric for extra protection, making sure your divy lasts throughout your hiking trip.

It does actually come with extra protection, so you can use the cover to place it over the divy. Since it’s really inexpensive, don’t expect it to comes with fancy features, there’s no face cover to prevent you from being bitten by insects, that is something you’ll need to buy additionally.

In comparison to some of the other divys on the list, this one may seem amateur, but it’s not. It’s great for those on a budget and provides you the same amount of protection as the other divys on this list.

#5 Black Diamond Big Wall Hooped Bivy

Price Range
$$$
Professional Camping Rating
8.1 / 10
WeightPacked SizeMaterialAll-Weather Protection
18.24 oz / 517 grams88 cm x 25.4 cmToddTex FabricYes

If you love bivys, however, don’t want to feel claustrophobic than you’ll love the Black Diamond bivy. It’s minimalistic in design, which does provide you with lower headspace since it doesn’t come with a pole system, however, it’s roomier width wise.

The big-wall design incorporates a waterproof tie-in point which helps from water leaking in. If you’re worried that the low roof will create condensation, that’s not the case. Actually, the sewn-in wire allows for air space inside the bivy since it suspends the material. If there are some heavy winds and you’re worried about rolling around in the middle of the night, you can anchor the bivy down with RF welded tie-in points.

The bivy itself is made of Todd-Tex material which is similar to Gore-Tex as it uses PTFE membrane to bond the 3-layer design. Todd-Tex material provides waterproof protection, breathability and durability. The features are minimal, yet, cover the basic necessities. There’s a dual zipper, a no-see mesh and taped seams.

If you’re not looking for anything fancy but rather a bivy that’s lightweight and easy-to-pack that will withstand unpleasant weather conditions, then this is certainly one to keep an eye on.

#6 Aqua Quest

Price Range
$$
Professional Camping Rating
7.7 / 10
WeightPacked SizeMaterialAll-Weather Protection
38.4 oz / 1088.62 grams38 cm x 12.7 cm70D RipStop FabricYes

Aqua Quest is pretty well-known for their waterproof gear, so, having them come out with a bivy is great. Their hooped bivy is single walled and made of 70D RipStop fabric with a PU coating and heat- taped seams which gives it a rating of 10,000 mm – that’s pretty high.

Now, you may be questioning it’s breathability, however, condensation isn’t a issue with their hooped bivy. There’s an air-vent in the head section and stiffeners which elevate the footbed to promote airflow.

It’s lightweight and comes with a collapsible shock cord pole and 5 aluminum pegs with the entire pack weighing only 2.4 lbs. Of course, there are lighter bivys, however, if shaving a couple grams here and there isn’t a priority, then the weight shouldn’t be an issue.

It’s extremely easy to set up, taking no more than 2 minutes. There are some features on it that allows you to stay connected to the night sky such as the TPU window and the “No-see-um” mesh front panel, so, you can stargaze insect-free.

This bivy comes with a little more space than others and can accommodate people up to 2 meters tall.

#7 Outdoor Research Helium Bivy

Price Range
$$
Professional Camping Rating
7.2 / 10
WeightPacked SizeMaterialAll-Weather Protection
18 oz. / 510 grams23.8 poundsNylonYes

If you’re looking for a minimalist bivy in the truest sense, then the Helium Bivy is the lightest one on the market.

On top of it being lightweight, it’s also waterproof. It comes with a Delrin pole which holds the head area up, preventing condensation with mesh fabric to prevent insects from getting inside. The floor is 70D with TPU lamination floor meaning it can hold up to a little roughage.

The Outdoor Research Helium Bivy comes with Pertex Shield material rather than Gore-Tex which shaves off more weight from the bivy. Though the issue with Pertex is that it’s not as breathable as Gore-Tex which causes some condensation issues. However, it still provides adequate breathability and if you’re focusing on reducing weight and having a minimalist shelter, then this one will keep your backpack light and your body dry.

Though, it’s not ideal for all four seasons. This is great for spring and summer, but, you’ll want a bivy that’s a little heavier for the winter and fall seasons. That, or opt for a heavy-duty winter sleeping bag if you’re going to use a bivy during the fall and winter.


I can’t wait to get back out in my own bivy tent. I’m taking my best cold-weather sleeping bag though. Check out my guide to the best cold-weather sleeping bags.

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