The best camping bivvy bags reviewed (2022)

Travel lighter on your overnight backpacking trips with a bivvy instead of a tent. Not sure what sort you need? Let Trail be your guide…

Which bivvy should I buy?

by Ben Weeks |

Things to consider

Bag or poles?

The most basic bivvy is simply a bag that goes over your sleeping bag to protect it. These can feel a little like body bags, so some people prefer bivvies that have short poles to lift the canopy off your face and make it feel a bit more spacious. Be aware that some poled bivvies can weigh almost as much as a lightweight tent.

Waterproofing

A bivvy bag intended for use outside should be waterproof – not only to stop you and your kit being soaked by rain, but also the ingress of dew or moisture on the ground. Waterproof fabrics in bivvies tend to be similar to those found in waterproof jackets, as they need to be more breathable than tent fabrics.

Opening

For sleeping out in the open you need a bivvy that can be completely sealed to keep the weather and bugs off. Many have a mesh panel over the face which provides some visibility and allows the bivvy to be ventilated without letting in midges.

Size

There should be room inside your bivvy for at least you and your sleeping bag. If you’re tall it’s worth looking for bags in XL lengths or sizes. Some people like to have their sleeping mat inside the bag too, whereas others will happily keep it on the outside to allow more space in the bivvy for moving around.

Breathability

In a sealed bivvy bag it’s difficult to prevent condensation, particularly if you can’t leave an opening due to wet weather or insects. As such the breathability of the fabric is important to avoid your sleeping bag being soaked from the inside.

5 bivvies to choose from

Alpkit Hunka

Alpkit Hunka

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This basic sleeping bag cover comes at a bargain price. Itu2019s waterproof, breathable, and is also available in a longer, wider XL size (£65). It has a drawstring closure but canu2019t be completely sealed so is best used as a protective layer in bothies, or for outdoor camping outside of midge season. Weight 330g | Length 215cm | Width 80cm (shoulder), 50cm (foot) | Packed size 13x15cm

Outdoor Research Bug Bivy

Outdoor Research Bug Bivy

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In hot weather when the risk of rain is zero, but you still want to be protected from biting insects, the mesh Bug Bivy provides maximum ventilation and protection from midges and mosquitoes. If the weather canu2019t be guaranteed to be rain-free, pairing it with a tarp creates an airy but dry shelter. Weight 454g | Length 226cm | Width 66cm (shoulder), 53cm (foot) | Height 46cm | Packed size 8x31cm

Snugpak Stratosphere

Snugpak Stratosphere

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With its two cross-over poles pegged for stability, this tough bivvy is more like a mini tent u2013 as its weight suggests. A roll-away mosquito net allows for ventilation and a view of the night sky without getting bitten, and the roomy interior is far more comfortable than a simple bag. Weight 1130g | Length 220cm | Width 80cm (shoulder), 60cm (foot) | Height 44cm | Packed size 14x31cm

Terra Nova Moonlite Bag Cover

Terra Nova Moonlite Bag Cover

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Essentially a lightweight sleeping bag cover, but its full zip closure and large mesh section means it can be used outside all year, and feels a little less body-bag like than mesh-free options. Impressively waterproof too, with a fabric hydrostatic head rating of 15,000mm. Weight 210g | Length 200cm | Width 76cm | Packed size 6x21cm

Rab Ridge Raider

Rab Ridge Raider

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With a pole to create headspace and another at the foot end, thereu2019s room inside for more gear than most bivvies. The Pertex Shield Air waterproof fabric offers impressive condensation control, and the zipped entry has an integrated mosquito mesh door. Despite all this, weight it is relatively light, although the price tag is on the hefty side. Weight 890g | Length 240cm | Width 80cm (shoulder) | Height 60cm | Packed size 15x32cm

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