Bivvying FAQs

By Alex Guerrero

There’s nothing quite like an outdoor sleepover. There’s a hot chocolate waiting for you in the morning and a bivvy-shaped-bedroom stuffed away in your rucksack ready for a night out under the stars. It can be a total reset.

Bivvying FAQS

  1. When should I choose a bivvy bag instead of a tent?
  2. What’s the difference between a bivvy and a sleeping bag?
  3. Are bivvy bags warm?
  4. Are bivvy bags waterproof?
  5. How do you stop condensation in a bivvy bag?
  6. Do I need to use a tarp with my bivvy bag?
  7. Do I need a groundsheet for my bivvy bag?

 man bivvying

When should I choose a bivvy bag instead of a tent?

For weight conscious fastpackers, a bivvy bag is the lightest and tiniest of transportable homes. Our ultra-lightweight Kloke bivvy bag is just 285g. That’s about as heavy as your average pomegranate. And our winter-ready Hunka XL weighs just 500g.

On technical, awkward terrain, a bivvy opens up a world of sleeping opportunities. Tucked into a cranny on a scramble or snuggled into a nook of a cave, bivvies fit where tents can’t.

And for minimalist midweek microadventures, a bivvy offers full immersion in the huge, dark sky. You can stargaze until you sleep, feel the elements and wake up with the sunrise.

What's the difference between a bivvy and a sleeping bag?

Bivvy bags are like waterproof jackets for your sleeping bags. Your sleeping bag is the insulation designed to keep you warm. Your bivvy bag is to keep your sleeping bag dry. A dry sleeping bag is a warm sleeping bag. Though they keep rain and wind off, bivvy bags are not specifically designed with warmth in mind.

Are bivvy bags warm?

No. Bivvy bags will provide some degree of warmth because, in being waterproof, they prevent your sleeping bag from getting damp and working less efficiently. But they are not designed to insulate you from the cold.

Are bivvy bags waterproof?

Yes. Bivvy bags are made from a waterproof material with fully taped seams. Our Hunka bivvy bag has a hydrostatic head rating of 10,000mm – the British Standard to define “waterproof” is 1,500mm.  

view from bivvy

How do you stop condensation in a bivvy bag?

Breathing and sweating are bodily functions which produce moisture that ultimately condenses in our sleeping bags, making us feel clammy and cooling us down.

In summer, we sweat. You might get into your bivvy bag feeling cold, but you will naturally warm up throughout the night. Try to avoid overheating by not overdressing before turning in for the night.

To prevent condensation – and ultimately cooling down - from breathing through the night, make sure to breathe outside your bivvy bag. Wear a woolly hat to keep your noggin toasty!

Do I need to use a tarp with my bivvy bag?

Tarps aren’t always essential. But in windy, rainy conditions, a carefully erected tarp can be the difference between a restless sleep and a peaceful one. They’re a lightweight addition to your shelter set up. Our resident tarpologists have six clever ways of positioning your tarp against the elements.

Do I need a groundsheet for my bivvy bag?

We don’t think so. But in wetter, colder conditions, you can lose up to 30% of your body heat through the ground. A groundsheet gives an extra layer of protection against the damp and cold of the ground.

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