Reducing weight to the bare minimum when camping or hiking can be quite a challenge, especially for people new to this type of outdoor activity. A bivvy bag is a great addition to your camping/ hiking gear as it can help you pack lighter and still have everything you need. This accessory is very lightweight and features a level of flexibility that can’t be found in a backpack. On top of that, bivvy bags are waterproof and insulating, adding between 5 °C to 10 °C when sleeping. However, not every bag is made the same. If you’re wondering which bivvy bag should I buy, here’s a bit of help on the matter.
Features to Look For
Material & Insulation
The material your bivvy sack is made from will greatly affect its performance. Rip-stop nylon is the ideal material for a bivi bag Australia outdoor enthusiasts claim. It can handle the rough conditions and elements in the Australian outback and can take a lot of abuse. Another great material is GORE-TEX which offers both breathability and waterproof protection. Proper insulation is very important for bivi bags as it will keep you warm and comfy at night all while protecting you against pesky bugs.
Whilst this is not a determining factor when it comes to staying protected from the elements or insects, the shape of a bivi bag is still important. Most bivvy sacks are shaped much like a sleeping bag, only larger. What’s cool about bivvy sacks/ bags is that they offer additional headroom but are not as stable as more complex bivvy designs. For example, there are bags that can stand upright thanks to their criss-cross pole structure. These are usually more expensive and trickier to carry.
When spending a night out in the open you need a bag that will keep you warm but won’t make you sweat. This is why choosing a model with proper air circulation and breathability is important for your comfort and good night’s sleep. Make sure the bag you buy has an overlapping material and zippers to keep you dry when it starts raining.
If you want to get the best bivi bag Australia market has to offer, go for one with a membrane. These bags are waterproof, insulated and provide utmost protection against insects. But remember that all those coatings and laminates will increase the weight and pack size of the bag. The more protection a bag offers, the heavier it will be. Don’t go with extremely lightweight bags though as they are only used for emergencies.
How to Use a Bivvy Bag?
When setting up your bag it’s important to choose a flat area with no sharp objects. Make sure you’re not in the way of humans or animals. Place a sleeping mat underneath to be more comfortable throughout the night.
The first thing you need to do to stay warm in a bivvy bag is to not go to bed cold. You can also fill your water bottle with hot water to keep you toasty warm at night. Keep your extremities inside and avoid keeping your face inside the bag. Breathing inside the bag will make it more damp and ineffective, that’s why breathability is an important feature. If you have sweat before going to sleep, change your clothes before you get into the bivvy sack. The sweat from your clothes will keep you cold if it stays up against your skin for a long time of physical inactivity.
Always make sure to check the weather when bivvying. This way you can prepare yourself properly. If there is light rain in the forecast, you should bring a tarp with you to for some extra cover. Make sure you aren’t pitched at the bottom of a hill or ditch as that way you can easily get flooded.
Besides keeping your mouth out of the bivvy sack, another thing you can do to prevent condensation is to turn your bag inside out. After getting up, take your sack and hang it somewhere to dry off properly. Although it may be a breathable bag, you want to make sure that every drop of moisture escapes from it before you go back to sleep in it at night. A damp bag will make you cold and uncomfortable very quickly.