Bivy options have come a long way since the days of simple non-breathable waterproofed nylon slipcovers for your sleeping bag. Whether you are an ultralight enthusiast, climber, bike tourer, or solo backcountry traveler, these new bivy sacks and shelters for Spring 2014 will deliver the weather protection you need with minimal weight.
The Outdoor Research Helium Bivy ($169) is made from the same Pertex Shield fabric as the Helium II Jacket. Weighing only 18 oz. for a full waterproof/breathable shelter (16 oz. without the overhead pole), the Helium is the lightest bivy yet in the OR collection. The floor is made from 70D ripstop nylon for extra durability, with straps to keep your sleeping pad in place. A lightweight mesh netting across the face lets you enjoy the stars while keeping the bugs out.
The Escape Bivvy Lite ($40) from Survive Outdoors Longer (SOL) weighs 1/3 less than the company's award winning Escape Bivvy and takes up about 1/2 the space. Made from a vacuum metalized spun-bonded olefin, the Escape Lite’s design lets condensation escape at the same time it keeps rain, snow, and wind on the outside. The material reflects 70% of radiated body heat, so works great for either an unexpected night out or as a sleeping bag liner for those extra cold nights. At 4.7 oz., there is no excuse not to have one of these in your pack.
The updated Dry.Q Bivy ($185) from Mountain Hardwear uses waterproof/breathable Dry.Q Core fabric to keep your sleeping bag dry both inside and out while providing an extra layer of warmth for activities like winter camping in a snow cave. Weighing 11.3 oz., the 40D ripstop nylon floor protects you from the ground, while a drawcord closure cinches the hood tight in order to hold in warmth.
Finally, the Marmot Starlight 1P shelter made from 40D ripstop nylon is a great choice for those solo backcountry trips. Similar to the OR Helium Bivy with a single pole design to keep the fabric off your face, the flysheet and vestibule can be removed to reveal a mesh inner for a more airy night's sleep.
How many of you prefer to sleep in a bivy?