Bivvy Bags...worth it?

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petrochemicals

Full Member
Jul 30, 2012
3,561
221
westmidlands
Now there is a disadvantage. Especially if it is raining and going tarpless. Having to exit a bivvy to expel the after effects of beer can be both tricky, and rain gets into your sleeping bag.
Unless you are planning to camp there, getting onto your knees sleeping bag downand sideways is quick and easy for a gentleman.
 
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Oliver G

Full Member
Sep 15, 2012
202
91
Melbourne, Derbyshire
I've used the issued bivvi and basha for countless nights with no issues at all, as long as you keep to a wet / dry routine the inside of the bivvi bag stays nice and dry, it also acts as a good ground sheet for your fancy inflatable roll mats. I did a week in Gareloch head with no tarp just a bivvi and it was grand, the only issue was midgies (this was before I discovered Avon Skin So Soft).

On the flip side of this I have stayed in a zip up bivvi tent which turned out to not be waterproof at all, I woke up with my sleeping bag drenched and both my wet and dry kit now wet resulting in a trudge back to the car and home. (no sense risking hypothermia)

Here's a picture of the culprit:
20191123_150453.jpg
Any suggestions on waterproofing would be most welcome.

As for balancing weight of a bivvi and tarp against a tent, I would be better off losing the beer gut then buying lightweight gear.

All the best.
 
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Van-Wild

Full Member
Feb 17, 2018
665
473
41
UK
I've used the issued bivvi and basha for countless nights with no issues at all, as long as you keep to a wet / dry routine the inside of the bivvi bag stays nice and dry, it also acts as a good ground sheet for your fancy inflatable roll mats. I did a week in Gareloch head with no tarp just a bivvi and it was grand, the only issue was midgies (this was before I discovered Avon Skin So Soft).

On the flip side of this I have stayed in a zip up bivvi tent which turned out to not be waterproof at all, I woke up with my sleeping bag drenched and both my wet and dry kit now wet resulting in a trudge back to the car and home. (no sense risking hypothermia)

Here's a picture of the culprit:
View attachment 56409
Any suggestions on waterproofing would be most welcome.

As for balancing weight of a bivvi and tarp against a tent, I would be better off losing the beer gut then buying lightweight gear.

All the best.
That would be a beast to reproof I think. Can you wash it on delicate cycle in a machine, using nikwax cleaner first then reproofer? If it works on Goretex/Hyvent breathable jacket and trousers it should work on the bivi? But in saying that.... I suppose you will need a big washing machine and that's harder to come by.....

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Erbswurst

Native
Mar 5, 2018
1,740
647
Berlin
I guess, that your bivvytent is water proof.

In my opinion you got condensation problems with the moisture of your breathing air.

All bivvy tents and all single wall plastic tents have those problems in most conditions.

To say it simple:
You have to breath outside your bivvy bag during the night. If not, your sleeping bag will become whet.
Such bivvytents are wrong constructed.

That is sniper equipment, no civil camping equipment.
 

hogstable

Forager
Nov 18, 2004
118
1
sheffield
I have used both a surplus army bivvi bag and the snugpak sf breathable bag for years. All weathers, no issues.
The only time the inside of the bivvi bag got wet was in continuous heavy rain. I believe this was due to me getting into the bag partially wet and the breathable membrane not getting a chance to wick away trapped moisture. The snugpak softie sleeping bag I was in within the bag did an excellent job of wicking moisture away from my body to the inside of the bivvi bag. I had a comfy night sleep.
Bivvi bags are excellent kit.
Preper...... :)
Good point

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Feurio

Member
Jul 15, 2019
21
7
32
Bavarian Alps
I really wonder how some of you do that: sleeping in a bivvy bag without a tarp and staying dry! After many nights of testing with different breathable waterproof bags (always breathing outside the bag of course) I have come to a rather sobering conclusion, revising my mild appreciation from page 3 of this thread:

no moisture from above = no moisture inside the bivvy bag = no need for a bivvy bag.

moisture from above = moisture inside = no need for a bivvy bag.

even a little bit of dew will result in a slightly moist sleeping bag. The outside of my bivvy bag (most often snugpak sf, but I also used issue and event bags) stays dry, apparently my body heat evaporates the dew, yet inside the sleeping bag is a bit moist. In rain, the bivvy bag will be wet outside and inside, as the membrane ceases to breathe once wet outside and condensation quickly builds up inside.

A bivvy bag only works for me under a tarp where I don’t need it. While it is nice as an emergency backup I can still wrap myself in my tarp for that matter. And for a windbreaker there are enough wind proof sleeping bags around, so no need for a extra layer. More warmth? I think taking a warmer sleeping bag is more effective warmth/weight wise.

All in all I seriously doubt that bivvy bags are actually worth it.
 
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Van-Wild

Full Member
Feb 17, 2018
665
473
41
UK
"no moisture from above = no moisture inside the bivvy bag = no need for a bivvy bag.

moisture from above = moisture inside = no need for a bivvy bag."

You're still missing the point of:

Moisture inside the sleeping bag = moisture inside the bivvy = Bad Routine





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Feurio

Member
Jul 15, 2019
21
7
32
Bavarian Alps
"no moisture from above = no moisture inside the bivvy bag = no need for a bivvy bag.

moisture from above = moisture inside = no need for a bivvy bag."

You're still missing the point of:

Moisture inside the sleeping bag = moisture inside the bivvy = Bad Routine





Sent from my SM-G970F using Tapatalk
:p hardly - I always went inside the sleeping bag bone dry and was cold on most nights...
 

Hodge

Full Member
Aug 3, 2018
131
61
60
West Midlands
I have had a Phoenix bivi bag for 30 years plus. Sadly Phoenix folded years ago I also have one of thier tents superb quality. Always been able to reproof using Nikwax products. Recently , retaped seams. I have had no problems with condensation but never fully close the hood. More recently, I have used it to house my neo air pad as I kept sliding off it, without!
 

SaraR

Full Member
Mar 25, 2017
564
335
Ceredigion
I really wonder how some of you do that: sleeping in a bivvy bag without a tarp and staying dry! After many nights of testing with different breathable waterproof bags (always breathing outside the bag of course) I have come to a rather sobering conclusion, revising my mild appreciation from page 3 of this thread:

no moisture from above = no moisture inside the bivvy bag = no need for a bivvy bag.

moisture from above = moisture inside = no need for a bivvy bag.

even a little bit of dew will result in a slightly moist sleeping bag. The outside of my bivvy bag (most often snugpak sf, but I also used issue and event bags) stays dry, apparently my body heat evaporates the dew, yet inside the sleeping bag is a bit moist. In rain, the bivvy bag will be wet outside and inside, as the membrane ceases to breathe once wet outside and condensation quickly builds up inside.

A bivvy bag only works for me under a tarp where I don’t need it. While it is nice as an emergency backup I can still wrap myself in my tarp for that matter. And for a windbreaker there are enough wind proof sleeping bags around, so no need for a extra layer. More warmth? I think taking a warmer sleeping bag is more effective warmth/weight wise.

All in all I seriously doubt that bivvy bags are actually worth it.
I usually (almost always) have a tarp above, for shelter from the wind as much as the rain, and the bivvy bag to protect the sleeping bag from ground moisture and some extra shelter. I've not had any issues with this system and it works really well in very varied conditions.
 

Erbswurst

Native
Mar 5, 2018
1,740
647
Berlin
@ Feurio, which sleeping bag do you use with the Snugpak SF bivvy bag?

It could be that the distance between your sleeping bag and the bivvy bag is to long.

I mainly use the SF bivvy with the SF 1 sleeping bag and here the bivvy sits over the sleeping bag like a second skin.

II read that bushcrafters who used tighter sleeping bags with this bivvy bag sometimes got condensation problems.
 

MrEd

Full Member
Feb 18, 2010
1,453
395
Surrey/Sussex
www.thetimechamber.co.uk
I have an Brit army issue bivi thatninhabe has 15 years plus, it’s great, adds an extra season to my sleeping bag. I use it both with and without a tarp.

The foot box has started to leak a bit (I found out at the jan camp out) probably because I keep my boots inside at the bottom and the bottom part becomes the outside when I make my bed roll.

I turned it inside out, filled it with water and marked where it was weeping and used goretex Seam sealing tape to patch up every leak then I washed and re-proofed it with nickwax gore. Water right again. I did use 5metres of 1 inch seam tape though!!
I wouldn’t be without a bivi tbh

Never had a condensation problem. But then I sleep ether head out with a beanie on or I do it up round my face.
 
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tiger stacker

Native
Dec 30, 2009
1,178
40
Glasgow
I really wonder how some of you do that: sleeping in a bivvy bag without a tarp and staying dry! After many nights of testing with different breathable waterproof bags (always breathing outside the bag of course) I have come to a rather sobering conclusion, revising my mild appreciation from page 3 of this thread:

no moisture from above = no moisture inside the bivvy bag = no need for a bivvy bag.

moisture from above = moisture inside = no need for a bivvy bag.

even a little bit of dew will result in a slightly moist sleeping bag. The outside of my bivvy bag (most often snugpak sf, but I also used issue and event bags) stays dry, apparently my body heat evaporates the dew, yet inside the sleeping bag is a bit moist. In rain, the bivvy bag will be wet outside and inside, as the membrane ceases to breathe once wet outside and condensation quickly builds up inside.

A bivvy bag only works for me under a tarp where I don’t need it. While it is nice as an emergency backup I can still wrap myself in my tarp for that matter. And for a windbreaker there are enough wind proof sleeping bags around, so no need for a extra layer. More warmth? I think taking a warmer sleeping bag is more effective warmth/weight wise.

All in all I seriously doubt that bivvy bags are actually worth it.
The bivvy bag complimented the bouncing bomb horizontal sleep machine. It replaced the trusty 58 bag, designed with waterproof booth and buttons for attaching the 58 poncho.
the 58 bag was good if looked after, outgrowing it i discovered the bouncing bomb with bag was a better set up. They are worth it up here in scotland where wind chill can be dealt with. Against midges though thats another story
 

Oliver G

Full Member
Sep 15, 2012
202
91
Melbourne, Derbyshire
The bivvy bag complimented the bouncing bomb horizontal sleep machine. It replaced the trusty 58 bag, designed with waterproof booth and buttons for attaching the 58 poncho.
the 58 bag was good if looked after, outgrowing it i discovered the bouncing bomb with bag was a better set up. They are worth it up here in scotland where wind chill can be dealt with. Against midges though thats another story
The bivvi bag and bouncing bomb are all you need, I never had them separated, if you grabbed the bottom of the bag and spun it round it squashed down enough to fit is the bottom of the bergan with room to spare. I made a small fortune selling skin so soft up at Gareloch Head, always handy to head up there forewarned.
 

jonquirk

Tenderfoot
Sep 24, 2007
60
2
Guildford
I have used an Alpkit Hunka, both with and without a tarp. I use it as a pack liner as well. My sleeping bag, a PHD Minimus that weighs 340g stays in the bottom with the rest of my kit on top then the bag rolled closed inside the rucksack. I use a piece of polycro as a groundsheet, my NeoAir on top of that, with the Minimus inside the Hunka. I always change into dry clothes for sleep (my day socks come in the bag inside a dry bag; they won’t be any drier in the morning but at least they will be warm). My Minimus is rated down to 8C but with head to foot merino I have been comfortable in temperatures that caused ice to form in my water bottle. I have a micro tarp I can pitch over the head end of my bivy. On the only rainy night when I wasn’t using a big tarp I was uncomfortable because I couldn’t be bothered to erect the micro tarp - a lesson learned, since I knew rain was forecast. The freedom to just stop hiking and unroll the bivy before getting some sleep is great. I usually pack up and walk for a bit before stopping for breakfast. Getting out of a cosy bivy then sitting around where I shouldn’t be camping doesn’t appeal!
 

Erbswurst

Native
Mar 5, 2018
1,740
647
Berlin
Yes, in 2 Minutes I am ready to sleep and if needed in 3 Minutes ready to go.
If it's still raining when I arrive at a place I use a small military poncho tarp. (Defcon 5) But normally the sleeping bag in its bivvy bag on a German army folding mat are enough for me. Of course I am as good as invisible in high grass with that combination...
 

TLM

Native
Nov 16, 2019
1,080
428
Vantaa, Finland
Just a note, on clear nights a high emissivity surface can lose heat by radiation so that the temp can be 10 C lower than ambient air. That is bad for condensation from the inside and outside. That can be avoided by camping in a covered area or using something to break the straight line of sight to cold sky.

Heat loss by radiation is not usually considered but it is very real and in some circumstances a major factor.