If you’ve even been to a camping supplies store you’ve no doubt encountered bivvy bags – at first glance, they may seem odd – closer resembling a traditional sleeping bag than a tent. However, as a standalone sleep-solution for camping, they offer a lot of advantages over a tent – being smaller, lighter and far easier to setup.
Having a better understanding of the range of benefits a bivvy bag can offer can be invaluable when making an informed decision or whether or not to buy a bivvy bag for yourself. We’ve put together this list to do just that – giving you 6 of the key benefits that bivvy bags have over tents.
Bivvy bags tend to be far lighter than tents – even the cheap bivvy bags, made of heavier materials – typically coming in at 1 kilogram or less, whilst some of the best bivvy bags coming in considerably lighter than this.
This makes a bivvy bag far more suitable than a tent for certain activities – such as through-hiking, cycling or night-fishing – as their lack of weight makes it far easier to carry equipment and supplies that are essential for these outdoor pursuits.
The compact pack-size of a bivvy bag perfectly compliments their light-weight – again making it easier to carry more essential supplies than you would be able to with a tent. They also don’t require the extra, often heavy tools needed to setup a tent – such as tent pegs, mallets and the telescopic poles required to pitch them – which further helps to keep both weight and pack-size to a minimum.
There are of course hooped bivvy bags – which do come with a telescopic pole – however, a single, relatively short pole doesn’t pose too much of an issue when it comes to pack-size, with these bags also benefiting from being incredibly compact.
- Easy to pitch
In bad weather conditions or low-light visibility, the last thing you want to do – particularly are a lengthy, strenuous hike – is to try and set up a tent. With a bivvy bag there is almost no setup – no pegs, no ground sheet and no fiddly telescopic poles – you merely have to unroll a bivvy bag and you’re good to go.
Bivvy bags are as easy to pitch as they are to pack away – even in the dark – making them great for a quick getaway, whether in an emergency or when stealth camping somewhere you probably shouldn’t. Simply roll your bag up and you’re set – it couldn’t be easier.
- Require less space
Another benefit of bivvy bags that add to how easy they are to pitch is the space they require, having a footprint that is far less than that of a tent – which will typically require many times the space than a bivvy bag to pitch.
This benefit adds to the ease of pitching a bivvy bag over a tent considerably – as with less space, you have less ground to clear before setting up – which obviously, with less space to clear, setting up a bivvy bag is much, much faster than a tent.
- Closer to nature
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of a bivvy bag over a tent is that is brings you closer to nature – with nothing between you and sleeping under the stars – unlike a tent, which is enclosed and cut off from its immediate surroundings.
Whether or not this is a benefit to you very much comes down to personal preference – some people prefer the illusion of safety that a tent provides – however, if you ask us, we’d opt for a bivvy bag over a night in a hot-box of a tent every time.
- More Economical
If you’re in the market for a low-cost, light-weight sleep system then a bivvy bag presents a far more economical option, as one-man tents with similar carry weight tent to be some of the more expensive tents around – thanks to their use of ultralight-weight materials, which are typically far more expensive than those use in most cheap tents and bivvy bags.
This makes bivvy bags far more accessible than such tents – making them the best choice for people who enjoy spending extended periods of time outdoors, but don’t spend enough time to warrant spending hundreds of pounds on such a high-end tent.
While there are of course pros and cons to each option – bivvy bags certainly offer a wide range of benefits that may be missed at first glance. They’re light-weight, compact, extremely easy to setup and can be relatively inexpensive – with a good quality, low-cost bivvy bag coming in at a price point south of £50.
Whether you’re a hiker, cyclist of enjoy fishing – a bivvy bag could be a good alternative to lugging a tent around – and is an option worth taking a closer look at when considering a sleep system for your next overnight trip into the great outdoors.