Stary night sky - What is Bivy Camping

What Is Bivy Camping? (Explained)

Bivouac Camping,  sometimes known as Bivy camping or simply “Bivying,” is a form of minimalist camping where outdoor enthusiasts stay the night in a bivy sack instead of a tent.

This style of camping is often associated with backpacking, mountaineering, and other outdoor adventures, where lightweight and compact gear is essential. Bivy sacks are favored by solo adventurers, minimalist campers, and those who value mobility, versatility, and the freedom to camp in various environments.

Bivy camping is an all-year-round pastime and is popular among outdoor enthusiasts who seek solitude, challenge, and a deeper connection with nature.

What Is A Bivy Sack?

A bivy sack or bag is a lightweight, waterproof, and compact shelter, typically weighing between 8 to 24 ounces (225 to 680 grams). It is designed to accommodate one person and their sleeping bag.  Bivy Sacks provide protection from the elements while offering a close-to-nature experience.

Unlike traditional camping tents, bivy sacks are typically very basic. Consisting of a waterproof and breathable fabric shell with a zippered opening for entry and exit.

Some bivy sacks may also have a small hoop or pole to create a partial frame to keep the fabric off the face and feet. This can provide better ventilation and reduces condensation. However, most bivy sacks are essentially just waterproof covers, providing minimal space and amenities.

Bivy sacks can be set up in a wide range of terrains and environments, including rocky slopes, dense forests, alpine meadows, and snow-covered landscapes. They can be pitched on uneven or sloping ground, rocky surfaces, or in tight spots where traditional tents may not be practical. Bivy sacks can also be used in conjunction with other camping shelters, such as tarp shelters or hammocks, providing additional protection and flexibility in setting up camp.

People camping in a bivy sack

Why Do Campers Choose Bivouac Camping Over Regular Camping?

For some, camping in a bag on the ground sounds like hell, but for others, this immersive experience is a tiny waterproof piece of heaven!

Here are some of the top reasons that campers choose to “Bivy” 

Bivy Sacks Are Lightweight And Compact

Bivy bags are much lighter and smaller than traditional tents. This makes them ideal for long-distance hikes or mountaineering trips where weight and space are critical factors. Bivy camping allows campers to travel light. Enabling them to move quickly through rugged terrain.

Bivouac camping is often the preferred choice for a breed of hikers known as “Ultra Light hikers”. These lightweight enthusiasts value a minimalist approach to camping. Taking only what they need and putting a lot of thought into what goes into their bag.

Bivouac Camping Is A Close-To-Nature Experience

Imagine sleeping under the stars and experiencing all that nature has to offer.

Bivy Camping provides a unique and immersive camping experience. Sleeping in a bivy bag allows campers to be closer to nature, with unobstructed views of the surrounding environment. Campers can enjoy the sights, sounds, and sensations of the wilderness up close. This can create a deeper connection with nature, unlocking a new dimension in their camping experience.

Bivy Sacs Are Quick And Easy To Setup

Bivy bags are very simple to set up, requiring minimal to no stakes or guylines.

This allows campers to set up camp quickly and efficiently, saving time and effort compared to setting up a traditional tent. This can be especially beneficial in situations where weather conditions may change rapidly or when campers need to move quickly to cover longer distances.

This style of comping also allows hikers to take their rest whenever they get a chance. Recharging their energy for the next stage of the journey.

Weather protection

Bivy bags are designed to be weather-resistant, providing protection from the elements such as rain, snow, wind, and condensation.

Made from durable and waterproof materials, bivy bags are built to withstand harsh conditions and keep campers dry and comfortable during inclement weather. This makes bivouac camping a viable option for camping in various weather conditions, including during shoulder seasons or winter camping.

What Are The Negatives Of Bivouac Camping?

Sleeping with the sky as your ceiling can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience, but the simplicity of this style of camping does have its downsides.

Here are a few Negatives of Bivy camping: 

Lack of Protection

Unlike camping with a tent, bivouac camping does not provide the same level of protection from the elements.

Bivouac shelters are typically minimalistic, and they may not fully protect you from rain, snow, wind, or other harsh weather conditions. This can leave you exposed to the elements and potentially affect your comfort and safety during the camping experience.

We recommend first gaining some experience and knowledge of camping and general wilderness living before trying bivouac camping.

Limited Space and Comfort

Bivouac camping often involves using small, compact shelters or sleeping directly on the ground.

This can result in limited space and comfort compared to traditional camping with a tent. Bivouac camping may not provide enough room for you to store your gear, move around comfortably, or sleep in a comfortable position. This can impact your overall camping experience and quality of sleep.

Exposure to Insects and Wildlife

Without the protection of a tent, bivouac camping may expose you to insects, bugs, and wildlife.

This can include mosquitoes, ticks, spiders, and other insects that could potentially bite or sting you. Additionally, bivouac camping may put you in closer proximity to wildlife such as bears, snakes, or other potentially dangerous animals, which could increase the risk of encounters or wildlife-related incidents.

Where Do People Go Bivouac Camping?

When it comes to bivouac camping, folks usually head to the great outdoors for an adventure off the beaten path!

You can find bivy campers in all sorts of places, from remote wilderness areas like national parks and forests to majestic mountains with breathtaking views.

Some people love camping in dense forests for that secluded, back-to-nature vibe, while others might set up their bivy shelter in sandy deserts or along picturesque coastlines. Off-trail or off-grid locations can also be a go-to for those seeking a more rugged camping experience.

Before heading out on your bivy adventure remember to check local regulations, be prepared for the weather, and always leave no trace!

Picture of A Bivy sack

How To Choose A Bivy Sack

If it´s your first time entering the world of Bivy Sacks, you may be confused about picking the best choice for you.

We recommend visiting your local outdoor shop to ask about their recommendations based on your planned trips and expected use. This however may not give you the best price and might slim down the range available to you.

When looking for your bivy sack, consider some of these points:

  • Quality and Durability: Look for manufacturers that use high-quality materials, such as waterproof and durable fabrics, reinforced stitching, and reliable zippers or closures. Bivouac sacks are exposed to various weather conditions and rough terrain, so durability is crucial for a reliable and long-lasting product.
  • Size and Weight: Consider the size and weight of the bivouac sack. This can impact your comfort and portability during camping or backpacking trips. Look for manufacturers that offer different sizes or models to suit your needs. Prioritize lightweight options for easier carrying.
  • Breathability and Ventilation: Bivouac sacks can get condensation buildup inside. Look for manufacturers that prioritize breathability and ventilation in their designs.  Features such as mesh panels, vents, or breathable fabrics allow air circulation to reduce condensation and keep you dry.
  • Reputation and Reviews: Research the reputation of the manufacturer and read customer reviews to get insights into the quality, performance, and customer satisfaction of their products.
  • Price and Budget: Set a budget for your bivouac sack and compare prices from different manufacturers. Keep in mind that while cost is important, it’s also worth investing in a quality bivouac sack that meets your needs and can withstand outdoor conditions.
  • Additional Features: Consider any additional features that may be important to you. Such as built-in bug netting, waterproof zippers, or extra storage pockets. Different manufacturers may offer unique features that could enhance your camping experience.
  • Warranty and Customer Service: Check if the manufacturer offers a warranty or reliable customer service. A good warranty and responsive customer service can provide added peace of mind and protection for your investment.

In Conclusion

Bivy Camping is a thrilling and minimalist way to experience the great outdoors!

With lightweight and compact bivy sacks, you can camp in tight or remote spaces where traditional tents may not fit. This allows for a unique and immersive camping experience. It’s a great option for solo adventurers or those seeking solitude in the wilderness. However, it’s important to have good camping skills and knowledge of outdoor safety, as you’ll be relying on a small shelter.

So, if you’re up for an adventurous camping experience that brings you close to nature and allows for a sense of freedom, give Bivy Camping a try!

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