Bivy sacks were first created as a solo shelter for climbing and mountaineering as they are lightweight and able to be compressed. The original sacks were just waterproof sleeping bags, but they have evolved over the years. They now come with waterproof breathable fabric and bug netting. It is also possible to get ones with a tent pole to make a better shelter. However, before you buy a bivy sack you need to know what the pros and cons of these shelters are.
The Pros Of Bivy Sacks
There are a number of benefits that you get with a bivy sack when choosing it over a tent. The primary one of that you can easily find a place to set up the bivy sack when night falls. This is due to only needing a space large enough for your sleeping bag. All you will have to do is lay the bivy sack out, out your sleeping pad inside and place your sleeping bag.
Another benefit is that you will not have to worry about lines for securing your tent or having to put stakes into the ground. If you get a bivy sack with a tent pole you can easily create a tent without any of the hassles. This makes the sacks ideal for people who will be camping in a forest, in the open or on a rock ledge.
The bivy sack is also waterproof so you do not have to carry a ground sheet with you when you go camping. The bottom of the sack has been designed to keep you dry when there is surface water. The sack will also have a bit of insulation which could add 5 to 10 degrees which reduce the amount of gear that you need to carry.
The Cons Of Bivy Sacks
The primary issue that people have with these items is that they are more confining than a traditional tent. You will only have enough space for some small items and yourself. Your backpack and other gear will generally have to stay outside the sack and be exposed to the elements. Some people also find that getting in and out of the sack is difficult, particularly when it is raining. You will not have the space to put on and take off your rain gear within the sack.
Bivy sacks are also more prone to internal condensation than tents, even the ones that have been made with breathable waterproof materials. It is best that you keep them open or unzipped at night to get the correct air flow. However, this may not always be an option when you are camping. If you are going to be out in humid or tropical conditions then you might want to consider getting a tent instead.
There are many reasons why you should consider getting a bivy sack when you go camping. Of course, you will need to weigh all of the benefits against the drawbacks to ensure that this is the correct option for you.