Emergency Bivvies

Keep one with you on long hikes

By R. Maxine Lundquist

What Is An Emergency Bivvy?

Emergency bivvies are rapidly becoming an essential part of hiking, camping and survival gear. They are light sleeping-bag shaped shelters–four to nine ounces generally–and they are designed to reflect a person’s body heat back while protecting them from wind, snow and rain.

Ways To Use Them:

Many people are packing bivvies to take with them for winter camping or camping trips where the weather may turn cold; it dramatically increases warmth when used as a sleeping-bag liner. They come in one-person and two-person sizes.

What Kinds Are There?

Bivvies come in a variety of styles. Some are very light (3-5 oz.) and are designed for hikers, because they are easy to pack and carry. Others are sturdier, such as the 9 oz. thermal bivvy, which can be used in a greater number of emergency situations but are a little more awkward to carry around. They are best used in camping and survival packs, or in place of a sleeping bag in the summer.

Some bivvies have side venting to allow you to let air in, which cuts down on condensation build-up inside the sack, very important in cold-weather situations where getting wet can be dangerous.

The really nice thing about emergency bivvies is that they can be a regular part of your camping gear and yet double as an emergency shelter should the need arise. They’re affordable, too–running anywhere from fifteen dollars upwards of eighty dollars, depending on the features and durability of the bivvy.


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