Ask the Gear Guy

Bivvy or lightweight tent?

Q. What is better to buy: A bivvy or just a lightweight tent?
– Curious Gabe, Dover, Ohio

A. That depends on what you plan on doing, Gabe. For general backpacking and camping uses, a lightweight tent is much more versatile and comfortable than a bivvy. A bivvy is basically a waterproof one-man tent that’s shaped like a sleeping bag. It’s very lightweight and compact and perfect if you’re doing ultralight backpacking in inclement weather. That said, bivvies are tight, usually not very breathable, and even claustrophobic for some. Sure, a lightweight tent will weigh a bit more and probably be more expensive, but in the long run you’ll get much more use out of a tent.

Comments about “Bivvy or lightweight tent?”

  1. nmFreeWheeler says:

    I tried a bivvy tent and it wasnt fun. Too tight, no room. It was the one pictured above which has a vestibule, but not easy to access from inside because of it’s confined space. And like the other poster stated: condensation gets on you. Light weight tent is better. However I might one day try an actual bivvy bag/sack (just not a bivvy tent).

  2. Muddy Man says:

    I found this answer very helpful because I was wandering the same thing.

  3. Chad 101 says:

    Yeah I had to use a bivvy on a hike and in the morning my sleeping bag was wet. Why? Was the bivvy not water proof? Was I already wet when I put it on? No and no. The bivvy kept the water from coming INSIDE but also kept my moisture(sweat)from going OUTSIDE. In the end bivvy or tent? TENT wins every time! Chad 101 sighing off!

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