Bivy sacks and tents are both used for camping. When going for outdoor activities, people always wonder which of these two they should take. There is no right answer, but the guidelines listed next should help you make the right decision.
- Are very light
- Are good for stealth and can be used to camp almost anywhere
- Are easy to put away
- Get wet at night. The sacks can, however, get treated with hydrophobic products to reduce dampness.
- Uncomfortable to sleep in. The space is small and some people feel claustrophobic in them.
- Items have to be left outside when you sleep as there isn’t enough storage room. Animals and rain can damage such belongings.
- They need to be dried frequently
- Are comfortable as they have more space
- If you use a two-person or three-person tent, the weight is considerably reduced in comparison to bivy sacks on a per person basis
- Are cheaper than bivy sacks on a per person basis when you use multi-person tents
- Don’t get wet or damp because of condensation
- Don’t need drying
- Have enough space for the storage of items
- Generally heavier and bulkier than bivy sacks
- Require you to find a suitable camping spot. Also, setting up and packing up take time.
Weight and Space
Bivy sacks and tents are both very light, especially the modern designs. Still, there is a significant difference between bivy sacks and tents with regard to weight. Bivy sacks don’t need poles or any other structures, meaning they contain less material. Because of their smaller size, they are also easier to fit in your backpack.
In actual figures, tents are about twice as heavy as bivy sacks.
Being very small, you shouldn’t expect much space for movement in a bivy sack. Because of the limited space, condensation usually builds up in the sack, and this makes the sack wet and uncomfortable.
To reduce the dampness, you can choose to buy synthetic camping sacks or go for the expensive types that are more breathable. Using hydrophobic treatment also helps.
With tents, you can sit down and carry out other activities. You can store your items in tents, but this will be an inconvenience with bivy sacks. Although bivy sacks warm up faster than tents, they are a lot less comfortable.
In the case of bad weather, bivy sacks can be highly claustrophobic. Tents are more comfortable in such situations.
Tents are much cheaper than bivy sacks. There are many varieties of tents to choose from, but decent single-person tents are priced from $150. You can get multiple person tents to lower the cost even further.
With bivy sacks, you will be able to sleep anywhere. You don’t need to find a suitable spot to sleep in them. With tents, this will be a problem since you need to find a much larger area to set up the structure. If you like to visit places that have not been well-explored or documented, you might want to consider carrying a bivy sack.
Stealth is also enhanced with bivy sacks. You can set it up quick, and packing up is also very easy. When visiting places that are potentially dangerous, such sacks might be better alternatives.
On the flip side, you can’t bring your items into a bivy sack, and this will expose them to elements in the wild. Rain or even animals can destroy your property. In addition, bivy sacks have to be dried every 2 or 3 days, and this makes them inconvenient in camps that last for more than a few days.
Tents and bivy sacks are excellent for camping. Choosing between them should be based on your specific situation. To wrap it up, bivy sacks are ideal in cases where you need to minimize on luggage size. They are also great if the destination has a scarcity of camping spots. A tent would be the best choice for camps that involve more than one person and where the destination is known to be safe and full of spots to set up tents.