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Bivy Sacks

How to choose your tent

A man can get to love his bivy sack and if my house ever caught fire it would one of the things I'd risk my life to save. We've had some great times together! For those not familiar, a bivy sack is short for bivouac sack - a small, lightweight, portable shelter that's perfect for day hikes, mountain bike trails and other short adventures. They can also be handy if you get an earbashing from your trouble and strife and need to sleep in the garden!

Think of a bivy sack as a combination between a tent and a sleeping bag. Made from waterproof and windproof material, a good quality bivy sack will also have a foot vent and a large opening to keep you comfortable on the hottest nights. I've has some great times with mine out on the Cooloola Great Walk. I did it as a five day trek with a few mates last year and we copped it sweet with the weather so even the nights were really warm. If it had been cockatoo weather a bivy sack may not have been the best kit for the trip!

If you want to travel fast and light or just to feel you're out there with the elements a bivy sack is perfect. That said, always consider how the weather can turn or what conditions can be like at any altitude and don't take risks if a three or four season tent is what you really need. The bivy sack was invented for climbers who could live with a basic shelter and didn't want a heavy pack to carry. Know your limitations though - if you're not used to extreme conditions don't take chances.

Bivy sacks

My first bivy sack kept me dry but I usually slept in the buff as it was so hot and sweaty! Look for a bivy sack with a full length zipper so you can get some ventilation. Breathability is important and modern materials allow for this. Modern bivy sacks are usually a 2 tier construction of durable grade nylon underneath and lighter nylon on top. Waterproof coating finishes the job.

The next phase up is a bivy shelter - a low rise, single walled tent with mesh panels attached to the head opening. As always when choosing a tent or shelter, think about the conditions you'll be using it in and the places you'll be visiting. For hiking and biking trips in milder weather, or if you're more experienced and know how to handle the cold a bivy sack is a great piece of kit.

And now read everything about Convertible Tents

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