Model: Mountaineering Alpini Bivy
Overall Score: 4 / 5
Stop hemming and hawing about whether to bring an emergency shelter. There’s no debate with this 1-pound bivy. At the size of a 20-ounce bottle when stuffed, the Alpini takes up so little pack space that we never balked at carrying it on long dayhikes in New York’s Adirondacks and Spain’s Sierra Nevada.
The Alpini strikes a near-perfect balance between full-featured bivies and bare-bones space blankets. A mesh panel blocks bugs but allows airflow: No condensation accumulated on dry, 30°F nights with the mesh panel open or even on a -9°F night with everything fully zipped. The waterproof/breathable nylon repels rain, but the water-resistant zipper won’t seal out every drop in a deluge, so seek a sheltered spot in the worst weather. It also kept wind from drilling through our bags, a blessing on cold, breezy nights. But achieving full head protection means zipping the bivy closed, which feels close and (to some testers) claustrophobic.
The 40-denier nylon on the bottom proved rugged enough for hard use, and showed no scuffs or tears after a summer of testing.