Brand: Sierra Designs
Model: Backcountry Bivy
No one wants to spend an unplanned night in the snow, but if it happens, this bivy beats the pants off a snow cave. For the weight of a midlayer, it provides bomber quarters. Bivies are normally claustrophobic, but a U-shaped opening that zips down to mid-stomach affords more wiggle room than average: “I could even sit up and watch the sunset,” said one Alaska tester after an overnight near Center Ridge. Moisture built up on the inside during a subzero day in Chugach State Park, but that’s standard for bivies.
Lightweight nylon (30-denier on bottom, 20-denier waterproof/breathable fabric on top) helps cut weight, and our Alaska tester reported no tears after 10 nights in rocky, high-alpine campsites. The 80-inch length and 36-inch shoulder width fit his 6’3” frame with extra room to stash gear. A zippered mesh window at the head makes the Backcountry Bivy feel more airy in fair weather (it zips fully shut in foul conditions).
“My camping companions quite literally forgot I was there and bailed when their own tents failed in the storm. Turns out, my bivy was the only shelter that survived,” said one tester after weathering a whopper of a gale in Chugach State Park, Alaska.
Weight: 13 oz.
See the entire Winter Gear Guide