A sleeping bag cover, which is more commonly referred to as a bivy sack or bivy bag, is a good way to add some waterproofing and some warmth to your sleeping bag without adding much weight. Many people actually use a sleeping bag cover in place of a tent, or in combination with a tarp tent, to provide the same functionality that a tent does, but without all the added bulk and weight that a tent necessitates. There is, however, quite a wide variety of choice when it comes to sleeping bags covers.
Sleeping Bag CoverWhat to look for when shopping for a sleeping bag cover.
- Waterproof – Some sleeping bag covers are waterproof and some aren’t. Many are actually waterproof on the bottom, to keep out ground water, and water resistant on the top, to keep water out, but also allow some breathability, so that you don’t end up sweating inside the cover. Decide whether you need your sleeping bag cover to be waterproof or not.
- Mesh Screen – Just about all sleeping bag covers come with hole where your face ends up being, that both gives you access to fresh air while you sleep and also acts as an entry and exit point for the sleeping bag cover. If you’re going to be hiking in a place with plenty of bugs, it helps to have this hole covered in mesh, to keep those bugs at bay.
Best Sleeping Bag CoverSome of the better options for a sleeping bag cover.
- REI Minimalist Bivy Sack - The Minimalist from REI is a great choice if you want a value oriented sleeping bag cover. It's nylon on both the top and bottom, which is coated with REI's waterproof and breathable REI Elements product. The face is covered by a mesh screen too, so you wont suffer from bugs at night while truing to sleep. It also comes with a large zippered portion on the top, with 6 zippers, so you can create a few gaps for ventilating, which is a great little feature. The whole thing weighs 15 ounces, which is 425 grams. It also comes in a long size.
- MSR AC Bivy - Another sleeping bag cover, this time from MSR. This one has a waterproof and windproof coated nylon top portion, while the bottom portion is just water resistant. The face opening is also covered with mesh, so that you will be safe from bugs at night while trying to sleep. The whole thing also weighs just 1 pound, which is 453 grams.
- Rab Alpine Lite Bivi - One more sleeping bag cover, this time from Rab. The Alpine Lite uses a waterproof bathtub floor, which is combined with a very highly breathable eVent upper portion, eVent being a superior choice to coated nylon, so that you stay dry while allowing for plenty of ventilation, making it an ideal cover for your sleeping bag. The opening on this cover is actually a U-shaped zipper along the top edge of the bivy, so it gives you a much more complete way to get out of the elements, though no bug mesh. The Alpine Lite weighs 15 ounces, or 425 grams.