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Bivy Sack vs Solo Tent

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Solo tents are a great option if you want to camp alone. They are small, lightweight, and compact. Solo tents are usually designed to be used as backpacking shelters. They are also popular among hikers because they are easy to set up and pack away. However, there are times when you might want to use a bivy sack instead of a solo tent.

bivy sack vs solo tent

What Is Bivy Sack?

A bivy sack or a bivouac sack is designed to provide a thin waterproof fabric over your body in your sleeping bag to prevent wind chill and rain. They also provide insulation and prevent wind chill and rain from entering your sleeping bag.

The most basic bivy sacks have openings for your eyes and your breathing. These days, with the introduction of Gore-Tex fabrics, bivy sacks can be closed without any openings at all.

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Types of Bivy Sacks

There are many types of bivy sacks available on the market today. Some are made specifically for hiking; others are meant for camping. Here are three main categories of bivy sacks:

Hiking Bivy Sack

A hiking bivy sack has a hooded opening for your head and shoulders. There may be additional pockets inside the hood for storing food and other items. Most hiking bivy sacks will fit into a standard-sized backpack.

Camping Bivy Sack

If you plan to spend more time outdoors than just during daylight hours, this type of bivy sack is what you need. Camping bivy sacks typically do not include a hood. Instead, they have large zippers along their sides which allow you to open them completely. Many people prefer these bags because they don’t require tying knots or lashing poles to secure them.

Sleeping Bag Cover

Sometimes referred to as “sleeping bag liners”, these bivy sacks are simply a piece of material sewn onto the end of your sleeping bag. While they aren’t technically considered part of your sleeping bag, they still keep moisture out and help regulate temperature.

Factors When Choosing Your Bivy Sack

When choosing a bivy sack, consider how much extra space you’ll need. A bivy sack takes less room than a solo tent. If you’re planning to hike long distances, then it’s probably best that you choose one of the two options.

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Another factor to take into consideration is weight. The lighter the better. You should always try to carry only what you need. This way, you won’t feel weighed down by unnecessary gear.

Most bivy sacks have 2 different types of fabrics. One type is heavy and durable for ground conditions. Another type is lighter and more breathable. Both are waterproof and durable. But the second type is also lighter.

Pros of Bivy Sack

Bivy sacks are great for those looking to camp alone. They give you plenty of room to spread out without having to worry about someone else intruding on your private area. Plus, they are easier to set up and pack away compared to other shelters.

Cons of Bivy Sack

While bivy sacks are convenient, they may be too bulky for certain situations. Also, they tend to get wet quickly due to their design. So make sure you know which kind of bivy sack will work well before heading off on any adventure.

What Is Solo Tent?

A solo tent is similar to a bivy sack but larger. It is usually a one person tent that provides shelter from the elements while allowing enough ventilation so you can sleep comfortably.

It comes in various sizes depending on its intended purpose. For example, some solo tents come with an attached vestibule where you can store extra clothing and equipment. Others are freestanding structures that stand upright like a regular tent.

Some solo tents even offer built-in storage compartments. In addition, some models fold up easily when packed away.

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Types of Solo Tent

Here are four common types of solo tents:

Freestanding Tents

These tents usually consist of a single-pole structure with no roof. Freestanding tents are easy to set up and pack away. However, they lack privacy since anyone who passes by could see everything going on within.

Tent Pods

Like freestanding tents, tent pods are simple to use. Unlike freestanding tents though, they feature a separate compartment for each person. They provide greater privacy and protection against rain and wind.


This style of solo tent features a small vestibule at the entrance. These areas often contain shelves and hooks for hanging clothes and personal belongings. Some vestibules even double as stoves and cookware.

Canvas Tents

Like traditional camping tents, canvas tents are made using fabric instead of wood. Canvas tents are lightweight and portable. They are ideal if you want something sturdy yet light.

Pros of Solo Tents

Solo tents are versatile. Whether you plan to go hiking or just enjoy spending time outdoors, these shelters are perfect to give you the most comfortable night.

They allow you to stay dry during bad weather thanks to their waterproof materials. And because they don’t require poles, they are very compact and easy to transport.

Cons of Solo Tents

Unlike bivy sacks, solo tents do not protect you from insects. If you need bug repellant, it would be best to bring along a conventional tent.

Also, solo tents aren’t suitable for colder climates. You won’t be able to keep warm inside them unless you add additional insulation layers.

How To Choose Between Bivy Sack And Solo Tent

Choosing between a bivy sack and a solo tent depends largely on what you intend to use it for. Here are three factors to consider:

Weather Conditions

If you live somewhere cold, then a bivy sack is probably better suited than a solo tent. It provides more warmth while keeping you protected from bugs and precipitation. On the flip side, if you live in warmer regions, then a solo tent might be preferable.

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Space Requirements

The size of your shelter also matters. A larger shelter means less space required for packing and transporting. But this doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice comfort. Some models come equipped with built-in storage compartments that can help you organize things like clothing and food.

Your Budget

Lastly, how much money you want to spend should factor into your decision-making process. While both types of shelters offer similar benefits, most modern tents come at a higher price tag. For example, a bivy sack costs around $20-$30 whereas a solo tent runs anywhere from $50-$100.

Are Bivy Sack Warmer Than Tents?

Yes! The reason why most people choose bivy sacks over tents is that they provide superior protection against wind and rain. This makes them an excellent choice when traveling by car or motorcycle. 

Can You Use a Bivy Bag in a Tent?

There are two main reasons why you shouldn’t try doing so. First, bivy bags usually weigh significantly more than regular tents. Second, they lack ventilation holes. These features prevent condensation buildup inside the bag. As such, you could end up getting sick.

Do You Need a Tarp Under a Bivy?

No. Unlike traditional tarps, bivy sacks feature mesh vents that let air flow through. Thus, there isn’t a need to put them under a tarp. However, if you prefer using a tarp, you can always attach one underneath.


If you plan to go hiking or backpacking alone, then a bivy sack might just be the right choice for you. On the other hand, if you prefer sleeping under the stars, then a solo tent would likely suit your needs better. Either option has advantages and disadvantages. Choose wisely!

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