Best Emergency Bivvy Sacks: Top 5 Picks, How To Choose

Shelter is one of the most vital of the survival priorities, without it you can be dead in as little as three hours in bad weather. The problem with shelter is that it is costly in time and resources to create in a survival situation, and that is time that your body temperature will be dropping and your motor functions will become more severely impaired. This is where a bivvy sack would come into play.

Best Emergency Bivvy Sacks – My Picks

Best Emergency Bivvy Sack Overall – Tact Bivvy Emergency Sleeping Bag

The Tact Bivvy is an easy win for the best overall pick because it is not only a good size and comes in both orange and green but also includes a whistle and tinder which aides to increase your odds of survival when TSHTF.

Weighing in at 4.7 oz the Tact Bivvy is not the lightest but also far from the heaviest on my list which is probably due to the use of thicker Mylar and taped seams in the construction. With dimensions of 7 feet by 3 feet this bivvy will accommodate the vast majority of the population.

Features

  • Overall size 84” x 36”
  • Weight 4.7 oz
  • Comes with 120 decibel survival whistle
  • Paracord in drawstring has fire tinder inside
  • Fits in the palm of the hand
  • Seams are taped

Pros

  • Comes with whistle and tinder
  • Large enough for people of above average height
  • Reflects 90% of body heat
  • Fits in palm of the hand
  • Two colour options
  • Windproof and Waterproof

Cons

  • Not the lightest option on the list

Customers Say

Customer reviews are very positive and the only negative ones that I could locate appear to be written by people who expected far more out of a Mylar emergency bivvy than can be reasonably expected. Other negative reviews were written by people who did not seem to understand what they were buying and clearly had unrealistic expectations.

TACT Bivvy Review
  • Our Favorite Sack
  • Weighs only 6.2 ounces. Very durable.
  • Use in all survival situations to stay warm
View Latest Price

Best Emergency Bivvy Sack – Runner Up – Go Time Gear Thermal Bivvy

Life Bivy Emergency Sleeping Bag Thermal Bivvy - Use as Emergency Bivy...

The Go Time Gear Life Bivvy is quite similar to my best overall pick with the exception of not having fire tinder inside the paracord drawstring. Weighing in a 4.1 oz this is lighter than our number one pick and is the same overall size. There is also both an orange and a green colour option available which is a bonus especially if you are looking for a more tactical option.

Features

  • Overall size 84” x 36” and 4” x 3” in stuff sack
  • Weighs 4.1 oz
  • Includes whistle and paracord drawstring
  • Comes in both orange and green
  • Taped seams
  • 26um thick Mylar

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Large enough to accommodate most people
  • Two colour options
  • Packs down small
  • Windproof and Waterproof

Cons

  • Does not include tinder in the paracord
  • Some negative customer reviews in regards to quality of product

Customers Say

Most of the customer reviews are positive but there is a segment of the reviewer that appear to have had very negative experiences with the product. Some of the negativity is around people not understanding what an emergency bivvy is best suited for but some cite that their bivvys were missing pieces, had the coloured or silver lining come off, or had holes form too easily.

Life Bivy Emergency Sleeping Bag Thermal Bivvy - Use as Emergency Bivy...
  • STAY WARM AND ALIVE IN EXTREME CONDITIONS: The Life Bivy emergency sleeping bag serves as your...
  • PARA-SYNCH TECHNOLOGY PARACORD DRAWSTRING & SURVIVAL WHISTLE: The 120-decibel emergency whistle cuts...

Last update on 2020-10-24 at 05:52 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Bug Out Bag Bivvy Sack – Overall – Don’t Die in the Woods Emergency Sleeping Bag

Emergency Sleeping Bag With Hood | Ultralight, Waterproof, Thermal Mylar...

The Don’t Die in the Woods Emergency Sleeping Bag is a good option for a bug out bag even though it is the heaviest on this list at 7 ounces. The added weight will result in some added durability which is good for any bug out scenario. These bivvys also have a camouflage and a forest green colour option which is a big advantage for bugging out while staying concealed. This bivvy also comes with a hood as well which is a nice option to keep the head insulated as well.

Features

  • Overall size 84”x36” packs down to 3.5” x 2.5”
  • Weight 7 oz
  • Includes a hood
  • Three colour options (orange, forest green, and camouflage)

Pros

  • Three colour options
  • Windproof and waterproof
  • Includes a hood
  • Durable

Cons

  • Heaviest option on the list
  • No whistle or paracord

Customers say

Most reviews for this bivvy are positive with the usual minority negative reviews usually about the product being made from thin material and written by people who clearly do not understand the limitations of an emergency bivvy.

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Emergency Sleeping Bag With Hood | Ultralight, Waterproof, Thermal Mylar...
  • TOUGHEST MYLAR SLEEPING BAG ON EARTH – Our tear-resistant, extra-thick HeatFlex mylar is stronger...
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Last update on 2020-10-24 at 05:52 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Bivvy Sack for Bug Out Bag – Runner up – S.O.L. Lightweight Emergency Bivvy

S.O.L. Survive Outdoors Longer S.O.L. 90% Reflective Lightweight Emergency...

I’ll admit that I have a soft spot for SOL products being that I currently own a lot of their emergency blankets. This particular bivvy is the lightest weight option on my list and is a great option for bug out or get home bags. The SOL emergency bivvys also come in a variety of sizes and a few different colour options. An important point to note is that the specifications listed here are for the lightest weight option, for example the green escape bivvy from SOL is heavier at 8.5oz and only reflects back 70% of your body heat as opposed to the 90% of the ultralight version.

Features

  • Overall size 84” x 36”
  • Weight 3.5oz
  • Comes in several colours and sizes (different colours and sizes have different specifications)

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Lots of colour and size options
  • Windproof and Waterproof

Cons

  • Different colours and sizes have different specifications
  • No whistle or tinder

Customers say

Most customers are very happy with their purchase and almost all the negative reviews I read appear to be written by people who did not understand that emergency bivvys are not breathable and condensation is going to be an issue.

S.O.L. Survive Outdoors Longer S.O.L. 90% Reflective Lightweight Emergency...
  • Emergency bivvy measures 84 x 36 inches, and weighs approximately 3.8 ounces
  • Reflects 90% of your body heat back to you to prevent heat loss and trap warm air

Last update on 2020-10-24 at 01:32 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Budget Emergency Bivvy Sack – JYSW Emergency Bivy Sack

JYSW Lightweight Waterproof Emergency Survival Sleeping Bag PE Bivy Sack...

If you want the most bang for your buck then this is the option for you. The JYSW Emergency Bivvy Sack is a two pack. Two bivvys for the price of one comes with the reduction in quality that you would expect from a mass produced Chinese made Mylar sack, these will however do the job of reflecting your body heat just fine. Weighing in a 4.6 oz and measuring in a 79” x 47” these bivvys are a bit wider but also shorter than the others on this list.

Features

  • Overall size 79” x 47”
  • Comes with whistles
  • Includes two bivvys
  • Camouflaged colour

Pros

  • Comes with 2 bivvys
  • Lightweight
  • Windproof and waterproof
  • Includes whistles

Cons

  • Not as high quality as the other options on the list
  • Shorter than other emergency bivvys

Customers say

Customers seem to have generally positive impressions of this bivvy and there are very few negative comments. The negative sentiments are in reference to some quality control issues and the thin Mylar material. As with the others on the list a portion of the reviewers seem to not understand the limitations of emergency bivvys.


Benefits of Bivvy Sacks

A Bivvy Sack (or Bivouac Sack, Bivy Sack, or Bivi) is usually a slip-on cover for your sleeping bag to make it warmer or waterproof.  An emergency bivvy sack is made so that it can be used by itself.  Usually out of synthetic materials that are designed to reflect and hold body heat.

Obviously it’s something great to throw in your Bug Out Bag, but I am thinking it might be most useful for an Urban Survival Bag.  It would be a great warmth and weather protection option for an urban survival pack that is usually smaller and might not be made for out right camping, in which case you don’t have a full sleeping bag.

1. It’s Reusable

I don’t know about you but I am never going to be able to refold a $0.79 cent emergency blanket back into that tiny little square. An emergency Bivvy Sack comes with a stuff sack and is made to be reused.

2. Sleeping Bag Style

Bivvy Sack

Emergency blankets are nice but they are awkward in a situation where you need warmth around your whole body. Square blankets are great for laying on the couch in the winter, but when you need full protection from the elements a sleeping bag style is really the best way to go.

Not to mention you could just slip it over your full sleeping bag anytime you need to for added warmth or water protection.

3. Help Other People

Assuming all our great readers are prepared, you could use it for helping out someone else who isn’t prepared.


How To Choose an Emergency Bivvy Sack

Emergency bivvy sacks are generally made from reflective Mylar which reflects your body heat back on to you. The advantage is that Mylar is very lightweight and it’s heat-reflecting properties result in keeping you warm by recycling your own body heat. Mylar is also both wind and waterproof which will shield you from the elements, but for the most part, will not be breathable so you will find that condensation is going to be an issue. The key to avoiding waking up wet is to keep air circulating and to be mindful of what you are wearing and remove layers to avoid overheating.

What is an Emergency Bivvy Sack Meant For?

Emergency bivvy’s are meant to be a replacement for a sleeping bag in situations where you either have been separated from your sleeping kit or are in a situation where carrying a full sleeping bag was not practical or required. Emergency bivvy sacks are great for car kits, bug out bags, get home bags, or survival kits.

How to Choose

Choosing an emergency bivvy comes down to a combination of durability, weight, size, and price.

For those of us who have handled a Mylar space blanket before you know that the material is very thin and it doesn’t take much to put a hole through it. Not all Mylar is created equal though and generally speaking the thicker the Mylar the more durable it will be, however, this durability will come with a weight penalty.

As for the weight it can almost hardly be considered an issue given how lightweight these bivvys are, with the difference between different models is usually only an ounce or two. For some of us though, especially when crafting a bug out bag, are very serious when it comes to ounces, but lightweight usually means thinner or smaller with a reduction in durability.

One thing is for sure, and that is which ever bivvy you choose your body must be able to comfortably fit inside of it. Most bivvys take this into consideration but that being said you need to still check the unfolded size to ensure that it will accommodate you. The compressed size of these sacks is usually pretty much the same across the board with variations of only an inch or so between them,

We all have a budget and we all have a threshold of how much we are willing to pay for an item that we hope to never have to use. I always ask myself when purchasing survival gear, whether some of the money I’m about to spend would be better spent elsewhere or is this item critical enough to warrant spending top dollar. This of course is a question that only yourself and your budget can answer.

What Makes an Emergency Bivvy Sack Good?

A good bivvy comes down to being lightweight, durable and provides enough room to sleep in comfortably. Looking for added features like survival whistles or a hood are also options that set some bivvys apart form the rest. What makes these emergency bivvys good survival items is that they are waterproof and windproof while also reflecting 90% of your body heat back on itself.

The main consideration is that this item will be used in life or death emergencies and you need to pick one that will do the job of maintaining your body heat and keeping you dry and out of the wind.


Common Questions…

How should I care for my emergency bivvy sack?

Mylar is very thin and most of the bivvys on this list have their thickness measured at 26um which is 26 micro meters or in other terms 0.026 mm or 0.001 inches. Since the material is so thin you must be cautious getting inside of and out of these bivvys. It is not difficult to put a boot straight through the thin Mylar and dragging the bivvy around is a good way to tear it up on rocks and branches.

Even though these bivvys are claimed to be reusable they should only be considered a short term option due to their fragility.

What should I be taking into consideration when using?

Number one consideration is that these bivvys do not insulate from the ground so you’ll want some form of insulating materials between yourself and the earth. The second consideration is that these bivvys are water and windproof so they are generally not breathable. This means that condensation inside of them is going to be an issue that you’ll need to be thinking about. Last is that these are emergency bivvys so you should not consider them a replacement for a good quality sleeping bag.


Verdict

The Tact Bivvy 2.0 deserves its spot at the top of this list with the lightweight and added survival items making this is a great all-around emergency bivvy that will do the job of helping you to conserve your body heat when TSHTF. Either of the bug out bag options is great picks and would also be good in a car kit or a get home bag. For that matter any of these bivvys would be appropriate choices for any bug out bag, get home bag, bailout kit, or survival kit.

TACT Bivvy Review
  • Our Favorite Sack
  • Weighs only 6.2 ounces. Very durable.
  • Use in all survival situations to stay warm
View Latest Price


Michael Major
Written by Michael Major

Michael is a survivalist, traditional bowhunter, student of traditional and primitive skills, as well as a veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces. He is also a husband and father and makes his home in British Columbia, Canada. Read his full interview here. Read more of Michael's articles.

25 thoughts on “Best Emergency Bivvy Sacks: Top 5 Picks, How To Choose”

    • Yes, it is definitely more useful than a space blanket for a full nights shelter.

      However, if at all possible you should try to find something else to put over you if you plan to use if for the whole night, to keep the dew off.

      A space blanket is good, but like you mentioned a tarp is probably better for long term. Long term being a couple of days, before you can put together something more substantial.

      Reply
      • my down filled cold weather sleeping bag has a older style canvas bivi on it if you treat that with some water repelant it is a great bivi I like it because of the OD green it blends in well with the foliage around my area so i just slip into it and role under a bush and walla no one can find you unless they are looking for you that is.

        Reply
  1. I was at FT Irwin in the winter one time and had my seeping bag stolen. I could have used a bivy sack ,but they didn't make them back in the 80's as far as I know. Having one in my pocket would have help get trough a freezing cold night.. I tried to wrap my shelter half around me but it didn't help much. I managed to cozy up to next a heater in one of the tents. long night.

    Reply
  2. There is not much worse than spending the night freezing. Glad you got through that night alright.

    These little bivvy sacks are so useful for an emergency shelter, or a sleeping bag cover for added protection.

    Reply
  3. I'm using a fleece sleeping bag, and in all practice runs it has been fine up to 0 degrees F when used with a tarp. If you leave an extra layer on it would probably do better. Also it weight is less than a pound, but its disadvantage is it is a little bulky when you strap it in to a rack, and it isn't waterproof by itself.

    Reply
  4. This may be a little off subject but I read on another survival site to have a carpenter garbage bag (55 gallon). They weigh practically nothing nor take up space but that of a garbage bag. You fill them with leaves etc. and you have a pretty soft, dry way to sleep instead of the cold, hard ground. I bought a carton of 18 bags at Wal-Mart for around $20.00. I put 1 in my bag and 2 in my husband’s bag. It is a light bed roll in our grab bags. Love this site! Thanks Lucas.

    Reply
  5. Glad to see the site back up,missed the great articles. Actually tested one Heatsheet bivy bags on Boy Scout Wilderness Survival merit badge campout this past October,Southeastern region. Temperature approx. 45 degrees, clear skies, wind < 5 mph.Slept uncovered on the ground with just the bivy bag as shelter. Used an Italian wool Blanket as a ground pad (no sleeping bags or foam ground pads were allowed). Bag kept me plenty warm; problem was moisture accumulation inside the bag from my perspiration. Had to keep wiping it off the inside of the bag with my bandana all night. Great piece of kit, just be prepared to deal with moisture if you include it your gear. Could be critical issue in really cold weather.

    Reply
  6. Last night my wife and took a group of friends out on a steath bug-out overnighter. It dropped to around +40 and my friends had no sleeping bags, warm clothes, or blankets. I sacrificed my wool blanket, heavy duty reflective blanket, wool vest, and cap to try and help the three of them. I then filled my contractor bag with dry leaves, hung a tarp, and crawled into my down sleeping bag. I slept wonderfully.

    Reply
  7. my BOB has several contractor garbage bags in it. They are very multi-functional. They can be used as bedding as stated above, split the seams and they can be used for a tarp, two arm slits and one for the head=poncho, drop BOB into it for water obstical fording, inflate it and and tie it off and “voila” floatation device and on and on.

    Reply
  8. Definitely thinking of getting one of these..what is the difference between the two sold on Forge Survival Supply though? I see that the updated one is heavier and mentions a "Thermo-Lite" material, but I'm just wondering how much different it is than the original and if it's the only difference between the two. Thanks!

    Reply
  9. Ekrich attributes the change to increases in "street lighting, domestic lighting and a surge in coffee houses," which slowly made nighttime a legitimate time for activity, decreasing the time available for rest.

    Reply
  10. Materials used in messenger bags are often more durable and water-resistant than other over-the-shoulder bags. Contemporary bags use thicker gauges of canvas and tarp shielding for the inner waterproof lining.

    Reply
  11. Just tried mine out a couple weekends ago as a sleeping bag cover and kept warm and dry even though it was raining most of the time. I would highly recommend bivvies, especially because they pack up so small and can be used multiple times.

    Reply
  12. It is very nice to see this blog and it's really informative for the readers. It is really nice to see the best information presented in an easy and understanding manner.
    Thank you.

    Reply
  13. Can't recommend the basic AMK Heatsheets Emergency Bivvy, as its basically an "space blanket" sewn into a bivy.

    Has the same moisture problems as being wrapped in a space blanket. Tested mine indoors on top of the bed at 68F. Woke up soaking wet from condensation.

    Managed to get it folded back up and mostly back into the little pouch. Brand new there's room for a button compass, and matches in a pill pouch in the bottom.

    Have read better reviews for the more expensive emergency bivys which have a vapor barrier.

    Reply
    • HI, CAN YOU TELL ME WHAT SITE YOU FOUND THE BIVYS THAT HAVE A VAPOR BARRIER. ARE THERE ANY STORES THAT CARRY THESE? THANKS SO MUCH

      Reply
  14. That's truly an amazing review of Bivvy Sack blanket. I agreed with the views about this blanket. For better sleeping comfort such blanket is very effective. I'm using this blanket for quite sometime now and it's good. Thanks.

    Reply
  15. I am making a light weight bivy. It is in the planning stage now. It will be a Tyvek shell top and bottom, then an inner ripstop nylon shell top and bottom. I will make the Tyvek outer shell with extra room; that will allow stuffing with leaves above and below the nylon inner sack if necessary for cold. I also will be able to slip a air mattress into between bottom bivy layer instead of leaves. The whole thing will be wider than a rectangular sleeping bag. The inner shell will be big enough to slip inside the bivy a cotton, silk, or fleese sack inside . . . there will be a hold in the bottom to pull the bivy liner inside. I will add a very lightweight bug mesh upper side with enough room for a v shape the height of my torso seat to crown. And I will carry a nylon tarp for extra rain protection. That is the plan . . . I will post how it turns out functionally for cold and wet protection and total weight/compression size and if the Tyvek combined with ripstop nylon are breathable.

    Reply
  16. Yes. I agree. People I know have said that a so-called Space Blanket was nearly useless in an unexpected night out while climbing a high peak in the Cascade Mountains. They all now carry a bivvy BAG of some sort and extra warm clothing. If there is no wind and it is not raining or snowing I believe a space blanket might be of some value, but they do not create the envelope you need to keep from loosing the warm are you heat up around your head body. The loss of radiant heat isn't as important as the advertisers would have you believe. Any plastic bag that you can climb into does a remarkable job of keeping the wind and rain off you and your body heat contained.

    Reply

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