Outdoor Research Basic Bivy
Design: bivy sack without poles or hoops
Ease of Setup: none, toss it on the ground
Weight: 1 lb 4 oz
Price Paid: $189
OR markets this as a simple yet usable and reliable shelter. I agree that it is both. Only real downside (other than the ones you should expect like limited ventilation and not much room) is weight. There are lighter products out there, but at 20 oz., for something that could be very liberally construed as a 4 season tent, it isn't that bad.
I bought this to have a bivy capable of use as a standalone shelter, it is. Like virtually every bivy, I've ever heard of, generating condensation inside is easy, but I haven't experienced any excessive, and generally keep my face out of the bivy or the flap fully open.
Entry and exit is easier than you would think with a little practice. I hold it up and drop my sleeping bag in while holding onto the bag hood. There is enough room for a pad inside, but I usually leave it outside. I use a kite weight Tyvek ground cloth, but you could use it directly on the ground. The mesh works well and has a separate zipper from the bag. Some people don't like having fabric right on their head/face, but it really doesn't bother me. I have never completely closed the Gore-tex even in a hard rainstorm, but the zipper design allows you to minimize the opening on one side to help avoid leaks and the storm flap is functional. The head end only opening increases weatherproofness and decreases weight.
I like having more flexibility on bivouac site than possible with a tent or tarp and the ability to readily take advantage of natural shelter augmentation (boulders, overhangs, trees, etc.) Some times, I'm just too dang tired to think about pitching a tent...let alone carrying it. This puppy really is waterproof even in steady rain although the claustrophobia and noise of raindrops when you batten down the hatches cannot be described, only experienced.
Bottom line, this is a minimalist shelter that will better connect you with the environment, allow you to go from stargazing to rain protection without moving, add a few degrees of warmth to your bag and maybe even save your life if you are caught out in bad conditions with nothing else. One of my favorite pieces of gear.
Where to Buy
The Outdoor Research Basic Bivy is not available from the stores we monitor.
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Here's what other sites are saying:
This simple bivy sack made with high-quality materials offers lightweight, waterproof protection--a great value! A three-layer Gore-Tex®/nylon ripstop upper and Hydroseal®/nylon taffeta floor create a waterproof, vapor-permeable, windproof shelter. Bathtub-style floor raises seams above ground level, offering reliable waterproof performance for the long haul. Panel over the head can be configured to be fully enclosed by Gore-Tex/nylon or covered by only netting when bugs are the main concern. Features end opening access to maintain a waterproof zipper closure; zipper is covered by a stormflap. Fully factory seam-taped for total waterproofness. Six guyout loops allow you to tie down when necessary.
Run to the hills, and stay there with the Outdoor Research super-lightweight, super-simple Basic Bivy.
How simple can a bivy sack be and still have a Hydroseal-200 coated taffeta floor, a generous ultra-light ripstop Gore-Tex fabric roof and no-see-um netting, and still get Gore's Guaranteed To Keep You Dry certification Well, this is it. As with its more sophisticated brethren, the end opening provides quick and easy entry while totally keeping the weather at bay. It's fully seam taped, but we've cut back a bit on the amount of Gore-Tex fabric and have dropped the sleeping pad straps. We firmly believe that a tight budget is no reason to get stuck with inferior performance.
- Altrec Outdoors
The Basic Bivy by Outdoor Research shows how simple a bivy sack can be and still have a Hydroseal-200 coated taffeta floor, a generous ultra-light ripstop Gore-Tex fabric roof and no-see-um netting, and still get Gore's in.Guaranteed To Keep You Dryin. certification. As with its more sophisticated brethren, the end opening provides quick and easy entry while totally keeping the weather at bay. It's fully seam taped, but we've cut back a bit on the amount of Gore-Tex fabric and have dropped the sleeping pad straps. We firmly believe that a tight budget is no reason to get stuck with inferior performance. Specifications: Avg. weight: 1 lb. 4 oz. /570 g Length: 84 in./215 cm Width at shoulder: 25 in./64 cm Max. shoulder circumference: 74 in./190 cm Width at foot: 21 in./53 cm Max. foot circumference: 56 in./142 cm Features:3-Layer, 1.1 oz. Ripstop Gore-Tex upper section No-See-Um netting-covered opening 1.7-oz. taffeta, Hydroseal-200 coated floor fabric End-opening zipper Five snaps on storm flap Fully taped seams Guy line loops High-volume foot section