SOL Escape Bivvy
The SOL Escape Bivvy is excellent for campers who don't use tents, but prefer to use a tarp or sleep under the stars. It in conjunction with a sleeping bag can perform even in very low temperatures as a full shelter system.
- Extremely light
- Very space efficient
- Reflective interior keeps you warm
- Waterproof and breathable carrying bag
- Very little 'elbow' room
- A little bit expensive
- Difficult to pack in case
SOL Escape Bivvy
The escape bivvy, in my opinion, is a bivvy like no other. It’s durable, warm, and comfortable. It does have its downsides though like the fact that you can’t move your arms very easily while inside, especially when using a sleeping bag inside of it.
When I first bought it, I didn’t understand what breathability meant. But I discovered its importance when I first used it. My friend and I went minimalist camping in the mountains, bringing only a tarp, our bivvy bags, and sleeping bags as shelter. The night went smoothly for me, but my friend woke up with pretty horrible surprise, his sleeping bag was completely wet from his sweat. It turns out that because his bivvy bag wasn’t breathable, his sweat built up and couldn’t escape like mine did. So started my day dry and rested while he was wet, cold and miserable.
The reflective interior helps decrease the amount of heat radiating from your body out to the atmosphere by reflecting the infra-red radiation you emit back at you. This means that you keep yourself warmer for a lot longer. This has been vital in some of my recent mountain journeys where I didn’t sleep in a tent, but under a poncho, or a tarp.
Like all products it has a few flaws. The biggest one is the fact that it is hard to move while inside with a sleeping bag. One time I was sleeping under my poncho inside my bivvy and sleeping bags when an animal began gnawing at my food bag, by the time I could get my arms out to chase it away, it had grabbed a bar of chocolate and run. Another issue is that it takes a good five minutes to pack it completely back into the carrying case; I suggest that anyone who buys it should find another bag that is maybe a bit bigger to allow easy packing.
All in All
All in all I can say that the escape bivvy bag is probably one of the best, if not the best bivvy bag available even though it has a few little flaws.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $49.95
This product is listed and marketed as an emergency bivy/shelter. However I have used this as part of my sleep system when hiking/backpacking for a few years now. It is extremely lightweight (8 oz) and packs very small.
- Comes in two colors
- Not for persons over 6'4"
This bivy packs very smal and is extremely lightweight, making it perfect for either a bug out bag, emergency bag in your vehicle, hiking, etc. It is durable. I have used it as part of my primary sleep system on multiple section hikes over the past few years and it has held up very well.
The only con that I have, is that it can be kind of loud if you move around while sleeping.
I use this in conjunction with a military poncho liner in my hammock and have stayed very warm down to around 45 degrees. The zipper on the side is only about 18" long. For a larger person this could make it harder to get in and out. However, I like the fact that the zipper doesn't go the entire length. Shorter zipper means less room for the zipper to mess up, means a shorter area for air to get into the bag, etc.
I purchased this new on Amazon a few years ago and the price has gone up since then. I am about 6' tall and have room to spare.
Here is my video review of my entire sleep system.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: less than $50
A mylar blanket does a better job of reflecting heat.
- Sucks heat away from your body like a heat sink.
- Possibly dangerous
- Funny answer from customer service.
I've tested this bivy in temps from the 40s down into the teens. Every time I ended up colder than when I didn't use it at all. Instead of reflecting heat back to me, the Escape Bivvy seemed to conduct heat away from my body like a heat sink.
I contacted customer service and their idea was that the bivy was compressing the insulation in my mummy bag. That sounded like a good theory since it doesn't offer much room with a sleeping bag inside.
So then you have to ask yourself... What's the point if you can't use it as a bivy?? That makes it nothing more than a poor performing emergency blanket.
I tried using it inside my bag to see if i could gain any of its reflective properties. Again I felt cold, so I removed the bivy and draped a cheap mylar blanket loosely over me. Within minutes I warmed enough to fall back to sleep.
As a last ditch effort, I decided to see if I could use it as a warm weather bag. I tried it out on my sofa one cool evening. Instead of feeling my body heat reflected back to me, like when wrapped up in a mylar blanket, I actually felt colder agian. I even tried turning the bag inside out to see if it would work better that way. Very disappointing.
As far as I'm concerned this bivy has no reflective qualities whatsoever, and that's the only reason I even considered it. There are much better options out there that offer more protection and are much more durable.
I cannot recommend this product to anyone. In fact, if it is acting as a conductor, it could possibly be considered dangerous.
Source: received it as a personal gift
This bag is supposed to be breathable, but if it does at all it is not detectable at -10°C. Collected considerable amount of condensation which turned to icy frost and later water when melted.
- At 39 dollars it is cheaper than other bivys
- Not breathable and will accumulate dangerous amounts of condensation
Went on a Junior Forest Wardens outing in a Wall Tent with temperatures at -15°C. As there was not enough room in the tent for everyone I took the opportunity to sleep outside in a down mummy bag and the Sol Escape bivy.
By 3:30 in the morning the cold and dampness had prevented any sleep. The amount of condensation was such that the socking wet interior of the bivy was turning the bag into a damp and cold sleeping bag. I contemplated taking off the bivy and just using the bag, but it was already wet, so I went to my truck and got my 25 pound down rectangular sleeping bag. This was only good for the lower half of my body as the top was still open to the cold air as it lacked a drawstring.
Rather than get up again and go back to truck for another down mummy to put inside the 25 pounder, I put up with it for the rest of the night. In the morning I discovered the drawstring of the bivy had come out of the bivy and would require repair, though this was the first time I had opened the package.
I only used it for a night, but in a multi-day survival situation the amount of condensation could be dangerous or even life threatening, if there was no way to get the sleeping bag and bivy dry every day. I only tested it in the -10 to -15 range, and it is possible with the right bag and outside temperature there would be less condensation, but as this is meant to be a survival bag, it should work in relatively mild winter conditions such as this.
It is fortunate I got the chance to test the bivy before taking it out on an expedition.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $39
- Ultrawarm for the weight
- Washes easily
- Not fragile, but def UL
- Replaces sleeping bag in my SF coastal area
- Pricey at $40, but cheaper than a bag
On its own, no bag or blanket, just with a windbreak, this takes me down to 45°F.
Excellent product. Part of my kit ALWAYS. Even use it at home in cool weather, under blankets or blankets inside.
No idea why others have reviewed this negatively. Maybe they are really big...? Not used to UL gear? I'm 5'6" and 160. This bivy is small.
Over the last two years I have spent probably 300 nights in it. Did half a 2018 PCT in it, only adding my quilt for maybe two days a week. I finally tore a fist-sized hole in it by snagging on a branch, though a cuben patch stopped the tearing. Still operational, but I bought the new version w/o the zipper, which I like even more.
30°F down quilt inside and I was good in 20°F winter snows at Tahoe in a tent and in a hammock.
I wash it monthly or whenever needed. It takes just a couple of rinses in a bucket with a tiny bit of Tide. Hang dry for an hour, turn inside out, and wait another hour. Silvering is fine, doesn't seem to leech or degrade.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $40
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Current Retail: $54.99-$68.99
Historic Range: $31.80-$68.99
Reviewers Paid: $39.00-$50.00