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The North Face Backpack Bivy

rated 4.0 of 5 stars

The Backpack Bivy has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best bivy sacks for 2023.

photo: The North Face Backpack Bivy bivy sack

Bought this for fastpacking and have used it about 6 nights over the AT in CT/MA and NH.

Pros: easy to set up, packs down very small, lightweight

Cons: no bug netting, requires at least 2 stakes, little ventilation

This bivy is about 85% of everything I'd like in a lightweight solo. I was stuck in it for a 12 hour downpour and it kept me completely dry (I did seamseal it before going out). The fabric does tend to stretch out a bit a few hours after the bivy is initially set up and if you don't re-tighten you'll feel the fabric on your legs.

If it incorporated some king of bug netting allowing you to open the front a bit and somehow eliminated the need for stakes I'd give it 5 stars. This winter I think I'm taking it to a seamstress to add the bug netting, but for this summer, I bought a large square of netting and I just drape it over the unzippered opening.

Don't expect to get your backpack or an animal in it with you, there isn't enough room. I'm 6' and fit fine.

Design: bivy with poles
Sleeps: 1
Ease of Setup: the rear hoop is a bit tough to get set, I think the pole is just a tad too long; other than that - 2 minutes
Weight: 1 pound 13 ounces
Price Paid: $199.95

Solid piece, can't wait to use it.


  • Light
  • Easy to set up
  • Taped seams and weatherproof
  • Nice and small for backpacking, bicycling tours, kayaking, or motorcycle camping


  • No netting to open it up when it gets hot.
  • Also rear arch pole is too long from the factory and as such it will snap forcing it into the grommet.

I bought this like new with a snapped rear arch pole from an Ebay seller. Came with everything as new.

Simple fix, right? I have a sack full of aluminum pole remnants from dead tents in case I need to fabricate a missing pole. 

Well, following the length of the original poles I cracked the center pole twice, just as the original pole was.

I'm like, WHAT GIVES???

So I shortened the center of the three poles by an inch and it took like it was made for it. Can't wait to use it.

Only thing is I need to figure out how to install netting and another zipper for the opening so it will be comfortable after a rain or when the nights get hot.

Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $35

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Price Historic Range: $118.95-$199.00
Reviewers Paid: $35.00-$199.95

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