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Bivy Sack Technologies, Products, and Applications (2006)

by Ryan Jordan

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Article Summary:

My first experience with a bivy sack was in the Spring of 1983. I had just purchased a Gore-Tex bivy sack and brought it as my only shelter on a backpacking trip with my Scout troop near Mt. Rainier. It poured down rain all night. My bivy sack leaked, didn’t breathe well, water seeped into my sleeping bag, and I spent a cold night shivering and cold. I was hating life, hating camping, and hating Scouting. Sometime during the night, the rain stopped and I finally fell asleep. I awoke at dawn to morning light flooding the upper slopes of Mt. Rainier. It was beautiful, and the only thing I had to do to enjoy it was open my eyes. My comrades were asleep in their tents, or tucked away into their battened-down tarps. I watched the sunrise from my bag, brewed cocoa on my solid fuel stove in a Sierra cup, and had this incredible experience all to myself. Just a few hours earlier I had been suffering in that bivy. But I was hooked. I was loving life, loving camping, loving Scouting, and loving my bivy sack. To this day, the bivy sack as my sole shelter remains my favorite backpacking shelter.

The bivy sack, in its purest form, provides weatherproof shelter of which its simplicity has yet to be benchmarked by another design. Only in a bivy sack can you lie in the warmth of your sleeping bag while watching a meteor shower while being protected from wind and dew. Only in a bivy sack can you roll over in the morning, open one eye, and get a horizon-to-horizon overhead view of a magical sunrise. And only in a bivy sack can you arrive in camp, crawl in, and go to sleep: no stakes, no guylines, no poles, and no "good pitch" to survey.


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