Backcountry Forum
Backpacking & Hiking Gear

Backcountry Forum
Our long-time Sponsor - the leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear
Backpacking Forums
backcountry gear

---- Our Gear Store ----
The Lightweight Gear Store

Bivy Bags
Sleeping Bags
Sleeping Pads
Snow Sports
Winter Kitchen


Avalanche Gear
Hats, Gloves, & Gaiters


Ultralight Backpacks
Ultralight Bivy Sacks
Ultralight Shelters
Ultralight Tarps
Ultralight Tents
Ultralight Raingear
Ultralight Stoves & Cookware
Ultralight Down Sleeping Bags
Ultralight Synthetic Sleep Bags
Ultralight Apparel

the Titanium Page
WM Extremelite Sleeping Bags


Sleeping Bags


Ropes & Cordage
Protection & Hardware
Carabiners & Quickdraws
Climbing Packs & Bags
Big Wall
Rescue & Industrial






Men's Footwear
Women's Footwear


Mens Apparel
Womens Apparel


Black Diamond
Granite Gear
La Sportiva


Top Brands
All Brands

 Backpacking Equipment 

Sleeping Bags
Water Treatment

 Backcountry Gear Clearance

Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#193719 - 02/17/16 09:19 PM SOL escape bivvy instead of sleeping bag: hammock
hikingdoe Offline

Registered: 02/15/16
Posts: 16
Loc: Illinois
So I have been perusing youtube and stumbled upon RevHiker's channel.

He is using the SOL escape bivvy instead of a sleeping bag or quilt system for hammock camping.

Any thoughts on the matter? Seems like a great deal bivvy is only like $50 whereas a light weight bag is usually much more expensive

(fyi I am looking at 3 season backpacking)

#193720 - 02/17/16 11:07 PM Re: SOL escape bivvy instead of sleeping bag: hammock [Re: hikingdoe]
wandering_daisy Offline

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2796
Loc: California
I did not view the You-Tube. A "bivy" is generally considred the shell only, equivalent to a rain jacket, where your clothing provides insulation. A good quality bivy will cost up to $200. I would be very skeptical. A bivy alone would not keep you warm. Climbers use a bivy alone if they get stuck on a climb. You survive and are protected from the elements, but not warm by any means!

#193721 - 02/18/16 07:31 AM Re: SOL escape bivvy instead of sleeping bag: hammock [Re: wandering_daisy]
bluefish Offline

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 678
This subject was very recently, thoroughly discussed in another thread. If it's raining, I'd rather have a tent by a factor of a 100. I agree with Wandering Daisy, completely. Unlike military personnel or climbers that are on a mission. I'm out for fun, and take my adventure with safety and comfort in mind. Been there done that with sitting out weather in a bivvy. Not good. The SOL Bivvys will not keep you warm below 60 and you add layers of clothes or a sleeping bag/quilt to compensate. If you want to gravitate to a minimalist philosophy, and comfort is not something you strive for, it's an alternative. I don't have that option. My wife has 100's of nights in a sleeping bag, and Bivvy's are not even an option for her. She just REFUSES. In a hammock set up with a tarp, that bivvy will add 10-15 degrees of warmth to a summer bag or blanket. By itself, a crinkly bag to sleep in above 65 degrees. A 10 dollar fleece blanket from Wal-Mart is just as warm, but a little heavier. When it's relatively warm, I want to be able to adjust temperature, and sleeping inside a bag will not allow that. A quilt, unzipped sleeping bag, or blanket does. You may have to just buy and try, to see if it works for you. The other problem is, materials that keep you warm with heat reflection, rather than retention, if you get in cold, you are likely to just get colder. Pushing the limits of an emergency item can get you pretty well uncomfortable. Then again, I don't walk around in a t-shirt anytime it's above freezing like I used to. YMMV.

Edited by bluefish (02/18/16 09:11 AM)

#193724 - 02/18/16 01:52 PM Re: SOL escape bivvy instead of sleeping bag: hammock [Re: hikingdoe]
aimless Offline

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2956
Loc: Portland, OR
I'll add my voice to the general consensus.

You mention using the SOL bivy instead of a sleeping bag. An SOL bivy by itself will only add a very small amount of warmth, maybe an extra 5 to 7 degrees, to whatever clothes you wear inside it. It is an emergency tool, aimed only at survival, not comfort.

But there is an easy way to test this out. Buy the SOL bivy. Wait for a night when the temps are about 8 or 10 degrees below what you'd expect to encounter while backpacking. (Below, because you always need a margin of safety when backpacking.) Sling your hammock in your backyard and try it out.

If it works, then you're probably fine until the bivy wears out. Which it will do. They are emergency tool and therefore not built to last forever. You might get 20 or 25 nights out of it, or you might get a lot less. But don't complain. The manufacturer doesn't pretend it is designed for regular use.

If it doesn't work, then you at least own an emergency tool you can take on day hikes. But you still won't own a useable sleeping bag to use backpacking.

#193725 - 02/18/16 01:52 PM Re: SOL escape bivvy instead of sleeping bag: hammock [Re: hikingdoe]
Rick_D Offline

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2803
Loc: NorCal
Don't know the guy or his vids, so will just comment on practicality.

Other than very mild (no colder than 60s overnight) hammocking absolutely requires insulation below, on the sides and above. An emergency bivy has no insulation whatsoever; it's a simple shell. I can't imagine this as my sleeping system anywhere other than the tropics.

Secondly, wriggling into a bivy when inside a hammock (limiting myself to an enclosed Hennessy-style hammock here) is darn near impossible. You basically have to be inside the bivy while still on the ground, then wriggle up and in while wearing the thing. Same goes for a mummy bag without a full zip. I file this action under "N" for No fun whatsoever.

FWIW I kinda like hammocking in the rain provided I have a riggable fly that can go far enough overhead and covers enough area to hang out under. It can be nicer than hunkering inside a smallish mountain tent and gives me a sheltered spot for cooking.


#193728 - 02/18/16 05:39 PM Re: SOL escape bivvy instead of sleeping bag: hammock [Re: Rick_D]
bluefish Offline

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 678
Originally Posted By Rick_D

FWIW I kinda like hammocking in the rain provided I have a riggable fly that can go far enough overhead and covers enough area to hang out under. It can be nicer than hunkering inside a smallish mountain tent and gives me a sheltered spot for cooking.


This does sound like a good thing, Rick. I set up a separate tarp to hang under when it's raining, but lack a decent place to sit, usually. I'm intrigued by the notion of a double tarp set-up for my wife and I. I might just have to start a separate thread,

#193742 - 02/19/16 09:30 AM Re: SOL escape bivvy instead of sleeping bag: hammock [Re: bluefish]
4evrplan Offline

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 721
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
bluefish, google the phrase "hammock porch mode".

#193956 - 02/28/16 06:49 PM Re: SOL escape bivvy instead of sleeping bag: hammock [Re: hikingdoe]
wgiles Offline

Registered: 05/19/14
Posts: 155
Loc: Central Illinois near Springfi...
If you are thinking about hammock camping, take a look at Shug Emery's Youtube channel. If you are planning to camp on the ground, you need to consider your whole shelter system, your sleeping pad, bag or quilt, bivy or ground sheet, if any, and tarp or tent. All of these things work together to keep you dry and comfortable. In the Midwest, I would not sleep on the ground without a groundsheet or bivy, just too much moisture in the ground. Where I live, it is very exposed and the rain falls horizontally because the wind only stops when it's hot. A bivy without a tarp is probably not a good idea. My own ground system is a MYOG bivy with a thin polyethylene foam half pad, a small self inflating pad, a MYOG Climashield quilt and a MYOG tarp. In cold weather, I'll revert to my old down bag. If you sleep cold, down is your best option. I have bought some down bags on eBay for $50 or so. You can often get some decent ones that people don't want anymore. You need to know what you are buying before you commit yourself, but some of the old bags are quite serviceable. The biggest problem with the old bags is weight and lack of compressibility. Synthetic bags are also hard to compress and don't usually have as much loft as premium quality down. Another eBay possibility is a beater down jacket (also part of your sleep system). Housewrap is another low dollar option. This can be used for groundsheets and tarps if you can find some scraps at a construction site. It's noisy and a bit heavy, but can also be used to mock up some ideas. If you have a backyard to try your stuff in, use it. I do. I don't want to get out to the middle of nowhere to find out that my brilliant idea doesn't work. It's also a good way to figure out refinements to your system before you go.

#194663 - 03/31/16 09:54 AM Re: SOL escape bivvy instead of sleeping bag: hammock [Re: hikingdoe]
WVhiker Offline

Registered: 03/30/16
Posts: 28
Loc: West Virginia
I completely agree with wgiles check out Shug emery he has tons of how-to videos and reviews on ultralight gear and he is a pretty funny guy keeps you interested.

As for the bivy im gonna hop on the "its not a great idea" bandwagon my first sleeping bags were the military sleep system bags and they include a Goretex bivy that I mistakenly tried to use as an overnight solo set up not a good idea in colder weather though I will use it with my DD hammock tarp tent instead of a plain old Tyvek ground sheet.
Leave nothing but footprints
Take nothing but pictures
Kill nothing but time


Shout Box

Highest Quality Lightweight Down Sleeping Bags
Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bags
Lite Gear Talk - Featured Topics
Berghaus Mens Hyper Hydroshell jacket...
by Alf
08/03/18 06:36 PM
Anyone using a Gossmear Gear The one?
by toddfw2003
07/27/18 09:36 PM
Getting Accustomed to Zero Drop Shoes?
by Bill Kennedy
07/23/18 02:32 PM
Backcountry Discussion - Featured Topics
First trip with Bear Vault 500..not enough space!
by willie1280
08/17/18 08:10 AM
Wither Bergans of Norway?
by Steadman
08/14/18 09:09 AM
bad idea taking a newbie into the backcountry?
by toddfw2003
08/11/18 11:23 PM
Make Your Own Gear - Featured Topics
Featured Photos
Breakneck Ridge, New York
May 2012 Eclipse, Lassen Park
New Years Eve 2011
Trip Report with Photos
Seven Devils, Idaho
Oat Hill Mine Trail 2012
Dark Canyon - Utah
Who's Online
1 registered (), 49 Guests and 0 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
brianb2, Bilbobobbles, BrianR68, geckon, eaglesfan122
12622 Registered Users
Forum Links
Site Links
Lightweight Gear Store
Backpacking Book Store
Lightweight Zone
Hiking Essentials

Our long-time Sponsor, - The leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear:

Backcountry Forum

Since 1996 - the Original Backcountry Forum
Copyright © The Lightweight Backpacker & BackcountryForum