Good choice for soloing
I used this bivvy as a primary shelter for several weeks in South America, including both high-altitude camping and lowland camping. Overall I really liked it, and would use it again without hesitation, but there are some things to be aware of.
The most frustrating thing for me is the pole design. The bivvy comes with two poles, and five end pieces (two per pole with one extra). The end pieces have snaps on them, which is how the poles are attached to the bivvy. The problem is once you snap the poles into place, if you move around at all, the poles come out of the snap pieces, and the hood collapses. I'm not sure why the snap ends aren't just permanently attached to the poles. I tried it out, and the snaps easily slide through the material into place. So I think I might just glue the snap ends onto the poles and make it permanent. That way I can't lose the snaps, and they won't come unattached while I sleep.
Another potential problem is that the screen gets snagged in the zipper very easily. I'm not sure how to improve on this, but it was very frustrating when, on the first night I spent in the bivvy, I snagged the screen in the zipper, resulting in a 1-inch tear in the mesh.
Condensation was definitely an issue, but I'm pretty sure that's always an issue. I didn't have any pooling, but the entire inside of the bivvy became wet every night. It wasn't enough to soak through my sleeping bag, and it didn't adversely effect me at all, but it was something to be aware of. Every morning I would empty out the bivvy and let it dry out.
One other issue to be aware of is that for people who are on the large size like me (5'11", 220 lbs) there isn't a whole lot of wiggle room. It's big enough for me to get into and lay comfortably, but if I lay on my side, my shoulder is against the roof of the bivvy. So a person much larger than me would definitely be tight.
Also, one other small issue. The stuff sack that comes with the bivvy is exactly the right size, so there is no room for error, it has to pack very tightly into the stuff sack. Which means stiff fingers on a cold morning will probably have a hard time getting everything back into the sack. I just used a slightly larger stuff sack and it was fine.
Those are all complaints, but I don't want to make it sound like I dislike the product. I still like it, and look forward to using it on all of my future solo trips. The material is very durable and lightweight. It sets up quickly and easily. It kept me warm. There was plenty of room for my large (77" x 25") rectangular sleeping pad. It's definitely a cool little solo shelter.
Oh, also the product image shows the hood arranged in several positions. That is slightly misleading, as there is no way to keep the hood partially open. Gravity pulls it back down. You can open it all the way open, or let it rest in the closed position. It won't stay 30% or 50% open unless you rig up some way to hold it open.
I love it
I love this bivy. I used it throughout 5 years in the army (and 4 since I got out) in the field (no pup tents these days, they issue bivy bags that are okay, a lot of guys buy their own if their units allow using non standard stuff.) I have used it all over the east coast, Sierras, Rockies, Afghanistan, Nepal, and many other places and really love it.
What surprises me is that after so many years of using the 2000 version, it still looks pretty new, thats after probably 1000 nights in it. Granted I take really good care of it but seriously, it should be worn out by now.
I have used a lot of Outdoor Research gear over the years and I have found that the stuff may not be the most advertised gear on the market, but if you base value on durability and quality they cannot be beat. They redirect what they would spend on marketing towards the product R&D, the product price, and quality control and as a buyer you get more for your money.
I am not connected to the company in any way, just a long time satisfied customer.
This bag rocks, but the one drawback is condensation and lack of ventilation. You have to leave the zipper an inch or two open to get good ventilation when you have the bag otherwise all sealed up in bad weather. You won't get any leaks thanks to a good storm flap, and no creepy crawleys will get in since you have a bug net, but I do like feeling all sealed in.
I am a big fan of bivy bags and have looked at everything on the market, and for the things I like (durability, weatherproofness, durability, lightness, durability, ease of setting up, and again, durability) this is the best I have seen. There are a few (Integral Designs and Black Diamond) that have some interesting bivys but they are more like tents than bivys.
If you like using bivys, in my opinion this is the best you can get.
very good, but not quite perfect
I use this in conjunction with an ultralight tarp- the tarp preferably being
shared by a group to save weight. It is pretty darned good but has a
few flaws (that said, it still the best I've found).
The upper bug net zipper needs a 2 sided pull. If I'm at a base camp mostly under a group tarp I like to leave the hood open unless it's monsoon season while I go off working. Opening and closing the bug net with a zipper that only has a pull on the inside is annoying if you are on the outside. The pole system
needs a bit of explanation. In hot/dry weather and/or under a tarp leave off the pole by your feet and attach a new grommet to the area by the center of the pole area closest to your head so you can tie the system FULLY open
with a rope and 2 stakes (V formation). The original grommets by the pole closest to your feet just don't cut it in 80+ degree weather. The lower pole jambs into your body and the bug net/hood is not fully open (there were no grommets on the upper pole on my bivvy as it was sold). In
cold/very wet weather use the pole closest to your feet and leave out the one by your head and just let it flop or seal it- makes sealing the setup in really lousy conditions easier and still keeps the fabric off your face. Trying to use both poles is an exercise in frustration. It also works great with groups in
hot weather- just bring a shared tarp and lighter
sleeping bag. +45 works to +35 for me if I seal the hood- you will appreciate the extra grommet/rope and 2 stakes in even warmer weather.
At 2.1 lbs and a shared tarp this is a joy to use
if you take the time to learn to use a bivvy sack in a range of conditions. The GoreTex top and bathtub base has performed quite well.
Great for serious backpackers
I have used this Bivy in the snow, in the summer, and all climates between. I have had nothing but good experience with it, and I would recomend it to anyone. Levels of condinsation that I have experienced have varied from moderate, to none. I have seen reviews that complain about the moisture, but if you are a serious backpacker, you should be able to live with a little moisture from condensation. That means you were breathing, all through the night. at the maximum amount of moisture, it wasn't anywhere near enough to soak my sleeping bag. It was the same as would build on the inside of your tent. Bottom line, this is a great product, and it has changed the way I pack my bag, and has given me more space. I love that if we hike in and it is raining or snowing, I can throw this out, and be out of the elements in a minute or less.
I used the previous version of this product for aprox 8 years and it is just now showing signs of needing replacement. It has really been a great way to go for me. Added a layer of warmth and allowed me to carry light sleeping bag above treeline where I prowl, and made a great skeeter and ant free good night's sleep when down in the forest. Has kept the rain out and for me, breathes nicely and has never been too clammy even when warm out. Just throw the bag off part way and dream on. The poles do a nice job keeping the bug screen or flap off my face. It does however require a little patience to set up, but I really feel it worked well for me everytime I used it, and I can lay back and read comfortably or rollover and write in my journal.
Ultra waterproof, ultra breathable. Even in <-10° weather I don't wake up with any condensation.
Fits my 0° bag great and once upon a time both my girlfriend and I slept in my 25° inside this bivy. Yes it was a squeeze but we fit!
How else can I say awesome... Has the right amount of stakedown points to keep it held down in any weather, one pole is plenty to keep the sack out of your face, and you'll never wake up wet. Is that okay?
And don't forget... never zip it shut all the way!
The picture included is mine next to my girlfriend's minimalist bivy... With 2 other OR bivys on the snow shelf below us. She has the OR Advanced now and loves it! A big happy OR family... And the warranty will work for my kids, because it's technically an "infinity warranty"... more than lifetime.
I purchased this for overnight kayaking trips. Most of my buddies use tarps. This ha sbeen a life saver for rain and more importantly bugs. I'm the only one sho usually wakes up having enjoyed my night of sleep when caught in rain or a bug infested hell. What really sets it apart is the pole that keeps the bag off of your face. I have had other bivys that just lay on your face and it drives me crazy. The pole also makes it real easy to open up the material and just let the netting open. This is greta when it's a little warm but still want ot keep the bugs at bay. This is the ideal set up for light weight minimalist shelter...that actually shelters you!!
Amazing. Must have if you want to stay dry, mobile, and comfortable.
I am attending the University of Michigan and I bought this tent for the school year (Yes, I am tenting, hopefully all year). The first night I went out it was difficult to set up (Probably because it was raining and dark out).FAST! Set up. Also, it keeps you 100% dry. It is cozy for sure but the netting that can be used for ventilation around the face area is AWESOME as you lay there at night looking up and the stars and moon. I wasn't sure if I would be able to make it all winter with this set up but with the Advanced Bivy my confidence is extremely high. It also does a great job blocking the wind which keeps you warmer. WORTH the $299!!!!
I've used this bivy for 15 years.
I've slept in this bivy on the beach in GA through gale force wind and rain and stayed dry in a down bag. Because I have it I can bring a down bag in a high moisture environment. The two together weigh less and pack smaller than any synthetic bag of comparable thermal rating. I've used it in AK as an emergency shelter when the big tent is in someone else's kayak, and in the low mountains with a tarp in winter when I just can't carry a tent. It even gets me by when the bugs are really bad, and when bugs and rain are not an issue, it lets me see the stars like no tent ever does.
The Ultimate Bivy for your Sleeping Bag!
I have used OR products for many years and have come to respect their name as well as their worth. The advanced bivy is a state of the art bivy that offers protection from the elements. I was stuck in Donahue Pass in Yosemite when the tempatures dropped, I was exhausted tired and exposed on the ridge. No problemo! Took out my Bivy and Down Sleeping Bag and slept like a baby. My down bag was dry despite tempatures dropping below zero, no condensation build up and I was good to go and continue my hike in the morning. No cold spots. If you are adventerous like me, you have to get it. It rocks!!