Best bivvy bag for UK hiking

Looking for the very best bivvy bag for your next UK hiking trip? Here are our top four.

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Best bivvy bag for UK hiking

Bivvy bags are a must-have in every explorer’s backpack. These are one of the best ways to truly immerse yourself in nature – a ‘level up’ from wild camping in the UK. We’ve been testing bivvy bags from Rab, Alpkit, and more so the next time you’re sleeping fellside, you’ll know you’re doing it with the very best kit possible. 

This article will explain exactly what a bivvy bag is, and how it could be a great choice for your next UK adventure. We’ll then list our favourites so you can camp with confidence. 

Important note: It’s recommended to never fully close a bivvy bag as this can lead to ventilation issues. We hear you – how do you stay protected from the rain with your bivvy open? Most choose to use a camping tarp alongside their bivvy – this works as an overhead shelter for further protection from the rain.

Author’s notes

Bivvy bags can be expensive, but this is what you’ll be relying on to sleep comfortably out on the fells! A higher price point confirms you will stay warm and dry on your next bivvy trip.

1. Best value bivvy bag – Snugpak SF Bivvy

The Snugpak Special Forces Bivvy Bag is a high-quality shelter that will protect you from the elements without breaking the bank. Great for emergency survival, expedition racing, and even bushcraft, this bag has a 5000mm hydrostatic head to guarantee rain and wind protection while maintaining body temperature during those rough nights.

We often find that cheap bivvy bags aren’t fit for purpose, which is why we’ve chosen the Snugpak as our Best Value choice. This does everything a bivvy bag should – maintains breathability, keeps water out, and helps to keep you warm through the night – but is also at a pretty solid price point. 

The non-locking ½ zip on this bivvy means you will be able to get out of the shelter and move fast at any time. Though we’d suggest using this shelter with a sleeping bag, it’s also possible to use the Special Forces bivvy on its own. This bivvy bag comes in various sizes and colours, each with its own stuff sack for compact carrying.

Snugpak Special Forces Bivvi Bag

Our pick – Snugpak Special Forces Bivvy Bag

This Snugpak bivvy bag is perfect for those who want a quality shelter, but don’t want to pay over the odds. Sitting at a pretty reasonable price point, the Snugpak Bivvy provides comfort and warmth for all your UK hikes and adventure

*Pricing accurate at the time of publishing.

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Stuff sack for easy packing 
  • Multiple sizes and colours available
  • Quick-release half-zip

2. Top GoreTex bivvy bag – Carinthia Bivvy

You may be looking to purchase a better-quality bivvy bag if you’ve been using one for a while now. After all, if you’re regularly using a bivvy, it might as well give you the best night’s sleep possible. This is where the Gore-Tex Bivvy Bag from Carinthia comes in handy. 

This high-tech bivvy bag is great for professional hikers and adventurers looking to invest in a quality bivvy bag. Carinthia used the best materials on the market to create this bivvy bag, including unique GORE-TEX Gas Permeable Technology that’s completely waterproof and very breathable. 

While most bivvy bags will require you to unzip for better breathability, this GORE-TEX bivvy bag has things down to a tee. This GoreTex technology works differently from the membrane used for clothing, allowing the bag to be closed completely for full weather protection and easy breathing.

Even the centre zipper on this bag is waterproof thanks to a specially designed flap to cover the opening.

Carinthia Gore-Tex Bivvy Bag XP II Plus

Upgrade pick – GoreTex Bivvy Bag, Carinthia

This GoreTex bivvy bag from Carinthia is perfect for pro hikers and adventures looking to take things to the next level. If you’re looking for complete waterproofing and breathability, this bivvy is perfect.

*Pricing accurate at the time of publishing.

  • Uses GoreTex Gas Permeable Technology
  • Can be closed completely while remaining breathable
  • Generous mummy cut
  • Watertight zippers

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3. Best overall bivvy bag for UK adventures – Rab Storm Bivvy

A Rab bivvy bag is always going to be good. The Storm Bivi from Rab is a super robust and protective bag that’s spacious enough to accommodate bulky clothing or a large sleeping bag without losing heat.

The Rab Storm Bivi has a 10,000mm hydrostatic head – this is incredible considering we were impressed with the 5,000mm rating on the Snugpak bivvy. Similar to the Carinthia bivvy, this bag also has waterproof zipper protection to ensure complete waterproofing. Combine all of this will Rab’s water repellent coating and you’re on the way to a great night’s sleep, no matter the weather.

As for breathability, this bag makes use of a mesh panel to help with ventilation and reduce condensation. We love the overall look of this Rab bivvy bag – it’s seriously sturdy and ready for all hiking, bikepacking, and trekking adventures.

Rab Storm Bivvy

Best overall pick – Rab Storm Bivvy

The Rab Storm Bivi is a fantastic all-rounder. If you want quality that beats the cheaper Snugpack but at a price that’s easier on the bank than the Carinthia – go for this. 

*Pricing accurate at the time of publishing.

  • 10,000mm hydrostatic head
  • Waterproof zipper protection
  • Uses Rab water-repellant coating
  • Mesh panel for ventilation

4. Top budget bivvy bag 

If cheap and cheerful is the aim of your game, this budget bivvy bag from HONYAO is worth taking a look at. We know you’re probably sceptical of a bivvy bag that’s just 10% of the price of others featured here, but we’ll explain.

This bivvy bag is designed as emergency protection when you find yourself in bad weather, rather than kit to sleep in like the Rab Storm Bivvy. You won’t find any of the top hiking technology, GORETEX, or other handy features with this bag, but you will find a cheap way to protect yourself against the elements.

We’d highly recommend purchasing one of these to live in your hiking rucksack – you won’t notice it’s there until you need it, when it may just provide that essential survival layer. Plus, the bright orange exterior of this budget bivvy bag means you could use it as a signalling device in an emergency.

HONYAO Survival Bivvy Bag

Budget pickHONYAO Survival Bag

This bivvy bag from HONYAO is considered to be emergency protection rather than gear for sleeping in. It’s a great idea to keep one of these in your bag in case of bad weather or other emergencies – it’s super lightweight which means you won’t even remember it’s in your rucksack until you need it.

*Pricing accurate at the time of publishing.

  • Very budget-friendly
  • Bright colour for emergency signalling
  • Compact carry bag
  • Easy to repack

What is a bivvy bag?

A bivvy bag works like a cocoon around your sleeping bag. Also known as bivouac sacks, the most basic bivvy bags are literally waterproof, breathable covers to protect you against the elements. 

Most hikers pack a bivvy bag in case of emergency – they’re great if you ever need to hunker down in bad weather or spend an unexpected night in the wilderness. This extra layer of protection is designed to shield you against rain and wind and is much easier (and lighter!) than packing a full tent every time you head out on a hike. 

For others, camping with a bivvy bag is a choice. This is often best for multi-day hikes when you’re simply looking to get the job done, or would prefer to avoid carrying extra weight during daylight hours.

Bivvy bags are also considered a fantastic option for getting up close and personal with nature. With one of these covers in your rucksack, it’s easy to set up camp and enjoy your surroundings while staying safe.

Bivvy bags vs bivvy shelters

You might have seen a bivvy shelter or two on your hikes. These are a great emergency option during daylight hours if you come across particularly bad weather, but aren’t the best for overnight camping. 

A bivvy shelter is a little heavier than a bivvy bag but is held up with a pole to provide extra headspace. These shelters are not sealed in like a bivvy bag is – instead, a bivvy shelter works as a basic canvas sheet to provide overhead protection from bad weather. 

Should I buy a bivvy bag or a one-person tent?

We’re big fans of bivvy bags, but your choice in shelter entirely depends on the activities you’re taking on and your comfort level when it comes to the great outdoors. Here’s a smaller breakdown of each hiking shelter to help you make the right choice for you:

Hiking shelter Bivvy bag One-person tent
Weight 150-1500 grams 850 – 2500 grams
Overhead space None Limited
Intended use Fast-moving hikes, backpacking, emergency shelter, climbers Planned wild camps, multi-day hikes, minimalist camping trips
Camping experience Intermediate to advanced Beginner+
Pros Very lightweight, closer to nature camping, easy setup More room, structured, easier to get comfortable
Cons Can be expensive, difficult to move around Heavier to carry, long to set up

FAQ: The best bivvy bags

Looking for the answer to a question about the best bivvy bags for UK adventures? Check out our answers to the most popular bivvy bag questions in the FAQ below.

Have a bivvy bag-related question that you can’t quite find the answer to? Don’t be a stranger – reach out to the Adventure Pending team and we’ll get back to you with a tailored suggestion!

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