Forget the tent. This 15 ounce Brooks-Range UltraLite Alpini bivy sack is perfect for backpackers looking to shed weight from their load.
UltraLite backpacking has never been more popular. As more enthusiasts seek to shed weight from their packs, it’s good to know that you can carry a complete shelter that weighs only 15 ounces and doesn’t take up much space. Not everyone is into bivy sacks, but if you like going tent-less, then the Brooks-Range UltraLite Alpini bivy provides many advantages.
The UltraLite Alpini is made from Brooks-Range’s UltraLite fabric, a 20-denier rip stop nylon that is air permeable, strong, and features a custom water-resistant coating that is impregnated into the nylon. The coating won’t wear off, even after washing, and keeps the fabric waterproof under heavy rainstorms; up to a pressure of one pound per square inch. While the fabric also has a fire-retardant treatment, it is highly flammable so it should be kept away from your fire or cooking stove.
We really liked that the Alpini Bivy easily collapses into its own little stuff sack, that ends up being no larger than a soda can. The design features a large cover with an elastic draw cord to cinch it up tight if you need it. We used the bivy with a Eureka Riner 40 sleeping bag, as temperatures weren’t expected to reach below 20 degrees F., on a small section of the Pacific Crest Trail. But even with the threat of some light rain, it was comforting to know that the floor of the bivy is completely waterproof.
The UltraLite Alpini bivy did not accumulate much condensation on the inside of the cover, but it did fall flat on our faces a few times. While we consider that more personal inconvenience than the actual function of the bivy, it did keep us rather warm. Consider that the UltraLite Alpini bivy is a sub-zero sack and we probably would have been better off not using the sleeping bag at all.
One of the other nice features of the bivy is the heavy-duty zipper on the side. It makes getting in and out of the bivy much easier with a mummy sleeping bag and you don’t have to worry about water leaking through, as the zipper remains covered by the top.
Although the UltraLite Alpini bivy is lightweight, it handled the movement and scraping on our bed of pine needles without any visible scratches.
Even if you’re not into ultralight backpacking, this bivy can be a great part of your essential emergency gear to have on hand. It’s light enough to take with you on day hikes, won’t take up much room and can provide an emergency shelter if you need it. At a retail price of $179 it’s good insurance and can make your backpacking excursions that much more enjoyable.
By Dan Sanchez