Marmot Home Alone Bivy: great for early trail days and late arrivals
By Rick Shandley
For its weight and function, the Marmot Home Alone Bivy is definitely worth considering as a solo backpacking shelter. The Home Alone Bivy weighs less than two pounds and packs small enough to fit inside the pack rather than lashed to the outside, or bulging under the pack lid.
It sets up and takes down in minutes. We really enjoyed this characteristic of the Home Alone Bivy, especially when you need to get moving before dawn and get back on the trail before it gets hot or congested with other backpackers. Setting up in late afternoon or after dark is easy since you are only dealing with one hoop of pre-bent DAC aluminum pole to give the door-end of the shelter some structure. Another benefit we value is how easily this shelter lends itself to being used simply as a barrier between your sleeping bag, sleeping mat, and the ground. Yes, we had no reservations about using this completely waterproof MemBrain Strata (100-percent ripstop nylon) as a ground cloth, when the weather permitted, and the mosquitoes stayed a couple thousand feet down the mountain.
No, we really wouldn’t consider this a free-standing shelter. You stake down the foot end, stretch it out, clip up the DAC pole and
stake out the front end. We would love to see those nice DAC tent stakes onboard this package, but the current stakes work. And that foot area could benefit from support, such as a DAC hoop and guy-line, to give the bottom of the sack some structure and keep the waterproof fabric off the foot of the sleeping bag, along with some foot-area cross ventilation.
Likewise, the front of the bivy would benefit from being able to guy it out a little to give it support, structure, and rigidity for wind, driving rain, and possibly a light snow load. But that means making more tent-like, and that’s not the purpose of a bivy sack. So we’ll take this Marmot Home Alone Bivy just like it is and appreciate the functionalities it offers. It’s a super-light weight and compact three-season shelter that is easy to pack up or slip into on short notice.
Because it is waterproof, and the only ventilation is the No-Seeum netting at the front, you do have to contend with moisture condensation at the foot of the sleeping bag in the morning. Durng our test, moisture soaked the bottom of the down sleeping bag. Though it dried quickly, it is a trade off for each day you spend on the trail. Waterproof often means non-breathable, so we suggest that you plan on keeping the front door of the bivy open as much as possible while you are in the shelter.
Once inside the Home Alone Bivy, it offered enough room for a 6’2” person weighing more than 200 pounds to feel comfortable. The weather was clear and cool at the elevations we tested the bivy in, and sleep came almost instantly. So who could complain about that? However, it was a little awkward getting into the Home Alone because of the compact size and its proximity to the ground. Again it is a worthy trade off for the fast-and-light strategy of quick set-up and takedown in order max out your trail time. Getting out of your boots and scooting your legs into the bag without dragging dirt inside was a challenge. But certainly not a deal breaker for this bivy.
We found the construction, the noiseless zipper, and most of the hardware to be of the high quality Marmot gear is known for. It might be nice if the Marmot logo on the sides of the bivy would illuminate in the beam of a flashlight at night. Finding your shelter in the dark is a safety issue and some reflectivity would be a cool feature. We can offer no real complaints about this product because it is so functional for quick get-to-sleep, hit-the-trail adventures.
Forget about head room and ample space to whip out your laptop to outline your next novel while you wait out a thunderstorm. You get in this thing and go to sleep. You wake up, pack up, and go. That’s why we’ll use this Marmot Home Alone Bivy again and again.
- Marmot MemBrain® Strata Waterproof/Breathable Fabric
- Mesh door for ventilation
- Highly Compressible
- Single DAC pole structure – For Increased Stability and Increased Internal Space
- Inside pockets – for easy reach
- Jingle-free nylon zipper pulls
- Number of people: Single person
- Maximum Weight: one pound, 12 ounces
- Minimum Weight: one pound, 10 ounces
- Dimensions: 26x38x96 inches
- Packed size: 5×19 inches
- Tent pole: one DAC NSL 8.5mm
- Floor Area: 19 square feet
- Floor material: 40d 100-percent nylon 3000mm thick
- Canopy material: 2.2oz/yd of Marmot MemBrain Strata 100% Nylon Ripstop
- MSRP: $250