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How To Use A Military Bivy Bag; 6 Ways To Use A Bivy Bag When Out Camping

If like me you’ve ever thought of how to use a military bivy bag, then it is worth noting that a military bivy bag is a bit larger than the regular kind of sleeping bag. It was initially designed for soldiers out in the open or camping through rough terrain with very little cover during bad weather.

Most typical military bivy bags are made of high-quality Gore TeX materials, which keep its users warm and dry and yet it remains breathable. Regardless of your choice, be it a military bivy bag or bivouac bag, both are valuable pieces of a survival kit to have with you when out camping.

Where possible, you should have the items on the list below when planning a camping trip; these are basic items that you should typically carry along with you in your bag.

  1. Roll mat
  2. Sleeping bag
  3. Head torch
  4. Water bottle
  5. Food and snacks
  6. Rucksack to carry your gear
  7. Phone for safety precaution.

When these items are at hand or before getting these items, you ought to pay close attention to some facts before choosing a bivy bag.

The Materials

Nowadays, the invention of upgraded breathable material has made bivy bags more comfortable to use and especially those tagged as being suitable for the military.

It is better to opt for one of these new products than going with an old model. Older bivy bags lack features that the newer ones have as standard, features like their ability to prevent condensation caused by body warmth and cold external climates.


So before going out to buy yourself a bivy bag, check to make sure it has features such as;

  1. Mesh panels around the head; this is very good in fair weather
  2. Good ventilation opening (windows)
  3. Small hooped tent pole


Most people believe that bivy bags can accommodate every sized person buying them. While this is often the case, it is always better to check beforehand if the dimension will suit you.

How To Use A Military Bivy Bag

  1. Getting the right bivy

When one embarks on an outdoorsy activity, there is a possibility of getting wet. To ensure you have a good time outdoors, making sure you have the right gear is key. Using a bivy bag made with the right breathable materials like Gore-Tex or Event is very important.

  1. Setting up

In some ways, the rules are similar to that of setting up a tent – albeit a lot easier and quicker. Choose an area with a flat surface that will not experience flooding if it happens to rain, one that is free of sharp objects, also not in the path of people walking a trail or an animal trail, and is safe for you to sleep in for the night.

  1. Sleeping mat

You would need a good sleeping mat. Which one you choose will depend on when and where you are going. You might not want a 4 season down bag if you are going to a place like Spain during the summer.

Some bivy bag models will have straps to hold your sleeping mat in place, which is good because you would lose most of your body heat through the ground. The straps would help keep your sleeping mat in place if you are someone that tosses and turns while asleep.

You should also make sure you settle for a waterproof mat, as condensation will be less of a problem since most bivy bags are made of such materials.

  1. Pack liner

You will need to put your bag and all the other necessities you need to go camping.

It will also depend on how much space you have because you can decide to pack your stuff in tote bags and sacs, but opting for a pack liner, helps you maintain orderliness.

It also prevents your camping gear from getting wet from the moisture that would have gathered underneath your bag.

  1. Dealing with moisture

You should leave open the headcover of your bag using a mesh and only cover up if it rains or snow – this would allow ventilation. If it does rain or there is a need to cover up, try to create a small hole so your bivy can breathe (to prevent the build-up of condensation).

  1. Staying warm

You need to good insulation in your sleeping bag to keep you warm during cold weather. This can be from layering the internal area of your sleeping bag or from sleeping in warmer clothes.

A bivy bag is colder than a tent, so make sure you are wearing warm clothes, especially at night.


In And Out Of A Bivy Bag

The first thing to do is to unfold your bivy bag and then put your sleeping bag inside it. There are two ways you can have your mat laid out;

  • Outside: underneath your bivy bag
  • Inside: Inside your sleeping bag.

Once you are in your bag, pull it up over your head, leaving a gap for your face. If you have a down string pull this tightly around your face to keep you warm and to keep any cold drafts out.

Sometimes, a piece of steel wire can be made into a tripod shape and used as an additional accessory if you have a bivy bag without hooped tent pole – this helps to keep the headcover from your face. It weighs about the same as a hooped tent pole; you have to bend the wire ends back onto themselves so it won’t poke through the bivy sack.

Camping Thoughts

There are several models of bivy bags and finding the one suitable for you should not be too hard. Setting up your bivy bag should also be a relatively easy task if you follow the correct procedure.

Have fun!