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Snugpak Special Forces Bivvi Review

The Snugpak Special Forces Bivvi Bag is a lightweight but tough bag. It is 100% waterproof and will serve as an adequate cover for its user and their sleeping bag. It was majorly designed to be used by people sleeping without a tent. This bivvi bag is effective and it will offer reliable protection from rain and wind.

Also, its small pack size and low weight make it suitable for storing in your rucksack as an item in your emergency overnight kit.



The Snugpak Special Forces Bivvi is a compact, basic, lightweight and functional bag that is suitable for long-distance journeys with overnight stops and where weight and space are at a premium.

This Special Forces Bivvi Bag is a 100% nylon, simple bag. To ensure that it is waterproof, it is treated with a DWR coating. It also has a half zip that is easily accessible and users of this bag can get in and out of it with ease. The bag also comes with a hood that is operated with a drawstring.

The major positives of this bag are that it has a small pack size (14 x 10 cm) and low weight (340g) which will make it hard to even notice it in your backpack.

Snugpak’s Paratex material is reasonably quiet while inside the bag. Also, the bag’s breathability is great as it is totally free of any condensation the next day. The half zip ensures for easy egress and access to the bag. Inside the bag is pretty roomy and it will be comfortable for a clothed man. However, the space isn’t large enough for a sleeping mat to be placed inside.

The drawcord that is present inside the hood is quite poor and it would be extremely difficult to clinch it tight around your face in poor weather from inside the bag. Therefore it is recommended that you use this alongside a small lightweight tarp so as to protect your face and head from the elements.

This bag is actually a short one and it’s not suitable for people that are taller than 6 feet. However, Snugpak designs extra-long versions that would benefit users who are taller than 6 feet. One of the best features of this bag is that it has a central zip design which makes it suitable for a lot of sleeping bags.

The outer fabric of this Bivvi bag has been provided with a durable water repellent treatment to ensure extra weather protection. The finish can be maintained by putting this bag on a tumble dry cycle when done with washing. You can also periodically retreat it using a suitable aftercare product like Nikwax. It is important to remember that the bivvy bag shouldn’t be completely sealed so as not to cause suffocation.

Using the Snugpak Special Forces Bivvi 

From its small pack size, the Snugpak Special Forces Bivi emerges as a wrinkled mess, but when you feel it, you can notice that it is quite superior to a waterproof bag cover. This Special Forces bivy, in terms of quality, is somewhere in between a pac-a-mac fabric and a more expensive bivvi. On the first appearance, the stitching doesn’t look great and the drawstring toggles close to the hood area and is easily bunched and jammed up when used.

The 1/2 zip is the best feature of this bag like we earlier said. It’s in a central position which means that users are encouraged to use sleeping bags with central zips, but it isn’t compulsory. The central zip ensures that users can easily get in and out of the bag. However, in harsh weather, the drawstring isn’t going to be able to keep the water off your face or stop it from seeping into the bag. This won’t be a problem for most users, though, as they would most likely use a tarp as well.

If you are exposed to the weather, you should pull up the hood and draw it – so as to cover most parts of your face – then keep the water out by turning on your side. The zip’s flap comes from the left and closes over to the right, meaning when you’re on your side, you should lie on your left. The zip makes it easier to regulate temperature since you can decide to have the bag almost full over and only retreat when you’re awoken by a change in the weather.

There won’t be any need to reinforce the bag as the base is the same as the rest parts of the bag. This is quite unfortunate because you might feel that you need to put an extra layer on the ground before placing the bivvi so as to protect it from stones and sticks. The upside to this disadvantage is that it keeps the pack size small and the weight low.

It might not be the best or prettiest bivvi available, but it’s quite affordable and its central zip is something seriously worth considering.

Key Features

  • Half centre zips for quick, seamless and easy access (perfect for use alongside the Snugpak special forces range of sleeping bags).
  • 100% waterproof fabric with a Hydro Static Head in Excess of 5000mm (items with a Hydrostatic Head over 1500mm are normally considered waterproof).
  • Breathable (will transmit up to 7.5 litres of moisture per m2 per 24 hours).
  • Soft to the touch.
  • Supplied with own stuff sack.
  • Outer fabric treated with a durable water-repellant (water repellency can be maintained by a cool tumble dry after washing and periodic retreatment with suitable aftercare products like Nikwax or Grangers).
  • Comes with a stuff sack and packs down to a travel-friendly 6 inches by 4 inches; lightweight and weighs 12 ounces


Final Thoughts

All in all, for the price of the Snugpak Special Forces Bivvi Bag, it is actually good value for the money.

It is also a great choice for ultralight hikers in mild climates. However, in more intense weather conditions, this bivy bag is not ideal. If you plan on travelling in more dire weather, then you should consider getting a more sturdy alternative.