The Integral Designs Unishelter Bivy Sack
What is a bivy sack ?
The term ‘ bivy ‘ is an abbreviation of the word bivouac . Bivouac is a French word that means , to camp in the open air . In modern English language the term ‘ bivy sack ‘ refers to any , extremely small , waterproof shelter , usually made of breathable material that covers your sleeping bag .
The smallest and most utilitarian shelters are simply a bag larger than your sleeping bag .
The Integral Design Model however , has kicked- it- up a notch ! The hoop at the front part of the bivy , keeps the shelter above your face area . It also includes a nylon-screened , no-see-um mesh section , that serves well to transport the moisture from your body to the outside and this is a very important feature especially in wet weather , not to mention – keeping out the bugs !
Any small tarp to cover the front screened area would be very beneficial in extremely wet conditions , however this would not be required in dryer conditions . This wet condition ‘ fix ‘ will help to alleviate the dampness , that will occur if you sleep in a very insulated bag , in a very wet environment .
I usually carry this bag in a 3-season function , and will only bring a thermarest pad to insulate me from the ground . In most 3-season applications , under 2000 meters , without a sleeping bag , I have been able to sleep quite well . This can be classified as semi-hardcore , but for me , I like to border on – travel light , freeze at night !
Rest assured (pun intended) , that I sleep very comfortably and at 1.14 kg , it really feels good in the backpack . It has a 5 to 10 degree C insulating factor but its real quality shines when keeping those ‘no see-um’ bugs out of your life , so you can enjoy a good night’s sleep .
The Integral Designs Unishelter Bivy Sack is the smallest shelter that I own . It is called a bivy sack because it is not a tent .
This one person shelter is classified as a 4-season shelter . It is free standing and the canopy is made of waterproof-breathable , flame resistant fabric . The canopy mesh is nylon no-see-um mesh .
Floor and fly waterproofness are at 3500mm . It has 1 pole , 8.6mm in diameter for the front hoop , made of shock-corded aluminum . All exposed seams are taped for waterproofness . At 2.4 m long and 0.8m wide , it is none-the-less very comfortable to sleep in and is definitely one of my favorite companions when I want to travel light .
To all of you that own one or would like to own one , I would be very interested in hearing from you . I purchased my Integral Designs Unishelter Bivy Sack from http://mec.ca many years ago , and have spent many ‘bag nights’ in it sleeping very comfortably . These restful sleeps made it a pleasure the next day carrying a shelter that weighed only 1.14 kg .
To all of you that like to travel light , and who doesn’t , this one’s for you . This bivy has served me well over the years and if your adventures are as rewarding as mine have been , I am certain that this type of outdoor tech will be a welcome addition to your gear pile .