A question from a reader about using bivi bags on cycle tours rather than a tent:
Having just finished reading about you wild camping in Seoul, I was wondering if you and Laura even bother with tents anymore, or what your rationale is with using bivy sacks instead.
Cheers, and happy trails!
Andrew – Let’s Ride Bikes
Are Bivi Bags Better Than Tents For Cycle Touring?
Thanks for your message. We have a tent and bivi bags.
Our tent is an MSR Hubba Hubba HP which you can use as normal double-walled but also pitch as outer only (cooler and more space) or inner only (cooler and bug protection). It’s about 2kg in total and perfect for cycle touring. (There is a newer version of the tent available now which is 500g lighter: the Hubba Hubba NX).
Our bivi bags are Rab Survival Zone LITEs (full review here). They only weigh 200g so are a negligible addition to size and weight. They are not waterproof but good for protecting the sleeping bags, keeping dew off and wind protection. As an addition to a tent, they are fantastic.
If you were just taking a bivi, you’d definitely want a waterproof one and, if you’re expecting much rain, a hooped one will save you a lot of misery (I have a Terra Nova Jupiter).
The rationale for bivis is that they are quick and easy to use. They are really discreet and far less intrusive than pitching a tent in e.g. a public park. You also don’t have all the space you want and you get to really sleep under the stars.
The downside, of course, is the lack of weather protection and general exposure. A tent is a wonderful cocoon from the world when you’re tired and want to escape.
Hope that helps?
More about Bivis and Tents
Beginner’s Guide to Bivouacing – what are bivis and what the hell is bivouacing?
Rab Survival Zone LITE bivi bag review – the bivi bags we’re using, possibly the lightest in the world
Some alternatives to tents – from my friend and cycling veteran Tom Allen