The freedom to hike deep into the wilderness, fish remote lakes, photograph trophy animals that rarely see humans, and hunt in near virgin conditions is a lofty, yet very obtainable goal thanks to two incredible products: the Bivy-Sack and the ultra-light backpack tent. Back in “the day,” tarping was a popular wilderness method and elk hunters often carried a large sheet of plastic as protection from the elements. As daylight faded, they made a shelter as best they could. Two buddies and I tried this method a few years ago after hiking into a section of Idaho so remote there were fewer human footprints than on the moon. Pulling the tarp over us, I soon noticed “rain” falling as condensation formed and soaked our sleeping bags.
The next fall we opted for Cabela’s Bivy-Sack, which greatly improved mobility and comfort. Technically labeled the Cabala’s XPG DryLoft Bivy-Sack, this breathable, waterproof envelope allows you to sleep without a shelter. You tuck into your sleeping bag, pull the sack over you, and you stay dry without worry of condensation or good ol’ fashioned rain. Best of all, the sack is so small, light, and compact you can practically carry it in your pocket. Late one afternoon during that hunt, when a high mountain thunderstorm rolled in, each hunter dawned their Bivy-Sack and stayed warm and dry.
The second option is an ultra-light bivouacking tent made by Easton Outfitters, Cabela’s, Eureka, and others. The Eureka Spitfire 1 weights less than three pounds, more than a Bivy-Sack, yet allows you to bring your gear inside with you to keep it dry. For a bit more weight, you can opt for a two-person model and convince your buddy to carry it, while you tote the stove or additional food. It’s also a bit more romantic, if you’re bringing your honey along with you. Check out the very informative video offered by Eureka on their website.
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