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#212585 - 12/07/10 05:59 PM Adventure Medical Kits Emergency Bivvy
Paul810 Offline
Veteran

Registered: 03/02/03
Posts: 1428
Loc: NJ, USA
For a while I've been carrying Adventure Medical Kits Heatsheets Emergency bivvys as part of my outdoor gear.



Being I don't like to carry items which I haven't tested, I finally decided it might be a good time to test one out and see how it works.

I figured the easiest test would just be to try sleeping in it, on my floor, while on top of the ground pad I typically use to sleep outdoors. I was going to try sleeping with it outside, but being that it's below freezing and snowing out, I didn't feel like potentially risking my life to do so. The inside of my house is presently 63*F, just cold enough that I'm uncomfortable sleeping without some kind of blanket.

On my postage scale the bivvy and it's stuff sack weighed in at 4.1 ounces. Size wise it's roughly a 3" tall, 2.5" wide, and 3" deep.

When opened it's about 7' long and 3' wide. My 6'2" 250lb body had no problem using it like a sleeping bag. It was relatively easy to find a comfortable sleeping position, though the bivvy was a little noisy to use, which may bother light sleepers.

When I finally got down to sleeping in it, I was quite impressed. It kept me plenty warm, I actually found myself getting a little too hot. If I had to compare it to something, I would say it kept me just as warm as if I had been using a common fleece blanket.

The next morning I was still reasonably warm, but I noticed that my clothing was all slightly damp. Essentially, the bivvy doesn't breath at all, which means your sweat during the night will turn into condensation inside the bag. Depending on how much you sweat and how cold the temperature is, this might be an issue for some people. In my test it just meant changing my clothes.

When it came time to put the bivvy away, I first checked it for any rips or tears. I had two areas where the material stretched a little, but otherwise it was still perfectly intact. I then attempted to fold it back up and put it back in it's stuff sack. This proved to be a little difficult, as it seems like it's near impossible to get it back down to it's original size.

Thankfully, the included stuff sack is over-sized, which meant it wasn't to difficult to get everything packed up. When I was done the sack was now 7" tall, with the same basic width and depth.



In the end, I was pretty impressed. For something that weighs less than my cellphone to keep me as warm as a much larger and heavier blanket is nothing less than astounding. Being bright orange on one side and shiny silver on the other also means it could really help to get one noticed out in the wilderness. At the $15.99 I paid it's also easily affordable to most.

All in all, I think this should be included in everyone's essential outdoor gear. I would especially include it with the gear of a child that spends any time outdoors, as it's easy for them to use and I feel like it would greatly increase their chances of surviving a night out side after getting lost.

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#212588 - 12/07/10 07:14 PM Re: Adventure Medical Kits Emergency Bivvy [Re: Paul810]
philip Offline
Addict

Registered: 09/19/05
Posts: 639
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
> the bivvy doesn't breath at all, which means your sweat during the night
> will turn into condensation inside the bag. Depending on how much you
> sweat and how cold the temperature is, this might be an issue for some
> people. In my test it just meant changing my clothes.

Yeah, it'll be a problem for my wife and me. She covers her head up with the blankets when she's cold, and when we slept under a space blanket, the condensation soaked our sleeping bag. I don't cover my head, but I sweat a lot.

I'll stick with space blankets that we can get out from under to cut down on that condensation. We need breathable gear in our situation.

Situations vary, of course.

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#212591 - 12/07/10 07:44 PM Re: Adventure Medical Kits Emergency Bivvy [Re: Paul810]
ajax Offline
Member

Registered: 10/19/09
Posts: 112
Have either of you taken it on a camping trip?

If so what were the conditions and assessments afterward?
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#212614 - 12/08/10 01:24 AM Re: Adventure Medical Kits Emergency Bivvy [Re: philip]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
Originally Posted By: philip

Yeah, it'll be a problem for my wife and me. She covers her head up with the blankets when she's cold, and when we slept under a space blanket, the condensation soaked our sleeping bag. I don't cover my head, but I sweat a lot.

I'll stick with space blankets that we can get out from under to cut down on that condensation. We need breathable gear in our situation.

Situations vary, of course.


I tend to sleep with my face partly covered. Re-breathing my own breath when it's cold to warm the incoming air. Birds do it by tucking their head under a wing. Squirrels do it with their nose stuffing into their bushy tail. I have invested in a poly fleece muffler and a fleece hood/cowl/balaclava. Either one allows me to keep my head out of the sleeping bag while allowing me to do my re-breathing thing and keeping my head warm. In very cold conditions the moisture collects on the outside of the fleece as ice. This is easy enough to shake out and the poly dries quickly.

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#212616 - 12/08/10 01:56 AM Re: Adventure Medical Kits Emergency Bivvy [Re: Paul810]
philip Offline
Addict

Registered: 09/19/05
Posts: 639
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
> fleece hood/cowl/balaclava

That's a good idea. The goal is to keep our heads out from under a space blanket so that the condensation doesn't wet our sleeping bags, so a balaclava would probably work.

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#212617 - 12/08/10 02:43 AM Re: Adventure Medical Kits Emergency Bivvy [Re: Paul810]
2005RedTJ Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/07/09
Posts: 475
Loc: Birmingham, Alabama
I've never slept in my ThermoLite 2.0, but it's seen a little use. My daughter bundled up in it at some of her dance team's events. We'd be out there in 40-ish degree weather with her wearing a dance costume that was never designed to provide warmth.

All the other kids would be trying to share a blanket or two and shivering, my daughter would be in the Bivvy in a camp chair all toasty.

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#212618 - 12/08/10 03:07 AM Re: Adventure Medical Kits Emergency Bivvy [Re: Paul810]
tomfaranda Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 02/14/08
Posts: 301
Loc: Croton on Hudson, NY
I have used the bivy along with a down bag twice. Once in approximately freezing weather and a moderate wind. The AMK + down bag + self inflating 3/4 pad underneath kept me extremely warm. It doesn't breath, but nothing is perfect.

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#212621 - 12/08/10 03:24 AM Re: Adventure Medical Kits Emergency Bivvy [Re: Paul810]
SwampDonkey Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 1268
Loc: Northeastern Ontario, Canada
Thanks for the good review Paul, I carry the AMK Bivvy as part of my Shelter Kit with the following items stuffed in the top of the nylon bag:

AMK 2 person Heatsheet, 20 metres of Glow-In-The-Dark Nylon Mason Twine, 2 metres of Brass Wire, Waterproof Match Case with Waterproof/Windproof Safety Matches and Striker, tinfoil wrapped Birthday Candle, Cotton Balls, Flint Rod and Hacksaw Striker, Paraffin Fire Starter Packet, Insect Repellent Towellette, 1 Litre ZipLoc Plastic Bag, and a small serrated folding knife.

I have never tried the Bivvy but the Heatsheet material it is made from is far tougher than I expected when used as the roof for a lean-to shelter.

This Shelter Kit then slides into a 400ml billy can made from the bottom of a SS water bottle.

Mike

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#212623 - 12/08/10 03:33 AM Re: Adventure Medical Kits Emergency Bivvy [Re: Paul810]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2985
Loc: Alberta, Canada
I still have bad memories of a very cold night roughing it in a cheapo aluminized mylar bivvy sack. I got damp from the condensation and then the temperature dropped. That was many years ago, but I'm still leery.

However, I can see it as a just-in-case liner for a light sleeping bag. It would add many degrees of warmth, and keep the bag dry. Modern synthetic underwear is a lot more forgiving than the old stuff, so it might not be bad at all.


Edited by dougwalkabout (12/08/10 03:34 AM)

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#212634 - 12/08/10 04:50 AM Re: Adventure Medical Kits Emergency Bivvy [Re: Paul810]
Phaedrus Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2892
Loc: Big Sky Country
I'm planning on trying one out, too. I have two of the AMK Bivvies and 3 of the 2-person AMK blankets. Amazon has a great price and if you "subscribe" you get an additional 15% off, plus free shipping. Right now I'm set up to get one every month IIRC. My plan was to slowly get a stock of them built up in time to include them in my winter car kits and those of my family.
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