Tents, Tarps, Shelters, and Bivi Sacks
Mountain Tents | Brooks Range Rocket Tent | Bothy Bag | Bivi Sacks | 3 Man Tents | Tarps/Pyramids
Bothy Bag
Wild Things Bivy Shelter (Cuben Fiber)
(9.1 ounces) 

This is what the Brits call a "bothy bag."
It doesn't have any poles or other supports.  It's just a big bag that you put over your heads to keep the wind and precipitation off of you.  The occupants provide the support for the bag in lieu of poles etc. 
These bothy bags are pretty common in Britain, but less so here in the US.  The British bothy bags I've seen are all a bit more "feature laden" than this Wild Things version with things like vents, windows etc. 
The Wild Things bag is extremely Spartan.  No windows, not even a vent.  Its only features are an elastic drawcord around the bottom to provide a bit of a seal and keep the wind out, and four guy-out loops so that you can rig up some supports with skis, or trees or the like.
It's big enough to fit four seated people inside or two people lying down (three people if they are close.) 

I bought this for use on climbing trips to act as an emergency bivi shelter.  It weighs about as much as a single ultralight bivi sack, but it will shelter two people, so it's much more efficient than any bivi sack I've seen.

I also use it for backcountry skiing day trips.  Sometimes, when skiing, it is nice to have a sheltered place to eat lunch and relax, out of the wind and blowing snow.  This bothy bag is a perfect solution to that need.

It is very lightweight, at just a hair over 9 ounces.  It is made from Cuben fiber, which is ultralightweight material originally developed for competitive sailing.  The fabric is very light indeed.  Its bulk, however, is not as slight as its weight.  I think it may actually be more bulky than a comparable piece of syl-nylon.  The bag barely stuffs into a 1.3 liter stuffsack, so it's just a bit bigger than a Nalgene bottle.  

Rather than carry it stuffed, I prefer to fold it and place it in the hydration pocket of a pack, or just place it at the bottom of the pack sack.  This seems to be more space-efficient than carrying it in a stuff sack. 

The bothy bag has become a regular part of my backcountry kit.  I've used it occasionally on backcountry ski trips to provide temporary shelter from wind and cold while stopped for a lunch break.  So far, I have only used this bothy bag once on a climbing trip.  While in the Long's Peak area in Rocky Mountain National Park, I (foolishly) didn't stake out my (Black Diamond Betamid) tarp/tent well enough, and when a large windstorm came up, the stakes pulled and the tent blew away.

My partner and I took refuge in the bothy bag.  It flapped around a lot, but provided good protection from the extremely high winds.  It definitely also provided increased warmth.   The four guy-out loops are useful when the are oriented on the inside, as they can be grabbed and secured from the inside to control flapping and "balooning."  On the same trip, I used it to provide a bit of extra shelter and warmth when catching a 45 minute nap, while waiting for the sun to come up.  It provided a cozy, protected shelter that allowed me to sleep. 

Initially, my only concern about the bag's design was the lack of a vent.  So far, however, sufficient airflow has not been a problem.  (Due at least in part no doubt to the fact that I tend to use it when it's windy.) 

I will update this page when I have additional real-world testing experiences to report. 

Wild Things Bivy Shelter

Other companies who make Bothy Bags include Brooks Range, and Terra Nova

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