When pounds in your pack create pain in your back, the SOL Escape Lite Bivvy is an ultralight solution for immediate “get-out-of-Dodge” scenarios. Constructed with a proprietary “Escape fabric” and a minimalist design, this bag weighs in at only 5.5 ounces and folds up into an incredibly small parcel, reducing bulk. Proprietary material and design allow moisture to escape while shielding against rain, snow, and wind—all while reflecting your body heat back to you. The Escape Lite can also supplement your traditional sleeping bag by serving as a liner to boost its warmth potential. It’s also useful as an ultralight summer bag, allowing you to move more quickly and go farther than most conventional bags. MSRP: $40
This versatile conventional sleeping bag liner is made of Thermolite—a hollow core, breathable fabric that provides exceptional insulation value and warmth for its weight. As a standalone product, it’s a lightweight/summer sleeping bag, but the Thermolite panels also provide added warmth in the torso and feet areas. As a liner for your traditional bag, it can add up to 20 degrees of extra warmth. This liner helps keep the inside of your bag clean, saving it from the wear and tear of washings. A drawcord hood is included with mini cord lock cinches around the face area to help contain warmth. It comes with a small stuff sack, and the compact design is ideal for women or anyone under 6 feet tall. MSRP: $63
This vacuum-metalized polyethylene emergency blanket easily slides into an ultralight pack, first aid kit, or even the car glove box. It also reflects 90 percent of your body heat. Other features also set it apart from traditional Mylar (polyester) blankets. This cover opens quickly and won’t shred in high winds if nicked or punctured. If that happens, it readily accepts patches of duct tape. It’s quiet and won’t crinkle in strong winds if you’re trying to limit sound and sight signatures. Its high-visibility orange exterior is an ideal signal to hail rescuers. Larger in size than most other emergency blankets on the market, it measures in at 56 by 84 inches. At $5, it’s not as robust as some other emergency sleeping solutions, but it is a lightweight, affordable option that also serves as a ground cloth, gear cover, first aid blanket, and more. MSRP: $5
The TACT Bivvy Emergency Sleeping Bag works well in a go-bag or survival kit. This self-contained, lightweight sleeping bag can be used by itself, or supplement a dedicated sleeping bag as an additional liner for increased comfort and warmth. The TACT Bivvy Emergency Sleeping Bag weighs 6.2 ounces, is waterproof, windproof, and taped at the seams for enhanced strength and durability. It packs neatly into a small travel sack, keeping it as compact as possible for storage. It can also serve as a pillow for those quick power naps on the trail. MSRP: $20.
If you unexpectedly find yourself sleeping outdoors in inclement weather, take cover in this emergency bivvy with “Heatsheets” technology that reflects 90 percent of body heat. This bivvy comes in a tiny package but unfolds into a shelter measuring 84 by 36 inches. It’s fully sealed to shed wind, rain, or snow.
The Survive Outdoors Longer Escape Bivvy is not only an emergency sleep system but also a versatile sheltering solution in and of itself. With condensation-eliminating features, you no longer have to choose between staying dry and staying warm. The fabric allows moisture to escape while keeping rain, snow, and wind outside the protective layer—all while reflecting your body heat back to you. It has waterproof seams, a drawstring hood, and a side zipper that seal out the elements. Or use the bivvy like a traditional sleeping bag. The olive green exterior is for situations that demand low visibility. MSRP: $60.
12 Survivors’ mummy-hybrid-shaped 3.5-pound Terra-pod sleeping bag is sports polyester wadding filling and 210T polyester pongee lining with interior chest pockets. In a jam, this three-season bag should have you covered. Regular (fit for a 6-foot-tall person) and Long models are offered, both have a full foot box with durable YKK double zippers. Other features include a draft collar and hood draw. The Terra-pod’s orange interior also makes for a great signaling device. Includes a compression stuff sack with hang loops for easy storage. MSRP: $84.
If you’ve ever embarked on a days-long hiking and camping trip, you know how critical a good night’s rest is before waking up at dawn and hitting the trail all over again. Now imagine the trekking scenario is not for pleasure, but a crisis in which walking to safety is your only play. Perhaps you find yourself in a manmade disaster, or at odds with Mother Nature, stranded on a jammed freeway dozens of miles from home. With sundown soon, you face the prospect of sleeping under the stars. You were wise if you packed your bug-out bag or emergency storm kit with a good sleeping bag.
- RELATED STORY: 10 Items for Surviving Extreme Weather
The human body battles stress and involuntary reactions when it can’t maintain a restful state in frigid weather. Consequences can be devastating and swift. Fatigue, for example, is a real danger, as the body’s metabolic rate can increase fivefold and can burn approximately 100 calories in around 15 minutes. Next, muscles secrete a hormone called irisin, which stimulates heat production by drawing energy from white and brown fat cells stored in the body. When you shiver, your body directs its internal survival systems into overdrive to maintain an even body temperature; it boosts warmth by instructing muscles to burn calories, using its glycogen stores and rapidly burning off your fat stores. But a quality survival sleeping bag keeps cold at bay and the wind from chilling you to the bone, enabling your body to save precious resources it needs to endure the cold.
“Having survival blankets or sleeping bags on hand can help save lives,” said Steve Lynch, senior product manager for the American Red Cross. “They can be used in extreme weather conditions as well as other life-threatening emergencies such as treating someone who is in shock.” Sleeping warm and dry boosts your stamina, morale, alertness, health and ability to maintain positive momentum when your trek resumes.
- RELATED STORY: Bug-Out Shelter Options
Survive Outdoors Longer (SOL), Survival Frog, Sea to Summit and 12 Survivors make the following sleep systems. These compact, lightweight, and durable options will help ensure you’re able to catch a few valuable Zs while facing conditions reminiscent of World War Z.
For More Information
Survive Outdoors Longer
Sea to Summit
This article was originally published in “Survivor’s Edge” Fall 2017. To order a copy, visit outdoorgroupstore.com.
If you still have space left over in your bugout vehicle after your food,...
by Will Dabbs, MD / Oct 18, 2017