Surviving the great outdoors is based on weather conditions and more importantly, how prepared you are for the weather. In the best of conditions, a tent with ample room and a very good footing to the ground would be ideal to set up camp and rest a sleeping bag. Essentially a safe and weather proof environment that fits a sleeping bag would be all that’s needed to get through the night.
BE-X has been designing products with a focus on breath-ability and water repellent properties which do not require excessive maintenance or waterproofing. With a military focus, these products have been tried and tested alongside the military market, but also very relevant for civilians who hunt, hike and work in wet environments.
One of these many products is the BE-X FronTier One Bivy Bag (sleeping bag not included) which is designed for military and civilian use in all season use. The buvy bag is part of a combination of products which use the same technologies and are designed to be used together. You can check out the reviews of these other products in the links below.
The bivy bag is only available in Alpha Green and uses a very high quality laminate to address both the requirements of water resistance and breathability. Unlike most general laminates, the laminate used by BE-X is more breathable and provides good heat insulation without creating sweat build up on the body.
As previously mentioned, the bivy bag is made out of a polyester laminate which is designed to 10,000 MVP which is double what most generic laminates value at 5000. This is mostly evident during long weather situations where high rain and low temperatures can lead to the body sweating where as other laminates would generally circum to causing the body to sweat due to reduced breathability in the laminate.
The bivy bag is designed to cover the sleeping bag which provides protection for both the body and the sleeping bag itself. The style trim of the bivy bag gives adequate room for movement without being overly bulky or being as large as a one man tent. The bivy bag is supposed to match varying body lengths which means that prior to purchase, the sleeping bag and/or body must be measured to ensure the right size bivy bag is selected.
The bivy bag has double zipped YKK waterproof zippers which extend across the entire upper section. There is also a second layer of netting within the first which extends with double zipped YKK normal zippers. The netting is very breathable and allows a barrier to be kept between the sleeping bag and any bugs or insects from the environment.
All zipped areas and stitchings have also been welded with PTFE to reinforce points of weakness and avoid leaks during rainstorms. Other than the housing for the sleeping bag, the bivy bag has 6 peg hooks on 6 sides of the bivy bag and one extra peg hook at the top to hang over a line if needed.
The bivy bag looks like a long tarp that has been folded and sewn together. There isn’t much detail to talk about here as the bivy bag is designed to act as a full seal cover of a sleeping bag, protecting the bag and body from the external environment. It is worth noting that the bag is quite streamlined in shape and colour which allows for easy concealment from animals and unwanted attention, especially when fully sealed.
The BE-X Frontier One Bivy Bag is a very good substitute to a tent and sometimes has the potential to surpass the capability of one depending on the situation. The bivy bag works for all seasons as it can be set up based on weather conditions and temperatures. The bivy bag is very breathable (even when fully sealed) and waterproof up to and including a heavy rainstorm.
Structurally, the bivy bag doesn’t have any as it’s only a bag in essence but can be propped up slightly using some cord and running it at a low height across upper peg hook. It’s very nice to see that the bivy bag not only shows small form when used, but also when packed into the bag it comes in.
The main function of the bivy bag is to provide a water repellent outer layer with protection for all seasons against the elements. This is supposed to be a solution for long term skirmishes in extreme environments and is focused on being very lightweight. The YKK waterproof zippers are very good at keeping water out of the internals of the bag. Focusing on water repellent properties, the bivy bag is able to repel heavy downpour of rain and sleet for extended periods of time. The seams across the bag hold very well as they are welded from the inside with PTFE.
We have tested to see what a leak in the bivy bag will do, most of the water does end up at the lowest point of the bag and unfortunately doesn’t go anywhere which means that any water leakage will compromise the bag with no drainage. A sleeping bag may be able to stay dry internally, however the need to keep the bivy bag dry inside requires the user to maintain potential leakages from occurring.
The BE-X Frontier One Bivy Bag costs on average £150~ without a sleeping bag. This can be seen as expensive when paired or even compared to a tent, however it is much more minimalistic and can be lighter with a tarp for creating a dry and warm sheltered area to sleep in. It is worth noting that a bivy bag is not as good but can complement a good tent setup.
This bivy bag is priced in the mid to high tier for its category which is well deserved considering the functional capabilities of the bag compared to lower cost variants. It is possible to get a simple Mil-Tek 3 layer Bivy for £40~ but it’s also possible to get more expensive bags which contest the price of tents such as the Carinthia Bag Cover at £330~. It depends on the user whether the price is right compared to the function, durability, and value of purchasing a bivy bag as it comes down to value in durability more than most things.
Should you buy the BE-X FronTier One Bivy Bag? It’s worth noting that the bivy bag is meant to be a supplement if not a replacement of a tent. It’s up to the user whether they wish to invest in a bivy bag based on weight and purpose of skirmish. Comparing this bivy bag to others however demonstrates that this bivy bag is worth considering where it does not include a sleeping bag and may not require a tent.
The BE-X FronTier One Bivy bag is very functional and a simply designed product which fulfills its purpose with a few simple additional features which improves the quality of life. The pricing of the bivy bag may be slightly high compared to other products, however the durability and minimalism of this bivy bag surpasses most of the cheaper variety. In the end it’s a choice which depends on the situation and whether a reliable bivy bag is required.