View Full Version : Hildeberg Bivanorak, Anyone?

07-14-2012, 02:38
I really like the concept of the Bivanorak bivy--anorak. http://www.hilleberg.com/home/products/bivanorak/bivanorak.php Anyone ever use it or seen it used for an AT thru-hike? I'd like to get some insights from experienced users. I have yet to learn of how well it performs when sleeping in it, Velcro-ed and cinched tight, especially during a downpour.

I guess there's always AT shelters when the PathFinder reads a sudden drop in pressure, and it's not that far removed from a tube tent with a little line. I like how the skirt pulls up and cinches tight around the waste--great for steep climbs (like in the Whites) when you really need to pay attention to foot placement and don't need to be stepping all over the skirt. It covers the pack and wears like a jacket, yet not under the pack straps. (We men should immediately see the inherent convenience it provides us during the chilly pre-dawn command for "emergency blow" of the "main ballast tank", especially during rain). I lament the fact it doesn't have pit zips.

Seems to me you might be able to forego a sleeping bag in temperatures down to 55F with it if you have a reflective ground cloth, medium thermals (14oz Under Armors), light socks, light poly gloves, a balaclava, a sub 5 oz silk bag liner and a Pro-lite ground pad (doubling as a Slavic style pack wall in a 12 oz backpack, sans 2oz foam pad in pack sleeve--also using a front pack to shift load forward). Except for the liner, I would carry all of these layers anyway, including wind jacket + pants (5oz Montbells) and forego my 13oz fleece jacket for a NOBO during late May to August. Since I would be sleeping in thermals sans the usual shorts and shirts, (the sweaty ones dry on a line at night), I'd also be saving about 8oz there. So the thermals only add an additional 6 oz to my overall gear, while the absence of my 23oz bag and 13oz jacket would save me 36oz. That's a net savings of almost 2lbs, a definite "pro" in terms of how my hike could benefit from the gear. Other former or present users may not have the same hike or weight class in mind and don't see this advantage.

Anyway, all this is talk and no play. I'd love to hear from some players. Any out there?

I asked Hilleberg Tents when the Swedish Air Force first utilized the Bivanorak in their pilot survival gear. I got a response saying they would look into it, but it's been over a month now without further updates. An internet search suggests the earliest date the civilian models were marketed was about 2002-2003. I read the US Navy SEALs also utilize the military version. (WHOOO-YAHHH SEAL Team 6!)

Hillelberg Tents indicates on their website the red version takes longer to process when ordered than the green. Does that suggest the green version which needs to be more readily available for military orders is the military version? Or is there a separate heavier military version, cut to the same specs but utilizing a more durable material? Can anyone provide a link to the military edition of the Bivanorak?

I read someone speculate the quality of this gear must be great since it's used by the military. That doesn't necessarily prevent two different grades of gear (if there are two different grades to begin with) from being manufactured in different factories governed under different managements. I'd sooner rely on Hillelberg's reputation for that assurance.

I look forward to your comments.

07-14-2012, 02:41
Okay Okay Okay, I already know its spelled Hilleberg not Hildeberg, lol. My vision isn't what it used to be.

07-14-2012, 07:54
Not for me, thanks. After a long, hot day of hiking in the rain (if you wore this thing you'd be soaked in sweat, if not, you'd be soaked in rain), you arrive at a shelter over crowded with scouts, snorers, and mice; or find that it burned down last week; you get the picture, and the only place you have to take shelter in is an overgrown raincoat. It's made of waterproof/breathable fabric, which in my experience means it will fail miserably at one or both of those features. You can't lounge while eating dinner (which you cooked in the rain) or change into dry clothes. If it's a hot night, you're sleeping in a baggie, etc.

All in all, a bivy is a great choice for a night or two in the woods when the forecast for clear weather might be wrong, but not for a summer-long (or even a week-long) hike. Just my HO, but you asked! At least bring a tarp. Or head for the backyard on a rainy day, and make camp in your rain suit to experiment. If you can do it, go for it.

07-14-2012, 09:50
If you walked into a shelter late a night wearing that thing it would scare the begeebers outta me! It looks so Grim Reeper'ish.

07-14-2012, 10:12
Too hot. Too confining. I like to read for an hour before sleeping when camping.

By the way it was the salmon mousse!

07-14-2012, 20:35
I think I would be hot and sweaty in anything if it were a hot day of continuous rain even if I used an Event or Gore Tex jacket all day. That's why I'm also considering a pack umbrella, and leaving the Bivanorak for emergency use where an umbrella won't work (wind, steep climbs). Being stuck without shelter and being forced to use the bivy is kind of within the context of emergency use, isn't it?

I am aware of the inherent impracticality of the gear and why some people wouldn't choose it. Clearly, it's not a panacea for all situations. (Even if I had a tent, I wouldn't cook in it--I'd just eat a breakfast bar--in either situation.) I was hoping that someone who has actually slept in it during the rain could tell me from his experience what the night was like. Thanks for taking the time to respond to my inquiry.

07-14-2012, 20:36
Boo! :eek:

07-14-2012, 20:38
Too hot. Too confining. I like to read for an hour before sleeping when camping.

By the way it was the salmon mousse!

Haha, I meant ballast tank #1.

07-14-2012, 20:39
If you walked into a shelter late a night wearing that thing it would scare the begeebers outta me! It looks so Grim Reeper'ish.
BOO! :eek: