P assion for mountains
E nthusiasm for 5000 ft
A dventurous scrambling
K omradery for camping
S nacks to share


Bivi-Bag 2 person Bivi-Bag Bivi-Bag Bivi-Bag

Having been pinned down at 23,000 feet next to K2 for 3 days in a terrible snow storm, after the tent, sleeping bag and stove blew away, the only thing that saved us was a MULTI PERSON BIVI-SACK.

The Everest mess in 1996 could have been mostly avoided if people would have used common sense, and lacking that, would have had BIVI-SACKS for shelter. Certainly, the people at the South Col, standing for 1/2 the night in the worst snow storm would have all survived. Other higher up would have been in much better shape after the first night too. Sitting down exposed, they died.

Most mountaineers in Europe use two person BIVI SACKS as emergency shelter. When hiking or mountaineering anywhere in the world, including the NW, they will save lives. The sporting shops in Seattle sell ONE PERSON BIVI-SACKS, which completely miss the point and original idea of using such a device:

  1. To provide shelter in case of nightfall, bad weather or injury.
  2. To combine 2-3 people's warmth, strength and give moral support.
  3. To be large enough that one can sleep, cook, eat and regain their strength for the next day hike on or out to safety.
  4. To be light enough weight so it never leaves the backpack.
  5. To be cheap enough so every person has one for two or more people.

The one I recommend is 65" wide x 84" long, has a zipper at the bottom, two small zipped windows for cross ventilation and is made out of water tight sheeted nylon or ripstop, weighing less than 1.5 lbs. Forget breathable stuff like Gortex, you want it water and wind proof, light and cheap. It's about $99 This can provide shelter for 3 stretched out or 4-5 in a real emergency.

When hiking, people are told to carry 10 essentials, that, without much training, is useless. Most of the "tennis shoe hikers" or mushroom pickers wouldn't know which side of the map is up, or what to do with a compass, and making a fire in a snow storm? You must be kidding. But I have yet to find someone who doesn't know how to crawl into a BIVISACK.

You carry a tent for backpacking in Rainier and don't need a bivi bag? THINK AGAIN:

  • You plan to leave the tent at 10,000ft, and if you get stuck up higher, you need one!
  • Ever tried pitching a tent in an 80 mile wind? Just crowl into your bivi-bag and wait for better weather!
  • Your TWO WALL TENT rain fly tears and leaves you with a mosquito net stitched to a tent bottom, surely not a good situation. You need a bivi bag as a back-up, unless you HAVE A ONE WALL TENT, which without poles can substitude as a bivi bag!!

    Valentin Caspaar is a member of Austrain Alpen Club, & Tröddler mountaineering group in Graz, and a past member of The Mountaineers in Seattle. He lives in Seattle and hosts the PEAKS Adventures & Potlucks meetup group.

    For more information and where to buy a bivi-sack, go to ePeaks-Shop , or email