Bivouac made easy: A set for less than 2,5 kg

Spending the night under the open sky with a mat and sleeping bag is in and of itself a purist thing. If you also make the right choice from the few products available, you can enjoy nature with extremely light luggage. We put it to the test and put together a bivouac set for less than 2,5 kilograms.

Stable weather and moderate temperatures form the perfect starting point for a Biwak in the mountains. Whether directly under a rock face, on an imposing ridge or by an idyllic lake: sleeping under the open sky has its very own charm. We can give the all-clear to all those who associate bivouacking with a battle of material and lugging around: It's also easy.

Restful sleep: 980 grams

Let's start at the bottom, with the base. Sea to Summit has with the EtherLight XT a 3-season sleeping pad on offer that not only boasts an incredible weight of 490 grams, but also packs large.

Practical tip: It is advisable to store sleeping pads with the valves open, lay them out as flat as possible, or hang them on the rail of a cupboard. If space is tight, loosely rolling is better than folding.

The outside of the insulated air mattress is made of lightweight, non-slip nylon fabric and is also antimicrobially treated. With a thickness of ten centimetres, the Ether Light offers a gentle outdoor sleeping experience even on uneven ground.

Sea to Summit Ether Light XT sleeping pad
With its weight of 490 grams, the sleeping pad unites EtherLight lightness and comfort. Picture: Sea to Summit

The sleeping bag is an exciting addition to the Ether Light sleeping mat for lightweight fans Spark II, also from Sea to Summit. The ultra-light down sleeping bag with a weight of 490 grams reliably keeps you warm and with a pack size of 2,5 liters it hardly takes up any space in the backpack.

Practical tip: In order to maintain the insulating capacity of the sleeping bag, the sleeping bag should be completely dry before it is packed and stored. Throwing it in the dryer with some clean tennis balls also helps. 

The heart of the 3-season sleeping bag is its 850+ down filling. The combination of continuously sewn horizontal chambers in the bottom two-thirds of the sleeping bag and vertical box chambers with a little more down in the chest area creates an optimal balance between weight and warmth.

Spark II down sleeping bag: 490 grams light, warm and hardly takes up any space. Image: Sea to Summit
Spark II Down sleeping bag: 490 grams light, warm and hardly takes up any space. Picture: Sea to Summit

Balanced dining: From 793 to 1426 grams

In addition to the sleeping utensils, the topic of food/cooking quickly becomes important when bivouacing. The weight range in the subheading refers to the starting position: If fresh water is available at the bivouac site, you are there from 793 grams. If you have to take the water with you, the weight increases to almost one and a half kilograms.

Scenario 1: Water source available

Assuming you can find drinking water at your favorite bivouac spot, we recommend the following cooking setup: Den Express Stove gas cooker from Primus as well as the alpha pot from Sea to Summit.

The Express Stove is a light and compact gas stove and weighs just 88 grams without the cartridge. Thanks to its expansive pot supports, it also holds larger pots stable despite its pocket size. You can find the right gas cartridge with a screw valve from 230 grams.

Practical tip: If you are cooking in a wind-exposed place, it is worth making a windbreak. Either with materials on site, eg stones, or with a piece of aluminum foil from home.

The alpha pot from Sea to Summit is available with a volume of 1,2 to 3,7 liters. In the smallest version, the robust aluminum pan weighs 187 grams. If, like us, you rely on freeze-dried ready meals (more on that in a moment), the smallest Alpha Pot is perfect for boiling water.

The Sea to Summit Alpha Pot is a strong yet lightweight aluminum pot.
The alpha pot from Sea to Summit is a strong yet light aluminum pot.

Freeze-dried gourmet meals: 272 grams

Now that the cooking utensils are ready, we can also reveal the menu of our bivouac: there is one for dinner Nettle Curry à la Sean Villanueva, for dessert Apple crumble and in for breakfast Organic millet porridge with raspberries and chokeberry powder. Doesn't sound bad, does it?

If you want to optimize the weight of the food without having to compromise on quality, you should join lyofood in good hands. The makers behind it have specialized in freeze-dried meals and completely do without additives and preservatives.

lyofood
Lyofood works so easily: open the packaging, pour in hot water, enjoy. Picture: lyofood

Freeze drying allows food to retain its natural taste and texture. Unlike traditional food preservation methods, freeze drying does not affect the taste or quality of the food. This means that Lyofood's meals not only have a long shelf life, but are also delicious.

Sea to Summit Alpha light cutlery

Whether from the pan or directly from the Lyofood Pack: Without cutlery, porridge, risotto and the like cannot be easily fed into the stomach. The Sea to Summit combo Alpha light, consisting of a spoon and a knife, weighs just 16 grams.

Scenario 2: No water source available

If there is no water on site, you must bring it with you. If you want to enjoy a warm meal in the evening, you don't necessarily have to take a stove with you. A vacuum bottle can help, here using the example of the sculptor from Esbit.

The double-walled stainless steel bottle is not only robust, but also keeps the contents warm for a particularly long time. If you fill it with boiling water, it is still 80 °C after six hours, 12 °C after 65 hours and 24 °C after 50 hours. Completely sufficient for our lyofood menus. At 388 grams, the weight is roughly the same as the above-mentioned stove including the gas cartridge.

The Esbit vacuum flask with practical loop closure is available in different colors.

Easy game when bivouacking

We firmly believe that if you want, you can make your bivouac night a fairly easy affair without having to forego comfort. To ensure that the night under the open sky is remembered well, there are other points to consider than just the weight of the equipment. More on that in the following article.

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Credits: Cover picture Sea to Summit

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