Big Sky Wisp Bivy
Internal Size: (LxWxHcm ): 230 x 90 x 120
The name ‘super bivy’ is a spot-on description of this. Big Sky have come up with a shelter that you could arguably say comes with all of the benefits of a bivy bag without the claustrophobic downsides.
Like a good bivy bag, it’s extremely light and also very packable – good for bedding down in during ultralight adventures. But unlike a bivvy bag, it has a large compartment that you can sit up in comfortably and a decent sized porch to keep your pack and boots in.
It pitches like a tarp tent, requiring a trekking pole to prop it up which should be either 120cm of less in length. There’s then a 15-inch aluminium pole that props up the other end. This is embedded but can be removed if necessary.
“It’s one for those who take a minimalist approach to their hiking.”
The pitching time is really quick. The first time we used it, we approached it blindly, not knowing what we should really be doing with it, but in the end it took us less than five minutes to have a well propped shelter for the night.
It’s by and large a single skin tent, albeit with a double wall on one side where the mesh door separates the sleeping compartment from the porch. Single skin in the moisture-heavy air of the UK that we’re so fortunate to have means that you are vulnerable to a heavy soaking from condensation if you don’t ventilate this well enough, and while there is an adjustable air vent at the top of the Wisp Bivy, for heavy summer evenings you’re certainly going to need to sleep with the door open.
The Wisp Bivy’s incredibly light weight is mainly down to the technical materials that have been used, more specifically, the clever SuperSil fabric, which is a ripstop nylon that’s coated on both sides with silicon to add both waterproofness and durability.
What about its sturdiness then? Well, we’re sorry to say we’ve only tested this in moderate winds (which it handled very well) but considering its multiple pegging and guy line points we think it could be pretty dependable in any strong stuff. All the pegs and the guylines need to be purchased separately however.
At its base weight, this tent weighs just 567g, but that measurement doesn’t include the pegs and guylines. Add them in and you can expect to be carrying around 100g extra.
When it’s all packed up into its stuff sack (with pegs and poles), it’s about the size of a small loaf of bread – the official measurement on the site given as 39cm long x 11.5cm diameter.
Long story short, the Big Sky Wisp Bivy is one for those who take a minimalist approach to their hiking, long-distance running or bikepacking but want a little more luxury than a simple bivy bag or open sided tarp. We like it.
Pros: very light, very packable, quick to pitch.
Cons: single skin, could do with a guy line point along the main wall.
Pegs and guylines not supplied / packed size 20 x 14cm / SuprSil Ul flysheet with silicone on each side / no-see-um mesh netting / seam taped floor / 1 x aluminium 7.9mm 38cm foot end pole / interior pocket / top vent / large side door.
Internal Size: (LxWxH): 220cm x 95cm x 93cm
If any tent can match the superlative levels set by the Terra Nova Laser Competition 1, this is it. Hilleberg’s Enan – which is a lighter, three-season version of the firm’s best-selling Akto – is another high-end tent with a host of impressive features. In many ways, there is very little to choose between the Laser Competition 1 and the Enan: they have an almost identical size and shape, the same single central pole design with shorter vertical rods at each end, and comparable internal and external features. Both are superb options for the dedicated – and well-off – backpacker.
But there are differences. At 1200g, the Enan weighs in 230g heavier than the Laser Competition 1, making it less appealing to ultra-lightweight specialists. The extra weight, however, gives the Enan superb durability for a three-season tent – and being bomb-proof in the worst of weathers is what Hilleberg’s products are known for, after all. The Enan’s strong 9mm pole, the same one used in the Akto, and its outer, which drops all the way to the ground and is made from a sturdy Kerlon 1000 fabric, ensures it will keep you safe and dry in the worst of conditions.
The Enan is full of other nice touches too. The full mesh inner tent door, coupled with outer meshes at both ends, allows constant air flow and excellent ventilation. Waterproof panels can be used to cover the end meshes in inclement conditions. The 75cm deep, full-length porch is great for cooking, or stashing a rucksack, while the outer-first pitching is quick and simple, benefitting from a continuous pole sleeve and tension system. Pitching is flexible too: the linked inner and outer can be pitched together, or separate, depending on your needs; and inside there is ample room for a single occupant with gear.
That’s not all. Multiple internal pockets are useful for organising your kit; the top-loading stuff sack is feather light; and the guy lines are adjustable at the top and bottom for fine-tuning your set-up. All of this, naturally, comes at a price – and there is no escaping the fact that the price tag of £640 is somewhat eye-watering. But, if you want a premium, high-quality tent with superb durability at a low weight, this might just be the one for you. Get saving.
Pros: very durable
Cons: very expensive
Kerlon 1000 outer tent fabric / 9 mm poles / 3 season design / fly and inner pitched together / single entrance / single porch.