Imagine this: You set out on a picture-perfect day for the Colorado backcountry with the idea of making a fast and light ascent on a 14er. Everything is going according to plan, and you top out right on schedule, just as dark clouds begin to form on the horizon. Quickly it becomes clear that bad weather is quickly moving in your position, so ou kick it into high gear in an effort to get down off the mountain ahead of the storm. But before you know it, the temperature has dropped dramatically, the wind is blowing hard, and the sky has opened up and started dumping heavy snow on the trail. Suddenly you find yourself in an emergency situation, and begin to wonder if you have the right gear to bivouac on the mountain for the night.
While that scenario probably sounds a bit extreme, that is the kind of situation that anyone of us might find ourselves dealing with during our outdoor adventures. Hopefully if you do ever find yourself stranded in the backcountry you will indeed have the equipment necessary to help survive a night outdoors in poor weather conditions. Thankfully there are a number of brands that make gear just for those circumstances. Take SOL (Survive Outdoors Longer) for instance. The company specialize in offering lightweight, innovative, and highly useful gear that is specifically made to help us get through just such an emergency.
In addition to offering survival kits, fire-starting tools, and signaling devices, SOL also makes a line of emergency shelters too. Those products are designed to keep us warm and dry when we unexpectedly find ourselves caught out in the elements. The latest edition to that that line-up is the new Escape Pro Bivvy, which reportedly offers a high level of performance in a lightweight package that was made with backpackers and mountaineers in mind.
This new bivvy sack is the evolution of all of the research and development that SOL has put into its previous emergency shelters. Made from a fabric called “Sympatex Reflexion,” the Escape Pro is lightweight (just 8 oz.) and very compact, yet highly efficient as well. The company claims that it reflects 90% of your body heat back at you, allowing you to stay much warmer when cold conditions set in. The material is also reportedly highly breathable too, allowing moisture to escape so things don’t get wet and clammy inside. On top of that, the fabrics are wind and waterproof as well, which should extend the bag’s comfort levels when conditions get nasty.
Because it is so small and light, it is incredibly easy to toss the Escape Pro into your backpack for those “just in case” situations. But, if you are planning an extended excursion, the bivvy has a few extra uses that make it an even more versatile piece of gear. For instance, it can be used in conjunction with your sleeping bag to add 15 degrees to its warmth rating or better yet, it can be used entirely on its own as an ultralight sleeping solution when temperatures climb above 50ºF.
While the Escape Pro Bivvy does offer a high level of performance in a tiny package, it doesn’t come cheap. Priced at $125, it is substantially more expensive than the other emergency shelters in the SOL catalog, which start at just $17. Still, this isn’t your usual bivvy and it’s not designed for the average outdoor enthusiast. Instead, it is squarely aimed at mountaineers, long distance backpackers, and those of us who find themselves frequently battling Mother Nature while far from the comforts of home. If you fit that discription, chances are this is the shelter that you want to carry in your pack.
Find out more at surviveoutdoorslonger.com.