Alpkit Hunka Bivvy Bag review

Review: Alpkit Hunka Bivvy Bag

Super simple but highly effective. A no-frills, great value bivvy bag that will see you through a lifetime of dry and cosy wilderness sleeps.

The Alpkit Hunka bivvy bag is small and light enough to use as an emergency bivvy bag. But where it really shines is on fast and light missions into the wild. The type of adventure where taking a tent is unnecessary and inappropriate, but going totally unprotected will leave you damp and cold for the duration of your trip. The Hunka is easy to use and offers excellent protection from the elements at a very reasonable price point.

Alpkit Hunka bivvy bag: The stats

Size:215cm long x 80cm wide at the shoulders
Weight:330g
Packed size:40cm circumference
Material:Ripstop nylon
Colour:Kelp

Design features of the Alpkit Hunka bivvy bag

Stuff sack

Hunka stuff pocketThe footbox of the Hunka features a mesh pocket to store the bivvy bag in when not in use. This integrated stuff sack makes using the Hunka so easy, especially when you need to pack up quickly – there’s no searching around for where you put the stuff sack in the darkness of the night before. The Hunka fits into the ‘stuff sack’ pocket really easily without any precision rolling or folding to get it in. And its drawstring pulls it all together nicely.

Weight and size

Size of Hunka bivvy bagAt only 360g the Hunka is a super lightweight solution to wild camping protection. It packs down to around the size of a Nalgene bottle and disappears into your backpack with ease. Even when I carry a tarp in rainy conditions, the combo of the two is still much lighter than even the most lightweight backpacking tent, and is much more versatile for on the fly camping.

Drawcord

Bivvy bag hood with drawcordTo keep the Hunka as light as possible, the only way to get inside is through the top. Once you’re in, the lightweight drawcord system cinches in around the hood to create a mummy-like cocoon around your head. If there’s even a slight breeze, I like to pull the cord right in leaving only a tiny gap for air, with usually just my nose poking out! But the drawcord allows you to alter the fit according to your preference and the conditions.

Weatherproof

Water on bivvy bagThe Hunka has a hydrostatic head (HH) rating of 10,000mm and is also highly breathable keeping condensation at a minimum. And although a Gore-tex lining would up the waterproofness and breathability somewhat, it’s omission is only really noticeable from a cost point of view, saving you a whole load of pennies. The durable and tough ripstop nylon also keeps out the chilly wind ensuring a cosy and draftless sleep every night.

Colour

Camo bivvy bag in the wildI so wanted to go for the vibrant Chilli or Lego colours, but my practical side kicked in and I opted for the oh-so-sensible Kelp flavour instead. As much as it’s one of my least favourite colours, it helps me disappear when I’m sleeping in places where I might not be totally welcome if I were to be spied. And I haven’t regretted the colour choice once. If stealth camping isn’t your thing, then opting for the happier colours saves you 30g compared with the Kelp.

Alpkit Hunka bivvy bag review

I got the Hunka for my birthday a few years ago. Having a December birthday and an obsession for the outdoors, means I don’t get to reap the benefits of many of my gifts until months later. So I was determined not to wait until summer until I busted out the Hunka. It’s first outing was on a frosty night in late February that same winter. Having only really ever slept out under the stars on perfect summer nights, the Hunka suddenly opened up a whole new way of getting out for the night, and not just for fair weather wild camping.

I crashed out on a hilltop heath not far from a public footpath. A footpath that was busier than anticipated at 7am in the morning. Who knows who had been walking past whilst I was still snoozing! But it didn’t matter as the Kelp colour kept me totally camouflaged and out of sight from unsuspecting passers-by.

Since its first use, I have now opted not to put my sleeping mat inside the Hunka. I sleep pretty cold and so my mega lofty sleeping bag leaves little room for anything else inside the bivvy bag. Add in a sleeping mat and all that lovely lofty down gets compressed too much to be effective, causing lots of chilly spots especially around my feet and hips. Alpkit recommends opting for the XL if you prefer to sleep with your mat inside the Hunka.

Now I sleep with only my sleeping bag inside the Hunka and it’s a much more agreeable set up for me. The Hunka acts like an outer shell to my down sleeping bag ‘jacket’, if you like. And as a nighttime wriggler, this arrangement means that wherever I go, the Hunka comes with me. Sure, it does mean that I can end up rolling off my sleeping mat sometimes, but that can happen when I’m just in my sleeping bag.
Sleeping on the beach in the Alpkit Hunka

Having slept out a few times on beach or riverside locations during the summer, the Hunka’s ability to deal with condensation and dew has really been put to the test. In deep riverside valleys, the morning dew can be so heavy that I’ve often questioned whether it actually rained in the night or not. The Hunka deals with that level of moisture with no problem at all. And although some levels of condensation are inevitable during the summer, it’s never anything that 10 minutes drying out in the morning sun can’t deal with.

Things I really love about the Alpkit Hunka bivvy bag

Aside from the new way of sleeping easy in the wild that the Hunka facilitates, I love how light and small it is. It stuffs into the side pocket of my backpack with ease, or can just be hooked onto the back if there’s no room inside. And for all that lightweight compactness, it provides protection from the elements that keeps me feeling warm and safe every time I use it.

Things I don’t love so much about the Alpkit Hunka bivvy bag

My only gripe is the functionality of the draw cord which can be a little awkward sometimes. It seems like it has been overcomplicated slightly to enable a more customised fit. I find that I can get set up pretty well before bed and create a cosy cocoon around my head with a hole just big enough to breath in and out of. But in the morning when I have heat panic and want out, I would prefer a single drawcord (instead of two), to release me from the tangled mess that the drawstrings seemed to have created for themselves overnight! And then I just end up tugging at whatever I can get my hands on in an effort to breath fresh air again as quickly as possible!

Verdict

You’ll find bags that are better at dealing with condensation than the Hunka, but you’ll pay for it both in weight and cost. So if it’s a mega solid and highly reliable lightweight bivvy bag that you are looking for, that is both great quality and good value, then I would highly recommend choosing the Alpkit Hunka every time.

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