- Has anyone ever suffocated inside a bivi bag?
There’s a bit of scaremongering going on on the Wild Camping Facebook group at the moment.
It’s a closed group, so I won’t bother posting the link, but here’s the text;
SAFETY TIP FOR THOSE OF YOU THAT ARE PLANING ON TRYING BIVY
BAGS UNDER TARPS FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS WINTER
NEVER fully enclose your head in a bivy bag. Don’t matter that it says it’s
breathable. You may find that you die rather that just create condensation.
There have been many deaths from this practice of total enclosure.
A quick look around the internet and you will find documented cases of
deaths caused by total enclosure in bivy bags. The British Army tried to
hush up the fact that they had lost guys some years ago to suffocation in
bivy bags. The USA were quite open about there loses.
If you plan on trying winter in your bivy, just use a nice fleece hat to keep the wind out of your ears and the heat from escaping through your head. It’s also a good idea to take a thin full face balaclava. I use just a fleece hat but have been under tarps for the past eighteen winters so I guess I’ve found what works good for me. So if it’s your first time out I would say take the balaclava and maybe pack in a one man tent in case you find that tarp life is not working for you. The tent will save your weekend from being a wash out and will also serve as a security blanket while you try tarps. You can also use a 2ltr Platy as a hot water bottle if you poor toes are feeling cold. Just let the water go off the boil for five minutes before you half fill the bag.
So stay safe my friends and live to tell the tale and also have a condensation free sleep
I had “a quick look around the internet” as instructed and couldn’t find anything.Posted 4 years ago
It looks like nonsense to me, possibly caused by confusion between CO from a stove, which is deadly in a confined space, and CO2 from breathing, which is not inside a breathable bivi bag.trail_ratMember
Nope i have not- how ever i dont do it cause im cold or its rainng but rather keep the midges off and out.
If there is one thing that the scottish referendum has taught me – facebook is a conspiriousy theorists most powerful tool – the idiotic masses will believe anything written on there.Posted 4 years agoTooTallMember
It looks like nonsense to me
Why? The hyperbole might be nonsense but the basic premise makes sense. Having your head in a confined space (that is probably made from a waterproof material) without enough ventilation will probably make you dead. The original ‘bivi bag’ was a great big orange plastic bag and I was certainly taught not to put my head in it and that seemed reasonable.Posted 4 years agopedalheadSubscriber
Bivy bag with bug netting at the head area is the best solution imho. Bring a tarp if it’s going to rain. Having had bivies made of various materials, it seems totally feasible that someone could suffocate in many fully enclosed bivy bags…I mean, most of those fabrics aren’t *that* breathable.Posted 4 years agomolgripsSubscriber
CO is a killer because it replaces oxygen in the blood, and your body doesn’t know this is happening. So you can die in your sleep without waking up.
However your cardiovascular system is well used to sensing too much CO2 in your blood – that’s why it steps up breathing when you exercise – and it’ll make you feel breathless and wake you up with feelings of suffocation and panic, probably.Posted 4 years agomattsccmMember
Depends on the bag surely?Posted 4 years ago
I have zipped up mine several times overnight. It’s a bit stuffy but I think I survived.
Mine is an elderly full Goretex one from the days before cost cutting resulted in the base being something like PU. Something less “breathable” ( I hate that phrase) may not be so good for you.
Snowdon Mouldings in about 1985 and its still going strong.MidlandTrailquestsGrahamMember
To summarise my argument on the Facebook group;
Why don’t the manufacturers put a warning on the bags?
Why are there no media reports of it ever happening?
Look at all the warnings of death or serious injury if you don’t fit or use it correctly that come with any new bicycle component.
Look at all the media reports of CO poisoning from using stoves in confined spaces.
It just doesn’t add up.Posted 4 years ago
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