Kit review: Rab Sierra bivi bag
The G-Force went climbing in the Alps with his pal Young Scott and took with him a Rab Sierra bivi bag. (YS also had a Rab Sierra bag!) This is what the G-Force thought about the bag:
The G-Force writes: Lying on a fairly wide ledge (but it’s still a ledge!) some 2900 metres up the Frendo Spur climbing route on the Aguille du Midi I wonder what on earth I am doing. The altitude and exposure is scary and I can’t quite understand why I thought this climb in the French Alps would be fun. But I am here now, with my climbing pal Young Scott, and at least I am comfortable. I have chosen to include in my climbing kit, the Rab Sierra bivi bag and it is this item (along with the ropes!) that I am most grateful for while sleeping overnight on an Alpine climbing route.
This is my first Alpine trip so I have never climbed a route that has lasted more than a day. This meant I needed a good quality bivi bag, which would keep me warm and dry while sleeping at altitude.
I had heard good things about the Rab bivi bags and the Sierra ticked the right boxes, including ease of access, weight and waterproof/breathability.
What I like about the Rab Sierra bivi bag
The Rab Sierra bivi bag is unusual because it has both a vertical and horizontal access zip. The horizontal zip is at head height. All in all, these zips allow you to get into the bag and move around while in the bag with greater ease than other bags. I found I could get my hands out of the bag without difficulty and without the need to pull the bag down to my waist. This is very useful if you want to stay warm while adjusting ropes or stay in the bag while eating or making a cup of tea (and especially when you’re positioned on a narrow ledge hundreds of metres up an Alpine climb!).
The Rab Sierra bivi bag is made from a three-layer Event fabric with reinforced bottom. Young Scott and I slept on rock and gravel on the Frendo Spur route so I can vouch for the bivvy bag’s durability. I was also very impressed with the breathability factor. I have not always had the best of luck with breathable membranes because I sweat a lot while walking. On many occasions I have wondered why I even bother with a waterproof walking jacket because the sweat inside leaves me so cold and wet. But the Rab Sierra bivi bag showed no such issues. The bag stayed completely dry with no condensation issues and at temperatures of -3 in cloudy conditions.
All in, this Rab Sierra bivi bag did everything I expected and performed better than I’d imagined it would. And having a good night’s sleep (all things considered, I did get some sleep at the half way overnight spot) meant that Young Scott and I went on to complete our first multi-day Alpine climb.