The X-Tour Protector Bivy Tent is one of the best bivy tents or sacks out there, even though it is not cheap. But if you want a bivy tent that sets up in a jiffy right in time for the night, then the Protector is a great solution for camouflaged sleep in the outdoors!
|Shoulder Width||104 cm|
|Footend Width||75 cm|
|Shell Fabric||35 x 12 cm|
The Protector is the civilian variant, while the Observer is the military version, which also costs significantly more. The differences in the Observer are that, the bottom is also made of Gore -Tex, and the material is anti- IR coated.
The Protector is very solidly built and will last for years. Actually, it is more than a bivouac bag; the manufacturer describes it as a bivouac tent. It is larger than a bivy bag, but importantly, who suffers from claustrophobia should rather buy a tent.
I took this bivy on many trips over the year that I owned it and must confess I’m still impressed by it. The weather conditions varied from rainy to sunny, from snow to sweltering heat; from 20 to 86 ° F (-7 to 30 ° C), it was all there. Generally, I am someone who enjoys winter camped and for the very first time I tested the bivy in the woods on New Year’s Eve of 2012/13.
In my travels (I’m much more into hitchhiking), having a bivy sack helps in that if I have no more desire to hitchhike and want to end my day, I can set it up and have an unconspicuous place to rest in almost no time. On the other hand, in a tent you will be discovered more quickly, it is not set up as quickly, and also one must first find or prepare a suitable place where to set it and that’s never been a problem with the bivy. It was always nice and warm and cozy and you feel well cared, whether in the snow on the mountain, in the woods or elsewhere.
You can use the bivouac sack with or without tent poles. To pull the tent poles, one takes not more than a minute, and the “bivy sack” becomes a “bivy tent”.
The setting up is extremely simple: assemble the two aluminum poles, push them through the two channels, stick them down in the eyes, done. Anyone who wants can secure it with fasteners (not supplied and in my opinion not necessary). On the bottom there are several loops, through which you can insert a large sleeping pad. I recommend a 50-cm mat that fits perfectly and will guard you from being exposed to moisture. Or better, get a piece of tarpaulin from the hardware store and use as a base, it does not cost nor weigh much. I ended up using a Thermarest inside the bag. The whole setting up takes maybe a minute or two. In the dark you need maybe three minutes because one only needs to find the openings to the channels for the rods. This is really easy to do in mild weather; when it is so cold you can’t feel your fingers, it can be a problem, especially if you set up with no light (which I always avoid). In light, there is of course no problem.
The included bag is of high quality and durable, just like the entire product. After use, it can be rolled back without problems to the size of its holding bag.
The inside is spacious enough at the head end to hold the clothes of the day, and at the feet end there’s enough room for the shoes. For a large backpack, it is probably too tight, a medium-sized one (~ 40-50 liters) will fit in well. As for the room you get to move inside, with a little skill you can put on and take off a zipper sweater. It would be difficult to pull on a pair of pants, but a slimmer person could pull that feat off.
The bivy tent is very suitable to stay inconspicuous in nature, due to its olive color, and also the shape is very inconspicuous without many distinct lines and disappears in the dark very well. But beware: the material is not quite light-tight, so you should not play with a flashlight or cell phone inside, if you really do not want to be discovered. In addition, because of the two pole sections, you don’t quite get the inconspicuousness of a “true” bivouac sack. It remains a compromise, but in my opinion a really acceptable one, for increased comfort.
When you close all zippers, the material repels wind and rain wonderfully. It is tight, but you can tell that the air exchange works. It does not get stuffy in there, you can breathe well. At the feet end there occurs some condensation, but not to an extent that would create puddles. The sleeping bag becomes slightly damp on the surface, but not more than that.
If it gets stuffy or warm, you can open a zipper at the top entrance and also in the middle so that crossventilation happens. If you lie on your back, which also has the nice advantage that you have a clear view of the stars and the environment. Thanks to the insect net, no mosquito or bug comes in to visit and you can leave the entrance open if you want. Even in light rain, thanks to the generous overhanging flaps, there’s no reason to close all the zippers tightly. Only when it rains more heavily, you have to close the front zipper. If all the zippers are pulled, it can pour down and you’ll be dry inside.
That arises the problem of how to get out without getting wet the next morning. If it stopped raining, you can simply lift your legs, shake vigorously, and all the drops that were on the tent would run down the sides. Alternatively, if it is still raining hard and you want to get up, you can climb through the headboard, which is inconvenient and cumbersome, but definitely goes.
I use the bivouac tent for occasional single nights on meadows and the like, for which it is well suited. It has a wonderful view of the stars and the environment, protects you from rain, wind and snow, and is unobtrusive enough to not draw attention to itself; especially at night, it almost disappears.
For a longer tour or more rainy days I would prefer a real tent. But for those like me who like to stay away from campsites at times and do not want to be seen from afar, the X-Tour Protector bivy tent is the best option possible.
Read also my reviews on the top bivy sacks/tents of the moment.