When people first decide that they want to try their hand at spending a night outdoors in a bivi bag, the Alpkit Hunka is often of the most recommended choice. It’s a brilliant budget option and folds down into its own stuff sack, so it is easy to see why so many people recommend it.
I first bought an Alpkit Hunka after finding that I had not got enough room in my then current Trekmates bivi bag. The Hunka appealed to me because of the budget price tag and the extra room advertised in the form of the XL version.
When I purchased the Hunka the price was £45 (it’s possible that hasn’t changed since) which is an amazing price when you consider the fact that a good bivi bag can replace a tent altogether, saving you perhaps £50 in the process.
The XL version is definitely worth the extra price as it gives you extra space at the bottom of the bag, which can be used to store boots or small rucksacks. I found this feature very useful as I tend to use my bivi bags as a stand alone shelter, without a tarp, meaning that anything left outside the bivi bag was susceptible to get wet throughout the night.
If you can’t choose between buying the normal Hunka or the XL version, I would definitely recommend choosing the XL. The difference in weight and price are absolutely worth the space you receive which helps with feeling less claustrophobic – something especially important for first time bivi users.
The bivi bag itself is made of a laminated nylon and will roll down into a netting stuff sack that is sewn on the bottom of the fabric. The laminated nylon is a cheaper alternative to Gortex and eVent, which are the usual materials that bivi bags are constructed from, but sadly in my experience I have found it is not anywhere near as breathable.
From my own personal experience the breathability of the Hunka bivi bag generally follows these rules:
- Keep your head outside the bag and refrain from breathing into it and you’ll stay reasonably dry.
- Draw the drawcord shut and batten the hatches as the rain pours down outside and you’re going to wake up wet – sleeping bag included.
The first mentioned technique is fine if you are sleeping out on a warm, dry night or if you have a tarp covering your face, but when it isn’t fine weather and you are using the bag as a standalone shelter the first technique isn’t going to sound appealing as the rain lashes down.So purchase with caution. If you are wanting to invest in a bivi bag as a complete tent replacement for all year round use, it is perhaps worth looking for a higher end product such as the Terra Nova Titan Bivi (which is what I now use instead of the Hunka, after picking one up on eBay for a discount price).
If however you plan on using a bivi bag in combination with a tarp, then you should be more than happy with the Hunka. I’ve used it in combination with a tarp and it works perfectly, the only reason I no longer do this is simply due to the extra weight and fuss of bringing and setting up a tarp at the end of a walk.
Overall the Hunka XL bivi bag is a great piece of kit, it has it limitations like everything else, but it does provide an affordable entry to the world of bivi bags for campers all across the UK.*Side note: Using a bivi bag changed my whole approach to camping, and Ronald Turnball details this perfectly in this Book of the Bivvy, which is a very enjoyable read. I bought it myself and have recommended it to many since.
Alpkit Hunka XL on eBay
The Hunka XL can often be found quite cheap on eBay.