The problem with bivy sacks and sleeping bag/quilt covers is that they’re often fairly expensive, especially ultralight ones that weigh under 6 ounces, and you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 up to $300 depending on the materials used.
But Terra Rosa Gear (TRG) from Australia has busted that price barrier with a sleeping bag/quilt cover cover made out of a soft grade of Tyvek called 1443r, which is a breathable, waterproof fabric with a very soft hand that feels like silk. It’s amazing stuff and doesn’t feel like house wrap at all.
Weighing, a miserly 5.2 ounces (150 grams), the TRG sleeping bag cover only costs $55 AUD or $57 USD, making it quite affordable. Couple this with the $50 TRG Tyvek Tarp I reviewed last week, and you’ve got the makings of a very functional UL shelter system.
The Terra Rosa Gear sleeping bag / quilt cover is not intended to be a standalone shelter like a bivy sack. It really is just a sleeping bag cover and not a full-on bivy with a mummy hood.
- (72.8 inches) 185 cm in length
- (33.5 inches) 85 cm width at head
- (19.7 inches) 50 cm width at the footbox
- (11.8 inches) 30 cm deep in footbox
Size-wise, the bag is big enough to fit an inflatable sleeping pad and a 20 degree puffy down sleeping bag, without compressing it, and long enough that the top comes up to the top of one’s chest. This is perfectly adequate to prevent rain splatter or splashback from wetting the outside shell of your sleep system if you are sleeping under a tarp, and will even add a few degrees to your sleep system.
The TRG sleeping bag cover has two double stitched seams running down to the footbox, which is constructed separately, and sewn to the top half of the bag. The seams are not taped, but can be seam sealed if you want to make the sleeping bag cover a little more weatherproof. I didn’t do this because I plan to raffle the sleeping bag cover off in the coming weeks, and instead slept on a thin sheet of plastic.
One thing to be aware of, is that the tyvek sleeping bag cover is easily dirtied if it the outside contacts the ground. To clean it, simply wipe it down with a damp cloth or plastic scrubber. There is no need to wash the sleeping bag cover in a washing machine to clean or soften it and I’d recommend you avoid doing this because it may pull the seams apart if they get caught in the agitator.
I’ve slept in the Terra Rosa Gear sleeping bag / quilt cover for 2 nights so far and haven’t experienced any condensation using it, not even trace dampness on the outer shell of my sleeping bag. Although this is inconclusive, I’m inclined to believe that Tyvek is pretty breathable, based on my knowledge of the conditions that I was camping in: cold outside / warm inside. I sometimes experience condensation in other higher end, breathable bivy sacks I own, under similar conditions.
The Terra Rosa Gear sleeping bag cover is an affordable way to minimize the impact of rain splatter in a UL tarp system or to prevent tent condensation from soaking your sleeping bag shell in a double-walled tent. While the bag is not seam taped, it can be seam sealed to provide a better moisture barrier against heavier splash back or ground dampness. For $57, it’s a pretty good value and a good example of how to use alternative, breathable fabrics to construct more affordable ultralight backpacking gear.
For more information, contact Terra Rosa Gear.
Disclosure: Terra Rosa Gear provided Sectionhiker.com with a complementary tarp and sleeping bag cover for this review.
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