I’ve got a ton of camping equipment, but for motorcycle camping I choose the lightest gear that will keep me comfortable. Packing light and packing warm are not mutually exclusive – you just have to find the right gear to make it work. Two inexpensive products from Adventure Medical Kits help me tip the balance of light and small towards warm and comfy.
First up is its Heatsheets Emergency Bivvy, a 36- by 84-inch bivouac sack made of “metalized polypropylene.” You’re probably thinking “space blanket” about now, and rightly so. But Heatsheets are three things that your typical Mylar space blanket aren’t: quiet (vs. crinkly), easy to deploy (vs. annoying) and sack-shaped (vs. flat). Like an emergency space blanket, Heatsheets pack down small and are light – a cylinder-shaped package about 2.5 by 3.5 inches (and 3.8 ounces) that fits in a corner of your gear bag.
Windproof, waterproof and able to reflect 90% of your body heat, Heatsheets are worth carrying just for emergencies, but on a recent adventure ride I trimmed my load by using one to supplement a lightweight sleeping bag. Space blankets will do, but are obnoxiously noisy and difficult to manage. When the midnight chill crept in on this trip, I slipped the lower end of my bag into the Heatsheets sack. An hour later I was too warm and slipped back out, my bag a little damp from condensation. From then on, just laying the Heatsheets over the bag was all it took to keep me comfortable.
Number two in AMK’s arsenal for lightweight warmth is theS.O.L. Thermal Bivvy (Survive Outdoors Longer, not s**t out of luck). Think of it as a deluxe Heatsheets. Constructed from a thicker, non-woven fabric, the S.O.L. Thermal Bivvy and is essentially a very lightweight (6.5 ounces) waterproof and windproof sleeping bag. There’s no zipper, but it does open and close down the side with hook-and-loop. Unrolled dimensions match those of Heatsheets; rolled up it’s roughly 4 by 7 inches. AMK rates the S.O.L. for 50 degrees, and after climbing into it one evening in my back yard, I believe them.
Whether you need emergency or everyday warmth while out on the road, the Heatsheets Emergency Bivvy and S.O.L. Thermal Bivvy will increase your comfort while lightening your load. Heatsheets retail for $16.00; the S.O.L. is $34.00. Find out more atwww.adventuremedicalkits.com.