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Black Diamond Bipod Review

The BD Bipod is a functional all-season bivy with a few frustrating details
Black Diamond Bipod
Credit: Black Diamond
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Price:  $350 List | $349.95 at Backcountry
Pros:  Durable, weather-resistant, warm
Cons:  Strange venting system, heavy, not free-standing when unzipped
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
By Brian Martin ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 8, 2021
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56
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 9
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 8.0
  • Weight - 25% 4.0
  • Comfort - 20% 6.0
  • Ventilation - 15% 7.0
  • Packed Size - 15% 2.0

Our Verdict

When the clouds were building, and it was time to hunker down, we felt secure and protected from the elements in the Black Diamond Bipod bivy. It wasn't the most weather resistant, but it was a worthy adversary for raging wind, rain, and snow. Our main frustration with the BD Bipod was the door opening and closing system. It wasn't freestanding, even with the pole installed. It would flop open with the pole laying flush on the ground. We also disliked that it had to be opened entirely, waterproof shell and screen, to install the pole. This meant that when the storms were already raging, we had to open our bivy and allow the elements in while we set it up.

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Price $350 List
$349.95 at Backcountry
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Durable, weather-resistant, warmLightweight, weatherproof, roomy, ease of use, bug screenLightweight, versatile, stows easily, price is rightExtremely lightweight, packableLight, durable, warm, affordable
Cons Strange venting system, heavy, not free-standing when unzippedStuff sack too largeLeaky zippersExpensive, no zipperNot waterproof, tight fit for taller individuals
Bottom Line The BD Bipod is a functional all-season bivy with a few frustrating detailsThis very well may be the new standard in what we expect from a top-notch bivy sackThis model boasts an enticing weight, comfort, and versatility ratioAn effective and lightweight bivy that far outperforms other emergency or minimalist sheltersThe Escape is an excellent lightweight choice for cold dry climates or emergency situations
Rating Categories Black Diamond Bipod Outdoor Research He... Sierra Designs Back... MSR Pro Bivy SOL Escape Bivvy
Weather Resistance (25%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
3.0
Weight (25%)
4.0
6.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
Comfort (20%)
6.0
9.0
7.0
5.0
4.0
Ventilation (15%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
4.0
Packed Size (15%)
2.0
7.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
Specs Black Diamond Bipod Outdoor Research He... Sierra Designs Back... MSR Pro Bivy SOL Escape Bivvy
Measured Weight (oz.) 28.3 oz 16.3 oz 13.6 oz 8.9 oz 8.4 oz
Packed Size (in.) 6" x 15" 4" x 12.5" 3" x 9.5" 8" x 3.5" 4" x 7.5"
Waterproof? Yes Yes Yes Yes Water-resistant fabric with waterproof seams
Open Length (in.) 92" 82" 80" 88" 84"
Shoulder Width (in.) 30" 26" 36" 36" 31"
Material (top/bottom) ToddTex Top: Pertex Shield 2.5L 100% nylon Bottom: 100% 40D nylon Top: 20D Nylon Ripstop
Bottom: 30D Nylon Ripstop
20D ripstop nylon 2 ply breathable 1000mm Metalized Spun-bonded Olefin
Bug Mesh? Yes Yes Yes No No
Sleeping Bag or Pad Attachments? No Yes No No No
Poles? Yes, Easton 7075 T9 aluminum Yes, one overhead shockcorded Delrin pole No No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Black Diamond Bipod bivy has many noteworthy features. While we didn't find it to be the easiest to pitch or best design for weather protection, it did a pretty good job overall. While it has good weather protection once deployed, it was difficult to set up in a storm without getting moisture inside. Along the same design issue lines, we didn't like that to get the maximum space and usability, the bivy needed to be staked out. Our philosophy is that when taking a bivy sack, we put ourselves in an environment where staking out might not be possible, and we expect our gear to work well regardless.

One of our most significant concerns with this design is that you have to have the inner sanctum of the bivy open and exposed to insert the single pole. This causes two problems. The first is exposing the inside to the elements if you are pitching in a storm, and secondly, the pole fit is exceptionally tight. Because the pole is held in with tension, this process is challenging when wearing gloves. These may seem like nitpicky details, but when thinking about the difficulty of setup, along with the challenge to keep the inside dry under any circumstances, we must be ruthless.

Performance Comparison


Black Diamond Bipod bivy sack - the bd bipod was all around solid with a few annoying details.
The BD Bipod was all around solid with a few annoying details.
Credit: Brian Martin

Weather Resistance


Once the Bipod was deployed, we felt safe and sound inside. There was ample space to store extra gear at the head and foot to keep everything out of the elements. The taped seams functioned fantastically, keeping water from creeping through joints and seams between the floor and ceiling of the bivy. On the negative side, the entrance of the bivy requires you to open the top and side of the bivy. This causes problems if you're setting the bivy up during a storm or have to get in and out for any reason.

Black Diamond Bipod bivy sack - when fully zipped, the bd bipod was well suited to protect against...
When fully zipped, the BD Bipod was well suited to protect against wind, raind, and snow.
Credit: Brian Martin

Weight


Weighing in for the fight at 28.3 ounces, this isn't exactly a boat anchor; it was, however, among the heaviest bivy in our review. For these reasons, we had to bump the BD Bipod down a peg or two.

Comfort


The BD Bipod bivy had ample space inside to accommodate a person and a fair amount of gear. We even had space to read inside the bivy as a storm raged on outside. As one of the bivies in our test that had poles to keep the bivy lofted above the user, it has a huge advantage over the rest of the field as far as comfort.

The extra room to maneuver/toss and turn was appreciated after being crammed in some of the ultralight bivies. The BD Bipod earns high marks for comfort compared to the rest of the field.

Black Diamond Bipod bivy sack - despite the annoyances, the bd bipod is functional and comfortable.
Despite the annoyances, the BD Bipod is functional and comfortable.
Credit: Brian Martin

Ventilation


Once inside the BD Bipod we found comfort in a variety of temperatures. The massive zippered screen allowed us to dial in the temperature and ventilation. Not only did the massive screen help us dial in the ventilation, but the "ToddTex" material did a decent job keeping us dry when the bivy shell was sealed shut, even in frigid climates, when condensation can be extreme. Ventilating was an issue during rain and snowstorms, however. The screen is on top of the bivy, allowing water in if you unzip during storms; this was a bit of a frustration.

Black Diamond Bipod bivy sack - with a storm on the way, we wished the bd bipod bivy had a way to...
With a storm on the way, we wished the BD Bipod bivy had a way to vent heat and moisture without leaving you exposed to the elements. Because there wasn't an effective way to unzip and allow more venting, waiting out storms could be downright uncomfortable.
Credit: Brian Martin

Packability


The BD Bipod is one of the largest packed bivies we tested. While it isn't so big you can't pack it along on your next adventure; it is quite large compared to similarly performing bivies. Overall it wasn't too excessive, but it is getting close to the size of the Black Diamond Firstlight Tent, which is a two-person four-season tent.

Black Diamond Bipod bivy sack - the bd bipod and the tennier woodland were by far the largest packed...
The BD Bipod and the Tennier Woodland were by far the largest packed bivys we tested. It's about the size of a duraflame fire-starting log.
Credit: Brian Martin

Value


This bag is pricey. With other options on the market for much less, it is incredibly hard to justify the value of the BD Bipod. At half its price, the Bipod might be a bit more competitive.

Conclusion


After extensive testing, hiking, skiing, weathering snow, and rainstorms, the Black Diamond Bipod offered decent performance and proved itself to be quite durable. Ultimately, if the price were a bit lower, we would recommend this to a friend venturing out on a backpacking trip in a stable climate.

Brian Martin

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