Hands-on Gear Review

Survival Frog TACT Bivvy Review

Price:  $20 List | $16.93 at Amazon
Pros:  Weight, packed size
Cons:  Durability, no zipper/cinch
Bottom line:  The TACT is an ultra lightweight reusable emergency bivy best suited for very occasional use.
Editors' Rating:   
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Measured Weight (oz.):  4.55
Packed Size (in.):  2" x 4.5"
Waterproof?:  Yes
Manufacturer:   Survival Frog

Our Verdict

Throughout the testing process, we had mixed feelings about the Survival Frog TACT. On one hand, it's insanely lightweight; on the other, many facets were sacrificed to achieve this featherweight piece of gear. There wasn't even another bivy in the review close enough in attributes to compare to the Frog TACT. In reality, this bivy was more like a mylar emergency blanket than a bivy. In the end, we decided this piece could become useful for adventures when you don't plan to bivy, but there is a chance one could be injured, or have to spend an emergency night out.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Brian Martin

Last Updated:
Wednesday
March 28, 2018

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The Frog TACT bivy to be a refined, useful emergency blanket. When emergency blankets are challenging to use, refold, and cover your entire body, the Frog TACT has been cut and taped into the shape of a bivy sack. There are many redeeming features of this bivy but shouldn't be considered equals to other emergency bivies such as the SOL Escape Bivy as the SOL is durable enough to be considered reusable. The Frog TACT has the potential to be destroyed from just one use, depending on the environment.

Performance Comparison



Weather Resistance


When it came to precipitation, the Frog Tact did a pretty good job of keeping us dry. The material itself, a reflective polyester film, was indeed waterproof. The only times we felt that precipitation was making it inside the bag is when we would wake to the entrance/exit opening flapping in the wind. There wasn't a way to secure it or cinch it closed except for just rolling it up. Maybe bring some chip clips to keep the Doritos bag sealed? When compared to the other ultralight emergency bivy we tested, the SOL Escape, we did find the Frog Tact to be a bit more water-tight, but with some big drawbacks.

On the off chance you're stranded on a long run or happen across an injured party  you won't be disappointed you brought the Tact along. It provides a significant layer of warmth and shelter from wind and rain.
On the off chance you're stranded on a long run or happen across an injured party, you won't be disappointed you brought the Tact along. It provides a significant layer of warmth and shelter from wind and rain.

While the SOL Escape didn't completely close, it was much easier to manage when the wind kicked up and a storm was brewing. It was also much quieter than the Frog Tact.

Ventilation


While it must be said that the ventilation and breathability of all models we tested left something to be desired, the Frog Tact was especially uncomfortable in this aspect. While the polyester film that comprises the shell was sufficiently waterproof, it didn't allow for water vapor to pass from inside the bivy out. This left us damp from condensation and ultimately feeling very uncomfortable.

Comfort


If you're looking for a night of plush comfort and relaxation, check out the Outdoor Research Alpine. Compared to the Frog Tact, you will feel as if nothing could touch you. The Frog Tact is for the intrepid few. It collected more condensation than any other model, it didn't have a closure system, and it was very loud and crinkly in high wind. All of these things cut into our night of sleep. There is no hiding the fact that this is an extreme minimalist bivy, but that it is better than not having anything at all. It kept the rain off our back, and while it made a fair amount of noise in the wind and rain, it was a sufficient shield from the elements.

Weight


This was absolutely the lightest bivy we tested. The creators of this bag seem to want a bivy that was made to be the lightest it could be with nothing added extra. It is as simple as they come at 128 grams or 0.28 pounds. What do you get for that minuscule weight? It comes with a durable stuff sack and a plain polyester film bivy. There is no closure system such as a zipper or drawstring, and frankly, the material isn't durable enough to necessitate any of those extras.

The Tact snagged on a fallen branch and ripped within the first several uses. The bivy isn't as fragile as an emergency blanket  but it isn't designed for prolonged use.
The Tact snagged on a fallen branch and ripped within the first several uses. The bivy isn't as fragile as an emergency blanket, but it isn't designed for prolonged use.

In all likelihood, you will tear/poke holes through this bivy within the first few nights you use it. We had durability issues on the first night we used the bag as a tiny sharp twig poked a hole in the bottom. If you want this bivy to last, we would suggest using some sort of ground cloth, which that would add to the weight of your entire sleeping system.

This was the lightest bivy in the field by far. It is a bit of a stretch to compare it to real bivys however.
This was the lightest bivy in the field by far. It is a bit of a stretch to compare it to real bivys however.

Packed Size


If you remember the miniature 7.5 oz cans of Coke, you have a good idea of the size of this bivy when its rolled and packed in its stuff sack. It is insanely small! We felt that given this item uses much more material than a standard emergency blanket, it's miraculous that it packs down into such a tiny stuff sack. We also liked that it wasn't a chore to stuff it down to size.

The handy size of the Tact lets you bring it along on just about any adventure.
The handy size of the Tact lets you bring it along on just about any adventure.

It folds and rolls up into the stuff pouch with minimal effort. The measured size of the packed bivy was about 2 inches wide by 4.5 inches long. It would even be reasonable to throw this thing in your ultrarunning backpack for trail emergencies and unplanned bivys. You probably won't even remember it's in your pack.


Best Applications


The Tact is best suited for emergency situations. After spending several nights out in this bivy, it became apparent that it isn't made for prolonged use. If you're undertaking a long single day adventure and feel more comfortable having some sort of emergency shelter, the Frog Tact is an excellent choice. In addition to being very waterproof, the bivy weights next to nothing and packs down to the size of half a La Croix can.

The Tact is best suited as an emergency shelter when you have run out of options. Definitely don't rely on this bivy as a trustworthy night after night shelter. It's simply not durable enough.
The Tact is best suited as an emergency shelter when you have run out of options. Definitely don't rely on this bivy as a trustworthy night after night shelter. It's simply not durable enough.

Value


The TACT is by far the cheapest bivy we tested at $20 retail. This seems like a drop in the bucket compared to some of the expedition bivies such as the Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy or the Black Diamond Bivy. While the Frog is quite cheap, consider its durability when you're buying it. If you really only need something to throw in the bottom of your pack for unforeseen circumstances, it is a great value. If you're looking for a bivy to spend night after night in, this bag will fall apart necessitating you to buy several more. Because it won't stand up to the abuse of daily usage, it might be wise to have one bivy for heavy use such as the Sierra Designs Backcountry Bivy and a backup Frog TACT for shorter adventure with the off chance of a bivy.

Given the $20.00 price and relative warmth and protection provided  we feel that this bivy is pretty good value for money.
Given the $20.00 price and relative warmth and protection provided, we feel that this bivy is pretty good value for money.

Conclusion


The Survival Frog TACT to be a great option for shelter and emergency weather protection in a tiny lightweight package. Durability restricts this bivy to very few uses before it starts to show the wear but if you're very careful with it, it could last. While being similar to an emergency blanket, the TACT is more durable and better designed to keep you warm and dry as it is formed into a sleeping bag shape and doesn't require you to hold it wrapped around your body.
Brian Martin

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Most recent review: March 28, 2018
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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3 star: 100%  (1)
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