It may seem off to see something like a “sleep system” in a gear review. After all, what is that? Shouldn’t it just be bed rolls and/or tents and/or bivouac reviews? Well yes and no. As we will get into, the Zenbivy is much more than just a sleeping bag, or just a mattress. It’s, in my opinion, a sleep system.
Overall, it’s a pretty ingenuous design, easy to set up, comfortable, versatile, and looks pretty neat. We haven’t had the chance to comprehensively field test it yet, but it’s impressive nonetheless.
Now let’s talk specs: first of all, it has an innovative two piece design, but we will address the intricacies of that later. With 50/20denier fabrics combined in one sleep system, the benefits are a super soft sleep surface. Utilizing a Pongee weave, a technique originally designed for silk linens, it also is incredibly warm and astoundingly lightweight. The zippers are of high quality, with strong yet understated stitching all over the bivy. Actually, I need to comment and point out, that even the zippers have a touch of something extra. I mean, just look.
The Zenbivy comes in several sizes, which can accommodate different size camp pads – the auto-inflating types. However, in this authors opinion, you should go with Zenbivy’s mattresses. I opted against it and I regret it, as the fit isn’t great, but that’s not Zenbivy’s fault. It’s only slightly more expensive that buying a cheaper one on Amazon, but so worth it in the end.
Like any bivy-esque sleep system, this one is similar to a mummy bag on the face of it. However, the Zenbivy is much more versatile. It gives you the same insulation quality, roughly the same temp rating (high 20’s F), and about the same weight (2lbs or so overall), but the mummy bag doesn’t have the room, comfort, softness, or two piece design that a Zenbivy does. This sleep system is basically a sleeping bag, blanket, and pillow in one.
And speaking of the pillow – they have an extremely innovating pillow system that stows in a tiny area. A 20d Nylon liner that is modestly padded contains a clear, inflatable “pillow” with a one-way valve. Ten seconds or less and you have a plush, comfy pillow – even if you’re in the forest or on the riverbank.
As you can see in the strip below, you can actually move in this sleep system. Imagine that! If you check out their webiste, they have all types of scientific and geeky reasons to snag one, but just on innovation and comfort alone you should pick one up. What’s more, you can cram one into a 5L stuff sack, and save room in your pack. All you need is a sleep roll and you’re good to go.
Pros, what we like: Plush, compact, innovative, versatile and comfortable. This sleep system allows you to bring the comfort of home to the outdoors in an easy to set up and easy to carry package.
Cons, what we don’t like: Wish there was a model designed for colder temps for use during late Fall/Winter hunts or backpacking adventures.
Alex Castiglione lives in Atlanta, and is an avid outdoorsman and competitive shooter.
Where-abouts include getting after it in his garage gym, practicing martial arts, hitting the trails, or running CrossFit and Strongman competitions for his non-profit which holds fundraiser fitness competitions dedicated to aiding Bully breed rescues, dog rescues, or other non-profits with similar missions.