Life Bivy – Go Time Gear Review
People often underestimate the dangers of hypothermia. Hundreds of people succumb to hypothermia in the USA each year. Not only that, but hypothermia can negatively impact trauma patients – victims of car accidents, gunshot wounds, or stabbings (as hypothermia can impede the blood’s ability to clot).
The Life Bivy certainly has a market (hypothermia), but does it deliver? Let’s discuss Life Bivy’s specs, benefits, and drawbacks.
Who Is The Life Bivy For?
Let’s start by discussing who should consider picking up the Life Bivy. The Life Bivy is concerned with one thing: preventing you from freezing. With that said, the Life Bivy has some attributes that fit certain people and specific situations.
Who should consider the Life Bivy:
- Travelers (by car or air)
- Skiers and Snowboarders
- Sailors/Fishermen/Ice fishers
- Those who want to be prepared
Now that we know who this is for, let’s look at what you get when you buy the Life Bivy.
What’s In The Box?
The Life Bivy is an emergency blanket (bivy sack) with a few upgraded features. Let’s talk about what you get in the box when you buy this emergency bivy sack from Go Time Gear.
Life Bivy Components:
- Comes in a cardboard box: no real use here, but nice if you want to store several Life Bivys.
- Nylon stuff sack with paracord drawstring: This is a nice portable bag with a bit of extra room.
- Emergency whistle: this whistle is attached to the drawstring. It’s small and made of plastic but makes a reasonable amount of sound (120 decibels reported).
- The bivy sack: The bivy itself is rolled and stuffed inside the pouch. It fills up the bag, but there is still a little room left.
And that’s the contents of the packaging. Now let’s talk about some of the features of the Life Bivy and their benefits.
Features & Functions
Before we talk about the benefits, let’s talk about some of the intended features of the life bivy.
Features Of The Life Bivy:
- Several color choices: you can buy the Life Bivy in orange, yellow, grey, or green.
- Mylar material: When you handle it, it feels similar to a trash bag and has the same relatively quiet sound.
- Two tones: The outside is your color of choice, and the inside is a foil color.
- Taped edges: This bivy sack is taped on three sides, creating a proper bivy sack.
- The bottom corners have vents: The bottom of the bivy sack is taped, but the corners are open. This may reduce condensation.
- The paracord is about 20 inches long (nine-strand): They also state that it can be used as kindling for a fire. I started the end of mine on fire and can confirm that this paracord catches and holds a flame (I wouldn’t recommend you try this!).
- Bag dimensions are 84 by 34 inches: It will certainly be big enough for just about anyone.
- Temperature rating: on Amazon, they list 14 degrees (without specifying C or F)
- Will Reflect 90% of body heat: That’s the rating when used optimally.
- Weighs 4.1 OZ: Very light. It packs down to about the size of a can of soda.
- Single person: It’s made for one person, but after some testing, I can confirm that, in an emergency, two medium-sized adults could fit in the bivy for a limited amount of time.
- Price: about $20.
Those are the main stats. With everything you’re getting, the Life Bivy would make a solid addition to any med kit.
Now, let’s get into what I liked about the Life Bivy and what I wasn’t so sure about.
Life Bivy Pros
I’ll start by talking about what I like about the Life Bivy, and then I’ll discuss the features I’m unsure about.
Things I like about the Life Bivy:
- Its serious approach to hypothermia care
- Its packaging and presentation
- It will do the job
Let’s look at these closer.
Life Bivy VS Cold Emergencies
The Life Bivy is a technology that takes the dangers of cold emergencies seriously. It’s easy for people to overlook the risks of cold weather. If you lose power for an extended period, there’s always the risk of hypothermia.
Or, if you’re driving on the expressway in the winter, and there’s a multi-car pile-up, you could be stuck in your vehicle for quite a while. These situations could happen to anyone, while hunters, backpackers, or skiers undertake these risks even more frequently.
Packaging & Presentation
I like that they give you the little drawstring pouch. If you want, you can roll this bivy sack back up and repackage it (though it really isn’t a true multi-use bivy, as it will tear relatively easily).
Also, it helps you remember that the pouch is there, and the nylon will protect the bivy sack during storage. The whistle isn’t particularly robust, but it’s a nice little feature that does the job.
Will It Do The Job?
Will the Life Bivy perform well in an emergency? I believe it will. The principle of the Life Bivy is sound, and it delivers as an emergency bivy sack. With that said, as I tested the Life Bivy, some characteristics gave me pause.
Let’s talk about those in more detail.
Life Bivy Cons
When discussing a product’s benefits or drawbacks, we must acknowledge that many opinions are just that: opinions. Still, you should keep several things in mind before buying the Life Bivy.
- Its durability is on par with less expensive emergency blankets
- The price is relatively high for what you get
- The Life Bivy concept makes less sense for a first responder
Now let’s go over these drawbacks in a little more depth.
Durability: Is It On Par With Regular Emergency Blankets?
The lack of exceptional durability stood out to me, as one of the marketing points for the Life Bivy is that it is somehow “tougher” than other “cheap” emergency blankets.
I tested the Life Bivy against an Ozark Trail emergency blanket (the $2 ones from Walmart), attempting to tear each of them. There was no difference in durability – if anything, the Ozark Trail emergency blanket was a bit more tear resistant.
Expect the Life Bivy to be just as durable as an average garbage bag – that was my experience (and probably less durable than a tough garbage bag). It’s decently sturdy, but it’s relatively easy to puncture and tear. While it’s advertised as “tear resistant,” I found it no sturdier than a typical trash bag.
What About Pricing?
Yes, you get a nice little whistle and a nylon pouch, but you don’t get much more than that other than the bivy sack. And the whole shebang costs about $20. If you buy in bulk, you can probably get 15 regular emergency blankets for that price, and they’ll likely perform at about the same level.
The Life Bivy is a nice little package if you have the cash. But if you don’t have the money, there may be some merit in buying a bunch of regular emergency blankets and storing them everywhere.
An Extra Step For Emergency Responders
Using it as a paramedic, it would be difficult for me to use the Life Bivy on a patient. Why? Because the Life Bivy requires you to get inside it (like a sleeping bag without a zipper), an unconscious or weak patient will struggle with that. To use it, I’d have to cut it in half or tuck it around the patient without exposing the reflective side.
It could work but would require more steps than an inexpensive, regular emergency blanket.
Should You Buy The Life Bivy?
Overall, the Life Bivy is a nifty piece of gear. While I think it leaves something to be desired in the durability department, it will keep you warm. If you value the rescue whistle and enjoy the clever packaging, I’d say it’s worth grabbing a few of these and storing them in your vehicle, backpack, and first aid kit.
The most important thing about the Life Bivy: it helps raise awareness of the real dangers of hypothermia. Never underestimate the cold! Keep emergency blankets everywhere you might possibly need them and learn to recognize and treat hypothermia.
My overall rating of the Go Time Gear Life Bivy: 4/5
If you like staying prepared, check out this review of the book: Choose Adventure, Safe Travels in Dangerous Places. This book will give you all sorts of real-life tips on staying safe during world travel.
Guest writer Gideon Zielinski is a nationally registered paramedic.