- Great waterproofing
- Well made
- Recent price hike
- Not very windproof
I bought my Hunka from Alpkit.com for £35 in May 2016 after seeing it recommended on Alastair Humphreys’ website. 360g seemed very appealing for overnighters when compared to my tent at the time which weighed 1.4kg, but it has proven reliable enough to be a fixture of my overnght kit even now I own a 680g tent. If you want to get close to nature, the thin but reliable Hunka is as close as you can get while staying dry.
Alpkit listed the Hunka’s country of origin as China on their website so when I saw the price, even when I took the reviews into account, I expected lacking build quality and materials. As soon as I opened the package I could feel the ripstop nylon was smooth and almost luxurious, all my fears faded and have stayed in hiding as the product has made it through it’s first year not just intact, but like new.
The hems and joints show no sign of weakness on the Hunka, they are mostly stitched twice and have been finished well, I found no loose threads anywhere on mine. Inside, the seams are taped very securely and almost invisibly; I have packed, scrunched and folded my Hunka hundreds of times and they show no sign of budging.
The drawcord and clasp at the opening and on the footbox net feel slightly plasticy and stuck a little to begin with, but now I have worn them in they function smoothly.
Having been rudley woken up by a trickle of cold rainwater in the night previously I can tell you that the main feature to look for in a bivi bag is waterproofing, and on paper the Hunka is no slouch, boasting a 10,000mm hydrostatic head and a “2.5 layer design”. These decent stats come without substantial weight and have kept quite a few showers and many more heavy dews away from the Hunkas warm, dry, precious contents (me).
My 3 season standard length and width Vango sleeping bag fits snugly in the Hunka with just enough fabric left to shield my face from rain. The key to that perfect fit is the tapered profile which seems to have been thought out well and eliminates excess fabric and therefore excess weight.
The slightly grippy inner surface of the Hunka coupled with the tailored style means that your sleeping bag and the Hunka move as one. This secure fit makes maneuvering back on to your sleeping pad in the night much less difficult and minimises the chance that your sleep-fidgeting will lead to a tangle, which means no freezing rain water spilling into your sleeping bag during the night as you sleep. The tight fit will be an issue for bigger people or anyone hoping to use an inflatable sleeping pad and quilt, the Hunka XL which is slightly longer and wider will probably be the better choice there.
The integral stuff sack on the footbox is a fantastic idea but the awkward ball shape formed by stuffing the Hunka into itself is actually inefficient to pack. While ball mode is handy for long term storage, I usually use it as a dry bag for my clothes or tech while I’m hiking.
The British army Gore-Tex bivi bag is the closest real competitor in terms of price, at £30-40 on eBay it’s a steal, but then again at 800g it’s also a bit of a monster. Gore-Tex, while definitely more windproof than the Hunka and probably more resistant to rips and tears definitely won’t pack down as neatly and is a noticeable weight in your backpack.
The bivi bag most frequently recommended to me has been the Snugpak special forces bivi, which looks similar to the Hunka but is constructed from Paratex and features a zip (why?!). While is has been reviewed well and even comes recommended by Ray Mears, the extra weight and £75 price tag make choosing it over the Hunka unlikely.
From there the prices only get more painful; with options like the Rab Survival Zone or Survival Zone Light you get a 100g weight saving but you’re also chancing it with that 1,000mm hydrostatic head, and breaking the bank on the £110 price tag.
The minimal design of the Hunka overall is worth praise; there don’t need to be any grand designs with a bivi bag; it just needs to be light and waterproof, and that’s what you get here. There are two drawcords which work well and the rest of the focus is on the vital part; the waterproof but breathable shell, all packed into a 360g package for less than £50.
While the price has sadly risen to £47 recently, the Hunka is still the best choice for anyone not ascending Everest.