Alpkit Hunka XL bivy sack review: for when size matters

A roomy bivy sack, the Alpkit Hunka XL is great for fast and lightweight sleeping on the move

Alpkit Hunka XL
(Image: © Alpkit)

Advnture Verdict

A generously proportioned, easy to use and very well-priced piece of backcountry kit.

Pros

  • +

    Light

  • +

    Roomy

  • +

    Simple design

Cons

  • -

    Drawcords won’t keep out heavy rain

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Alpkit Hunka XL: first impressions

Alpkit Hunka XL

Comparing the standard with the XL Alpkit Hunka (Image credit: Alpkit)

The Alpkit Hunka XL might be the bivy sack of choice for larger, longer folk, but its roomy dimensions have advantages for other users too. 

Specifications

• RRP: $95 (US) / £70 (UK)
• Weight: 4490g / 17oz
• Length: 235cm / 92.5in
• Width (shoulder & foot): 98cm & 72cm / 38.5in & 28.5in
• Materials: 2.5 layer ripstop breathable and waterproof nylon
• Mouth Closure: Dual drawcords
• Features: Integral stuff sack
• Colors: Kelp Green / Chilli Red / Lego Blue

It’s a better fit for bulkier, cold-weather sleeping gear for a start, especially as it allows sleeping bags to loft properly. There’s spare space to store clothes and delicate kit out of the rain, and some bivy sack users will find the generous sizing less claustrophobic.

The Alpkit Hunka XL’s extra length offers more versatility in arranging the drawstring hood to shed rain more efficiently, too. All of this comes with only a fairly small weight increase over a standard Hunka or other equivalent bivy sacks. This is far from an entry-level piece of kit, but it’s available at a very good value price.

Alpkit Hunka XL: on the trails

Alpkit Hunka XL

It may be XL but it still packs down small (Image credit: Alpkit)

I’ve used a standard Alpkit Hunka on numerous trips – most recently on a 750-mile pilgrimage walk in Japan – so I already appreciate the design’s simplicity, toughness and practicality. 

But how I wish I’d had the XL for all those other hikes. The larger dimensions of this model means that it is easy to slide my sleeping pad and sleeping bag into the XL and there’s plenty of room remaining for the latter to loft fully for maximum warmth, still leaving space to store extra clothing and other kit inside the sack and hood. 

Getting into a bivy sack with only a mouth opening is always going to be a comic struggle as you wiggle down into its depths, and if there’s rain involved it can be wet and frustrating. But the bigger sack makes the whole process slicker, while its generous length gives scope to adjust the drawstring mouth and orient its opening to keep bad weather out.

The shaped foot gives more room still. And the storage pouch is integral – something I like for its convenience – making packing up in the morning as easy as scrunching and stuffing the bivy into the generous pocket and getting going.

After a wild childhood in west Cork, Jasper Winn began embarking on long cycles, walks, horse journeys and kayak trips across five continents – adventures he’s decanted into books, magazine articles, radio and television documentaries. Keen on low-tech but good gear, Jasper is an advocate of slow adventures by paddle, pedal, saddle, boot and sail. He has circumnavigated Ireland by kayak and cycled across the Sahara. Twice. Having ridden north-to-south across Algeria he discovered the only way to get back was to turn round and pedal north again.