Review: Terra Nova Jupiter Lite bivi bag
If you thought bivying isn’t for you, a night in the Jupiter Lite could change your mind. It combines the benefits of a bivi – lightweight, small, easy to set up, discreet – with some of the benefits of a small tent, such as headroom and space to breathe.
Packed, it’s about the length of a loaf of bread but with half the girth. It takes seconds to set up with six pegs and a hoop pole, and the version I tested weighed 650g (100g more than listed).
Compared to the Alpkit and British Army bivis I’ve used in the past, the Jupiter Lite was luxury. The hooped entrance meant I could read under cover, as well as store some clothing, phone, camera and so on.
More importantly, it meant that the claustrophobic feeling you can get with some bivis when you cinch them up against elements will never be a concern. I’m just under 5'8", but even Cycling UK’s 6'6" director of development was able to fit with room to spare.
I’ve been using it in the hot summer months, and have found a sleeping bag liner sufficient for a comfortable night’s sleep down south, though there’s ample space for a three-season sack. There’s an outer mesh door and an inner waterproof door. With the inner unzipped, I had fresh air, no condensation, and also no bugs.
It’s been so dry these past months, I’ve had no chance to test it in the wet. But as it’s popular among walkers in Scotland, I’ve every confidence in its ability to see off a wet and windy evening.
On its first outing, I tore off one of the fittings where the pole attaches, but fixed it for the night with a little work. A week later a replacement was sent, with apologies, from the Derbyshire HQ. The Jupiter Lite is guaranteed for the original owner against defects in materials and workmanship for the lifetime of the product.
For touring or bikepacking trips where I want to minimise weight but also be comfortable, I can see the Jupiter Lite being my go-to shelter. It is a pretty penny for a one-man bivi, but Terra Nova has a pedigree in building shelters for Everest expeditions, coupled with good customer service. And, ultimately, a good night’s sleep is priceless!
Tera Nova Jupiter Lite, £275
- Lightweight and packs small
- Spacious and breathable
- Expensive for a bivi
Rab Ridge Raider, £350
A hardier rival to the Jupiter Lite. Online reviews say it weighs over 1kg and is relatively bulky but that it makes up for it in terms of performance.
Alpkit Hunka, £54.99
At the other end of the spectrum is the no-frills Hunka (also in XL) from Alpkit. A waterproof jacket for your sleeping bag, it packs small and keeps you dry, but condensation is inevitable.