Choosing the right bivouac tent to go on a trek

How to choose a bivouacking tent to go trekking?

Going trekking, alone or with others, and don't know what type of tent to take? No worries, we are here to help you! Check out the main selection criteria, here.

Do you want to go on a solo trek for a few days or do you want to go bivouacking with your friends? In order to choose a bivouac tent, there are a variety of criteria. Check out the information you need in order to make a better choice, here.

Summary - How to choose your bivouac tent?

  1. 1 Type of tent
  2. 2 Tent weight
  3. 3 Number of trekkers
  4. 4 Habitability
  5. 5 Lift
  6. 6 Pitching time

THE DIFFERENT TYPES - Which trekking tent to choose?

There are 4 types of shelter for bivouacking and offering you maximum comfort during your treks: dome tent, tunnel tent, tarp and tarp tent. A tent must be chosen very carefully to be sure that it corresponds to your type of use.

  • Trekking dome tent


    Advantages: Very good habitability, self-standing
    Drawbacks: Heavier

  • How do you choose a bivouac tent?


    Advantages: Very good wind resistance, lightness
    Drawbacks: Cannot be pitched without pegs, limited habitability

  • Tarp-bivouac


    Advantages: Ultra-lightweight, modular
    Drawback: Less protection from the weather conditions

  • Tarp tent Forclaz

    Tarp tent

    Advantages: Lightweight, hybrid model between a tent and a tarp
    Drawback: Requires 2 hiking poles to pitch it

All our dome and tunnel tents have force 8 wind resistance, i.e. the tents have been tested to withstand gusts of wind up to 70 km/h. Tarp tents can withstand force 7 winds, i.e. winds up to 60 km/h. Tarps, on the other hand, are not designed to particularly withstand the wind.

In addition, all Decathlon tents and trekking tarps have a waterproof rating of 2000 schmerbers. The bedroom groundsheet for bivouac tents and tarp tents is resistant to 5,000 schmerbers.

How do you choose a bivouac tent?

SPOTLIGHT on waterproofing

The waterproof rating is measured by the fabric's resistance to water pressure, expressed in terms of the height of a water column in mm (test based on the ISO 811 standard). The higher the water pressure, the more waterproof the fabric. A component with a 2,000 mm waterproof rating, i.e. it can withstand the pressure of the 2,000 mm column of water. This is also equivalent to 2,000 Schmerbers. 1 Schmerber = 1 mm water column = 0.1 mbar

Note: Camping tents are not suitable for trekking

We don’t recommend using a camping tent for your trek. They are generally heavier and not designed to be carried around for a few hours or even days. If you are looking for camping tents, click here.

choosing a bivouac tent


If you are going trekking and sleeping in a bivouac then you will be carrying your tent for several hours a day. You therefore need to make sure you buy a tent with the lowest weight to keep your backpack as light as possible. A so-called light or ultralight tent will weigh around 1kg, 1.5kg per person who can fit in the tent.

Since the tent is usually the heaviest item you carry, remember to position it close to your back in your bag or under your backpack using straps.

If there are several of you then you can always separate the different tent elements (canvas and poles) and share them amongst the trekkers!

Some ultra-lightweight trekking tents and tarps

choosing your bivouac size

Which size?

You will choose the tent to suit you according to the number of trekkers travelling with you. The maximum capacity for hiking tents is generally 4 people. More than that and the tent becomes difficult to pitch.

Some people like to have space in their tent and 2 people travel with a tent for 3! 

Habitability of the tent

Habitability of the tent

Habitability is basically how easy it is to live in the tent. So it's both the organisation of the space and the small accessories that help you get organised in your trekking tent. Some models of tent come with porches where you can store your shoes and backpack outside the bedroom and they are still sheltered by the flysheet. An increasing number of models have hooks for fitting a lamp on the "ceiling" of the tent, and reflective guy lines to avoid tripping over them at night!

All these options make for a fantastic bivouac living experience!

Load-bearing capacity of a tent for bivouacking


The lift is the tent's ability to remain standing without its canvas being held by pegs. It's an important point, especially if you are travelling on terrain where you can’t pitch with pegs: in a rocky environment or on sandy ground for example.

Pitching the MT900 1-person

Pitching time

All our hiking tents are already pre-assembled: the inner tent is already attached to the flysheet fabric, so that you can pitch and strike camp quickly.

The semi-freestanding tents are very practical because they stand up by themselves, even without pegs! So once the tent is deployed, you are done with the pitching process.

Check out how to pitch the MT900 1-person tent in the video below.

Bivouac tents Forclaz

Forclaz tents: a durable design

We are aware that any product will eventually get damaged or certain parts can break with prolonged use. And at Forclaz, we believe that the life cycle of a product does not end when it gets damaged. This is why all of our tents are repairable (poles, inner tent, flysheet, etc.) and we offer various solutions to repair, maintain and use your product properly so that it lasts longer. The repair can be performed by yourself using the tutorials provided or available in the Decathlon workshops.

If you want to sleep under the stars without being bothered by mosquitoes, some of our tents can be pitched without a flysheet. This means you can enjoy an unrestricted view of the Milky Way from under the mosquito net!

We also recommend these tips:

The keys to a successful bivouac


Your bivouac needs to be well-prepared before pitching your tent in the middle of nature! Choice of equipment, location, preliminary information, practical advice: this guide will allow you step-by-step to combine safety and pleasure for your future nights spent outdoors.

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