I don’t know about you, but I’m the worst when it comes to carrying extra stuff, like first-aid and gear repair kits, in my ski pack. However, I don’t completely roll the dice and there are one or two items (besides a shovel and probe) that I do carry to stack the odds in my favor in the event of an emergency. (This Galena Summit avalanche victim was glad he did.) One being fire-starter, the other being a bivy sack…and I find the Ortovox Gemini Bivy sacks have some handy features, are made out durable fabric and are at a good price-point to help you feel more confident at surviving an unplanned night out.
The Gemini Bivy comes in two models, single (245g) and double (440g), and range in price from $60-$90. These are not your everyday disposable bivys mind you, they are made from ripstop fabric with a Thermolight and silver PU coating. They are waterproof and very durable, and I think you could even use one to make a stretcher between two skis if you had to. Re-usable to say the least.
Both the single and double model have similar features, like one large opening at one end, and a smaller one at the other. You can orient your head either way, and when you poke your head out the small end, it can be worn like a ponch or allow for easy access to move around and/or go to the bathroom. Both models have a large “HELP” printed on one side against a bold red background. I wish it was reflective though.
Though the double version is almost twice the weight of the single, it isn’t that much bigger…size-wise, and since it allows for much more room when oriented as a tent, it is the model that will live in my pack most of this winter. It fits nicely in the empty behind my shovel…right next next to my carbon probe (gasp!) and it will probably fit in your pack too. (Click here to check out the manual.)