Bivvying seems to be the up and coming way of spending the night in the wild. No longer the activity of just army guys and rugged mountaineers, more and more people are experiencing the delight of camping under the stars, and not having to carry a weighty tent!
Heres 5 pieces of essential kit to make your night as comfortable as possible…
Ok, start with the obvious one! Generally there are 2 types the simple bag, with an open face (such as an Alpkit Hunka) and the more complex (but slightly more weather/bug proof) hooped bags.
You want to make sure your bag is as waterproof and breathable as possible, so look for goretex and the like.
My experience of the Hunka is that its really rather good, so well recommended.
A simple sheet of waterproof material can make the difference between a comfortable night and one filled with misery.
Tarps can protect your head and kit from the rain, offer some wind protection, and can also help disguise you a little, if you want to stay hidden. Lighter tarps are obviously a benefit, as theres less to carry, but make sure the waterproof-ness is up there too, as you dont want drips in the night!
If you can get creative with mounting options, theres no need to take along a pole. My last bivvy, for example, used our 2 upturned bikes as anchor points for 2 corners, and 2 tent pegs held the other 2 down to the ground enough shelter for ourselves and our bag under there!
Bivvying makes wild-camping so much easier light weight, quick and flexible. Many people choose to set up camp late to avoid prying eyes, and so a head torch is the ideal tool to make sure you can see what youre up to. By mounting it on your head, and not in your hands, youve got 2 hands free to make camp, cook, read your book and have a sip from your hip-flask!
Sleeping mat and sleeping bag
2 staples of the happy camper! Youll need to check your mat fits inside your bag, or be happy enough for it to lie underneath there doesnt seem to be a consensus on this. I tend to use inflatable mats in the bag, but foam ones underneath. Inflatable mats are generally a bit warmer, and pack up a bit smaller, however regular foam ones are fine too, and certainly a lot cheaper! Dont forget you can trim a foam mat to make it more portable.
The type of sleeping bag you use depends on when you want to use it. A simple 1 season may be enough in the summer, but youll need something more substantial in cooler months. Tents offer a little extra weather protection, so you may want to choose something a bit warmer.
Theres always a risk of getting sleeping bags wet, and certainly more so if bivvying, so if I were to choose a bag purely based on bivvying, I might look at a synthetic one over down, as they perform better if they get wet.
Because your tipple of choice is a wonderful thing when sleeping under the stars!
Bivvying is a great way of getting away on the cheap – these guys can also help in finding a cheap holiday.