Bivi Guide – Easy way to go on an adventure! 2010/09/29
How to stay close to nature without sacrificing comfort or that sense
of adventure...? Use a bivi! Read our bivi guide to find out all that
I see many people recoil in horror when I tell them some of things I do.
I see them run away at the mention of “bivvying”. Mouths drop open at
the suggestion of “wild camping”. My personal favourite, the patronising
laugh as a response to the suggestion of spending a night in a handmade
First step is to make sure your not biting off more than you can chew,
start with local areas or places where an easy retreat back to
civilisation can be made in case things take a turn for the worst.
This will allow you to build up confidence in your own ability.
In this article I will describe my bivi
technique, I find this works for me, and can, so long as there are some
trees close enough to each other, work pretty much anywhere! No need for
a B&B! First off, a bivi bag is basically a big sleeping bag cover.
Instead of only keeping you warm it keeps you dry and is big enough to
fit you along with your sleeping bag inside. A Bivi bag should be
waterproof, windproof, breathable and be big enough for you to get in.
I take a bivi bag that is hooped (basically it contains a mini tent pole
that is inserted at the head end to create a space inside) as this
serves two purposes. It keeps the fabric off my face and as it has an
inbuilt midge net it keeps the bugs out too. This piece of kit is
good for woodland or when you really want to be close to the elements. I
sometimes use a tarp as it compliments a bivi perfectly, it keeps you
and all your belongings dry and also adds a social aspect as you and
others can sit underneath and be dry. I have used an Australian
Camo Hootchie, British Army Basha and a DD 3x3 Tarp, but there are loads
on the market too. Lying under a tarp when it’s raining and listening to
the dripping canopy above is simply divine. Knowing you will stay
perfectly dry is very fulfilling indeed. Make sure you have enough good
paracord to take with you to rig your tarp up. I take around 8metres for
the ridge line, and 4 x 2 metres for each corner.
My main bivi is made of eVent and has a
WaterBloc groundsheet layer. It’s important that your bivi is
“breathable”. Look for Gore Tex or eVent. Something like the British
Army Bivi bag is a great purchase and can be found for very cheap. I
have used a Rab Ridge Raider Bivi, British Army Bivi Bag and an eVent
A roll mat to insulate you from the cold ground along with an
appropriate sleeping bag. It's important than the sleeping bag can
go down in comfort to the lowest temperature you expect. I put the roll
mat into the bivi first, then my sleeping bag on top, then myself into
the sleeping bag. Keeping your kit all wrapped in the bivi prevents you
slipping off the mat and getting cold during sleeping.
This is the easiest way to get out to the countryside and to enjoy a
break from all the sounds and rush of city life and instead replace it
all with a good book and bird song, food for the soul.