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Bivvies: A Buyer’s Guide
It’s tempting to think that all you need when it comes to angling is a rod and a tacklebox. However, as we’ve already explored through our various buyer’s guides, there are more than a few assets which you can use to really enhancing your fishing game. Fishing is a pastime that takes a lot of time and patience. What’s more, it often means you might need to be out in all weathers, rain or shine, ready and waiting to catch carp. Sure – you can use a simple umbrella to keep dry for a while – but is it really going to protect you in all weathers? Probably not.
That’s where a fishing bivvy comes in handy. ‘Bivvy’ is short for ‘bivouac’, and it’s another term for a pop-up covering. A good bivvy is rather like a quick-fix tent – it shouldn’t be too hard to put up, and it should offer you instant protection, warmth and comfort when fishing for long periods. Essentially, it’s a great way to make sure you’re ready for the big biters without feeling too wet, cold or tired.
Anglers of all ages and experience levels have their own ways of coping with the great outdoors. However, bivvies present a great way for you to make sure you’re ready for everything Mother Nature has to throw at you. But what should you be looking for from a fishing bivvy? If it’s your first time preparing for a long weekend of carp fishing, it’s time you read our guide in full.
Don’t part with any money until you’ve read what we have to say – and stick around for a few frequently asked questions at the end of the guide, too.
Why Buy a Bivvy?
As mentioned, it’s likely some anglers will have their own ways of coping with the natural struggles all fishingpeople face. However, a bivvy strives to solve many of them in one fell swoop. A bivvy is a fishing tent – it’s your own private little alcove which you can set up at the edge of a lake or fishing reserve. It’s a great way to create some privacy for your trip, as well as for you to cover up your supplies and accessories.
What if you want to bring electrical items with you on a fishing trip, and it’s pounding it down with rain? It’s time to look for some weather protection. Beyond this, fishing is an activity which is going to require a lot of sitting in one position. This is great in the summer – but what if you want to get the pick of the shoal during the cold snap?
It’s time to invest in a bivvy that’s lightweight, adaptable and affordable within your budget. Some people use pop-up tents, others just set up umbrellas – but bivvies offer a great step in between which gives you plenty of vantage over a body of water, while staying completely covered. They are great for solo anglers as well as for duos and couples.
What to Look For
With all the above kept in mind, it’s tempting to assume bivvies do pretty much the same thing. The fact is, they do – but that doesn’t mean you should throw all your money into a budget bivvy without looking at the wider market. Here are the basics, and essentials, which we think are well worth you looking into before you put any serious money down.
Of course – this is probably going to be one of the first things you look for. The fact is, most bivvies should be waterproof as standard. However, some are likely to be more waterproof than others! You can check a bivvy’s waterproof rating before you buy – or at least a manufacturer should let you know in the product description. Another thing you can do in this regard is to trust buyer reaction and review. Read up on what seasoned anglers have to say, and how they feel their bivvies performed on the go during intensive testing.
Ease of Use
A bivvy should, by design, be easy to set up and use. Ultimately, it’s going to be a pop-up cross between a tent, a shelter and an umbrella. Therefore, it should naturally be pretty easy to get up and running. However, some are easier to pop up than others. Some bivvies, particularly those which are bigger or more extensive, might need more time to set up.
Some systems, such as a brolly, will require assembly, while some shelters are very simple to just pop up and go. There is a little irony in the sense that anglers are likely patient people – however, they are likely going to want to spend more time fishing and less time muddling around with tents and shelters. Take a look at instruction manuals for bivvies online before you buy – if you can – otherwise, again, read reviews, and see if there are any video guides.
Good bivvies should also give you some way to carry things around. For example, you might be able to pack everything into a handy carry bag or case with handles supplied. This could be very useful if you’re not able to pack everything into a separate bag!
Weight and Bulk
If you’re going to be carrying your equipment around with you on holiday, then you’re naturally going to need a bivvy that’s light in weight, and which is probably easy enough for you to collapse down and fit into a bag. Again, not all bivvies are going to be so accommodating, so make sure to compare and contrast a wider market.
If you don’t know your own strength, it’s better to be safe than to be sorry. Look for a relatively lightweight bivvy, but one which still offers plenty of support in terms of a structure and framing. You can go too far one way and buy a bivvy which simply won’t stand up and give you the coverage you’re looking for.
Insulation and Protection
Come rain or shine, a great bivvy should protect you from the elements. For instance, during cold weather, you might want your bivvy to be extra warm. That’s why you can buy some with full insulation, while others will zip up fully when you need to take cover. Some may even have domes that you can set up in your inner bivvy.
Others, meanwhile, will have netting and protection which will help to keep some of the summer’s most annoying pests and critters out of the way. During warmer weather, an angler’s worst enemy is likely to be midges or mosquitoes – as well as the fish themselves!
Pegs and Sheets
As with all good tents, bivvies should come ground protection and pegging. This way, you can easily set up and install your shelter without any threat of it flying off in the wind or getting too soggy in the process. You should, ideally, be looking for a bivvy that offers all of the benefits of a tent, albeit without the bulkiness or setup demands.
Frequently Asked Questions
Never bought a bivvy before? Don’t worry! If you’re new to angling, there are plenty of benefits to buying a shelter which will help to keep you dry and warm. Here are a few questions people are asking right now, along with answers we think will help you along!
Should I Buy a Bivvy or a Small Tent?
Many anglers choose bivvies over tents because they are quicker to set up and are built for purpose. Tents can be bulkier and more difficult to carry around. What’s more, they are generally more affordable, and offer anglers greater ease of access to water without having to overstretch, or risk getting wet. If you have no ideal need for a tent other than for fishing, it’s probably more cost-effective to buy yourself a bivvy.
How Much Should I Pay for a Bivvy?
Bivvy prices can and will vary. It’s worth buying a system or model that offers plenty of durability as well as ease of use and packing. This might mean you have to pay a little extra. However, it’s worth remembering that at basic rate, bivvies should cost around £30-£40. It’s worth paying an extra £20-£30 on top for the best quality kit and material.
Why Do People Buy Bivvies?
Ultimately, fishing is a hobby where you’re going to be out in the open for a fair amount of time. This means you’re possibly going to be at risk of cold, wind, wet and more. Therefore, it’s always worth you looking for as much protection as possible. A bivvy will keep you warm and dry when fishing for long periods – and anyone who’s been fishing even a couple of times will know it can take a long time to get a bite!
A fishing bivvy is a great investment if you are going to angle in all weathers and across all seasons. Therefore, make sure to look at our tips and to see what other people think before putting any money down!