Bivvy survival guide

After a long satisfying day of fishing in a remote spot far away from the strains of life, there’s nothing quite like getting snug in your bivvy for the night.

bivvy bliss

Bivvy blissPhoto by Matt@MND Photography

But if you don’t use your loaf, life in a bivvy can be mightily dangerous.

For example you could be swept away in a flood, eaten by wild animals, struck by lightning, burnt to death, become disorientated and ultimately disappear forever.

To avoid these potentially fatal perils read our simple guide to bivvy survival below:

Choose your pitch carefully

without bivvy

Bad bivvy dayPhoto by StefZ

Waking up in a wet bivvy, or without a bivvy isn’t fun. Freshwater lakes can flood if there’s heavy rainfall during the night, and when fishing by the coast tidelines can move hundreds of metres in a couple of hours.

Check the local weather forecast, coastal forecasts and tide tables before setting off. If the weather forecast is bad, be sure to set up camp in a safe location.

Secure your bivvy

fox attack

Beware of wild predatorsPhoto by WhatWhenWhere

It might be nice to let some air in or gaze out at the night sky as you fall to sleep, but no matter where you are there’s always predators out there.

So leaving your bivvy unzipped at night might not be the best idea. As Richard Langley recently found out when he got savaged by a fox whilst carp fishing.

Prepare for stormy weather

lightning crashes

Minimise risk from stormsPhoto by Ken

No matter what kind of bivvy you’re using, it’s important to know where to set up camp if it’s stormy.

The chances of being struck by lightning are low, but to minimise the risk: don’t camp to close to the water’s edge or exposed high ground and stay away from tall, thin trees.

The traditional advice is to find a sheltered spot in a slight depression and beware of those metal bivvy poles (if you have an old one).

Cook with care

Bivvy cooking

Flames and bivvies are a bad mixPhoto by Marion Doss

There’s one tip when cooking inside a bivvy: don’t do it.

They’ll be times when the weather’s bad outside and you may be tempted to get a brew going inside the bivvy, but you’re literally playing with fire. One slip and the bivvy will go up in flames and you’ll have huge lumps of molten nylon stuck to you.

Just get yourself a good flask and bring a supply of cold food to see out the storm. It’s better to be hungry than charred.

Let there be light

tent lighting

Illuminated bivviesPhoto by Dennis Barnes

Torches and tin openers are so important that, for some reason, they’re the easiest things to forget!

Get yourself a low energy, high power bivvy light and a good quality torch for when you’re on the move. If you can’t see what you’re doing and things start going wrong, you’ll be tempted to use the box of matches in your pocket. Naked flames in bivvy = bad.

It’s good to talk

satellite phone for fishing

Phone homePhoto by Frankenstoen

One of the great things about going away fishing for a few days is the peaceful seclusion, but that seclusion might also be your downfall. If you have an accident and nobody knows where you are, who’s going to help?

Tell at least one person where you’re going and when you’re returning. Or get kitted out with a GPS phone, so you can just call somebody if you’re in trouble.

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