Bivvy survival tips

Anyone who has followed the teachings of the renowned wilderness expert, Ray Mears will know that if you get lost in the wilds, the first thing to do is – make a spoon. But what do you do next?

Read on to discover our bivvy survival tips for the intrepid angler – just incase you lose your way.

Location location

bivvy caution

Choose your bivvy location carefully
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It’s not just prospective second home owners that need to consider the position of their bolt hole in the countryside. As a wilderness survivor, you need to give careful thought to where you site your shelter.

Steer well clear of dry river beds, gorges, low water marks and cliff edges. The prevalence of deadly snakes, sharp fanged predators and stinging insects should also be factored into the equation before making any final decision.

Be prepared

bivvy survival preparation

Always be prepared
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If your map reading skills are best described as, ‘inept’, don’t attempt to go ‘wilderness fishing’ without planning ahead for getting lost. At the very least, remember your knife, some parachute cord and a tarpaulin. You’ll probably want to take along some emergency rations and water too – and don’t forget to pack a paper and pencil.

You never know when you’ll come across a bottle in which to place your message or failing that – write your survival diary – and make millions when you return to civilisation.

Build your bivvy early

spooky forest

Build your bivvy before it gets spooky
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Don’t leave it until the last minute to erect your shelter. It gets quite scary in the woods after dark. Every shadow will make you jump and each and every time you hear a twig snap you’ll remember the Blair Witch Project.

Make sure that before night falls, you are safely tucked up in bed with a roof over your head. Tie your parachute cord tightly between two trees, drape the tarp over the top and then use your knife to make some tent pegs. Hey presto, a makeshift fisherman’s bivvy.

Insulate your bivvy

Bivvy made of Sticks

Make your bivvy warm and safe .
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Experts estimate that four fifths of the heat loss suffered by bivvy dwellers, occurs through contact with the cold ground. Cut boughs of springy spruce for a mattress and then hunt around for something soft to lay over the top. Fresh broadleaf boughs might be nice, or grass, or maybe moss.

Use leaf litter only as a last resort – it’ll be full of bugs – but do find something because lying on pine needles is fun only for people with unusual tastes. Next, seal off one end of your bivvy using saplings, branches or maybe your fishing tackle box. That way you won’t need to worry about waking up to find a wolf gnawing at your head.

Light a fire

bivvy fire

Find fuel for your fire
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Fire; it’s what separates us from the other primates, so if you want to be the true king of the jungle, remember to pack some matches or a lighter. When deciding where to build your fire, bear in mind the prevailing wind direction. Herrings benefit from a few hours in the smoker but you won’t like it.

The bigger the fire, the more fuel you’ll need and the greater the likelihood of your being discovered by cannibals. Small is beautiful and much easier to control – plus you won’t burn all the lovely fish you caught before you got lost.

In an emergency


Find yourself some fatty food .
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If the worst comes to the worst, use the GPS on your Smartphone to locate yourself, then follow its directions to the nearest chippy.