Gimme shelter

Day shelters and bivvies may not seem all that rock and roll, but just like Mick Jagger, you’ll be crying out ‘Gimme Shelter’ if you don’t have one this summer – and not just for those lazy days on the river bank.

Here’s why a day shelter is for life, and not just for fishing.

Music festivals

Festival shelter 525

A giant stage bivvy!
Source: Travel Hymns

Whether you’re heading off to Glastonbury this year, taking the family to Womad or just kicking back at your local outdoor music event, one thing you’ll definitely need is a tent.

Why not make use of your bivvy or day shelter?  For overnight stays a tent is essential, but even if you’re just out for the day – a shelter will keep you dry if the weather turns. On a sunny day, a bivvy is great for keeping young children protected from the burning rays.

When the party is over, many thousands of festival goers simply leave their tent behind – the large majority of which end up in landfill.   When a two man tent costs as little as £15, there’s little incentive to take it home, particularly if the festival season is wet and muddy.  And charities can’t make use of flimsy supermarket tents either.  A decent fishing bivvy is worth looking after, so sponge it off and reuse.  That way your party in the park will be a green one.

Kids fishing trip

Fishing with children

An opportunity to bond
Source: Big Stock

What better way to bond with your children than to take them for a summer fishing trip?  Pack the fishing rods, a bivvy and some supplies and head off into the great outdoors.  Kids love to fish but soon get bored if the trout don’t bite.

Youngsters get a real thrill out of being under canvas – your day shelter will be an excellent distraction for them, so you can carry on fishing.  Best of all, you’ll be giving them ‘quality time’ and happy memories to pass on to their own children.

From the highlands of Scotland to the beaches of Cornwall, there are literally thousands of campsites to choose from, and many fisheries also offer camping. The UK Campsite directory has listings for campsites with angling.  Whether you’re looking for a family site with a pool, bar and entertainment, or a quiet spot in the hills to revel in nature – with some fly fishing thrown in, you’re sure to find something to suit your needs and budget.

Cheap camping

camping with children

Back garden camping is just as fun for kids
Source: Big Stock

We live in a tricky financial climate and for many it simply won’t be possible to go away on a camping holiday this year.  But that doesn’t mean kids can’t enjoy the excitement of camp life.  Simply pitch your fishing bivvy in the garden and let your kids sleep out.  Just make sure you remember to leave the door unlocked at night so they can come inside when they get scared!

You could encourage your kids to join the scouts or guides.  Modern scouting is a far cry from the days of knot tying and ‘bob a job’.  There are over 400,000 scouts in the UK and 60,000 of them are girls, with a mixture of male and female leaders.

Perhaps you can help your son or daughter to take their ‘Angler Activity Badge’, passing on your knowledge and love of fishing.  And what better way to give children a taste for adventure than by introducing them to a wonderful organisation – now headed by Chief Scout, Bear Grylls and with none other than David Beckham as a former member.

Do your bit


Make someones day and donate a bivvy
Source: Shelterbox

Even if you’re not thinking of taking up camping – you can still do your bit to help families in disaster areas around the world – donate a tent.

Shelterbox UK is a charity that provides a unique service to people suffering the after effects of earthquakes, landslides, and forest fires, as well as war and conflict.  The contents of each green, plastic ShelterBox is tailored to a disaster but typically contains a disaster relief tent for an extended family, blankets, groundsheets, water storage and filtration equipment, cooking utensils, a basic tool kit, a children’s activity pack and other vital items.

Shelterbox aim to help 50,000 families every year by providing them the shelter and the basics of survival they so desperately need.  In the 12 years since the charity was set up, Shelterbox has operated in over 90 countries and has helped an estimated one million people.  Now that’s one good use for a bivvy.