Author Topic: Bivvying  (Read 9384 times)

Bivvying
« on: April 02, 2008, 08:35:02 am »
My bivvy bag is on its way, so I'm planning a couple of overnight off road trips in Wales to make the most of it.  That's the easy bit - but does anyone know of anywhere in the Midlands that's suitable for a bit of low-key wild camping?  It's mostly all farmland round by me and an awful long way to the Dark Peak.

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: Bivvying
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2008, 08:53:06 am »
The thing about bivvying is that you can do it discreetly anywhere.  Once you're behind a wall, you're nowhere.  :thumbsup:

I must admit I used to be very cautious if I wasn't waaay out of sight of houses, but I never got stopped or threatened (as I was walking/roughstuffing).

You tend to wake good & early anyway, so get yourself packed up before you drum up for your morning coffee/tea/porridge/whatever, so you can bug out quickly if challenged (gamekeepers are notoriously impatient with tent striking... )
Getting there...

Re: Bivvying
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2008, 09:04:47 am »
Thing is, and leaving aside the outside chance of some item of wildlife eating your face at 3am, you're pretty safe almost anywhere once it gets dark.

The countryside is very big, and one's capacity to be seen/found is very small after dark, so you're probably safe on the field-side of any hedge. After June, you often have straw stacks in fields that are comfy, and although exposed, are actually warmer on a still night than nearer the ground.

Any small copse of trees is also ideal. I sheltered from a heavy snow shower a couple of weekends ago, in a close planted copse of pines. The cover was brilliant; I could have hunkered down there in a bivvy for a few hours, no problem - and there's no chance I'd be found.

Re: Bivvying
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2008, 09:11:39 am »
The two things that give you away are light and noise.   Try to avoid being near pubs, and be observant to where dog walkers and kids are frequenting.

If you're not spooked by spinneys and woods then they make ideal locations.  Just pick up the wheels and get yourself 30 to 50 metres off the beaten track.  Nobody is likely to see or disturb you because of the foliage.  Look out for things like badger sets though and avoid.   Don't want to upset the locals!

bikenerd

Re: Bivvying
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2008, 09:28:43 am »
Bivvying can be one of two things: exceptional fun or excruciatingly miserable.
I suggest you read The Book of the Bivvy Amazon link.
You might also want to consider buying a small tarp for those nights when it's really bucketing it down.

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: Bivvying
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2008, 09:40:27 am »
Bivvying can be one of two things: exceptional fun or excruciatingly miserable.
I suggest you read The Book of the Bivvy Amazon link.
You might also want to consider buying a small tarp for those nights when it's really bucketing it down.

...or get better at finding shelter  ;)  I never felt I needed more than my bivvy bag.  :thumbsup:

But I have to admit I was young, hardy & foolish.  Now I have tents & a tarp that came with its own video!  :)
Getting there...

Re: Bivvying
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2008, 09:42:19 am »
So JFDI then?  Ta.

Bivvying can be one of two things: exceptional fun or excruciatingly miserable.
I suggest you read The Book of the Bivvy Amazon link.
You might also want to consider buying a small tarp for those nights when it's really bucketing it down.

I'd heard of the The Book of the Bivvy, looks interesting - thanks for the link.  If I get into it, I might get a tarp.  For now, I'm not going to go if the weather looks awful.

Re: Bivvying
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2008, 10:26:52 am »
All above advice is first-rate. You very quickly get to know what kind of places to seek out and what to avoid.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but high ground is better than low: cold, damp gathers in valley bottoms and makes for greater condensation. Plus you get a better view and are less likely to begin the next day with a steep climb. One reason I don't like campsites is that they are often beside rivers.

I think you've done well to go cheap with the bivvy, then you go can see what bits (if any  :) ) you'd improve when you upgrade. I've got a goretex one, bought around 1990, with a built-in insect net. The goretex doesn't work that well now but it still keeps the wind out and makes a good bag-upgrade. Have often wondered if the hooped ones are a major improvement; however good goretex can be, it still let it water thru the seams on very wet nights (Clarion makes a good point about likelihood of finding shelter, but I wasn't always as lucky as him  ;) )

Since I bought a Kathmandu Trekking Basha Tent, tho, I've not looked back


Re: Bivvying
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2008, 10:32:23 am »
I used to bivvy a lot - you do have to be careful, the last time, it rained horrendously, I woke up with my feet in 2inches of water; inside the bag. It came in through the zip.

For summer camping, try a hammock. I made one out of skirt-lining and some webbing, cost about £5. With these, you can camp in woods on steep hillsides, you don't need flat ground. It's important to have some insulation below you, as there is an astounding amount of heat lost when you aren't on the ground.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Bivvying
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2008, 10:36:15 am »
... leaving aside the outside chance of some item of wildlife eating your face at 3am...

In Britain?  The worst you've got to worry about is badgers and ants!  ;)
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: Bivvying
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2008, 10:43:54 am »
Oh, and I carry a small travel radio and use one earpiece.  Weather reports especially on local radio can be very helpful!

Re: Bivvying
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2008, 11:44:44 am »
Quote
The worst you've got to worry about is badgers

I got belted by one once (not far from Banbury, IIRC). Collision with my feet around 3am, not painful but quite a shock  - good job it wasn't my face.

And radio forecasts. Most helpful: saved me from heavyy rain or assured me of a dry night under the stars on many occasions.
We had a geography teacher teacher who told us that short-range weather forecasts were remarkably accurate and everyone laughed. I only realised he was speaking the truth when I started taking a radio bivvying.

Re: Bivvying
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2008, 12:08:52 pm »
My bivvy bag is on its way, so I'm planning a couple of overnight off road trips in Wales to make the most of it.  That's the easy bit - but does anyone know of anywhere in the Midlands that's suitable for a bit of low-key wild camping?  It's mostly all farmland round by me and an awful long way to the Dark Peak.

Mick Arms and co kip out at Goldie Locks cottage in the Wyre Forest a few times a year.  They've had no probs there. 

BTW, if you want a borrow of the BOOK OF THE BIVVY send me your address and you can have a borrow of mine.

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: Bivvying
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2008, 01:58:20 pm »
My bivvy bag is on its way, so I'm planning a couple of overnight off road trips in Wales to make the most of it.  That's the easy bit - but does anyone know of anywhere in the Midlands that's suitable for a bit of low-key wild camping?  It's mostly all farmland round by me and an awful long way to the Dark Peak.
I've read Book of the Bivvy and am quite tempted by this craziness. That Hunka bag is way cheaper than I expected. What exactly will it do for your £25?
My guess is that it WILL be waterproof out of 'direct' weather. so OK under tree cover etc, even if the ground is wet and/or the air is cold+damp.(and maybe ok in light drizzle)

But because it's not fully enclosed, you'd get wet in proper rain.

How warm will it be? If you've got warm clothing, could you sleep in it without a sleeping bag in the summer?
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Re: Bivvying
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2008, 02:10:07 pm »
For £25, I hope it'll protect me from dew and light rain.  I'm not expecting it to stand up to torrential rain (and I'm not planning to go if it looks like it's going to piss down anyway - not to start off with).  I suppose you'd get a wet head in heavy rain.

I'll take a sleeping bag and 3/4 Thermarest too, though I daresay on a hot night you wouldn't need the sleeping bag.  If it's that warm, you probably wouldn't need the bivvy bag either.

Re: Bivvying
« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2008, 10:09:58 pm »
To avoid condensation, try to sleep with your head out of the bag unless it's actually raining. If you are using an orange survival bag, sleep on top of it until it starts raining.

It's impossible to unpack and go to bed in a thunderstorm without getting wet, after having spotted the bivvy spot and then gone to the pub until bed time. A small tarp would be very handy in this sort of situation - about 2m square would be enough.

Check that field for animals beforehand. It's off-putting to wake up in the morning and find a very large bull grazing 15 feet off.

Consider whether your sheltered location is flood-proof. That little-used pedestrian underpass may do double duty as a flood overflow channel for the nearby river.

Use a synthetic sleeping bag that can stand a little dampness.

Re: Bivvying
« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2008, 12:04:06 am »
Watch out for hay stacks and straw stacks as they tend to be full of rats !
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Re: Bivvying
« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2008, 03:59:56 am »
This thread is giving me cabin fever like you would not believe.
scottclark.photoshelter.com

CathH

Re: Bivvying
« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2008, 07:22:38 am »
Me too Scott.  I think this Summer will be wild camping Summer.  I'm starting to think that BoB loaded with tent and sleeping mat and army-surplus sleeping bag and cooking stuff is overkill. 

Basil

  • Um....err......oh bugger!
  • Help me!
Re: Bivvying
« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2008, 07:46:07 am »
Small copses are my favourite too. 
You have to remember about early morning dog walkers.  If you're anywhere near habitation make sure you are not near a path.  The walker might not see you but the walkee will.  (And probably lick your face and pee on your sleeping bag.) 
Rural parks and playing fields are definately out regardless of how quiet and desolate they look at night.

One further tip.  Don't wake up in the middle of a large roundabout outside a small Italian town during the morning rush hour.   :o
(I was hitchhiking, not cycling, and rather inexperienced in those days)  :-[
Quote from: Kim
And remember that friends who organise things on Facebook aren't proper friends anyway.

Re: Bivvying
« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2008, 07:59:51 am »
One of my most treasured memories of my bivvying days was waking up in Delamere forest with slugs in my hair :-)

I've not slept in a bright orange plastic bag since I was about 15, perhaps longer Audaxes are going to give me an excuse to start again - though ideally in something vaguely breathable this time.

Re: Bivvying
« Reply #21 on: April 03, 2008, 09:19:36 am »
Me too Scott.  I think this Summer will be wild camping Summer.  I'm starting to think that BoB loaded with tent and sleeping mat and army-surplus sleeping bag and cooking stuff is overkill. 

An' me.  I'm hoping to get all this stuff in a rucksack and head off.  Think lightweight S24O.

Re: Bivvying
« Reply #22 on: April 03, 2008, 09:44:24 am »
I sold my goretex bivvi bag, then really missed the freedom of bivvying. So I bought a lightweight summer Buffalo bag. This is just fine for a bivvi in summer. Not at all waterproof, you just accept being damp. Works very very well. I've slept out in -5 temperatures in it, wearing woolly jumper and thermals of course.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

Re: Bivvying
« Reply #23 on: April 03, 2008, 10:26:09 am »
It's arrived!  The damn thing is tiny - easily fits into an A4 envelope and weighs less than a pound.  The fabric feels like a cheap waterproof, so I guess it's no good next to your skin but should be fine with a sleeping bag.  I'm tempted to use it tomorrow night but think that sleeping in a hotel room rather than a hedge would be better preparation for a 300km audax.

Re: Bivvying
« Reply #24 on: April 03, 2008, 01:02:53 pm »
Aw, man, I want to give this a go now :)