Spotlight - equipment views and reviews from the AK team
Bivvy Tips and Kit List
By Hati Whiteley
09, Aug, 2017
When it's raining out we stash our bivvy bags under our desks and dream of midweek microadventures, it's still summer after all...
There's nothing quite like sleeping under the stars and waking up to the sunrise. With nothing between you and nature, sleeping is rarely quite so exciting and wild as when out on a bivvy.
Adventures shouldn't just be for the weekends, we keep the following essentials stashed under our desks so that we can sneak out to the hills when the weather's good.
A world away from the day job doesn't have to be very far away
Bivvy bags are a little like a waterproof jacket for your sleeping bag.
Although not necessarily an essential for sleeping out in the open, it's worth having one to keep you dry. Tall folk will usually have no choice but to use a large bivvy bag (like the Hunka XL), whereas less tall folk have a little more choice: buy a regular sized bag, or buy a large bag and put your sleeping mat and kit inside. It's all down to personal preference.
An essential for midweek and weekend bivvies alike! Bivviers after lighter loads would usually opt for a minimalist system like the Kraku and MytiMug, whereas those who are after a super quick brew would prefer an integrated system like the Brukit. Either way, you need something to eat with: chopsticks might look fancier when you're eating your noodles, but we recommend something a little more versatile when it comes to cutlery, such as the Tifoon.
What better to do, than make tea for two, in a Kraku?
When it's not the rain, it's the wind. Tarps aren't strictly necessary for sleeping out in the open, but you won’t regret having one when the weather comes in.
We recommend opt for a tarp with a plethora of attachment points, including risers, for ease of use and a wider range of configurations. The Rig 7 is our favourite, as you can fit a friend under it too!
See our Tarp Top Tips for some inspiration from our resident tarpologists.
When the weather comes in, you won't regret having a tarp handy
The key to a good night's sleep is a comfy bed (or at least that's what all those mattress adverts say, and who are we to argue with them?).
There are a few considerations when it comes to choosing your sleeping mat. Some bivviers prefer to put their mat under their bivvy bag, whilst other prefer to keep it inside for protection from rocks and the elements. It's up to you to decide what you find more comfortable, but bear in mind that your sleeping mat shouldn't be too wide for your bivvy bag. Our staff picks are the Numo, Cloud Base, and Airo 180.
Well we all want to be warm! The Pipedream 400 is our go-to all-round sleeping bag for use close to home, although the Pipedream 600 might be more your cup of tea if you tend to feel the cold.
Whether you're reading a book, cooking dinner, or adjusting your tarp configuration, it's worth shedding some light on the situation. Lighting is an essential when you're out and about at night, we recommend taking a head torch to keep your hands free.
Head torches are also pretty handy for impressing your mates
Your dry bag is a must for keeping your stuff dry, it also doubles up as a pillow once everything is inside - neat!
HunkaA simple bivvy bag weighing less than 400 g, Hunka is breathable, packs down small and a favourite of many weight conscious bikepackers and alpinists£47.00
Hunka XLHunka XL is breathable, packs down small and weighing just 500 g is a favourite of many weight conscious bikepackers and alpinists£64.00
NumoThick big chamber 2 - 3 season full length sleeping mat weighing just 350 g, packs down smaller than a self-inflating mat saving space in your sack£39.00
Rig 730d siliconised Cordura ripstop nylon tarp, the ultimate in versatile lightweight shelter for backpackers, bikepackers and alpinists£99.00
Airlok 13l13 litre roll-top drybag: silicone-coated ripstop nylon with fully-taped seams to keep your stuff dry when paddling, swimming, or getting rained on£13.50
PipeDream 400 HydrophobicUltra lightweight 3-season hydrophobic goosedown sleeping bag. Box wall construction with a -6ºC sleep limit and weighing just 865 g; ideal for moving fast and light or lining your winter bag£229.00