What To Look For When Buying a Bivvy
There are a few points you need to consider when choosing the best fishing bivvy to suit your requirements. You need to first think about what features your bivvy needs to have before purchasing one.
Many anglers have multiple bivvy, simply because each of them has different benefits, for example, an angler that takes a lot of tackle with them on a session will need to consider the size of the bivvy.
But, since a bivvy is one of the most expensive pieces of equipment for most anglers, making the right choice by doing thorough research is something you will get from this article.
First, let’s go through the different considerations and figure out what type of bivvy you need.
If you haven’t got time to read through this whole article, the best all-rounder 1-man bivvy is the Cyprinus Tardis. This bivvy ticks all of our boxes.
This bivvy has a huge front hood, which makes it really easy to get out of the rain on wet days and take away the glare of the sun on bright days.
It’s also very strong and easy to erect, but also features a heavy groundsheet, which helps to keep your kit clean and dry such as your tackle bag.
One feature that is missing is the rear vents, but any heat trapped in the bivvy is easily removed by unzipping the front of the bivvy, giving a huge open area for the breeze to come through, so I wasn’t too bothered about the vents. The great price of this bivvy compared to others made this missing feature a minor detail.
This bivvy is available all over the internet because it is so good, but we found that Amazon had the best price – via this link.
The Main Features of a Bivvy
Ok, back to the features. What features are available with fishing bivvies, and which features do you need?
Bivvy Size When Erected
If you are the type of angler that takes every piece of tackle you own, including the kitchen sink, then choosing a large bivvy would be the preference. Although, you may want to look into buying a 2-man bivvy and using the extra space for your equipment.
When choosing a bivvy and considering its size, you will also need to think about the type of fisheries you fish at, and how tight the swims are. If there is minimal space, you may want to consider using a brolly rather than a bivvy or find a bivvy with a small footprint when erected.
You will also need to consider how much space your bedchair will take up. If you have a wide-boy bedchair, you may not have much room left if you buy a 1-man bivvy with a small footprint so you might consider upgrading to a 2-man bivvy.
Size When Packed Away
Another consideration is the overall size when the bivvy is packed away.
Some bivvies fold into a really small bag, others have to be put into multiple bags.
If you have a small car or store your fishing equipment in a cupboard at home, be sure to pick a bivvy that folds up well.
The height of a bivvy is a very important consideration when fishing, and contributes to comfort levels more than you may originally appreciate.
To be comfortable, you should be able to at least sit on your bedchair and the roof not touch your head. This allows you to sit in the bivvy when you need to shelter from the rain.
Some anglers will want to be able to stand in their bivvy for social meetings, and larger bivvys are available, but this will typically increase the footprint of the bivvy too.
If you are the type to move around a lot when fishing, you may want to consider a lightweight bivvy, but a brolly may suit you better.
Brollys fold up into a very lightweight package, which can be folded up and packed away very quickly.
Bivvys tend to be heavier the larger they get, but the more expensive well-known brands are also sometimes lighter as they use lighter materials for the framework.
A bivvy with a groundsheet is highly recommended, these pay dividends in the wet months of the year, or when the swim doesn’t have wood chippings on the floor.
The dirt and dust get everywhere when you don’t have a groundsheet. Then at the end of your session, the groundsheet can be wiped down and put away in the bag.
When choosing a groundsheet, try and choose one that is thick. This will add to the overall weight of the bivvy when being carried, but it’s worth the extra weight because it’s less likely to get damaged by rocks, but the thicker ones are normally quieter when you are walking on them.
Thinner groundsheets sound like tarpaulins when walked on and can be quite disruptive when in use.
When we talk about strength, we talk in terms of the strength of the poles and strength of the fabric. Some cheaper bivvys use a low-grade fabric and lightweight carbon poles in an attempt to cut down the weight of the overall bivvy, but sometimes this can have an adverse effect and become too brittle and not last very long.
If you are an angler that moves with the fish, then consider the strength of the bivvy as this adds to the weight.
If you are quite a stationary angler, don’t worry about the weight so much and get a strong bivvy with thick fabric. The thick fabric will help keep the heat out on sunny days and keep the heat in on cold nights.
Ventilation is important on hot summer days, and having the ability to introduce cross ventilation to push the hot air out of the bivvy can be a godsend; although, if the bivvy you are looking at doesn’t have this option, most bivvy’s have the ability to unzip the front section where the door is, which will allow the bivvy to ventilate.
A lot of bivvys also have interchangeable front sections, so you can swap between a clear, mosquito net or full fabric front. If you use the mosquito net front, you will achieve good ventilation whilst keeping the bugs out.
It’s preferable to have an overwrap when you are buying a bivvy. Overwraps help regulate the heat inside the bivvy during the cold months and also helps keep the condensation to a minimum.
The overwrap can also help with keeping the heat out on the hotter months.
On rainy days, you can use the overwrap to keep the bivvy dry, then when you get home, you can put the bivvy straight into storage, whilst the only thing that needs to go on the washing line is the overwrap, which makes things much easier.
Vision panels are a really useful feature for when you want to see the lake and practise watercraft in the comfort of your bivvy and bedchair.
They are built into the bivvy itself, normally on the front of the bivvy, but sometimes on the back too.
A lot of bivvys also come with clear vision panels sewn into an interchangeable front panel which can be unzipped and changed for a solid panel or a mozzi net panel when required.
Mosquito netting is a godsend in the summer, and I believe it is a must-have when it comes to buying a fishing shelter.
When the heat of the summer comes out and the flies and mosquitos start to swarm around, being able to zip up a mosquito net to protect yourself from insects will ensure you are comfortable, especially if you are the type of person to get bitten by mosquitos.
Mosquito netting can also be used to give ventilation and disperse some of the heat that can build up inside the shelter.
Rod straps are usually positioned on the front rib, near the door opening. These are very useful for when you are tying rigs and don’t want to lay your rod on the ground.
Rods often get leant up against bivvys, but if they fall over, they are at high risk of being broken. The rod straps are simply velcro straps that secure your rod in a vertical position to allow you to tie rigs or set up your end tackle.
Very simple, but very useful.
You will often find that the more expensive fishing shelters will be made of a fabric-based material, and the cheaper shelters will feel more like plastic.
The fabric-based material will last much longer than the plastic type, but there are other benefits too. The plastic material is very noisy in the wind. It will make a rustling sound when touched or moved and will likely wake you during the night on a windy day, whereas, the fabric based material will not.
The fabric-based material is also a lot stronger, and will, therefore, last longer.
Two-way zipping is useful when you want to have the top section of your shelter door open, typically to see out or to let fresh air in, without having to unzip the door from the bottom, which could lead to it flapping in the wind. Not important, but handy.
Light loops are very rarely seen in bivvys, but these make it easier to hang bivvy lighting, such as small battery powered led lights.
Although, you can buy magnets to hang your lights, so again, not overly important.
Interchangeable Front Panels
Interchangeable front panels, on the other hand, are an important bivvy feature and give you lots of options for letting in light, but also for letting in fresh air.
Typically, shelters will come with three options, a clear front panel, a mozzi net, and a solid front panel. Each can be unzipped and changed for whichever you need at that time.
Pegging loops need to be strong if you want a bivvy to last any longer than 5 minutes.
I have had many cheaper plastic type pegging loops rip in a strong wind and it basically renders the shelter useless as they are very difficult to repair.
Bivvys with front peaks look better than those without in my opinion, but they also help a lot when it comes to sheltering from the sun, but also the rain.
Rain can be a nightmare when it gets into the bivvy and makes the floor wet, but having a front peak will minimise the risk of this occurring.
Carry Bag – Ease of Use
Carry bags are important to keep the bivvy together when not in use, it also helps keep all of the pieces together.
Although, some bags get broken quite easily as they are too tight to fit the bivvy in unless you have the bivvy wrapped in a certain way.
Ease of Erection
Most bivvies are easy to set up and a lot of them have ingenious methods of being erected quickly. Often a lot quicker than a typical camping tent.
Pop-up bivvys are available that erect very quickly, but on the other hand, they aren’t as strong as other bivvys and wouldn’t be good in a strong wind.
Whereas, on the other end of the spectrum, typically the bigger the bivvy, the harder they are to erect.
TFG have a system where you only need one hand to erect it, and it is erected in less than 10 seconds, although may not be as strong as a bivvy with thicker poles.
There is a balance to be had when it comes to choosing a strong bivvy, but it also being easy to erect.
I have made a lot of mistakes during my fishing sessions and don’t want you to make the same mistakes. I’ve learned the hard way over 20 years of fishing most weekends, testing, tweaking, and testing again and now want to help you excel with your carp fishing.
If you need any help, you can reach me at Fishing Again’s Facebook page