By: Blonde Two
Bivvy bag – Alpkit Hunka XL £45 (Name-SkinnyBlue)
As I stuffed sleeping kit into my inadequately sized day-pack on New Year’s Eve, I was fully prepared not to enjoy my first bivvy experience. I am very pleased to announce that I was wrong and that, despite the insistent Dartmoor mist (see image above), the slightly soggy sleeping bag edge and the bag-flapping wind, I had possibly the best camping sleep that I have had in a long time.
The thing about being in a tent, particularly if you are on your own, is that you can’t tell what is going on outside. I have imagined ponies galloping over me, being swept downriver and even axe murderers before now. In a bivvy, unless you enter upside down (which might be easier) you can see exactly what is happening.
It is lovely too, to be able to feel the cold, peaty air on your face but have the rest of your body toasty warm. I don’t know if the smaller amount of air to heat in a bivvy bag makes it warmer but I didn’t take most of my usual camping accoutrements (they are many) and was as cosy as a cosy thing in Cosy-Land.
I thought that I would mind having flappy bits of bivvy bag in my face but AlpKit clearly know what they are doing and have made their bags out of non-flappy rip-stop nylon. I have had many “I can’t get out!” panics when cold nights have driven me and my many coats right down inside Big Orange (sleeping bag), but it was easy in the bivvy bag, just flip the lid and there was the air again.
I only had two issues with bivvying and I think both of these could be solved by the development of a Blonde system:
The first was storage – you have to wrap all of the stuff you won’t want in the night (rucksack, boots, hunky bloke etc) up in a separate bag (I used my survival bag). This is ok if you are not a Blonde who needs lots of stuff. I ended up sharing my bivvy with my glasses case, my phone, my head torch and my down jacket. Luckily, it was tricky to roll over so I managed not to squash anything.
My second issue was that I clearly need to work on my bivvy-entrance skills. My legs were apparently much too long to allow me to sit on the hood of the bag (thus retaining a dry bottom) and wriggle them inside. My subsequent antics kept Mr Blonde Two (who made a much more elegant entrance) entertained.
I think I may be a bivvy convert. I am already planning the next one and am very much looking forward to trying it in weather that might give me some hope of seeing a sunrise!