Carp Fishing Bivvies & Shelters

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Carp Fishing Bivvies & Shelters

It might be hard to believe now, but there used to be a time when anglers didn’t bother with bivvies or shelters on the bank. In fact, even a bedchair would have been a laughable proposition! Instead, anglers would rough it in the open air all year round, no matter the conditions, with only a standard chair and a waterproof jacket to their name. Luckily for us, times have moved on somewhat. Now the angler who roughs it all night is the exception, rather than the rule, and the rest of us can enjoy the relative comfort and luxury that a bivvy, bedchair, and sleeping bag can provide. Bivvy is short for bivouac – a traditional shelter used by explorers and mountaineers for many centuries. Anglers and tackle companies have taken this original idea and merged it with the traditional tent in order to create a bivvy. There are plenty of bivvies to choose from on our online store, ensuring you can always get the perfect shelter for your carp fishing needs. We thought that we’d take the time to walk you through a few of the top features and designs available to you, allowing you to make the perfect carp shelter choice for you.

There are three different types of shelter systems available in our carp fishing store. The first of these is a classic bivvy. This is a fully enclosed bivvy system which usually operates with a ribbed construction and is often available in either one man or two man sizes. The second option is the other end of the spectrum entirely and is referred to as a brolly system. Modelled on an umbrella but boasting a long back and extended sides that skirt the floor, this system is almost exclusively used on shorter sessions in the rain, as well as quick overnighters. The final system is a hybrid between the two. This doesn’t have a technical name but it will usually combine an open fronted shelter with the ribbing of a traditional bivvy. We’ll go into more detail about when and why you’d use each system as we discuss the basic features that you’ll want to look out for across the range.

First things first, if you’re investing in a shelter, you’re going to want it to be waterproof. As you might expect, every single one of the shelters in our range is able to protect you against the very worst of the UK’s rain. However, there are a couple of ways that you can separate a standard waterproof shelter from an ultra-waterproof option. The first way to do this is by looking at the hydrostatic head rating. Hydrostatic head is a rating given in millimetres, as it refers to the amount of water pressure that can be exerted on the fabric of the bivvy before it begins to leak. This measurement is always taken from a mid point in the material, rather than from a seam. For any fabric to be considered waterproof, it must have a hydrostatic head of 1,000mm or greater. This means that it can hold a column of water that is 1,000mm tall before it leaks. Most of the bivvies in our range start from hydrostatic head ratings of 5,000mm. This is substantially higher than the minimum requirement and it ensures that the bivvy will keep you dry in even adverse weather conditions. This is only the starting point for the bivvies in our range and we have shelters hydrostatic head ratings of 20,000mm – the highest possible rating currently available.

It is worth bearing in mind that hydrostatic head is only the beginning of the story when it comes to the waterproof rating of your bivvy. You can have a bivvy with a rating of 20,000mm that will still leak if it hasn’t been finished properly. The seams of any waterproof fabric are always the weakest point, as the stitching creates thousands of minute punctures in the fabric. This is why you’ll find that most of the bivvies in our range will have taped seams. This is a finish which coats the seams, providing additional protection against any leakages. Storm peaks are also used on some of our bivvies in order to shelter the open front or door of the bivvy from rain incursion and many of our brollies will boast rain gutters to prevent the rain from dripping from the very front of the shelter and splashing back inside.

The final element of waterproofing that you’ll need to consider when you’re investing in your bivvy is how breakable it is. Breathability is almost as important as the waterproof rating of the bivvy, as it is the primary protection against condensation. Condensation occurs when water vapour hits a cold surface, condensing into droplets which can then drip down on you and your gear in the bivvy. A breathable bivvy allows the water vapour to escape through the fabric before it has a chance to condense, preventing the built up of water droplets on the internal roof of the bivvy. A number of the biggest names in bivvy manufacture will have developed their own specialist materials to use in their bivvy manufacture, which have been designed to offer the perfect mix of breathability and water resistance. This includes the likes of Aquatexx, a specialist material used in both Trakker bivvies and Aqua bivvies, and Climatex, used in Chub bivvies.

Once you’ve picked out the bivvy with the waterproof rating which is right for you, you need to consider the bivvies weight. The weight of a bivvy will usually depend on a combination of three things: the weight of the poles and pegs, the weight of the fabric, and the size of the bivvy. The weight of the pegs and groundsheet are sometimes not included in the weight listed in the bivvy description and, if you’re unsure, it can be worth your time to give our customer services team a ring to clarify. It almost goes without saying that if you’re buying a small brolly-style shelter you’re going to get a much lighter-weight package than if you’re buying a large two man bivvy. How much the weight of your bivvy will matter to you will depend on what style of carp fishing you enjoy. If you’re an angler who predominately enjoys quick overnight sessions then chances are you’ll be more concerned about having a lightweight bivvy which is easy to manoeuvre between boot and bank than you will a comprehensive shelter solution. However, if you’re a long session carp angler who likes to make a base camp on a Friday night and not leave until first thing on a Monday morning, then chances are the weight of your bivvy will less of a concern and instead you’ll be more bothered by the durability of your shelter.

So, you think you’ve narrowed down our range to a handful of bivvies which offer a suitable waterproof rating, as well as a weight that is perfect for your needs – what next? You’ll want to look at the bivvy’s footprint. A footprint refers to the amount of space that your bivvy takes up in your swim. In other words, the footprint refers to the width and length (or depth) measurements of the bivvy. Most bivvies will be wide enough to comfortably house a bedchair horizontally and will offer a depth that allows you to push your bedchair far back into your bivvy in order to store luggage easily in the opening of your shelter. Oval shaped brolly systems will also offer a width that can fit a bedchair in, although they will often be shallower and you’ll instead be asked to store your gear under, or even behind, your bedchair, rather than in front of it. The very smallest overnight shelter solutions will rely on your bedchair to provide additional framework support and will be set up directly on top of your bedchair. These will usually have dimensions that only slightly exceed those of your bedchair, offering the smallest possible footprint.

Across the range, however, you’ll be finding shelters that maximise the internal space they offer, whilst minimising the footprint size. This is because a small footprint allows you to be versatile in your swim choice, as you can be confident that no matter how small your swim is, you’ll be able to set up your shelter. On the other hand, ample internal space ensures that you’ll be able to store all of your gear under your waterproof shelter, should the heavens open, as well as ensuring that you feel comfortable and not cramped in your space. This is why you’ll find that the vast majority of the bivvies we stock will be focussed on combining a small footprint with a large internal space, giving you the greatest amount of versatility possible.

Another thing that you’ll want to consider is the speed with which you can erect your bivvy. Different bivvy and brolly systems will offer differing erection systems, although all will work to ensure that their system offers the quickest setup of its kind. For example, bivvies that operate on a rib system will often ensure that you have to connect together the minimum number of poles on the bank, letting the pegging do most of the work tensioning up the bivvy. On the other hand, a brolly system will usually have internal ribs, which are opened from a central hub like a classic umbrella. In this system, the ribs do most of the work tensioning the brolly and the pegs help provide the bivvy with structural integrity. The larger the bivvy is, the longer it will usually take to erect. However, as with all things, practice makes perfect and we would always recommend setting up and packing down your bivvy a couple of times on a nice day in your back garden before you take it down to the bank. This means that you won’t waste time at the beginning of your session fumbling with instruction leaflets, as well as ensuring that you are comfortable packing your bivvy back into its protective housing at the end of your session – even in the driving rain.

Finally, you’ll want to bear in mind all the added extras that come included with your bivvy. This includes the likes of groundsheets, T-pegs, and carry-bags. Not every bivvy in our range will come with these as standard and, if you’re unsure from the product description, you can always give our customer services team a ring to confirm what bits do and do not come with your chosen bivvy. T-pegs are generally considered a vital addition to your bivvy, as these hold you bivvy or shelter in position and provide additional tensioning where necessary. Most bivvies will come supplied with a pegging solution, but we also stock spare T-pegs on our site. Groundsheets are vital if you’re going to be setting up on damp ground or angling in cold conditions. A top quality groundsheet gives you a mud-free zone on rainy days and it provides an extra barrier from the cold in wintery conditions. However, many fair-weather anglers who only head down to the bank for quick summer overnighters do away with groundsheets, as they add additional weight to your bivvy.

As well as these fairly standard extras, you’ll also find a complete range of other optional add-ons in our store. One of the most popular extra investments that anglers make is by purchasing an overwrap. Although it is by no-means essential, many anglers like to have the option of placing an extra insulating layer over their bivvy – particularly if they are fishing in colder or damper conditions. Overwraps can do away with the problem of condensation and often add extra internal space into your bivvy (provided your bivvy is fitted with a storm peak). Skull caps are a mini version of an overwrap and offer many of the benefits without all the additional weight. You’ll also find objects such as bivvy tables, mats, and mallets in the carp fishing bivvies section of our store. To complete your overnight setup, you can find bivvy lighting solutions, cooking equipment, and sleeping bags and pillows in their own dedicated categories in our carp fishing store.

We hope that, whether you’re looking to buy a small one-man brolly system for your short session angling or you’re ready to invest in a large two man bivvy for long session angling with a friend, this guide has helped to point you in the right direction and narrow down your choices. For no-obligation advice, you can also get in contact with our customer services team. Our team are all passionate anglers, each with their own areas of expertise, and they’ll be able to give you advice based on their own bankside experience. Our range of bivvies, shelters, and brollies has been picked to suit a range of budgets from popular brands such as Nash, JRC, and Avid as well as our own comprehensive and affordable Advanta range. We also understand that bivvies can be a big investment. However, there is no need for this to be a daunting prospect thanks to our Direct Credit system. This is an interest free finance service which gives you the chance to use your gear on the bank without worrying about your bank account. This service offers fixed monthly repayments, with a range of repayment rates, on all orders in excess of £300.

No matter your needs, you can find the shelter that will keep you on the bank for longer – allowing you to make the most of every angling opportunity. Angling Direct: serious about your fishing shelters.

Angling Direct: Serious about your fishing…