What's The Best Short Session Shelter?

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What's The Best Short Session Shelter?

Reviewed by Carpology Magazine... Carpology-Logo-Blog

What's The Best Short Session Shelter?

Spring is almost upon us people. So we’ve done all the hard work (think: two days in very strong (and very cold at times) winds, setting up and packing down each one) for you and tested 10 ‘compact and lightweight’ shelters to ensure your hard-earned buck is spent most wisely!

Like most products in carp fishing, it’s difficult to know what’s worth the money and what’s just a waste, and when it comes to short session shelters there is a helleva lot to choose from.

To help you with this “picking” process and to ensure you get the right one for you, in this month’s Hardware Comparison we took a closer look at a wide range of shelters, analyse all the data which is available and then checked it – i.e. weighed everything, including the groundsheet and pegs (something the manufacturers usually miss out to make their systems look lighter), measured it all and then we did the important bit: set them up and broke them down, each taking it in turns to do so, so we could then come to our own conclusions to give our opinions in the summery for each shelter.

We have, of course, split the shelters up into two styles – brolly systems and pram-hoods – and also into price brackets so you can compare them like-for-like with other products on the market of the same value.

Stuff To Know...

To give you/us an idea of the inner footprint of each shelter, we used the same bedchair each time – that being a Nash Tackle Indulgence SS4 – so a pretty big bed but seeing as it’s been the most popular selling model for the past few years it seemed pretty apt to use it. We also photographed each shelter not just from the front but the side too so you can see how far the front ribs sit out so you can get an idea how much protection each one offers.

PEAK PERFORMER A product that does a truly stunning job, regardless of its price.

TOP VALUE An outstanding deal – you’re getting an excellent product for the money.

GOLD AWARD The winning product in our group tests, based on both performance and value.

PERSONAL CHOICE Each member of the Test Team will state which shelter they’d personally buy.


The Test Team...

 JOE Job CARPology editor Carp fishing experience? 20-years PB? English: 37lb 15oz; European: 59lb 15oz Lightweight shelter user, normally uses a JRC X-Lite, which he hopes ever to break as they’ve stopped making them now!

ROB Job Ad sales for CARPology Carp fishing experience? 27-years PB? English: 47lb 8oz; European: ?? Prefers a rock-solid bivvy – usually opting for an Aqua M3 or a Nash Titan – both are super strong bankside homes.

LEIGHTON Job Postman Carp fishing experience? ?? PB? English: 44lb 8oz; European: NA Leighton has two set-ups: overnighters he uses a JRC X-Lite and for longer sessions he’s got a Nash Double Top Extreme. The-Carpology-Testers


Wychwood Solace 50inch Brolly


The Brief It’s hard to believe Wychwood has been around for 25 years. But it has. And we’re pleased to say they’re still churning out belters like the HD 50”. All four of its lightweight but super strong fiberglass back ribs touch the ground for extra stability and it comes with a five-year warranty. Price... £95.99

The Basics Made from the company’s own Extremis HD 10,000mm Hydrostatic Head material (our research says that’s bloody good) and thanks to being supplied with a heavy-duty groundsheet, storm poles and pegs it does mean it’s heavy – a full 22lbs.

The Verdict “Unlike the other brollies on test here, this is only 50” and that reduction in size does make it a struggle to get a bedchair in,” said Joe. “However, the quality is outstanding and with the front on it’s a lovely bankside home.” Rob added, “The quality is amazing, especially for the price,” and Leighton summerised with, “For the money, it’s very good, I just wish they’d sent the 60” version for us to test as I think this size would be spot-on.”

Buy The Wychwood Solace 50 Brolly



JRC Stealth MK2


The Brief As that ‘MK2’ at the end of its product name would suggest, this is the next generation of the northern-based original Stealth Brolly. It now feature their top-end Hydratex material and comes with an array of infill panels and extra features – in fact, far more than you should get for its retail price. Price... £169.00

The Basics That Hydratex material we’ve just mentioned has a hydrostatic head of 10,000mm and comes complete with storm poles, heavy-duty groundsheet, tension bars, panels etc. but this does come at a cost – the weight: a full 30lb 4oz.

The Verdict “The brolly is nice – loads of coverage – but it definitely works better as a compete bivvy as in this set-up format it offers loads and loads of room for a small footprint,” says Joe. Rob added, “I love the amount of features for the money: rear vents, rod straps, two panel options,” and Leighton added, “Like Joe, I really prefer this as a complete bivvy and I’ve very impressed with it for the money.

Buy The JRC Stealth MKII



Fox Supa Brolly


The Brief Here’s some facts: when Fox launched the Supa Brolly in 2012, it went on to become the year’s fastest selling bankside home; within six months they’d launched a full system version and in 2014 they’re launching the ‘Compact’ version. Unfortunately Fox didn’t have one we could test, so we ‘test-slept’ the original. Price... £169.99

The Basics The Supa Brolly comes with two short storm poles, heavy-duty pegs, heavy-duty groundsheet and carry bag, which all combined weighed in at 18lb and measures 1,800mm x 200mm when all packed away.

The Verdict “Incredible!” firmly stated Rob. “Everything about this bivvy is spot-on, but I’m particular impressed with the extra detailing, such as the clips to hold the storm poles over Velcro which is just a pain. Plus, thanks to the clever ribbing system it means there’s tons of space inside – way, way more than traditional brolly systems.” Joe loved this too, as did Leighton who was extremely impressed.

Buy The Fox Supa Brolly Online



Aqua Fast And Light Brolly


The Brief The Fast and Light is the result of numerous requests to Aqua for a strip-down bankside home and features the unique ninth rib that gives extra cover and is wrapped in the performance-grade Aquatexx and comes with extended storm sides. All of this is built onto a 55” hi-tensile powder-coated steel frame. Price... £229.99

The Basics The complete system actually weighed less than Aqua states on their website – it was 13lb 5oz, not 14lb 3oz. Its transport size is 1,750 x 180mm and comes complete with heavy-duty pegs and a lightweight storage bag.

The Verdict Rob kicked things off with, “A nice simple set-up that can be adjusted to suit the conditions – i.e. you can easily drop the front if there is driving rain.” Leighton continued, “The material looks and feels really nice and it would make for a great quick overnight shelter. One negative though, is it’s a shame they don’t supply this with storm poles.” Joe firmly stated the build quality was, as you’d expect for Aqua, outstanding.

Buy The Aqua Fast & Light Brolly



Nash Hog


The Brief The Hog is an all-time classic, but Kevin Nash tells us the 2014 models are even better thanks to new innovative materials, for example the new and improved fiberglass frame system which dramatically increase the strength and rigidity, yet reduce the overall weight of the brolly. Price... £249.99

The Basics The Hog SF weighed in at 26lb 4oz but, like its Titan Brolly AS brother-in-law, this includes large front storm poles, side storm poles, heavy-duty groundsheet and bivvy pegs. Its transport size is 1,500 x 250mm. There’s also a Winter Skin available (£120.99).

The Verdict Leighton: “Easy to set-up and I think the vents at the back are a great feature, plus there’s loads of room inside.” Joe: “I love the ribbing system; it gives you masses of extra space.” Rob: “The additional bar which sits between the two front ribs – like the Fox Supa Brolly – makes a massive difference to how solid it is. This is up there as one of my top three brollies.

Buy The Nash Groundhog



Nash Titan AS Brolly


The Brief When you think of the Nash Titan, it’s hard not to think of the ‘90’s: it was a radical design and amazingly strong; it was the must-have bivvy. Then it vanished. Then it came back in 2009. And in 2013 they launched a brolly version called the Titan AS and it looked like something Batman would live in. Price... £359.99

The Basics It’s heavy – 34lbs – but it does come with everything: Swan Neck Poles, storm poles, the heaviest-duty groundsheet we’ve ever seen and bivvy pegs. Packed down, it measures 1,400 x 300mm. There is also a Winter Skin available too (£142.99).

The Verdict Rob got things going by stating, “This is on par with the Tempest Air for the most rigid/solid.” Joe and Leighton echoed this comment, with Joe adding it has loads and loads of room inside and he not only loved how it looked but also the colour and feel of the material too. Leighton liked the feet on the end of each main leg and stated on a number of occasions how impressed he was with the build quality.

Buy The Nash Titan AS Brolly



Korum One Man Carper


The Brief Korum? That’s just a general specimen brand, right? Well, if it was, it’s certainly not anymore, as it’s first carp-related product isn’t just revolutionary thanks to being the first single-rib shelter ever made, but it’s been given a double thumbs up from our editor, too. Price... £134.99

The Basics Korum’s One Man Carper is the second lightest shelter on test, weighing in at a combined (groundsheet, pegs and tensions bars which are all included) weight of just 12lb 8oz. It’s pretty damn small too – with a transport size of just 1,200 x 250mm.

The Verdict “I really, REALLY like this bivvy,” Joe strongly stated. “It’s light, compact and thanks to this one-rib system it gives you loads of space so you can place your bedchair right at the back and away from the elements. I’m not that keen on the colour, but that’s a minor issue.” Rob and Leighton both echoed Joe’s comment and added they liked the finer details such as the rod straps.”

Buy The Korum One Man Carper



Chub Tri-brid


The Brief Chub, the go-to well-priced, top-quality brand, has described the Tri-Brid as a “cross between a bivvy and a brolly” and it features a rigid three-pole, two-break frame which means it’ll easily fit into most quiver systems or rod holdalls. For the money you’re getting a lot of housing. Price... £120.00

The Basics Made from a 5,000 Hydrostatic Head material, the Tri-Brid weighed in at 21lb 8oz which might seem a lot, but it does come complete with tension bars, groundsheet, pegs and a carry bag. Its transport size is 1,700 x 300mm.

The Verdict Leighton kicked this off with, “I’d go for this over a brolly system as it offer all the advantages of a brolly but goes up and down much quicker and easier. It comes with a nice carry bag too – I much prefer the zip-up style bags.” Joe added: “Excellent value for money, very robust and it goes up easily and quickly.” “It’s very spacious and well-made too,” concluded Rob.

Buy The Chub Tri-Brid



Aqua Atom


The Brief When Carp-Tech launched their Microlite Shelter back in 1996, to a lot of people it may have looked like a straight-to-DVD Hollywood bellyflop; it was ahead of its time, but this offering from Aqua is, for sure, the 21st century version of that and we just love it – and so will you if you’re a lightweight Terry Hearn clone. Price... £224.99

The Basics The Atom really does have a ‘micro-pack-down size’ – measuring just 900 x 250mm and weighs in at just 9lb 8oz. It’s a two-rub, five-break pole system and comes wrapped in the award-winning Aquatexx material.

The Verdict “I really love it!” boldly states Rob “Yes, it really is tiny, and although an Indulgence MK4 can fit inside it, a smaller bed would be recommended.” He also loved the colour of the material, as did the rest of the team and Leighton commented on how well made and how easy it was to set-up. “I think we can all agree this gets a big thumbs up from us all,” summerised Joe.

Buy The Aqua Atom



Trakker Tempest Air


The Brief Few things shout British greatness louder than Trakker and in particular their flagship Tempest bivvy. Following the 2010 release of the out-and-out bankside behemoth, the northern-based makers-of-everything-great launched this in 2012: the size-zero version, the Tempest Air, which found favour with those who (a) couldn’t justify paying a cool £649.99 for the full bricks and mortar version and/or (b) those who travel light. The ‘Air’ is the perfect alternative to a brolly system for the type of angler who (a) likes to do quick overnights, (b) stay mobile, (c) doesn’t like to compromise on space or cover, (D) wants to set it up quick and (E) not have that horrible side-to-side movement you get with oval brollies. This light version carries many of the attributes that have made its big brother so popular. It features their patented, ultra-quick and efficient opening system, the Aquatexx material and optimum use of space. Price... £349.99

The Basics Aquatexx: it now seems to be one of the bivvy’s industries most ancient fabrics; it just goes on and on, never leaking, never splitting, but it’s exclusive to Trakker and Aqua and it’s never let us down. The Tempest Air is, for its size and build, extremely light, weighing in at just 19lbs. It comes with a three-quarter sized, mid-weight groundsheet, compact carry bag and heavy-duty pegs. There is a Tempest Air Wrap (£249.99) which will convert this lightweight bankside home into a out-and-out hotel.

The Verdict “It is a lot of money for a bankside home, but then so is an Audi, and this shelter just oozes class, amazing build quality and just erects so effortlessly,” states Joe. “Everything is beautiful and very well made – from the bivvy peg holder to the storm poles with their clever locking mechanism, the ‘Air’ really is something special and that’s why it gets my vote for Best On Test.” Rob added, “The material is spot-on – really thick and from the reports I’ve heard, extremely waterproof. I really like this shelter.” Leighton really loved how quickly it set-up and packed down and fitted very easily back into its carry bag – something which wasn’t so easy with the other shelters on test. It was a resounding, “Well done Trakker, you’ve got all our votes” from the whole of the Test Team.

Buy The Trakker Tempest Air


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