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International Bivvybag Day

Saturday the 25th of February was International Bivvybag Day which last year attracted 1387 bivviers. This fabulous group on Facebook was created by Russ Moorhouse and is full of a wealth of knowledge and tips for anyone looking to venture into the world of bivvying.

I stumbled across this group through the amazing Alastair Humphreys whom I follow avidly and recommend highly to take a look at his books, website and YouTube videos as he has created some incredible and really interesting content, and with a great sense of humour to boot.

Following our joining of the group six of us were all set to venture out into the wilds, I use the the term wilds loosely as our choice of camp for the night was to be at a local site offering a great little spot to perfectly suit our needs and offer the opportunity to test out the kit for our first taste of the Bivvy life.

We decided to convene at our preferred location late afternoon to allow time to organise our set ups and any last minute changes needed before losing the last of the daylight. Perhaps in the future we will be a little less concerned over the details and just head out to enjoy the spontinuity of a night in our bivvys with a less is more attitude.

Having been given our code words on the day to display for the purpose of recording our bivvy out in the hope of setting a new world record, we set off to meet up. Everyone had opted to make their own way there via various means, bike, car, public transport and one by foot to experience the escape of the city. Recording his transition from urban city life from home through to the more suburban areas and into the countryside before arriving at his spot for what would be a cold night ahead.

A quick check of the weather earlier in the day proved to be futile as in true British style was nothing like what had been forecast and no sooner had we arrived under cloudy but with some blue skies, it all changed and we experienced a brief hail shower. Spirits remained high and we laughed it off and continued to set everything up.

Content albeit after a few minor technical difficulties and tweaks, each of us had selected what we hoped was the perfect spot. You wouldn't think that something so simple would pose such a dilemma, but for us making our home for the night was to prove just that. We wanted it to be just so, though not all of us were as fussy, just the myself and Robin, with Iain eyeing a fence as his perfect spot to anchor his tarp off of and seasoned campers Ashley and Amanda so laid back they had chosen their spot with moments of arrival.

Myself and Robin had opted to bunk down on the dry and somewhat soft ground under some pine trees to provide us with some shelter from the canopy above in the event it may just throw some rain our way either during the night or in the early hours of the morning. To no surprise and in typical UK fashion that's exactly what happened, much to our amusement when asked the following morning. Of course our perfect spot had proven to be just that as we woke to find ourselves completely dry and none to aware of the earlier lashing of rain.

With everyone settled it was time to gather some tinder, kindling and firewood for the fire pit, kindly loaned to us by Amanda. As we sat under the wonderfully clear night skies exchanging light hearted banter, we were treated to some incredible views of the stars, light pollution in the countryside reduced enough to afford such a spectacle and we were even treated to a shooting star.

Enjoying the odd beverage or two and sufficiently warmed through from the fire it was time for some quick photos in our beds with the code word 'Save Dartmoor' before bedding down for what we hoped would be a warm and snug night in our chosen sleep systems. To say I was a little anxious of how my night was to pan out, especially after an evening of being heckled around my choice of sleeping bag from Ashley and the others.

Surprisingly and much to my delight I drifted off fairly quickly and aside from a mid night awakening for the inevitable, my night of slumber was great. My sleeping bag had held up and I was dry and sufficiently rested. A bonus considering the early hours temperature had dropped to -3 and my compadre just a few feet away experienced the crunchy sound under foot for his trip to water the plants.

There is something truly quite amazing sleeping under the trees, looking up at the starry sky from your bed and listening to all the sounds of the wildlife. Having been a tent camper all my life this was all new to me, I suddenly realised how incredible this was and left myself wondering why on earth I hadn't explored this way of camping before. Coming to the conclusion that it's going to be very difficult to go back to any other form of camping other than this for fear of missing out on so much more.

We all woke to a glorious sunrise and the area bathed in sunlight, such a lovely feeling to enjoy over morning coffee discussing how we all slept, though from the sounds emanating from my fellow bivvyists, soundly sprang to mind.

Time to pack up and head off back to our points of origin and reality to reflect on our experience, what we learned from it, what we may tweak in terms of kit and most importantly to plan for the next one. As a fully converted Bivvy exponent, I will for sure be looking to make this a regular thing.

With just one final thing to do before departing, a quick check of the area to ensure we had left no trace of our ever being there. Returning the site to its natural being and thankful what had been a surreal and memorable experience to have shared with some great friends, one I very much look forward to doing again, and very soon.

I would like to thank Amanda for providing us with a fabulous location, Iain and Ashley for their continued barrage of jokes surrounding my kit choices, Robin for all your help and banter, and not forgetting Viv in her support camper van for my morning coffee and words of encouragement.

Thanks go out to our man in the North John Climber for providing us with some key all important daily tips ahead of the big day. A fountain of knowledge and always on hand for help, advice and support.

Lastly to Al Humphreys for sharing on his feed all about the International Bivvybag Day, to which I will be a yearly participant, and lastly Russ Moorhouse for the group and congratulations on a new world record with 2124 people taking part. The pictures of everyone in so many amazing locations is inspiring.

Who knows, next year perhaps I will be a little more adventurous and opt for somewhere more remote, off the beaten track and with some jaw dropping scenery to wake up to.

If you would like to join us on a monthly camp out, and not necessarily in a Bivvy, maybe a tent, a camper or even a hammock, check out the next one on the 18th of March or keep your eye open for our regular monthly under the stars in nature.

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Lian Smith- Simmonds
Lian Smith- Simmonds
Feb 28, 2023

Great write up, the cold puts me off at this time of year, plus I know how much gear I take camping 🤣 maybe when it’s bit warmer. I would really like to do a paddle camp paddle so got to take the plunge at some point though


mick cope
mick cope
Feb 28, 2023

excellent thanks a lot. mick

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