Shelter, Why Bother?

“Shelter? I want to sleep under the stars and experience the true outdoors. I didn’t come out here to sleep staring up at some leaves and a few twigs after all!”. Now this may be you and on a warm summers night you never know, you could have a beautiful, unforgettable experience. Or you might be related to big foot or a werewolf and be covered in hair and not feel the cold and the rain like the rest of us! Nevertheless, the night will come when you end up looking a bit like this……

When that day comes your will truly realise the importance of the man made shelter or Bivouac! One of mans most treasured possessions when living in the outdoors. Any true or experienced outdoorsman (or lady) knows the value of the bivouac and here are a few reasons you should definitely bother to build one if you do not have a tent or a “popup” house or a cheeky log cabin.

  • 1 – Shelter keeps you warm so that you do not freeze to death.
  • 2 – Shelter provides some amount of security and privacy, who after all wants to wake up to a wild animal licking their face? or a passing strangers stare?
  • 3 – If built well, a bivouac will keep you and your possessions dry. Your food will not become soggy, your brand new iPhone will not “pop” and you will not wake up looking like you spent an evening in the local duck pond!
  • 4 – Bivouacs are cool, everyone knows that…
  • 5 – Even though building them can be physical work, it is actually extremely therapeutic and you will enjoy yourself!
  • 6 – when you sleep in a shelter you built yourself in the wild outdoors, you start to feel like you could definitely survive the Zombie apocalypse. “You’ve got skills man!”.

Traditional Bivouacs are built using wood, and bracken or any sort of substantial local foliage. They are often found built around trees as this gives them a good amount of support, making a well built Bivouac resistant to all but the most extreme of elements. Bivouacs are built to be of low height and to be very cosy and this is so that heat is kept inside it and so that there is less area to heat up, allowing for warmer temperatures. The theory behind a good Bivouac is simple, the more coverage, the more insulation and in turn the warmer you will be!.

An example of a really good Bivouac….

It is low built and has dense coverage on all sides which allows for a good amount of insulation. The only thing this “Bivvy” needs is a door at the front so that heat does not escape through the entrance!

An example of a jolly good attempt…..

Built by me! Had I had more time to complete this it would have truly become a “Hobbit Mansion” to rival Bag end in the Shire. (Lord of the Rings, if you don’t quite get that. If you don’t you really should consider becoming acquainted to the series).

 How to build a Bivouac…

Bears Quote of the day:

The golden rule of cold: “Dont let yourself get cold. Act early, while you still have your senses and mobility. Add a layer, make shelter, get moving faster – whatever your solution is, just do it” – Bear Grylls

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A Beginner’s Guide to Bivouacing


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