The right tool for the job

In a tent you are basically in a rubbish version of indoors…

Alastair Humphreys

If a tent is a rubbish version of your own home, what does that make the humble bivvy bag, even more rubbish? Or perhaps something different, something that neither tent or one’s own home can offer…

Indeed, as the founding father of Microadventures explains, a bivvy bag can certainly offer a wilder experience outdoors compared to a tent – with just a thin bit of waterproof material protecting you from the elements, you’ll feel more connected to your surroundings in a bivvy bag rather than being zipped up inside your tent.

Bivvy’s are more stealthy and have a smaller footprint than a tent, something that was a key factor in my decision to take my old Army Surplus bag for last nights wild camp on the site of a former quarry.

Peene Quarry

I’d done a recce of the spot earlier in the week and whilst technically I could have pitched my one man tent in a couple of spots, they were pretty conspicuous. A far better location, nestled near the top of the quarry and tucked behind a small mound meant I would, for the most part, be out of sight once laid down.

Not much room for a tent

As with most things in life, the bivvy bag is a trade off – scoring high on the stealth and “connected to nature” fronts but pretty low on the comfort and protection fronts! A strong and chilly easterly wind persisted throughout the night, serving to strip away any residual warmth my sleeping bag and insulated pad offered up.

Adding to the natural elements was the constant cacophony of industrial noise rising up from the huge Eurotunnel terminal nearby – sirens, engines, trains, air brakes and air horns all competing to drown out any hint of the usual natural sounds of the night. To say the night was less than relaxing would be an understatement, especially when a group of HGVs decided to have a “who’s got the loudest horn” contest a silly o’clock.

I managed to bestow further woes upon myself with an ill fated pee break – having wriggled out of my cocoon, I stepped on the top of the bivvy bag to put my shoes on and promptly soaked my socks with condensation that had been building on the outer layer. Fortunately they dried relatively quick but it hardly added any comfort to proceedings!

Despite all that, the views from my little perch were spectacular. France just visible on the horizon, a gorgeous sunset and a golden sunrise offering ample reward for my perseverance.

A short ride home helped warm me up and now I only have to survive a few hours of work before the respite of a long weekend and some more adventures…


On the subject of adventures, if you’re stuck for ideas for your own, check out some ideas here, you’ll find a wealth of information and tips on kit and planning your own #microadventure



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