How to Keep Your Bivvy Warm

If you like to go fishing throughout the year, there will be times, especially during autumn and winter, when you are heading to the lake when it’s cold and overcast. In those situations, your bivvy is more important than it is at any other time of the year. It is your main protection from the natural elements and inclement weather.

Comfort plays a huge part in how much enjoyment you get out of those long hours you patiently sit waiting for any interest in your bait and lures. No-one wants to spend a day by the water’s edge of lake or estuary feeling cold damp and miserable. That doesn’t sound like fun does it? That could bring your nice and relaxing day of fishing to a grinding halt pretty quickly.

With that in mind, therefore, it makes sense you will want to keep your bivvy as dry and warm as you possibly can. To help you do that, we have put together this guide all about keeping your bivvy warm.

Choose Your Spot Carefully

By far the first and best way you can make sure your bivvy has the best chance of staying as warm as it can be from the get-go is by choosing where you set it up wisely. It is usually best to set up your bivvy facing in the direction of your rods and therefore out onto the body of water you are fishing. However, during winter, this is not the best idea. Even if you would prefer to not be completely sheltered, so you have better visibility of what is happening with your rods, you should look for a spot that has some shelter at least.

Pay attention to which direction the window is predominately blowing in and try to set up your bivvy with trees or other foliage-heavy vegetation on the side the wind is likely to hit your bivvy most.

Insulate the flooring and Make Full Use of the Groundsheet

When you are fishing in the colder and less pleasant months of the year and setting up, you need to properly guard against the damp, cold and moisture that could rise from the ground upwards and into your bivvy. You should always use the groundsheet that came with the bivvy and if one was not supplied with it, you should invest in one.

You mustn’t just lay it down and think that will be enough protection. You need to make sure there are no gaps and that it, therefore, offers a nice tight and snug fit. You can further improve the insulation of your bivvy by also using a thermal blanket or a piece of old carpet that has been measured and cut to fit properly. As well as making the bivvy warmer and dryer, it will also provide a cushioning effect that will make the harsh ground more pleasant to sit on.

Make sure you tuck all the mud flaps around your bivvy underneath the groundsheet to stop draughts and, where appropriately, use equipment and pieces of your kit to hold the groundsheet and insulation down and keep the draughts to a minimum.

Use The Bivvy Wrap or Winter Skin

There are many bivvies out there that come equipped with a winter skin or an overwrap. This is an accessory that can be placed over the top of the bivvy to provide it and you with an extra layer of insulation from the cold. Don’t worry about damp or condensation, as these tend to be made from breathable materials that allow for an adequate amount of airflow to prevent the build-up of moisture.

Properly Peg Your Bivvy

Your bivvy should come with a set of pegs. Use them. Make sure when you peg it down that the fabric is as taught as you can get it. If you are using a winter skin or overwrap, as suggested above, you need to make sure that is peg tightly too, but that there is a gap between the wrap and the bivvy to prevent the build-up of condensation and moisture.

It is also wise to keep a spare pack of pegs; in case anything happens to your main set. Remember that long pegs are designed for use in soft ground and high wind conditions, whereas shorter pegs are best used for firmer ground.

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Invest in a Good Quality, But Safe Bivvy Heater

One way to keep your bivvy is warm is by bringing warmth into it with the use of a bivvy heater. However, you need to be careful when choosing one, as there have been many instances of anglers being involved in accidents where they have been badly injured or lost their life due to carbon monoxide poisoning or their bivvy combusting in. Therefore, avoid any heater that produces carbon monoxide and it is also best to avoid anything involving naked flames.

Always choose a bivvy heater that has been designed for the intended purpose.

Pack a Hot Water Bottle and Hand Warmers

Following on from the above tip, a very easy, but incredibly effective way to keep your bivvy warm, or more accurately, you warm inside the bivvy, is with a hot water bottle. Not only can these be picked up for a relatively low price, but they are also completely safe to use.

Hand warmers are also an easy and safe way to keep your digits warm (where a lot of the heat stored in your body will escape from).


Moving on nicely from the above, you also need to make use of the heat your own body produces to help protect you from the cold. With that in mind, it is wise to invest in high-quality thermal underwear, a hoody and a waterproof jacket.

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Sleeping Bag

If you are intending on being out for more than just the one day, you will want a sleeping bag. Having said that, even if you are not going on a full trip, a sleeping bag is still a sensible investment to keep you fully protected. Not just any sleeping bag will do. You have two options. You can either choose an insulating bag to use during the winter months and switch to a lightweight model for the warmer months or you could purchase an all-season sleeping bag for use throughout the entire year.

We would highly recommend either a 4 or 5-season sleeping bag.

How you use your sleeping bag can also help increase the level of warmth you experience in your bivvy. Though it may sound counterintuitive, it is best to take off some layers of your clothing. This will help you to stay warmer for longer, and your body heat will help warm the environment inside the bag, while the filling and shell that make up its structure will ensure the heat doesn’t escape.

Sitting or sleeping in a sleeping bag with fewer layers on will also feel more comfortable and you will benefit from those extra layers when you put them back on before leaving your bivvy again.

If you still feel too cold and uncomfortable, you can then use the extra layers of clothes you removed over the top of the sleeping bag like blankets.

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