A bivvy setup by a lake

If you are out night fishing you will need to know how to stay warm in a bivvy. In the warmer months, this isn’t much of a problem. But once the nights start drawing in and the temperatures aren’t being so nice to us it is time to start taking some precautions. Night fishing can be very productive and is well worth thinking about, especially for carp and pike angling in the winter months. But it is not enjoyable at all if you end up getting cold.

A lot of fish such as carp, tench, barbel, and bream are usually a lot more active at night. Because of this a lot of us anglers will brave the colder weather in search of the bigger fish. As long as you go about this the right way you can stay warm and cozy all night and enjoy the experience. Believe me, there is absolutely nothing enjoyable about sleeping in a bivvy if you are cold or wet. I do know this through experience and have unfortunately learned the hard way.

In this article, I shall share some of my useful tips and tricks on how to stay warm in a bivvy. This should help you keep warm and dry on your fishing adventures and make it an enjoyable experience.

What do I need to Keep Warm in my Bivvy?

As I have said, keeping warm and dry is very important when out night fishing. The last thing you want to be doing is getting cold in your bivvy. So let’s start by looking at what will be keeping the elements off you, the bivvy.

The Bivvy Is very important when night fishing

The Bivvy

The bivvy itself is probably the most important item you will need for night fishing. A bivvy is a type of tent designed with anglers in mind. A good bivvy should be big enough to keep all your gear in as well as be 100% waterproof. All decent bivvies WILL be 100% waterproof. Cheaper ones could well leak over time. This is worth taking into consideration when deciding which bivvy to buy.

The weight is also worth considering, especially if you regularly trek a fair distance with your gear. Look for a good lightweight one, some bivvies are considerably heavier than others.

Another thing worth mentioning is how long it takes to erect. A lot of bivvies nowadays can be erected in a matter of minutes. This is handy when you are on the bank or in a bit of a rush, it just saves a lot of messing around.

One last thing to look at is a winter bivvy wrap. These are extra waterproof skins that fit over your bivvy. This insulates the bivvy in the colder winter months and makes a big difference to the temperature inside. Be sure to pick a bivvy that will take a winter wrap for extra warmth.

The Sleeping Bag

As you can probably imagine a decent sleeping bag is extremely important when it comes to keeping warm in a bivvy. When choosing a good reliable sleeping bag for night fishing there are a few things to consider.

A nice warm sleeping bag
You need a good sleeping bag to stay warm in a bivvy

Firstly sleeping bags for fishing come with season ratings. 1 is for the warmer weather and 5 for the coldest of conditions. If you are looking to keep warm during the late autumn through to early spring you want to be looking at a 4 or a 5 rating.

Most good sleeping bags for fishing will be insulated using synthetic materials. These tend to dry out quicker and don’t hold moisture so much as a natural down. Generally speaking, the thicker the insulation the warmer the sleeping bag will be.

There are a fair few bags out there that are fleece-lined as well, this will add extra heat to your sleeping bag and is also nice against any bare skin. A lot of the top-end sleeping bags will also be waterproof externally. This could prove vital if you are unfortunate enough to get any condensation build-up in your bivvy.

A Decent Bivvy Heater

If you are a hardcore angler and go night fishing in extreme conditions then you may need a bivvy heater.

A selection of portable heaters
DO NOT use these types of heaters in a bivvy

Now, gas-powered bivvy heaters can be extremely dangerous to use. This is due to carbon monoxide given off by the gas. I would personally steer well clear of these and not take any chances. Instead, get yourself a Nash Bank Life bivvy heater.

These neat bits of kit are only fuelled by 5 little tea lights. Although this doesn’t sound like it would give off much heat, in tests the temperature inside can rise by 10 degrees. When it is freezing outside 10 degrees is a hell of a difference.

Apart from the obvious fact that these bivvy heaters are a lot safer, they are also a lot lighter. Coming in at a mere 1KG you will hardly know you are carrying it. Another plus point is the cost of running them. A hundred tealights will set you back a couple of quid. An average tea light will burn for about 5 hours, making this ultra-cheap to run.

The Nash Bank Life bivvy heater is a good eco-friendly way of keeping the chill off yourself this winter. Just be sure to position it in a place where you are not going to knock it over or have anything fall on it.

Wear Lots of Layers

When trying to keep warm in your bivvy it is a very good idea to wear lots of layers.

A man wearing plenty of layers
Be sure to wear plenty of layers when night fishing

Don’t just wear the biggest warmest jumper you can find. When using several layers of clothing air tends to get stuck between them. This acts as insulation and will certainly keep you warmer in the bivvy.

Try wearing a thermal vest, two T-shirts, and a hoodie. On your legs, I find denim materials such as jeans not good for warmth. Instead, try a pair of women’s tights or stockings and a good pair of tracksuit bottoms. If you get too warm you can always remove a few layers with no problem.

Any Tips For Staying Warm In a Bivvy?

Yes, here are a few tips for keeping yourself warm. If you adhere to these, your night fishing experience will be more of an enjoyable one.

Keep Your Head Warm

We all know that we lose a lot of our body heat through our heads. This is worth taking into consideration when trying to keep warm in your bivvy. Get yourself a decent wooly hat to help keep that heat in. All the top tackle brands make them if you are a bit of a tackle tart. If not any wooly type of hat will do the job. Believe me it makes a big difference. A balaclava is also a good choice, just remember to take it off before you go to any shops.

Get Some Good Warm Socks

Good warm socks are a must-have item for keeping warm while you are night fishing. I like merino wool. A lot of the top winter socks will be made out of this material. Merino wool is breathable and will also dry out fairly quickly if you sweat in it or get it damp. When I go to sleep I usually take my socks off because they tend to sweat in a sleeping bag.

A Nice Hot Water Bottle

Like your old gran used to tell you ‘Ya can’t beat a nice hot water bottle’. This is only going to work if you have a way of heating the water that is needed. If you have a stove with you then this shouldn’t be a problem. It is also worth getting yourself some hand warmers.

Put Your Bags Under Your Bed Chair

I would only go night fishing in the colder months if my bivvy had a groundsheet. The groundsheet works well at keeping most of the cold air at bay that comes from the ground. To enhance this put all your baggage under your bedchair. This will work as a bit of a barrier against any cold air. Just be sure to check that it doesn’t sit too high, as this could make for a very uncomfortable night’s sleep. You don’t want those bags digging in your back throughout the night.

A Hot Cup of Tea Will Keep You Warm

I always make sure I have some form of hot drink with me. This will keep you warm from the inside. A cup of tea or coffee is ideal, but I am quite partial to cuppa soups myself. These are quick and easy and very effective at warming you up in your bivvy. I always have a good reliable flask with me fishing.

Take a Change of Clothes Night Fishing

If you are off out for a few nights in your bivvy in the colder months then take a change of clothes with you. If it rains you may well get wet when outside of your bivvy. Being cooped up in a bivvy all night may get you damp through sweating and condensation as well. Taking some fresh clothes can make you generally feel a lot more comfortable.

Take Some Fingerless Gloves

I find fingerless gloves come in very handy when night fishing. I take two pairs with me. I keep one pair for inside the bivvy, and one pair for playing fish. I do this because the ones for playing the fish do tend to get a bit damp on a regular basis.

To Conclude

Night fishing in a bivvy when it’s cold isn’t for everyone. Some of you will just prefer your home comforts too much. For you who do go night fishing whatever the weather, hopefully, these tips will help to keep you warm. If you venture out at night in the colder months knowing how to stay warm in a bivvy is vital. You will not enjoy your night fishing adventure if you are cold.

Tight lines, stay warm and enjoy your fishing.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the importance of a bivvy in night fishing?

A bivvy, a type of tent designed for anglers, is crucial for night fishing as it provides shelter and warmth. A good bivvy should be spacious enough for your gear and 100% waterproof. Choose a lightweight and easy-to-erect bivvy, and consider a winter bivvy wrap for additional insulation during colder months.

How does a sleeping bag contribute to staying warm in a bivvy?

A quality sleeping bag is essential for warmth in a bivvy. When selecting a sleeping bag, consider the season rating (1 for warmer weather, 5 for coldest conditions), insulation material (preferably synthetic for quick drying and less moisture retention), and thickness for warmth. Fleece-lined and waterproof sleeping bags are recommended for extra heat and protection against condensation.

Are bivvy heaters safe and effective for night fishing?

While gas-powered bivvy heaters can be dangerous due to carbon monoxide emissions, the Nash Bank Life bivvy heater, uses tea lights for fuel. This heater is safer, lighter, and cost-effective, capable of raising the inside temperature by 10 degrees, which is significant in freezing conditions.

What clothing strategy is advised for staying warm in a bivvy?

Wearing multiple layers of clothing is advised for insulation. A combination of a thermal vest, two t-shirts, a hoodie, and tracksuit bottoms instead of denim for the legs. Layering traps air between the clothes, acting as insulation, and layers can be removed if you get too warm.

What additional tips are there for keeping warm while night fishing in a bivvy?

Wearing a wooly hat or balaclava to retain body heat lost through the head. Use Merino wool socks for warmth and breathability and consider a hot water bottle for extra warmth. Placing bags under your bed chair to block cold air, have hot drinks like tea or soup, bring a change of clothes for wet conditions, and use fingerless gloves for convenience and warmth.

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