Guide to Carp Fishing Bivvies – “A Must Read” Before Buying
In the market for your first or new Carp Fishing Bivvy? It can be quite a daunting task with many factors to consider. There are a ton of bivvies on the market, all made by different companies, and the beginner or advanced carp angler can quickly become overwhelmed. This article will make your choice 100 times easier. There’s a lot of information packed into this article, so grab a cup of tea or coffee and get ready to be educated.
What is a Carp Fishing Bivvy?
A carp fishing bivvy is a specialized shelter for carp anglers. It has many features such as; removable groundsheets, thick waterproof material, windproof, easy entry and exit, ventilation, storm poles, skull caps, overwraps, rod clips, etc. Bivvies provide a large list of features that make them far superior to the average camping tent.
Note: When shopping for a new bivvy, check what actually comes in the box. If you’re new to the carp fishing scene (as I was some time ago), you may not know that most companies sell a base bivvy system and then add on all the other components such as groundsheets, overwraps, front panels, skull caps, etc. at an additional cost. (Be sure to check if all components are included with the purchase of a Full Bivvy System or just the Bivvy in its basic form.)
What to Look for When Choosing a Carp Fishing Bivvy?
You will want to note some main components when choosing a carp fishing bivvy. If you find a decent-looking bivvy at a rock-bottom price, it is most likely because the manufacturer has cut back on material quality for some key components. You will want to pay close attention to the quality of the materials used in the construction of your chosen shelter, such as:
Type of Fabric
The fabric a carp fishing bivvy is made of is usually classed by a Hydrostatic Head rating. Cheaper bivvies will have a lower hydrostatic head rating of around 5000. They won’t block as much sun and will be prone to leaking when exposed to heavy rain for long durations. If you choose a bivvy with 10,000 Hydrostatic Head or higher, you will be fine in any sort of weather.
The overwrap is the outer layer of the bivvy. Although not necessary under most circumstances, an overwrap can add an additional layer of protection from the elements if you plan on spending multiple days on the bank. They are normally made from the same fabric as the bivvy itself.
Some carp fishing bivvies don’t have an overwrap option but rather have a skull cap attachment. The skull caps will prevent rain from penetrating the top of the bivvy over time. The skull caps also offer an added layer of insulation for chilly spring and fall evenings. They clip onto the top of bivvies and function much like an umbrella.
The spreader block is one of the main features of any carp fishing bivvy. The spreader block is the main hub that holds the skeleton of the bivvy in place. They can be made of many different materials such as plastic, metal, aluminum, carbon, etc. If you choose a bivvy with a plastic spreader block, ensure that you are very careful during setup and pack down, they can be the most fragile part of a bivvy.
Rod Clips and Rod Bands
The main feature on the front of most carp fishing shelters on the market is rod clips and rod straps. These are fairly simple in construction but very helpful to anglers. The velcro straps hold an angler’s rods in place in the perfect position at the front of the bivvy, allowing for easy access when changing out rigs, bait or sharpening hooks.
This is a must on any bivvy I look to buy. Not only do bivvies provide shelter from the rain, but more importantly, these days is protection from the heat and sun. When choosing a bivvy, look for one with vents on the front and back. The more, the better.
Removeable PVC Window Panels
Although they aren’t necessary and more of a luxury, PVC window panels can come in handy during the cold and wet months. I rarely use mine except for very late fall. It is convenient that they are easily removable and attached by velcro strips.
Groundsheets will vary from bivvy to bivvy. Cheaper bivvies will come with a tarp that is classified as a groundsheet, while the better models will come with a durable rubberized mat. The more durable mats will last longer, repel moisture better and be easier to clean and maintain. The thicker style mats will also insulate the shelter better in off-season conditions.
Without an in-fill panel, a bivvy is an open-front shelter. In-fill panels zip into the front of bivvies and brollies, providing an enclosed shelter. In-Fill panels come in many different shapes and forms. Qualities to look for in a decent infill panel are mesh windows, zip-up removable doors, PVC windows and storm pole attachments.
Most bivvies come with additional storm poles that attach to the front supports. The storm poles add additional support and rigidity for use during windy conditions. They will prevent the bivvy from shaking and lifting in stormy conditions. The storm poles normally attach to the front bivvy support skeleton and the infill panel.
If you’ve used a tent before, one of the first things you will notice about a bivvy is the quality of the pegs. Bivvies come with many pegging points for stability. The rigid, high-quality pegs will ensure your shelter is rock solid in any sort of weather. The pegs come with a plastic top/handle to easily plunge them into the ground. The bottom points of the pegs are designed with a rough hatched pattern to better grip ahold of the soil.
If you can get hands-on experience with a bivvy before buying, there are some things you should inspect closely. Zippers are one of these features. Be sure to choose a bivvy with quality metal zippers. Aside from the spreader block, cheap zippers can cause huge headaches while on the bank.
Windows and doors should come equipped with mesh options on quality bivvies. Protection from bugs is of utmost importance during longer sessions on the bank. The mesh windows also provide added ventilation, as mentioned above.
Fully Taped Seams
Be sure to look inside the bivvy you’re looking to buy. You can quickly tell if there is attention to detail on build quality by the presence of taped seams. This small but added layer of fabric really helps in preventing water from penetrating the bivvy in heavier downpours.
As you can see, many different components and materials are used in bivvy construction. If you choose a cheap bivvy, the above items will most likely let you down over time. I’m a big fan of buying quality items once and having them last. I think buying a pricier brand name bivvy is worth the cost.
Different Types and Styles of Carp Fishing Bivvies
Whether you’re looking for something small and compact or a larger bivvy to allow you to stand, there is a shelter on the market for almost any situation.
Quick Erect Bivvies
Most bivvies these days have a quick erect design. These bivvies have spreader blocks with folding poles. Quick erect bivvies can be set up and packed away in under a minute. Lightweight and ease of setup make them a favourite among quick and long-session anglers.
One Man Bivvies
Once again, the most popular of bivvies are “One Man” style bivvies. Large enough to comfortably hold one angler and all their gear. One-man bivvies are compact and easy to transport. Normally they can hold a single bedchair and give enough room for luggage and fishing gear.
Pram Style Bivvies
As the name suggests, “Pram Style” bivvies are assembled and folded into position much like a pram. Pram-style bivvies usually have a 1 or 2 rib design with rigid poles holding the ribs in place when pegged down.
Two Man Bivvies
Although two-man bivvies cost more, are heavier to transport and take up more room on the bank, they have advantages in some situations. These bivvies are made for long social sessions on the bank where comfort is key. Two-man bivvies are designed to hold two bedchairs, anglers and all their gear.
If you’re finding it hard to choose between one-man or two-man bivvies, there are some hybrid options on the market. Some one-man bivvies now have an optional zip-in vestibule. These sections zip in where the infill panels normally extend the bivvy out frontwards to fit two bedchairs length-wise.
Advantages of Carp Fishing Bivvies
Aside from the materials and features of a carp fishing bivvy, one should also look at the added benefits they provide to anglers to make things easier and more enjoyable on the bank.
Easy to Set Up
Carp Fishing Bivvies are very easy to set up. This is by design. When the weather worsens, it’s no fun spending 10 minutes or more fumbling to set up a tent or shelter. Most carp fishing bivvies can be set up in under a minute.
They Look Awesome
Most bivvies are made out of a sleek and discreet green camouflage material. This helps anglers blend in with the surrounding environment and keep a low profile. Going unnoticed can be a big benefit, especially here in North American Public Waters.
Bivvies are compact and have a small footprint yet are larger enough to accommodate anglers and all their gear. It’s nice to see some designs are being built with flat backs to increase the interior height, so they are more comfortable for longer sessions. Carp anglers usually need to be set up in small bank areas, and bivvies perfectly accommodate this need.
Easy to Transport
Bivvies are also designed to be lightweight and have a small pack-down size. Most quality bivvies on the market today have a very small pack-down size, so they easily fit in vehicles and on carp fishing barrows.
Although bivvies are small and compact with a small footprint, they are designed to have enough height for anglers to get up and move around comfortably. The spreader blocks are positioned in a central location to provide a domed roof for a greater inside height.
Designed for multiple purposes, carp fishing bivvies make the perfect shelter. These days they are almost a bivvy and brolly in one. They come with varying components so that one can set up just the shell as a day shelter or all the components for a comfortable longer duration session. You can cut costs and buy the minimum setup or full package, depending on your needs.
Purpose of a Carp Fishing Bivvy
The main purpose of a carp fishing bivvy is to provide shelter and comfort for long-duration fishing sessions on the bank. A quality bivvy should perform well in all weather conditions such as sun, heat, rain, cold, damp, and wind. Specific layers such as inner capsules, overwraps, panels and vented mesh allow bivvies to perform well in any condition.
Modern carp fishing bivvies are designed to prevent condensation. Nothing is worse than having to spend extended periods in damp conditions. Added features such as thick groundsheets, inner capsules, overwraps and mesh vents. There have been major advances in bivvy construction as of late for anglers spending long durations on the bank.
Bivvies are made of thicker material than the average camping tent and will hold up to rain for longer durations on the bank. Keeping dry is one of the key functions of any carp fishing shelter.
Often overlooked and becoming more and more powerful every year is the sun and the toll it takes on anglers. We’ve all heard the many stories of scares with skin cancer and it is no joke that added protection is needed, especially for anglers. We often get a double dose of the sun as it reflects off the water. Having a proper shelter to sneak away and be comfortable is key. The higher the hydrostatic head rating your bivvy has the greater sun protection it will provide.
This is the main factor I looked at when choosing my personal carp fishing bivvy. With the sun getting hotter and hotter, heat can majorly affect an angler’s health. I’ve experienced heat stress many times on the bank, and it is no joke. It is important to choose a bivvy with a high Hydrostatic Head Rating to block UV rays and have adequate ventilation.
Bivvies are better equipped to hold up to windy conditions. Constructed with many optimal anchor points, when a bivvy is fully pegged down it is basically rock solid. On top of anchor points, bivvies can also be equipped with storm poles for added stability in high wind conditions.
Bivvies are well adapted for providing comfort in warm situations but have also come a long way recently for performing well in the cold. With insulated groundsheets and overwraps to provide an added layer of air between the two fabrics, bivvies also excel in keeping anglers warm and dry during sudden cold spells in spring and fall.
Bivvies have come a long way over the years development-wise. Their key components aid in preventing certain conditions that could cause undue discomfort during your session. While waiting between bites the last thing you want to be doing is thinking of how uncomfortable you are and questioning yourself as to why you’re out there in the first place.
How Much Does a Carp Fishing Bivvy Cost?
Another main factor when choosing the right carp fishing bivvy is the price. Costs can vary greatly between different companies.
Carp Fishing Bivvies can cost anywhere from $100.00 to well over $1000.00 depending on your needs on the bank.
I would much rather spend a little more money and get a quality bivvy from a reputable company than save a little and cause extra hardship on the bank and end up having to buy a replacement sooner.
The way I look at things is I would rather pay the extra money to support a company that has put the effort in to design and test their product thoroughly than to save a hundred dollars to buy a cheap knockoff made at the same factory with lesser materials. In my eyes, this would just lead to cheaper and inferior products being made. I will pick quality and innovation over saving a little money any day. It is much better for the carp-angling community in the long run.
What is the Best Bivvy?
There are many different brands that make carp fishing bivvies for carp anglers. This is beneficial as they all compete to make the best product at the most reasonable price. A bivvy is one of the largest purchases a carp angler will make so the more options the better.
A few of the best Carp Fishing Bivvy providers are:
To view prices and more specifics on carp fishing bivvies, be sure to check out The Best Carp Fishing Bivvies we recommend on our Recommended Carp Fishing Gear Page.
What is the Difference Between a Carp Fishing Brolly and Bivvy?
Carp Anglers are lucky to have many choices when considering a shelter for longer sessions on the bank. A brolly is basically a smaller version of a bivvy, usually made from lighter materials favouring easy transport and setup. Brollies are made for quicker day sessions rather than overnight stays. Brollies are quicker to set up and allow an angler to be more mobile, but they lack the added shelter and space of a carp fishing bivvy.