Great 1st Experience Bivvie Bagging

Ok, I know it was a while ago I spoke about taking the adventure to the next level and dumping the tent in favour of a bivvie bag.  Well it has happened and I loved it.  My first night was in October out on a wild camp in the Brecon Beacons, we decided to use a route we knew well, so that there would be little surprises and we could better evaluate the difference in weight to our packs.

First of all the weight difference was brilliant, literally 1.6 KG’s of weight lost.  Which is a lot in backpacking terms.  The Bivvie bag itself is a UK army issue which a friend of mine gave me for free.  I gave it’s waterproofing a test in the bath before the trip, just in case, and it is fully waterproof.  It is absolutely massive and I was really warm sleeping in it.  I used my 3/4 self inflating mat on top of a very thin foam roll-mat.  Which was very comfortable.  My sleeping bag was a Hi Gear Summit 250 which has a comfort temperature limit of -3.2C.  It was actually one of the warmest nights I have ever had camping!

The whole Bivving experience was great, no hassle putting the tent up and then taking it down in the morning, plus the weight save just made it a joy.  It is definitely something I will be continuing on my wild adventures!

Thank you to Alastair Humphreys Blog  for giving me the idea and making it seem less daunting.

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Pure enjoyment

You know sometimes it’s the really simple things that make walking/hiking (whatever you wanna call it) brilliant.  Take today, i was sat at home feeling poorly but realising that it was actually the nicest day of the year I was thinking “don’t waste it”!  So i grabbed my little day pack, filled it with water, a sandwich, meds for poorly me and also water and a bowl for the dog and off we went.  Leaving Highworth through the fields and off towards Hannington Wick.  The sunshine was glorious and the amount of wildlife was outstanding. Butterflies,dragonflies, kestrels and other birds just getting as much summer goodness as they could.  My dog is very old now (77 in dog years!), so he had to have frequent breaks.  Luckily there were plenty of cool streams he could paddle in on the way to cool down.  Although at one point he sat down in one and wouldn’t come out until HE was ready! 
We carried on a round trip on to Hannington, and then through to the Freke arms on the Highworth to Blunsdon road where i enjoyed some refreshing apple based loveliness!
Think it was about 6 miles round trip and only took me about 15 minutes of prep time. But it was a full afternoon of enjoyment 🙂

The next evolution

Brecon’s was fun, but the weight and the messing about with my tent was not.  When I brought my Vango Soul 200 I was really happy with it, and the first couple of camps were ok.  But I quickly noticed that if it rains, the way the tent entrance is setup means that you can’t sit in it with the door open, as it will drip into the inner sleeping area of the tent.

To solve this we purchased a tarp 2.8M X 3.0M, which has been brilliant!  It is big enough for two people to comfortably sit under and be sheltered from the rain and wind.  It is quick and easy to set up, with guy ropes and my 2 trekking poles.  We have also had a small campfire underneath it, which kept us lovely and warm and enabled us to dry our boots off.

So I have been looking at new backpacking tents, and to get something which is good enough and light enough for my needs I am going to be spending £100 or more.  But this will still take up a lot of room in my pack, and weigh approximately 2Kg’s.  Then I stumbled across this guy’s blog www.alastairhumphreys.com and his idea of “Microadventures” really hit home.  He is a massive fan of Bivibags and from reading his blog I really want to give it a go.  From a weight saving and price point I am already converted!  But the part that I am really keen on is the feeling more connected with the environment, being able to look up at the stars (if it is warm enough).  The whole idea of being really outside and exposed appeals to me.  I mean we have the Tarp to sit and chill under as the world passes us by, why not just stay under there for the whole night?

Why not indeed!

So I am looking into buying an Alpkit Hunka XL as recommend on his blog.  This is I think a good price point to start out at and if I actually do enjoy the experience, then look to upgrade later down the line.

Here is to planning the next microadventure!

I would like to share my brecon 2nd day track with you

I think you might be interested in this track:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_iK7B-mvWzsaHpIVFJzLXJkQXc/edit?usp=drivesdk

Created by Google My Tracks on Android

Name: 27/04 09:46
Activity type: Hiking
Description: –
Total distance: 14.50 km (9.0 mi)
Total time: 7:58:44
Moving time: 5:34:24
Average speed: 1.82 km/h (1.1 mi/h)
Average moving speed: 2.60 km/h (1.6 mi/h)
Max speed: 10.21 km/h (6.3 mi/h)
Average pace: 33:01 min/km (53:08 min/mi)
Average moving pace: 23:04 min/km (37:07 min/mi)
Fastest pace: 5:53 min/km (9:27 min/mi)
Max elevation: 866 m (2841 ft)
Min elevation: 351 m (1151 ft)
Elevation gain: 3840 m (12597 ft)
Max grade: 13 %
Min grade: -28 %
Recorded: 27/04 09:46

I would like to share my brecon 1st day track with you

I think you might be interested in this track:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_iK7B-mvWzsOW1qdXpRYkdCczg/edit?usp=drivesdk

Created by Google My Tracks on Android

Name: 26/04 09:38
Activity type: Hiking
Description: –
Total distance: 18.71 km (11.6 mi)
Total time: 7:18:17
Moving time: 5:31:40
Average speed: 2.56 km/h (1.6 mi/h)
Average moving speed: 3.39 km/h (2.1 mi/h)
Max speed: 11.38 km/h (7.1 mi/h)
Average pace: 23:25 min/km (37:41 min/mi)
Average moving pace: 17:43 min/km (28:31 min/mi)
Fastest pace: 5:16 min/km (8:29 min/mi)
Max elevation: 450 m (1476 ft)
Min elevation: 284 m (933 ft)
Elevation gain: 2991 m (9812 ft)
Max grade: 28 %
Min grade: -64 %
Recorded: 26/04 09:38

Brecon in the rain (and a little sun)

So I’ve just uploaded a gallary of pic’s from my 2 day hike and wild camp up Pen Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons.

It was a really mix bag of weather, fun and pain.  We started out at Llwyn-on reservoir and headed out South on the Taff Trail.  The weather was always looking like it could drop on us at any time and it certainly did several times!  The waterproofs were on and off a good few times in the 11 miles we covered to our camp sight just South of the lower Neuadd Reservoir.

Our campsite was absolutely lush, right next to a free flowing stream and just down from a waterfall.  Water was the theme of this campsite, as from about 1700 hours, it didn’t stop raining proper Welsh mountain rain!  We settled under our tarp and set-up a small campfire to dry off our boots and see off the cool of the evening.  I had my camp whiskey and Dan had his Vodka and bitter lemon.  I don’t know if it was the whiskey keeping me warm but I can say that in my new sleeping bag the Hi Gear Summit 250, I was good and toasty!

The next day we woke up to a Ram looking around the perimeter of our campsite.  This wasn’t a problem until we tried to leave, and he decided to do a little posturing at us, and we decided that we really didn’t fancy getting butted so went around!

We found the trail up to Pen Y Fan and with 75 litre packs on made the assent a lot harder than it needed to be!  But we made it and as you will see for the pictures the view was stunning!  (hahahaha)

The journey down was much nicer, but the long slog along the A470 back to the car was really too much, I think the fact that it was mostly along a road was just not in keeping with the nature of the rest of the hike.  It quickly became demoralising, and to top it off the sun came out in force and made us sweat and I got some beautiful blisters!

But all in all it was a beautiful 2 days and I learned a lot about myself and my kit, and what I want to do next!

Gallery

Brecon 2 day hike and wild camp

This gallery contains 34 photos.