Choosing A Carp Fishing Shelter: In-Depth Reviews Of The Top 5 Bivvies

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Many anglers choose to go for a few hours fishing or go out for the day. But some anglers want overnight (24 hours) or even multiple fishing nights. Traditionally, carp anglers are the main users of bivvies and can often be seen around lakes with their tent-like green structures.

Having a fishing bivvy allows those anglers to camp out for a long period and have protection from the weather and a few basic home comforts. This is where an investment in a shelter can make your fishing experiences much more rewarding. 

In this article, I will cover: 

  • What is a Bivvy, and When Do I Use One? 
  • Five Best Carp Bivvy: 
    • Trakker SLX V3 – Best Overall Pick!
    • Quest Compact – My Best Value Pick!
    • Fox EOS 2 Man Bivvy – My Most Versatile Pick!
    • Michigan 1-2 Man Bivvy Shelter – My Best Budget Pick!
    • Westlake Particle Two-Man Bivvy
  • Bivvy FAQ’s
  • Final Thoughts

What Is A Bivvy, And When Do I Use One? 

2 Man and 1 Man Fishing Bivvy
A range of fishing bivvy sizes – for the single angler or two sharing

A bivvy is a more advanced tent that is created for fishing. Primarily, these shelters are used for overnight carp fishing adventures but can also be used in difficult weather. Carp bivvies are built to be fully waterproof, have heavy insulation, and are essentially an all-weather shelter. Regardless of when you want to fish for carp, you can with a bivvy.

While a tent could perform similarly to a bivvy, it’s less efficient. They’re not overly expensive, and the convenience that comes with these bivvies is worth the price! 

You’ll have wide entrance areas and enough height to sit comfortably in a fishing chair. The front of a bivvy is usually removable depending on when and how you’re using it. You can also fully seal it at night or during especially challenging days. There are usually “windows,” or the front panel is see-through to help you keep track of your rods. 

Quality options are relatively lightweight and easy to set up. Carry them in your fishing cart or carry them separately to the bank. They’re usually less than 15 pounds, so they’re quite easy to manoeuvre. 

Lastly, a bivvy allows room for a full-length bedchair for an angler to sleep during the night whilst still fishing. There are bivvies for a single person or even two anglers to share.

Five Best Carp Bivvies

Carp bivvies are a dime a dozen. They’re not overly challenging to find, but a few stand out far above the rest. So, let’s dive into my top five picks!

Trakker SLX V3 – My Best Overall Pick!

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Trakker SLX V3 – My Best Overall Pick!

The Trakker name means a lot in carp fishing. Trakker makes one and two-man bivvies depending on what you need.

I almost always recommend purchasing two-man bivvies regardless of whether or not you fish alone. The extra room is always nice to have. You can store your gear on one side and yourself on the other. It makes fishing even more comfortable. 

Even if you have two people along with you, there’s plenty of room in the 2-man option. It’s over 5.5 feet tall, so there’s plenty of room to sit comfortably in a chair. 

The Trakker SLX V3 is extremely lightweight and strong. Also, the “windows” within this bivvy are easy to see through and remove. Again, you can leave it completely open or fully seal it. An overhang above the windows keeps the sun from shining directly into the bivvy. Also, this is lightweight and has a nice amount of ventilation. Even on those warm and humid nights, you won’t feel as if it’s what’s causing you to be overly hot. 

The Trakker bivvy is fully waterproof and has an attached ground tarp and dual zipping doors. Nothing will crawl into your bivvy at night, so you can rest easy while waiting for fish to bite. The storage pockets, screen and additional features make this an easy choice for the best overall carp bivvy. Search this out if at all possible. 

You’ll pay the price to purchase this bivvy, but it will last. At the most expensive on my list, it’s definitely a great investment. If you are a serious carp angler and go out multiple times yearly, this is the bivvy for you.

Quest Compact MK5 Carp Bivvy – My Best Value Pick!

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Quest Compact MK5 Carp Bivvy – My Best Value Pick!

My #1 best value bivvy on this list is the Quest Compact MK5. This bivvy is the real deal! 

For a mid-range priced bivvy, you feel like you’re getting a mansion. Plus, you get a 12-month guarantee when you purchase this bivvy and free 30-day returns. It’s made with 210D material and has a 10000HH rating. 

You have heavy-duty tie-down options and a nice quality groundsheet. You’ll feel protected from the wet or cold ground when walking around this option. The size is ample when erected, measuring 280 cm x 230 cm x 135 cm. This is a great size for one or even two people.

You can look out of three windows, but you can’t completely open the entire front. Your eyesight is a bit limited, but you’re definitely protected from the weather. The shades of the windows roll up and latch into place. Depending on your needs, you can keep one or two or all three open. 

The best thing about the Quest Compact is that it’s heavy-duty. The groundsheet leaves some room near the entrance, so beware of this when purchasing it. It’s not a bad idea to put something in front of the door to fully protect yourself while you’re fishing. 

The MK5 is a wonderful option and could easily compete with some of the top-listed bivvies on this list! 

FOX EOS 2 Man Bivvy- My Most Versatile Pick!

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FOX EOS 2 Man Bivvy- My Most Versatile Pick!

Fox makes a more affordable and high-quality option for anglers not looking to spend more than $400. This is a four season bivvy that’s going to keep you comfortable in all types of weather. There’s plenty of room for two sleeping beds once it’s fully erected. When fully set up, the Fox EOS is 275cm deep x 300 cm wide and 150 cm high. It feels extremely roomy. 

A bivvy groundsheet comes with the EOS2 that isn’t attached. An unattached groundsheet actually makes it easier for you to clean. You can take it out, do your necessary cleaning and reattach it when you go on your next trip. The FOX EOS2 bivvy is one of the fastest to erect and can go up and down in a matter of minutes. It’s especially easy if you bring another person with you on your trip. 

It is strong and can withstand a strong downpour and heavy winds. Many anglers are concerned about using their bivvies in tough weather. Don’t be concerned with the Fox EOS. It will bend in those tough conditions but definitely not break.

Like the Trakker, this bivvy has an overhang that keeps the sun from beating in on you while you’re inside the bivvy. 

However, It does not come with an overwrap. I suggest purchasing the additional EOS 2 overwrap if you’re fishing in extremely cold conditions. You’ll be thankful for the extra insulation on those nights that can get both cold and windy. 

For a mid-range option, you’ll struggle to find a bivvy that’s as high quality. You will do extremely well for yourself with this purchase. 

Michigan 1-2 Man Bivvy Brolly Shelter – My Best Budget Pick! 

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Michigan 1 or 2 Man Bivvy Brolly Shelter
– My Best Budget Pick!

If you want another bivvy that’s extremely easy to erect, the Michigan 1 or 2-man bivvy is a great option. Beware that it can be a little difficult to assemble, as the instructions are quite limited. You’re going to have to do some Jenga to get this assembled, but once you do, it’ll make much more sense. 

There are four 16mm poles that you have to use to get things set up. It’s not overly complicated, but make sure you’re aware before purchasing. You’re better off setting it up with more than one person for the first time. 

The doors and windows on the Michigan bivvy are “roll-up”. You don’t even have to completely remove or reattach them, so that makes life quite a bit easier. The entire outer material is made of 210D polyester, so it’s fully waterproof. 

When assembled, this bivvy is 280 cm wide x 230 cm deep by 140 cm tall. When packed down, the size is 96 cm x 14 cm by 16 cm and weighs less than 10 pounds. It’s extremely versatile! 

The best part of the Michigan Brolly Shelter is that it’s the cheapest on my list and ideal for those on a tight budget, such as juniors or beginners. 

Westlake Particle – 2 Man Bivvy

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Westlake Particle 2 Man Bivvy

The Westlake Particle has a similar design to the Trakker mentioned on this list, but it’s about half the price and still has a high quality. Depending on your preferences, this bivvy can be set completely open, partially open, or fully sealed front. There are see-through screens on the front of this bivvy that make your life easier when you’re hoping to keep an eye on your rods. 

Three primary supports keep this tent in place and erect. There are numerous tie-down points. When you hit a night or afternoon of tough weather, make sure you have it all staked down so it doesn’t rip or happen to fly away while you’re tending to your line. The dimensions of this bivvy are 157 cm tall, 300 cm wide and 270 cm deep. You can easily fit two people in here comfortably. 

It’s under 12 pounds when packed down, so transportation is extremely easy. You can carry your fishing gear on your barrow and add the bivvy to the transporter. The three poles on this bivvy are simple to put up and take down. If you need to move locations, you don’t have to worry about putting up and taking down the bivvy if another spot looks like it will help you land more fish. 

One of the main frustrations is how to attach and remove the ground cover. It’s not the most efficient process. You have to attach it in five different areas. Once you do it once, the next time, it becomes much faster. 

This bivvy is a mid-range cost option. That’s a good deal when you don’t have the budget for a higher-quality bivvy. 

Westlake has two types of bivvies, from one-man and two-man options and is a well-established brand that is known for its value for money to suit most anglers.

Bivvy FAQ’s

Why Is A Bivvy Called A Bivvy?

A “Bivy,” or “bivvy,” comes from the shortened word “bivouac”. The word came from troops during World War One as army slang. The definition of a “bivvy” is a temporary portable small tent or shelter for troops.

What Bivvy Size Should I Buy?

Most manufacturers have both a 2-man or 1-man bivvies in their range. They are very similar in construction and materials, therefore you can be sure that both sizes will equally meet the standards you expect.

Another great thing about a two-man option is that you can take your dog fishing with you overnight. The extra room is more than enough for you and your dog.

Are Bivvies Waterproof?

All bivvies are waterproof in my recommendation list. However, over a period of time, the coating will need some additional waterproofing sprayed on due to wear and tear and weather impact. Generally, re-waterproofing once or twice per year is sufficient.

The best way to waterproof your bivvy is to spray on Nikwax. Simply spray one coat all over the outer material and allow it to dry in the sun. A cheaper alternative is to use Grangers Fabsil Gold, which is a paint-on version.

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Nikwax T.X.Direct Spray-On Waterproofing – The Perfect Bivvy re-waterproofing spray

Can You Sleep In A Bivvy?

Absolutely, yes. During the night, when you need a few hours of rest between bites, a bivvy can be cosy and comfortable to sleep in. You can purchase a bedchair to place in the bivvy and close all the flaps. 

Your bite alarms will still wake you when sleeping, meaning you don’t need to oversee your rods. Being a few metres from the rods, any bites or runs will easily wake you.

How Do You Stay Warm In A Bivvy?

Bivvy fishing is only enjoyable if you have one that keeps you warm and dry. In addition, having a bedchair to sleep on at night requires a sleeping blanket in the winter months or a simple cover in the summer months.

I recommend purchasing the Abode Airtexx breathable thermal bedchair or bed cover. This can act as a perfect winter blanket and a throwover during the year’s warmer months.

How To Prevent Condensation In A Bivvy?

Condensation can happen in all bivvies. The best ways to help prevent this from happening are as follows:

  • Never cook inside your bivvy.
  • Keep any wet clothes or footwear just outside the bivvy.
  • Ventilation is key; always leave some vents open at night.
  • Make sure you peg down the overwrap, but leave a slight gap between it and the bivvy.

Condensation happens when you have cold bivvy walls and a combination of warmer air, typically from your breath or any warm items in the bivvy.

Can I Cook In A Fishing Bivvy Or Tent?

Cooking inside a bivvy or tent is highly discouraged. Any naked flames or gas inside the bivvy can create a fire or the possibility of inhaling gas fumes.

Always cook outside your shelter or right next to the fully opened flaps. There have been several anglers seriously injured when not following this advice.

Final Thoughts

Carp fishing bivvies are a great investment for specialist anglers on long fishing trips. They can make a difference by keeping you warm and giving you some rest during the long session.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article. If a bivvy seems over your budget or you only need a basic shelter, then consider a standard fishing umbrella where you can find other alternatives.

Steve Fitzjohn