Advice on getting more sleep in a bivi bag

alastairgott

Well-known member
Does anyone have any advice on getting a little more sleep when using a bivi bag. Other than the (helpful) go to bed earlier and get up later?

I got 4hours last night, which is operable, but not optimal. :) so if there were anyway I could lengthen this, it would be great, I was just bivi bag on top of grass out under a starry sky.

But great views!
 

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Brains

Well-known member
Ground insulation makes a HUGE difference, and covering your whole head not just the eyes to keep off drafts. Somewhere you can lay flat and stretch out is a bonus. Plenty of warm clothes. Have a flask of hot wet for when you do get up to give you a boost first thing. Keep cold drinks inside the bag so they aren't frozen or chilled. Don't drink before sleeping... You might not need to get up in the night!
 

aricooperdavis

Moderator
Adding a tarp makes a big difference for me as it keeps the dew off and feels very cosy. Other than that, good ground insulation is a must, as is dry layers to wear if you can. What bivvy bag do you have?
 

alastairgott

Well-known member
What bivvy bag do you have?
One I bought on here from Joel. When he was moving house, having moved house recently, I was looking back thinking how was he selling his stuff at the same time as moving house, too many moving cogs for me!

Temperature was ok last night, 4degrees according to my car when I drove off this morning.
 
Use a Nalgene (or similar safe bottle) full of boiling water as a hot water bottle. Wrap in a sock or something so it's not too hot on the skin. Then in the morning use it to make a brew.
Also: go to bed warm after exercising, and use a warm synthetic sleeping bag, rather than a down one, ideally with a Pertex outer to shield against the inevitable dampness.
 

Boy Engineer

Active member
Unroll the bag on a mattress, preferably in an upmarket hotel. Make sure you’ve hung the ‘Do not disturb’ sign on the door, but do set your alarm so you catch a full breakfast. I’ve always slept well in such circumstances, albeit without the bivvy bag, but I’m sure it would still work.
Seriously though, a lot of sleep quality comes from routine, IMHO. If you don’t sleep out in one that often, you won’t sleep well. I’m not sure whether it is something linked to a deep-rooted need to know we will be safe or whatever, but lots of folk struggle to get a good night’s sleep on the first night somewhere different*

*cue some contrary views 😂
 

alastairgott

Well-known member
Unroll the bag on a mattress, preferably in an upmarket hotel. Make sure you’ve hung the ‘Do not disturb’ sign on the door, but do set your alarm so you catch a full breakfast. I’ve always slept well in such circumstances, albeit without the bivvy bag, but I’m sure it would still work.
Seriously though, a lot of sleep quality comes from routine, IMHO. If you don’t sleep out in one that often, you won’t sleep well. I’m not sure whether it is something linked to a deep-rooted need to know we will be safe or whatever, but lots of folk struggle to get a good night’s sleep on the first night somewhere different*

*cue some contrary views 😂
I agree with both, remember bartering with a load of hotels for the cheapest night after doing a job abroad, knowing I could just sleep on the airport floor if I decided the prices were wrong. I was able to travel home when trains were running in the morning again.

The first four hours were great, and i agree with all the comments about planning to not need a piss, halfway through I got up and stood on the foot end of the bag to relieve some pressure. Then later on all i could hear was all the slight snuffling and rustling of Animals around the bivi bag, another bird making what sounded like a ships alarm and to the beat of one too; its mate making a lowered tone and rooks making rook noises.

If these were noises i'd heard before then I'm sure i would sleep through them. I have slept through the drone of a diesel engine, so now you've pointed it out, I know its the familiarity and not the loudness that keeps you awake.
 

underground

Active member
The ultimate key to good sleep for me, at home, indispensable for caving hits and hotels with air on etc but bivi-wise might be worth considering. I spent two weeks in Ashdown forest kipping under a tarp in a bivi bag and slept like a log… directly under the Gatwick flight path and the one night I didn’t use them for no sleep…
 

Speleofish

Active member
Warm, comfortable base is essential. Good sleeping mat, preferably with soft vegetation underneath can be blissful. Heather is good, so is bracken (if you're not too worried about carcinogens - a problem if you eat it, I don't know about breathing spores... ). Alternatively, a hammock with sleeping mat and bivvy bag on top works well.
 

Wardy

Active member
I must admit I am pretty well known for sleeping and I love my Bivi bag.
I have managed to lose a complete day due to oversleeping in Darren some time back - zzzzzz, zzzzzzz, zzzzzzz
 

Oscar D

Active member
One I bought on here from Joel. When he was moving house, having moved house recently, I was looking back thinking how was he selling his stuff at the same time as moving house, too many moving cogs for me!

Temperature was ok last night, 4degrees according to my car when I drove off this morning.

Looks like an army surplus one - they have a very wide opening at the head. Something with a closure or a smaller opening would probably be cosier.
 

Leclused

Active member
When the problem is keeping yourself warm then you can try to get warmer by (survival technique)

- dig a small trench 25cm deep 25cm wide an for the lenght of you upper body
- before going to sleep make a fire in it wich produces some heat.
- when you have some good coals fill the trench with dirt
- sleep on it ==> very warm
- disadvantage is that you smell afterwards to the smoke. And when the your fire was to warm you will have it to warm during the night.

other options
- hammock with a candle
- heated hammock : hammock
 

mikem

Well-known member
Use it more often! As others (& yourself) point out, it depends if it's the light, noise, body functions, or cold (a breathable bag may be better if it gets damp inside, thus cold later)
 

Brains

Well-known member
When the problem is keeping yourself warm then you can try to get warmer by (survival technique)

- dig a small trench 25cm deep 25cm wide an for the lenght of you upper body
- before going to sleep make a fire in it wich produces some heat.
- when you have some good coals fill the trench with dirt
- sleep on it ==> very warm
- disadvantage is that you smell afterwards to the smoke. And when the your fire was to warm you will have it to warm during the night.

other options
- hammock with a candle
- heated hammock : hammock
Bonus of carbon monoxide poisoning from the coals under your bed...
 

alastairgott

Well-known member
I had no problem with cold, moisture from the ground or condensation before, during or after sleeping, just a ravernous appetite a few hours after waking up in the morning.

But that could be down to the two coffees I had after I’d woken up.
 
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