Bivvy a Month | November

This month's BAM was neither when, or where it was originally planned to be. As it was, I left home after work, in the dark, with the temperature already down to a solid 0ºC. I rode at a much slower pace than normal, to stop me getting too warm from pedaling while simultaneously getting cold from the wind.

I rode for about an hour to a local indoor bouldering centre and spent a couple of hours climbing there before heading back out to find a place to sleep. I had a spot in mind that was between home and the bouldering place, but in reality it proved too close to a busy A road to be any good. So, instead I rode almost all the way back home, past the turning that would have taken me all the way home and kept going for another 10 minutes to the same spot as last month.

I'm happy I chose not to put up with the road noise as my 'regular' spot was basically silent – with only the rustling of nearby deer to be heard (and fighting deer or something in the middle of the night, which was a little worrying).

It felt bonkers to be not only riding to/from somewhere most people would drive, even it wasn't around freezing, but to ride basically past my house, to sleep in a field, knowing it would get to negative single digits overnight.

It was fairly late by the time I leisurely got all my kit set out and into my sleeping bags (yes, bags – I'd layered a thinner summer bag inside a 3 season bag in lieu of a proper winter bag). The moon was bright and the air was biting.

Once snugged up, I was almost too warm, but knew the temperature was due to drop further. I was grateful for my Thermarest NeoAir XTherm, helping to bolster my sleeping arrangements in this weather.

As is standard for me, I woke quite a few times, but felt more comfortable in the bivvy bag this time than the tent I'd used previously – perhaps oddly, I feel more exposed behind two layers of fabric & zips, not able to see out.

The temperature hit a low before dawn, so I woke ever so slightly the wrong side of comfortable, but perfectly acceptable. I quickly warmed up as I faffed around in the moonlight packing.


I'd set up the night before using the moonlight too – only turning a light on to take a couple of photos and to check I hadn't left anything behind when leaving.

A short roll down and a couple of short walks up and I was home in time to defrost the car for my wife.

My enthusiasm has been low for BAM recently, but I never return having wished I hadn't gone – I've always either actually enjoyed it, or learned something for longer/bigger trips, found somewhere new, or just got a good laugh from the utterly bemused reactions from people when they find out "you did what!? It was minus X last night! You're mad."