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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars55
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 6 April 2014
The book is well written and humorous but is not so much a book of the bivvy, but more a record of various treks over various hills and mountains. Granted, the author uses a bivvy each time but constantly complains about how cold and wet they are and not just cold and wet, but how cold and wet each make he's used is and why. For someone fit enough to walk over mountains in all weathers for 8, 12 and even longer hours, without cooker or apparent food, before walking miles down in order to eat, I would of thought he was fit enough to carry something more dryer, warmer and comfortable!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 January 2004
Great little book - interesting chapters and a lovely, tongue-in-cheek style that is very refreshing. I enjoyed it a lot - to the extent that I went out and bought my very own bag. Having said that, although I'd camped out over the years, one go in a 'bag' convinced me that I was not a 'bagger' and I was lucky in that I was able to return it to the shop in a good enough state. Back to (heavier) tents for me. The point is though, this book is very descriptive without being boring. Clearly, the author has lived and breathed the hills and knows his stuff. Not cheap, but worth it I found and very informative.
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on 5 December 2013
I loved this little book. As someone who as wild camped for years with tent and full gear this book has inspired me to a whole new experience - do the same but take less gear and travel light! I cannot imagine a better book about sleeping out under the stars. He regularly reminds us that you will get cold and wet and you will need to plan for drying out - he likes to tell it like it is. Most of us make a list of all the stuff we need to take with us and then pack it all. This book questions all the stuff on the list and encourages you to leave most of it behind go light. Why take a tent when you can climb into a big plastic bag? Why take a sleeping bag when you can sleep in your clothes? Why take a stove when you can eat cold stuff? Why take any food at all when you can get a full english at the bottom of the hill? My kinda preparation. Love it. Plenty of detail about places and routes and stuff. Will probably read it again soon to pick up on the bits I missed first time through - not often I do that with a little book.
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on 13 December 2014
I don't bother with leaving reviews very often, but after reading a few of the previous offerings here (although most are 5*) I felt I had to chip in. Firstly, it's about bivvying. A bivvy bag is a waterproof ('ish) human-sized bag. You sleep in it and hope you don't wake up spooning a badger. A book on bivvying is never going to be a yellow-pages sized epic. What this book does have is something that is often lacking from outdoors publications; character and humour (of the dry variety). There is also more than enough information on choosing a bag that will suit you and your budget, places to go to and a mish-mash of assorted snippets on diet, photography etc. 10 minutes on Google will give you more than enough information on buying a bivvy, what you get from this book is an insight into a 'less is more attitude' told with obvious (and infectious) enthusiasm. He does take the piss out of a few stereotypes along the way but if that's going to upset you then it's probably because he's hitting too close to home. I enjoyed this book and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.
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on 6 June 2006
I took his advice got my bivvy bag out and put it in my pack with very little else. I walked 100 miles in two and a half days.

The book is great because of the content and superb because of the style. I laughed out loud frequently. I will need to read it again to absorb the information I want from it. Moon cycles, repair tips, how the bag works, what not to take, haggis recipes. I will also have to recreate the trips he describes, but in my own style.

If you go walking then don't take this book for bedtime reading. Because, as Ron says, walking keeps you warm so just walk further.
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on 7 April 2016
This book is enjoyable the way a long uphill slog is enjoyable as the author does waffle on and on about being cold and miserable, surviving on custard pies and enjoying the odd pub dinner while walking the Scottish hills. Although the quirky humour did get a few chuckles, the signal to noise ratio is pretty low. The book's lack of structure (it reads more like a serialised collection of reminiscence) doesn't help and means you do have to sift through it to get a few nuggets of actual information or advice on bivviying. I found two other drawbacks: 1. the book is totally focussed on using a bivvi in the author's local terrain and is not much use if your local conditions differ and 2. all the technical information is hopelessly out of date (granted, the basics such as breathable fabrics only being breathable in ideal, therefore very rare, conditions is still valid). For instance, the author dismisses down sleeping bags as totally unsuitable for bivviying throughout the book and only in the addendum to the new edition does he state that he now uses a down bag for overnighters because of the weight benefit and leaves the synthetic bags for long trips. What it boils down to is a very long-winded way of saying "don't expect to be as comfy in a bivvy bag as you would be in a heavy tent with loads of gear but the freedom it gives you makes is worthwhile". Which you sort of knew already, didn't you?
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on 22 January 2016
Until now, I'd considered a bivvy bag purely as a backup for mountain walkers - something to grab out if unexpectedly delayed or stranded by bad weather on a mountain. I hadn't realised until that book that there were enthusiasts of the bivvy bag who actually plan to sleep in them, using them to extend their walking days and to wake up with some of Britain's best views.

Ronald Turnbull's 'Book of the Bivvy' is written in an anecdotal, lively style. The first two thirds of the book integrate advice and information on bivvying with stories from Turnbull's (very extensive) hillwalking experiences. They cover selecting a bag, planning routes, other equipment to carry, and many tips for making the most of your experience sleeping in a bag. Final chapters suggest some bivvy bag friendly walking routes in England, Scotland and Wales.

After reading this, I'm now considering whether my little hike tent might be substituted for the odd overnight route ...

Recommended for all hillwalkers, whether you plan on sleeping out in a bag or not!
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on 13 September 2009
This book is by turns inspiring, envigorating, encouraging and entertaining: I thoroughly recommend it.
Referring to adverse criticism on the Amazon site, yes the text does wander, reflect and leave the point - so what? The author's approach to the subject is not a "nuts and bolts" account of a hobby; rather, it reflects his interest, way of life and approach to walking the British (and other) hills. Within the text the reader is exhorted to abandon watches and enjoy the hills rather than focus on a timetable. Such an approach saturates the author's words and adds such charm, wit and "readability" to this little book which is so much more than just a "how to" guide.
Yes, it helps if you know the places mentioned; indeed, the references bring back happy recollections of dire days out in dreadful weather. However, the names, be they unknown or familiar, weave a magic of their own as they evoke the more remote places of Britain. One might argue that if one does not have a nodding acquaintance with the places named, one should not consider using a bivvy to explore them - but that's NOT the author's opinion as he's full of enthusiasm and evangelical fervour to get you, the reader, out of the house, onto the hills and into a bivvy bag.
So read the book, learn and be entertained, then go and try it.
This book is worth the purchase price - it may even change your entire approach to hillwalking.
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on 23 June 2015
A great small read. Gives some witty and pleasant insights into travelling light, including routes to follow and places to stay particularly in Scotland and The North. Having considered bivvying, this few pounds spent seemed the logical first step before committing to a wet miserable night alone in the middle of nowhere. I now feel much more informed and aware of what to anticipate. As well as that it was a jolly good read in it's own right.
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on 28 September 2014
This was a delight. In an age of glamping and easy travel, 'stress free' and 'without all the hassle' it was great to read someone eulogise what is uncomfortable and basic, but brim over with the beauty and the joy of it. He writes in a great, dry manner and shares the horror and the hedgerows. Made me feel my own bib vying was more sane. Useful, practical and written with love.
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