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The Book of the Bivvy (Cicerone Guide) Paperback – 1 Oct 2001

4.3 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Paperback, 1 Oct 2001
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Product details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Cicerone Press; 01 edition (1 Oct. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 185284342X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852843427
  • Package Dimensions: 17.2 x 11.6 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,446,741 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product description

Review

Winner: Outdoor Writer's Guild Awards for Excellence: Best Outdoor Book 2001 Quirky. Entertaining. Funny. Heart warming. Very well researched and stunningly presented. (OWG Award judges) Thank you for writing The Book of the Bivvy. I bivvied out on Friday night near Capel Curig, alone in an ex-British Army bivvy bag bought for GBP12 from an army surplus store. Even though it was August Bank Holiday I saw no-one between 6pm Friday and 10:30am on Saturday and had no trouble finding accommodation. I hope to do this often - my only regret is not trying it sooner (Anthony Walmsley, via email) This book by a very well respected outdoors' author, is both a joy and an inspiration, sure to make you want to take off and seek out the wild places, ten-less at that! At least those of us who enjoy camping outwith just a bivvy bag have found a guide to the hobby that we can recommend to beginners. Ronald Turnbull's book is a gallimaufry of good things; full of sound advice, such as choosing a bivvy bag - from basic polybag to state-of-the-art expensive shelter, what to do if it rains, long-distance bivvying, all related in a humorous and informative style - making this an ideal bedside book even if you just read it in the comfort of your home...Ten out of ten, Mr Turnbull, but please come and bivvy on Dartmoor... Rating *****(John Bainbridge, Dartmoor News Sept/Oct 2002) 'Turnbull is ultimately worth reading, not just because of the clever quirkiness of his thoughts and phrases but because his night yomps and his high bivvies and his off-beat, off-beaten-track jaunts show that he retains that most basic of outdoor-writer essentials: a simple love of being out there, somewhere, on the surface of the planet. (The Angry Corrie, 1999)'

About the Author

Ronald Turnbull is an all-weather walker, writer and photographer based in Southern Scotland. His special interest is in multi-day backpack trips over rough country, and he has completed 19 different coast-to-coast journeys across various parts of the UK. He has achieved comfortable nights without tent on over 50 UK hilltops and in three Lake District caves. He also enjoys hut-to-hut across hot, rocky and preferably Spanish-speaking bits of Europe. He has won the Outdoor Writers' Guild Award for Excellence in three separate categories: for a series of articles in Lakeland Walker magazine (2005); for a Guidebook, to the Coast to Coast Walk (1999); and for an Outdoor Book, the Cicerone-published Book of the Bivvy (2002). In 1994 he won the Fell Running Association's Long-distance Trophy for a 10-day run over all the hills of Southern Scotland. Turnbull is ultimately worth reading, not just because of the clever quirkiness of his thoughts and phrases but because his night yomps and his high bivvies and his off-beat, off-beaten-track jaunts show that he retains that most basic of outdoor-writer essentials: a simple love of being out there, somewhere, on the surface of the planet. 'The Angry Corrie', 1999

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Had thought it would give lots of ideas and information on how to choose and get best use out of a bivvy bag, and there is a few bits and pieces like that scattered around in the book, but in the main it's really more stories of the authors adventures and favourite places, the useful information is somewhat limited and incidental.
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Format: Paperback
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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