BUYER'S GUIDE: Quick erect bivvies and shelters

BUYER'S GUIDE: Quick erect bivvies and shelters

If you want to become a more mobile angler, one of the biggest weight savings you can make is in ditching your luxury bivvy for a slimmed-down shelter.

For this grouptest review we’ve collected six very different offerings, ranging from £60 to £300, to give you an idea of what’s on the market.

What to look for

Hydrostatic head

A term often bandied about when it comes to shelters, the hydrostatic head rating of a bivvy relates to waterproofing.

The figure relates to the height of a column of water that can be placed on the fabric before it leaks – so a 10,000mm hydrostatic head is better than a 5,000mm one.

Bear in mind that other factors, including taped seams and the fabric’s coating, also come into play with waterproofing.  

Weight

If your aim is to cut down the size and heft of your kit, then pay close attention to the weight of the shelter you’re considering.

The frames of these shelters make up the main bulk, but don’t forget that added extras like groundsheets and storm poles soon add up.

Ease of setup

The growing popularity of brolly systems has seen them become more and more sophisticated, so don’t assume they are always quicker to erect than a bivvy.

A two-rib shelter can often be set up faster than you can fully assemble a brolly system.

Fox R Series brolly

RRP: £139.99 or £220 for the system

Weight: 7.5kg, or 9kg for the system. Extension is 3.25kg

www.foxint.com

R series brolly.jpg

The Fox Supa Brolly revolutionised the market and made anglers who would never have previously considered an umbrella-based shelter go mad for them.

The Supa is now dead (superseded by the Ultra 60), but this cheaper offering is basically a continuation of the Supa lineage at a bargain price.

The materials aren’t quite as luxurious as Fox’s range-topper but the design is a modern classic and, if image matters, only the keenest of eyes will be able to tell you’ve gone for the budget offering.

The igloo-like extension add-on is also very handy for longer trips or when taking your partner or a mate.

Wychwood HD MHR Brolly MkII

RRP: £199.99, or £299.99 for the system

Weight: 6kg, or 10kg for the system

www.wychwoodcarp.co.uk

Wychwood MHR BROLLY MKII.jpg

A really impressive package from Wychwood, which has tweaked rather than wholly revamped its flagship brolly with the MkII.

The outer material is beautifully rugged, the hammock-like internal storage is an impressive touch and the integrated peak pole and smaller storm poles tuck up inside the brolly with precision.

Wychwood’s five-year warranty is also a massive boon. The perfect luxury brolly? Quite possibly. Velrco tabs on the groundsheet would be great, but there’s very little else to complain about.

Nash Titan Hide 

RRP: £199.99

Weight: 4.6kg

www.nashtackle.co.uk

TITAN-HIDE-(4-of-10).jpg

The Hide made a massive impact when it was unveiled, but punters were initially kept waiting for stock.

Now fully available and, remarkably, reduced in price, this cracking little shelter is arguably one of the most stylish on the bank.

Looking almost limpet-like, and with a very flat back section, the Hide maximises its internal space very nicely. It is an unashamedly pared-down shelter, so it is pretty compact and you don’t get a groundsheet as standard.

Headroom is also tight, so if you’re a bigger angler then perhaps investigate the newer Titan Hide XL, but this is an exceptionally light yet rigid shelter that packs down to a length of just 44ins (the same as the Scope range).

TFG Banshee Day Shelter 

RRP: £59.99

Weight: 3.35kg

www.totalfishinggear.co.uk

TFGear Banshee Day Shelter A.jpg

By far and away the cheapest shelter on test, this is billed as a day shelter but can easily be used for overnight sessions.

The simple two-rib design weighs just 3.35kg and provides enough room to house a bedchair and all your kit.

There are no fancy extras here, so you’ll have to make do without a groundsheet and live with an open front, but for many quick-session anglers that’ll be no hardship at all.

What the Banshee lacks in features in makes up for in speed – it’s the quickest of the bunch for setup time and its compact carrying size and negligible weight make it an attractive proposition.  

JRC Stealth Bloxx Shelter 2G

RRP: £259.99

Weight: 7.3kg (overwrap is 4kg)

www.jrcfishing.co.uk

JRC Stealth_BloxxShelter2G.jpg

The Stealth Bloxx range has evolved since its debut nearly five years ago. Compared to the original bivvy, this 2019 2G Shelter version is considerably lighter and less bulky.

The central boss system is well designed and allows for very quick erection, while the flat sides of the shelter provide maximum internal space.

Unlike the bivvy version, this has an open front but the handy peak system is very good at keeping out wind and rain, and the two rear vents improve air circulation on warmer days.

The Hydratex material, with a 10,000mm HH, is also very good and there’s a heavy-duty overwrap available. At full RRP it’s on the pricy side, but expect to find it for less. 

Trakker Tempest Brolly v2

RRP: £249.99

Weight: 5.75kg (approx)

www.trakkerproducts.co.uk

Trakker Tempest Brolly V2.jpg

A blockbuster seller, the Tempest Brolly V2 hits that sweet spot in the Trakker range between features and value.

It’s got that trademark ‘fan out and lock’ rib design (with anti-twist poles) which makes setup a doddle, and that distinctive silhouette with flat sides and an external frame for greater internal space.

Be aware, however, that it’s quite a low-down shelter, so those with bad backs may want to look at a larger offering.

As standard it’s an open-fronted design, but there’s a zip in place if you wish to add the separate infill or mozzie front.

This shelter was seen by many for the first time at last year’s Big One Show and it was the single most crowded-around product we saw all weekend. It’s a beauty.  

Aqua Fast and Light Camo

RRP: £299.99

Weight: 5.5kg

www.aquaproducts.co.uk

Aqua Camo Fast & Light.jpg

This is the camouflage version of Aqua’s classic brolly design, with that tell-tale sharp peak.

It measures up as a 55ins frame, so it’s smaller than some modern brollies, but it’s also lighter – the brolly itself is just 4.5kg.

One of its main selling points is the delicious Aquatexx fabric, which is about as good as it gets and repels not just water but sunlight so you can stay cool and shaded in the summer.

The Fast and Light is beautifully put together and there are a raft of accessories available separately, but it’s not cheap and storm poles aren’t included.