Fishing Bivvies, Brollies and Shelters have changed a lot over the years. When I first started carp fishing I had a 45-inch wave lock brolly with a heavy-duty canvas wrap I used to throw over the top of the brolly. These wraps were so heavy especially when they got wet and I often wondered how the brolly held it up. I can remember doing a full winter under it and one weekend I had all the seasons in one day, heavy rain, snow, sleet and sun, you name it I got it. Back then there were no groundsheets so it was like a mud bath under my brolly and it was horrible. I sat there cold, wet with mud everywhere and ended up with glandular fever, not sure it was due to the conditions but it wasn't nice. Luckily for me, my Dad bought me for my birthday a Rod Hutchinson Bivvy Dome, what a luxury it was from sleeping under a smelly old wrap on a sun lounger.
How things have changed since then with all the latest materials making them lighter and stronger. Nash Tackle even shows you Alan Blair standing on top of their Titan bivvy to prove how strong they are. With Nash, Trakker and Fox lead the way in constantly evolving and always trying to better their fishing bivvy and shelter range, they keep raising the bar on quality.
The material Trakker uses on their premium bivvies and shelter called Aquatexx. This material is thin, light and extremely waterproof and breathable. Fox also use a similar material called Ventec and Nash use one called Aqua Sense Hydra on their premium Bivvies and Shelters. If you buy one of their cheaper bivvies or brollies it will come made out of heavy-duty nylon but it will state what material they are made of.
The advantage over the premium material to the heavy-duty nylon material is, it makes the shelter lighter so easier to handle and reduces the condensation build-up inside due to its breathable qualities. Saying that though, the quality of the cheaper range of bivvies are constantly rising with newer materials available, so you will get very good value of your money.
When choosing a Bivvy or fishing shelter you want to have a think of what your main use for it will be. Do you want something that's quick to put up and take down just for a night or so? Or do you want a session bivvy with lots of room so you got more comfort? Think of where you may be using it because its no good buying a big two-man fishing bivvy but you can't fit it on the pegs you would like to fish. Also, would it be more of a chore getting it around to your chosen swim and setting it all up just for one night? Also, how big is your bed, if you've got a wide bed will it fit under a shelter leaving you with enough room to get the rest of your luggage in.
A lot of cheaper shelters can come with fibreglass poles which you have to guide through sleeves stitched to the material of the shelter to erect it. These can be a pain to do especially if it's cold and wet. I had this on the hutchie dome I had and it could be a pain with cold wet hands trying to set it up. Also in strong winds, it could get very scary because the fibreglass poles would bend in and create like a pocket on the outside of the shelter that the wind could blow into and start to loosen the ground pegs and in a lot of cases these shelter would be ripped of the ground or flattened in strong winds.
Nash and Trakker have some very strong bivvies and brolly systems that are very quick to erect so these are worth looking at. If this is what you are looking for have a look at the Nash Titan or the Trakker Tempest range of Bivvies and Brollies. These shelters have very light exoskeleton frames, which means the frame is on the outside of the shelter maximising the space inside. A lot of other brollies the frame is on the inside and this can reduce the headroom inside the shelter. Also because the frame is on the outside they can use thinker poles made out of aluminium to reduce the weight of the shelter but still allowing it to be very strong. Also due you the unique block that is used that the poles are fixed to at the top of the shelter, they are very quick to put up or pack down.
Fox has just bought out their new Frontier Bivvy range with a similar system that is worth looking at. The bivvies are also quick to erect but come with some unique ideas that are raising the standards again.
If you're after a cheaper fishing bivvy or Brolly system you really need to have a look at the Fox EOS range. Fox's One man and Two-man EOS bivvies are one of our biggest selling bivvies due to the value for money you get. Also, their EOS Brolly System is a huge seller because of what you get for your money and you know if it's made by Fox you are getting a quality product no matter what the price is, cheap or expensive.
I hope this has helped you and given you something to think of when purchasing a new shelter because it can be an expensive mistake if you get it wrong. If you do need any advice when choosing, please get in touch and we will do our best to help.