The preparation for your bivouac starts well before you pitch your tent in the countryside! Regarding the choice of equipment, the preliminary information and the practical advice, this step-by-step guide will help you enjoy your future outdoor overnight stays safely.
Sleeping in the mountains is a very enchanting experience. In order to ensure that your outdoor nights are as pleasant as possible, here are the key steps to a successful bivouac!
Safety cannot be separated from the preparation process for a mountain bivouacking excursion
Like camping, there are a number of safety principles and laws associated with bivouacking Several days before your departure, we recommend the following:
Check the weather forecast for your destination site.
Make enquiries about the applicable regulations: off-grid camping is highly regulated and you cannot just pitch a tent wherever you want.
Check your equipment: if you have not used your tent for a while, it is well worth pitching your tent in order to remind yourself about the procedure and check whether there are any missing elements. Everything, including tent pegs, poles, emergency repair kit, utensils for your cookset and your groundsheet, must be checked with a fine tooth comb.
The choice of location: very important for ensuring a safe bivouac!
Choosing the right location is essential for making the most of the pleasures of outdoor living. What is your golden rule? Always put the safety before the beauty of the landscape.
The location of your bivouac must be:
a neutral area, that is far away from any cultivated fields (potential movements of machinery at dawn, damage to seedlings) or areas with animals (faeces, ticks, etc.) or rivers (rising moisture, insect populations).
a flat piece of land, not only to avoid slipping during the night, but also to ensure as much comfort as possible and guard against the formation of a puddle should it rain. Branches and stones located beneath the sleeping area must be removed.
a surface that is sheltered from wind: in order to avoid any damage caused by strong winds or storms, which can pick up at night, it is advisable to pitch your tent facing the mountain. This will prevent ascending gusts of wind from striking the sheet with full force. A common error is not taking into account the katabatic wind, which comes from the mountaintops and is caused by the cold air dropping down the slope. Under the effect of gravity, the gusts can reach particularly high top speeds.
Our tips for a luxury night spent outdoors:
In the mountains, certain details can sometimes make all the difference. Here are a few practical recommendations that have been tried and tested many times.
Having one torch per person in order to ensure the safety of everyone's movements.
Having an additional water bottle in order to put out the embers of your campfire when you go to sleep
Protecting yourself from the cold at night, which can be quite extreme, even in summer. A good mattress and a suitable sleeping bag (mummy bags, for example, provide excellent coverage of the body) should do the job. In winter, we recommend that you place an insulating foam groundsheet underneath your inflatable mattress
Protecting yourself from the dew at dawn, particularly when bivouacking in the open air. A waterproof and breathable overbag can prevent this type of inconvenience. For extra comfort, you can add a liner
Do not arouse the sense of smell of the surrounding animals by leaving leftovers of your meal near to the tent. Cleaning the cookset and securely storing the provisions will ensure you have a peaceful night
Make sure that you can make coffee at dawn by slipping your gas cartridge into your sleeping bag at night. This advice will prevent the gas from freezing overnight!
Once you have had a good rest and have eaten properly, you'll be ready for another fantastic hike!