The Book of the Bivvy

Ron­ald Turn­bull

Trail (UK) - - Base Camp - Re­view by Jeremy Ashcroft

Be­ing a pen­ni­less stu­dent, all my early moun­tain ad­ven­tures meant fol­low­ing the black art of ‘doss­ing’; the Amer­i­cans call it ‘dirt­bag­ging’, and in to­day's speak it’s mor­phed into ‘bivvy­ing’. Es­sen­tially it’s about trav­el­ling light, for­go­ing a tent, and re­ly­ing on not much more than a stove, some ba­sic sleep­ing gear, and your wits to se­cure shel­ter. Part au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, part in­struc­tion book and part guide­book, The Book of the Bivvy un­locks this glo­ri­ous pur­suit, and once you’ve read it, the days of lug­ging round a tent, for you, may well be con­fined to his­tory. Through lack of gear and/or a nat­u­ral de­sire for self-reliance, spend­ing a night un­der the stars, or tucked un­der a boul­der is wo­ven into the fab­ric of moun­taineer­ing and walk­ing. With hu­mour and a fair de­gree of self-dep­re­ca­tion Ron­ald Turn­bull steers us through the his­tory, skills and pos­si­bil­i­ties. He is clearly a master of this art form; in this pocket-size tome he has man­aged to dis­til all the ups, and some of the downs, so that when you’ve read it you’ll have the knowl­edge to truly travel light for overnight moun­tain ad­ven­tures.

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