Choosing The Best Carp Bivvy - (Full Guide On What To Look Out For)

Updated 24/4/2024 - James Bevan

With a huge variety of bivvy's on the market, it can be a real minefield when trying to pick the right shelter for your specific circumstances.

Having trialled many fishing shelters over the years as well as receiving feedback from many anglers, we hope our experiences will provide a good insight to help with your choice.

The aim of this article is to provide you with the information you need to pick the best carp bivvy that suits your style of fishing.

We will explain the different types of bivvy, what features to look out for and offer some great suggestions for you to consider.

The best bivvies are those made from a quality, yet breathable material. A bivvy should be of sufficient size to comfortably fit a bed chair and non-waterproof fishing tackle, bait, and home comforts.

It should also be easy to set up and strong enough to withstand the worst weather conditions.

You can see our list of bivvy's that tick all of these boxes as follows. 

A List Of Top Carp Bivvies

ImageProductFeaturesQuick Link
Best Pram Hood Bivvy
Trakker SLX V3 2 Man
Trakker SLX V3 2 Man
More Info
Solid & Spacious
Ridgemonkey Escape
Ridgemonkey Escape
More Info
Great All-Rounder
JRC Extreme TX Bivvy 2-Man
JRC Extreme TX Bivvy 2-Man
More Info
Best Budget Bivvy
Fox EOS 1 Man Bivvy
Fox EOS 1 Man Bivvy
More Info
Best Central Block Bivvy
FOX Frontier Carp Fishing Shelter
FOX Frontier Carp Fishing Shelter
More Info
Best Brolly System
JRC Stealth Classic Brolly System
JRC Stealth Classic Brolly System
More Info
Best Compact Bivvy
Tactical Compact Bivvy
Tactical Compact Bivvy
More Info
Best Pop-Up Bivvy
Solar Tackle SP Bankmaster
Solar Tackle SP Bankmaster
More Info
Most Spacious
NGT XL Fortress Bivvy
NGT XL Fortress Bivvy
More Info

The Importance Of A Good Carp Bivvy

On your quest for carp, it is important that you are comfortable for those long sessions, waiting for that elusive sound of the bite alarms screaming, especially when you fish through the night.

Apologies if this is teaching you to 'suck eggs' but in case you didn't know, a carp bivvy is a dedicated shelter that is used for both day and night fishing. It can be opened up during the day to allow anglers to take shelter from the elements and closed at night for a comfortable night's sleep (hopefully disturbed however!).

It is an essential piece of kit and will drastically improve your enjoyment and comfort when fishing for carp, keeping you and your gear protected from the wind and rain.

From our experience, If you are comfortable, then you are likely to fish better. And by fishing better you will be holding more fish up to the camera.

So if you are going to take carp fishing seriously and fish long overnight sessions then you need a good quality bivvy.

Considerations Before Choosing A Carp Bivvy

As with all areas of fishing equipment, carp bivvies are extremely versatile and come in a wide range of different shapes and sizes.

From one-man lightweight day shelters to two-man dedicated overnight camping tents, a good carp bivvy will ensure that anglers keep warm and dry; no matter what the unpredictable Great British weather has to throw at them.

For anglers to fish at their most effective level, it is very important that they are comfortable.

Whether it’s a warm summer’s night or a bitterly cold winter afternoon, a decent carp bivvy needs to have the following qualities:

  • Keeps you and your tackle protected from the elements
  • Be lightweight and easy to transport
  • Be quick and easy to assemble
  • Be large enough in size and height to hold your gear and your bedchair / sleeping bag
  • Be durable and long-lasting for decent sessions or even a carp fishing holiday
  • The front can be opened (and burst through) for easy access to your rods
  • Keeps you warm during the night
  • Options for a second skin if you are carp fishing in winter
  • Have vents within so the bivvy can breathe and not accumulate excessive condensation.

Carp Bivvy Material and Components

When searching for a bivvy, it is essential that you take the quality of materials used into account. 

As bivvies are exposed to the elements of the Great British weather, the materials used should be durable, long-lasting and waterproof, after all, the material is what is protecting you from the wind and rain. 

A cheap bivvy that is made from poor quality materials can be susceptible to leaking; instantly dampening the mood of the fishing trip that you have been looking forward to.

It is common for bivvy manufacturers to use a material called 210 denier fabric. Denier is the fineness or density of the fabric and is more than adequate to keep anglers warm and dry whilst fishing.

On your search for the best carp bivvy, you may also find that some brands use their own specially designed fabric. 

These fabrics will be used on top-end products and claim to be highly breathable, durable and waterproof, however, there isn't much difference compared to the non-branded fabrics.

The level of protection you need depends on the type of angler you are.

If you frequently go on long carping sessions in inclement weather, then you will need to look for the hydrostatic head rating. 

The hydrostatic head measurement tells you the strength of the material and how much water it can handle before it begins to leak. 

For example, a rating of 5000mm is able to withstand 5 metres of water at a time.

What Are The Different Types of Carp Bivvy?

If you’re a seasoned carp angler looking for a new bivvy, or a newcomer to the sport of carp fishing bewildered at the variety of carp bivvies on offer, below we outline the different styles of bivvy and what they are used for:

Pram Hood Bivvies

Pram hood carp bivvies are great for long sessions by the water’s edge. They are spacious, very stable and are great for keeping anglers warm and dry.

Perfect for all seasons, pram hoods are very simple to erect. It simply folds out in the manner of a pram hood after which it is designed.

As they are much more substantial compared to brolly systems, pram hood bivvies are often deemed as a more comfortable choice amongst anglers.

This is because it offers the greatest protection from the elements.

An additional skin can be added to the outside of the bivvy to insulate it and also helps to prevent the build-up of condensation

The following picture shows an example of a pram hood bivvy.

An example of a pram hood bivvy

An example of a pram hood bivvy

Brolly Systems

Brolly systems are very popular with carp anglers that fish through the day or for shorter overnight sessions.

They are essentially a large open brolly that is rested on the ground with sidewalls for additional protection from the wind and rain.

Although they offer less protection than pram hood bivvy's, they are large enough to accommodate a fishing chair or a bedchair and will ensure anglers are comfortable whilst waiting for their rods to spring into action.

An example of a brolly system

An example of a brolly system

Central Block Bivvies

A central block bivvy is a popular choice amongst carp anglers, purely for its strength and versatility.

The way this bivvy type is set up is through a central block whereby all the supporting poles push into. The bivvy then simply gets clipped together and 'fanned out'.

This bivvy type is relatively easy to put together and pack up. Another useful trait is at times it can be used as a freestanding bivvy without the need to peg it down. This can be particularly useful if you are fishing on hard ground or on wooden platforms.

A central block bivvy also has a multitude of accessories that can be applied to them. These include:

  • Internal vapour guards
  • Skull Caps
  • Social Caps
  • Skull Wraps

These accessories allow the bivvy to become very versatile and adjust to the type of fishing you are applying to a particular session. These include being fully zipped up on a long winter session to fully opened up on a hot sunny days social.

best bivvy for carp fishing

An example of the central block in this type of bivvy

Pop-Up Carp Bivvy

Pop-up carp bivvies are suited to the more mobile angler or those that just want an easy life!

They are essentially a slimmed-down, lightweight shelter that is very simple and quick to assemble.

What they lack in creature comforts, in comparison to the more equipped pram head and brolly style bivvy, they more than make up in terms of convenience, accessibility and ease of transportation.

Within minutes of arriving at the bank, anglers can have their shelters all ready to go. They are also just as easy to take down.

The following table details the different bivvy types and sizes and when best to use them.

Table to show the different bivvy types and what they are best suited for

Bivvy Type Good For
Pram Hood Great all round bivvy. Fast to put up and good protection from the elements
Brolly System Good for day sessions or a short overnight session. Only really suitable in warmer months
Central Block Great option for fishing in both summer and winter due to its versatility. Perfect choice if the swims on a water have hard ground or wooden platforms.
Pop-Up Great for shorter sessions and for those that are looking to setup exceptionally fast or are roaming about a lot.

What Bivvy Sizes Are There?

Carp bivvies tend to come in one and two-man versions. Before you decide on the size of the bivvy you would like to purchase, you should consider how much gear and tackle you use when fishing, as you will need a place to store your gear in bad weather.

If the water you are fishing has large swims, then we recommend you choose a two-man version, even if you fish alone. After all, comfort is key to longevity and enjoyment when fishing for a long time.

The exception to this rule, however, is if your chosen water has some tight swims that could be very rewarding if you put the effort in and night fish.

In this circumstance, you may need to go the other way and look for a more tight, compact 1 man bivvy.

The following table shows the general sizes of a 1 man bivvy, a 2 man bivvy and a brolly system:

A table to show the size of a fishing bivvy and brolly system:

Bivvy Width Height Depth
1 Man 260 - 280cm 130 - 150cm 230 - 240cm
2 Man 260 - 300cm 150 - 190cm 240 - 300cm
Brolly System 190 - 230cm 130 - 150cm 170 - 190cm

Recommended Carp Bivvy's

So, you have now seen what materials go into the perfect bivvy as well as the different types and sizes to choose from.

The following list are deemed 9 of the best bivvies on the market today. Check out the features, what we like about them and the pros and cons to see what one suits your circumstances the best.

Best Overall Pram Hood Bivvy
best pram hood bivvy

#1. Trakker SLX V3 2 Man

Who's it ideal for: 

Great for lone anglers, wanting a little more space

Key Features:

  • Stitched in groundsheet (useful for stopping leaks)
  • Super-strong frame
  • Great ventilation
  • Optional clear window
  • Lightweight

When it’s a bit blowy, the last thing you need is your bivvy failing structurally.

Your best bet is to go for something strong and stable. This pram hood bivvy is just the ticket. Featuring strong (yet remarkably lightweight) supports, you’ll be able to get it rigged up and ready to go in minutes.

The groundsheet is heavy-duty, too, meaning that twigs and thorns aren’t going to hinder you as you leap up in the middle of the night as your bite alarm goes off!

This is marketed as a two-man bivvy. To be honest, we think that is a little conservative. We’d recommend you consider this more like a ‘luxury’ one-man bivvy… Or pick smaller friends.

Here is what we like and dislike about the bivvy based on our own experiences...


  • Easy to store and carry
  • Plenty of additional features
  • Good standard of waterproofing


  • We like the stitched in groundsheet, but it can be a nuisance to clean

Best Carp Bivvy - 2 man

Best carp fishing bivvy

#2. Ridgemonkey Escape

Who's it ideal for: 

Serious enthusiasts who go on long sessions. It’s too heavy for a short day trip

Key Features:

  • Superb waterproofing (including taped seams)
  • UV resistant
  • Magnetic rod straps as standard
  • Fireproof (good as we are reckless with the kettle)
  • Includes heavy-duty carry bag
  • Huge size

If you are looking for a premium bivvy, then this is where you need to be. We’ll warn you now, it isn’t cheap…


It is extremely spacious, solidly constructed, and you could pretty much consider this your ‘forever’ bivvy.

In all honesty, you could take this on a family holiday, and everyone would be kept happy. It is substantial.

What do you get for the money?

Well, aside from space, this bivvy screams quality, with strong heavy duty zips, a supremely strong and waterproof 300D ripstop HydroX skin and a strong sewn in PVC groundsheet.

What’s not to love?

When we saw the size, our first thought was how difficult it would be to put up and take down. You’ll actually find that this can be put up and packed down in about the same time as some lighter options.

This is seriously heavy duty.

There are downsides to such strength, however. Weighing in at 25kg, it isn’t one you’ll want to carry a long way, so better get that barrow ready.

If you want a slightly cheaper and lighter version, you can opt for the one-man version. Either way you get a quality piece of kit with this amazing bivvy.

Here is what we like and dislike about the bivvy based on our own experiences...


  • Plenty of space
  • Nice high canopy
  • Very heavy duty


  • It’s a tad on the pricey side
  • It is really heavy but makes up for this in strength
Best Bivvy For Carp Fishing

#3. JRC Extreme TX Bivvy 2-Man

Who's it ideal for: 

An excellent intermediate level bivvy, the best allrounder

Key Features:

  • 3 door options (great for when the mosquitos are out in force)
  • Really strong zips
  • Excellent waterproofing
  • Peak rain cover
  • Taped seams

For the money, this is pretty spot on.

We really like how the front flap can be zipped in three different ways, meaning that regardless of where the wind is coming from, you aren’t going to be distracted by any whipping or cracking from the door.

A notable feature is the three-door options. We like our privacy, so go for the standard ‘green’. Still, there is also a mesh section that will allow you to see out without being eaten alive by creepy crawlies.

Ventilation is important, too, particularly if you’ve got a brew on the go with a gas burner. The beauty of the vents here is that they allow a nice circulation of fresh air while also stopping any water from coming in.

Here is what we like and dislike about the bivvy based on our own experiences...


  • Has great waterproofing qualities
  • Plenty of configuration options
  • Easy setup


  • Many of the extras aren’t included. Check at point of purchase
Alternative 2-Man Bivvies:
in stock
3 new from £694.99
as of 23 June 2024 13:16
Last updated on 23 June 2024 13:16
Best Budget Bivvy
Best Budget Bivvy

#4. Fox EOS 1 Man Bivvy

Who's it ideal for: 

An ideal first bivvy for beginners or infrequent anglers

Key Features:

  • Lightweight
  • Included rod straps
  • Carry bag included
  • Low cost

Fox has long been one of our go-to brands when we are looking for something that works and doesn’t break the bank. This bivvy is a prime example.

Compared to other bivvy’s, the cost is relatively low, meaning it would be ideal for those who are new to carp fishing and those who want to upgrade from more budget models.

We love how lightweight this is (especially after carting around the Ridgemonkey bivvy above). It weighs in at a meagre 7kg. This is great for something light and portable, for sure.


You’ve got to remember that this will come at the cost of structural stability, so this is a better choice for fair weather fishermen more than seasoned pros.

Here is what we like and dislike about the bivvy based on our own experiences...


  • Really affordable
  • Easy to setup
  • Very light


  • Not the greatest water resistance
  • A little basic
Alternative Budget Bivvies:
in stock
2 new from £34.99
as of 23 June 2024 13:16
Last updated on 23 June 2024 13:16
Best Central Block Bivvy
Best central block bivvy

#5. FOX Frontier Carp Fishing Shelter

Who's it ideal for: 

Lone fishermen with lots of gear. Or those who like to keep organised

Key Features:

  • Flat sides and back
  • Quick setup
  • Very lightweight
  • Internal storage pockets
  • Spacious for one person
  • You might be tempted simply to look at the floor area when choosing a bivvy. You really need to look for how much of that floor area is usable. Sloped walls (with pram hood style bivvy’s) often mean that you aren’t actually able to use all that space.

    This bivvy is different.

    With vertical walls, you’ll have no problem placing things at the side of your bivvy and staying a little more organized.

    You’ll know as well as we do that keeping your gear organized is key to a successful day out. Inside this bivvy, you’ll find four mesh pockets, perfect for keeping your bits and bats out of the way so you can fish clutter-free.

    As a one-person bivvy, this is one of the best we have seen. It is easy to carry (and even easy to reposition), and being a little taller means you aren’t going to get a stiff neck either.

    Here is what we like and dislike about the bivvy based on our own experiences...


    • 100% of the ground footprint can be used for storage
    • Lovely high roof allowing you to sit up
    • ETS tension system allows for quick setup


    • It isn’t budget-friendly
    Alternative Central Block Bivvy:
    Best Brolly System
    Best Brolly System

    #6. JRC Stealth Classic Brolly System

    Who's it ideal for: 

    Anglers who want to stay mobile and are limited to single day trips

    Key Features:

    • Lightweight
    • Highly Portable
    • Large front flap
    • Secure pegs and fastenings

    Often people get confused with bivvies and brolly systems. This one is most definitely a brolly system. In fact, zip the sides off (which you can do), and you’ll see why it is so named.

    For one, this would be pretty comfy and will certainly keep you bone dry. Would you want to sleep in it? We’d suggest that you could (especially in the summer months), but you will not be as comfortable as in a bivvy.

    This would be an ideal choice for the occasional carp angler or those fishing for 1 or 2 nights in warmer weather. It is light, and putting it up will take you about 90 seconds.

    One really worthy feature is the supremely strong storm poles. While this isn’t strictly an overnighter, if you’ve got bad weather during the day, this will stand up to pretty much anything with its strong 10,000HH Hyrdatex material.

    Here is what we like and dislike about the bivvy based on our own experiences...


    • It is great for short sessions
    • A fair amount of space
    • Easy to put up and take down


    • A bivvy will offer more comfort
    Alternative Brolly Systems:
    in stock
    2 new from £188.99
    as of 23 June 2024 13:16
    Last updated on 23 June 2024 13:16
    Best Compact Bivvy
    Best Compact Bivvy

    #7. Tactical Compact Bivvy

    Who's it ideal for: 

    Those who fish 'tight'swims.

    Key Features:

    • Compact design
    • As light as it comes
    • Great for mobility
    • Included mozzy front

    We had mixed thoughts about this bivvy when we first saw it as the size and design looks very small, so how good could it possibly be?

    Well, the answer is surprisingly… Excellent.

    If you can get over your snobbery about the finish, it isn’t half bad. It is by far the lightest on our list and would be a great solution if you explore a big venue and want to potentially move around a lot

    The fabric is 10000HH too, which some premium models don’t have!

    It’s vented and also includes a mozzy section for the front, again mirroring bivvies that are 10X the price!

    It’s also got flat walls.

    In summary, the Tactical compact bivvy is a great space-saving shelter at a very competitive price.

    Here is what we like and dislike about the bivvy based on our own experiences...


    • Good value
    • Extremely lightweight
    • Great for venues with tight swims


    • Not the best looking bivvy we've seen
    Best Pop-Up  Bivvy
    Best Pop-Up Bivvy

    #8. Solar Tackle SP Bankmaster

    Who's it ideal for: 

    It is ideal for anglers who have long walks to the peg or limited storage space.

    Key Features:

    • Easy assembly
    • Strong Aluminium frame
    • Spacious
    • Quick-Lock Leg System
    • Easy storage and transportation

    Half of the battle with bivvies is finding something that is big enough to hold you and all your gear while also being practical enough to transport down to the swim. This bivvy is an answer.

    It has a few clever features that we love. The leg lock system is extendable, removing the need to spend time assembling poles. It also comes with a great compressed stuff sack that minimises the footprint when not in use.

    While it is marketed as a one-man system, there is just enough room to accommodate two-bed chairs, making it an excellent all-rounder.

    Here is what we like and dislike about the bivvy based on our own experiences...


    • Simple and effective
    • Very fast to set up and pack down
    • Clever, unique design
    • Included Perspex front and storm peak


    • The leg lock system lacks a bit of strength and rigidity
    Alternative Pop-Up Bivvy:
    in stock
    8 new from £143.99
    as of 23 June 2024 13:16
    Last updated on 23 June 2024 13:16
    Carp Fishing Bivvy 2 man

    #9. NGT XL Fortress Bivvy

    Who's it ideal for: 

    Those who fish on overnight sessions in summer or like company.

    Key Features:

    • Pretty spacious
    • Included window
    • High Canopy

    It’s a bold claim to call something a ‘fortress’. However, NGT seems to have nailed it. We were really impressed with the size and capacity of this bivvy. You’ll easily fit two beds in, making it an ideal 2-man shelter.

    We loved how deep this bivvy was. Often you are limited to reclining horizontally along the back wall, not so here.

    At 13kg, it isn’t the lightest on our list, but we think this is a fair compromise considering what you get. We wish the hydrostatic rating was a little higher, but for most showers, you’ll be fine.

    This pram hood style bivvy is another that can be set up in minutes and is equally as easy to take down.

    Here is what we like and dislike about the bivvy based on our own experiences...


    • A really spacious bivvy
    • Strong construction
    • Good ventilation


    • Lacks a little in the materials waterproof rating
    • Slightly heavier than some other bivvies

    Final Thoughts

    Finding the best carp bivvy to fulfil all your requirements can be a daunting task. It is however an important one to ensure you are fully equipped to tackle your chosen water for long sessions.

    Hopefully, you have found this guide useful and now have enough information to find the best carp bivvy to suit all your needs.

    Thanks for reading.

    All of the bivvy's featured in this article can be found at most good fishing tackle shops.

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