Small is beautiful, right? Well, small can be functional too, which is exactly what you need from a bivvy. Those clever folk at Avid have overhauled their popular Tardis shelter, spawning the new Tardis RT in the process, a bivvy that defies logic by providing ample storage and coverage, in such a small, light package. Interested? Here’s the lowdown…
The big questions
Why do I want one?
The Tardis RT (it stands for Road Trip) has been designed to save space in the garage, in the boot and on the bank. It’s perfect for the angler who likes to travel light and pack only the essentials, although it holds a surprising amount of kit! Its pram-hood design means that it’s rock solid and won’t be uprooted in even the fiercest winter storms. It’s based around the original Avid Tardis, although the development team have made some impressive tweaks to improve the concept with the RT.
Improved? How so?
Well, for starters they’ve radically redesigned the Tardis’ skeleton. The team tweaked the design of the main ribs, straightening them, which has the immediate effect of making the bivvy more spacious, with more headroom into the bargain. They’ve also added a storm peak, which dramatically cuts out rain ingress. Adding the peak has meant that the Tardis RT overwrap (sold separately) has an enlarged footprint, for those kitchen-sink sessions!
Why are just two ribs an advantage?
Well, it saves a lot of weight, for starters. Ditching the extra ribs means that you can use this shelter exactly as it was intended, as a lightweight bivvy that can be squeezed into the tightest of swims, and carried with ease over even quite long distances (the bivvy itself weighs a paltry 4.8kg). By spacing the ribs further apart than most bivvies, you get impressive coverage, with just those two poles, so there really is no reason to think that you’re missing out by dropping that weight!
Any clever features?
Plenty! Let’s start with the extras. Your Tardis comes with tension poles and special Rod Re-Tension Bars for the sides. Both help to keep your shelter taut, but the latter also feature Velcro straps that you can use to roost your spod and marker rods in, when not in use. You get a fully removable front, with built-in mosquito panel as standard too, as well as a heavy-duty groundsheet and pegs. The ribs have four break points, which allows the whole set-up to be packed down to a frankly miniscule 86cm!
What about the tech?
Easy. How about a massive 10,000mm waterproof and breathable fabric for starters? The material that Avid uses for its shelters has a lovely, soft, quality feel to it, and it measures up technically too. The ribs and poles are strong, yet lightweight, which helps bring it in at under 5kg, a true lightweight champion!
What’s special about this new peak then?
Well, to look at, it simply offers more coverage and more shelter, which is exactly what the public asked Avid for. However, it’s the mechanism by which the peak is erected that’s worthy of an extra mention. Avid has christened it the Easy Peak System, and it brings an end to all that struggling to fit a peak, often under huuuge tension. This system makes it child’s play to erect the peak, with no extra time in the gym required.
Should I get the overwrap too?
If you’re after more space then definitely. Once fitted, the overwrap adds crucial space to the bivvy’s footprint, making a fully protected porch area to store the cooking stuff, muddy boots, bait, or whatever you want! You won’t need it all the time, but when you do, you’ll appreciate the extra comfort and, of course, the relief from condensation given by the twin skins. “GIMME”: Bivvy, £239.99; Overwrap, £119.99; avidcarp.com
1. October 2015
The original Tardis is born. A small Bivvy with a rigid frame; the first of its kind. Designed after watching big pit anglers lose their brollies and flexible framed bivvies time and time again.
2. November 2015
Sandown Show. “Where’s the peak, mate?” The problem was Avid couldn’t add a standard peak due to the shortness of all the poles. They need something new to make it work.
3. December 2015
One of their CAD team presents an idea: a rotating cuff with the male joint attached. It meant the peak could be installed easier than any other peak system on the market.
4. February 2016
Off to China to see the first samples of the new Tardis. The peak worked. But the bivvy shape was too round. They made it so the poles nearest the ground came straight up, to provide more space from the ground up. This made their small bivvy feel even bigger on the inside.
5. April 2016
New fabric samples arrive in the Tuned Khaki colours. Looks sick! They tested on their machines and out on the bank in all weathers… Heads were getting turned!
6. June 2016
Final touches are confirmed and the order is placed. The Road Trip label attached to the name reflected what the bivvy was all about: for anglers who wanted to roam the world, not just their lake!
7. September 2016
Delivery arrived and inspections take place. Consultants give their blessing and Avid gear up our ‘Space Exploration’ marketing and videos ready for October’s launch.