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13 Nov 2017
by CARPology
The 10 Most Iconic Bivvies Ever
The term ‘bivvy’ was dreamt up in the 70s and since then it’s progressed from a canvas sheet to the most advanced system in 2017: The Ultra Brolly

It’s believed that big fish angler, Ritchie MacDonald, came up with the term ‘bivvy’, but before that, carp shelters were known as ‘lots’. From the early years of just an umbrella, things soon progressed to groundsheets, storm poles and brollies with sides. The 90s brought much more specialist shelters with clever spreader blocks and super strong chunky ribs; whilst the 00s gave us umbrellas that featured unique rib mechanisms so they offered more space and strength of more traditional heavy-weight pram-hoods. Here’s a rundown of ten true bankside home icons...

1 Brolly Camp

Or better known as the ‘mushroom’. In essence, they were a 45-inch umbrella, set-up with the pole sat vertically into the ground and then a 10oz canvas thrown over the top. Later models even had optional extras available: Base mudwall/draught excluder and optional wide double door option.

2 The Ritchie MacDonald Big Water

By the late 70s, umbrellas had grown to 50-inch (rib length) and the centre pole could now be removed and secured behind the stays, giving much greater room and freedom for the angler. Ritchie believed that by tilting the umbrella and fitting triangular wings to the side ribs, a more compact and lighter shelter could be made. His idea was later taken up by Lloyd Bent of The Carp Cellar, Watford, and the Big Water was born.

3 The Profile

In 1984 Nash launched ‘storm sides’ with an innovative strip of netting along the top edge. Three years later his Oval Umbrella hit the market. But then, in the early 90s, the company launched two shelters which quickly became very popular. One was the Titan (see No. 5) and the other was The Profile: An improved Oval with extra protection, including longer front ribs and mini-sides built in. You could also buy add-ons which converted The Profile into a fully enclosed shelter.

4 Fox Easy Dome

At the beginning of the 90s, Rod Hutchinson brought out his two-man dome tent. Whilst carp anglers were a little apprehensive of this huge shelter, for the session angler it has serious benefits: acres of space for storage and to keep you dry and comfortable. It wasn’t long before other tackle manufacturers made these tents available, all being variations on the same theme - but there was one exception: The Fox Easy Dome. Quick, almost instant to set-up, the Easy Dome was an excellent one-man shelter and changed the way dome-shelters were made from that point going forward.

5 Titan

The now world famous Titan went on-sale in 1992 and has undergone many changes, from being a brolly and growing into a one-, two- and three-man home and having many letters and numbers after its name, but one key element remains the same: the spreader block which allows it to be set-up and taken down quickly.

6 Fox Ultra Module

Whilst there are a few companies in recent years who claim to have invented the ‘inner skin’ - a lining that totally eliminates condensation - it was actually Fox who came up with the concept way back in 1993. The Ultra Module was known as an ‘underwrap’ or ‘bubble’ and converted the matching umbrella - the Supa Brolly - into a full bivvy/dome and did eliminate condensation.

7 Armadillo

Back in 2000, Chris Manningfold and Aqua Products launched what was to become arguably one of the most iconic bivvy designers ever produced: the Armadillo. The secret to the success of the Armadillo was the simplicity of its design. Based on a ‘pram hood’ principle, with a captive rigid frame, anglers found it exceptionally quick to erect and stable even in the strongest winds.

8 Fox Evolution

The first true lightweight brolly system which every big name owned at one time. From Laney and Chilly to Fareham and Hamidi - it was the mobile angler’s choice. It went up in seconds; it weighed pretty much zero; and it was very versatile: You could spread the ribs so the front almost touched the ground, ensuring zero freezing cold wind and rain got in. A true ‘evolution’ when it came to lightweight bivvy design.

9 Supa Brolly

The brolly system that spawned a million copies! Its name, the Supa Brolly, is most deliciously apt and when it was launched in the summer of 2012 it not only became the object of every carp angler’s fantasy, it was also the fastest selling shelter of that year. The uniquely shaped Supa Brolly featured, at the time, Fox’s brand-new STS (Self-Tensioning System) mechanism, which was combined with a flatter, wider back section. Furthermore, there were extended side skirts which offered the type of internal space normally associated with a bivvy not an umbrella! They later went on to launch a complete system, two sizes and made it available in the brand’s own camo pattern. All-in-all, it was one VERY special product.

10 Ultra Brolly

And this is where we are today: Fox’s brand-new Ultra Brolly, the most advanced and feature-packed system on the market. It features 20,000HH Ven-Tec outer material in either Camo or Khaki; it comes supplied with an advanced version of their ‘The Ultra Module’ - a removable internal vapour shield which helps reduce condensation; and, just like the Supa Brolly, it offers a huge internal footprint for such a compact size. Here’s the full spec…

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