What - no bed chair?
Before I start, I want to make it clear that I am not sponsored by any of the companies mentioned below.
I fish a minimum of 2 nights a week and must say that getting rid of the bed chair has been a breath of fresh air, both in terms of space saving in the motor as well as ease of lugging gear around on the barrow. Once again it has struck home to me how we often just accept things and take certain gear simply because everyone else does. The last time I fished from a bed chair was April and we are now approaching August.
It started off with a conversation I had with Ollie at Outhaus. I had always liked the idea of a bed roll or a swag as the Australian's call them. The idea of simply carrying a roll containing all your bedding and padded mattress, plus anything else you want to pack away in there appealed. I also thought a canvas one (I love canvas) would possibly make for a superb heavy duty winter bed cover on a bed chair. I personally find the extra weight of canvas over me quite comforting.
So, I bit the bullet and decided to try one for angling used as they are meant to be used - on the ground. My first 2 nights under it I overslept, so I obviously liked it. For 15 years my sleep has been monitored on a Tachograph, so I know exactly how much sleep I have and what interruptions there have been. I had been sparked out with two of the best nights sleep I had managed in a long while.
I continued to carry the bed chair - ‘just in case’ for a few trips but have not once set it up.
I was still setting the brolly up over the swag if we had rain forecast, to keep the gear dry and allow me to sit on the comfy mattress. Talking of which I have been a self-inflating Thermarest user on my bed chair for most of this century. They appear to be getting quite common these days and it does make me smile when I see people suddenly realising just how much more luxurious they are than a normal bed mattress. The Outhaus Swag comes with a thick sponge type mattress, but I prefer the lightness and less bulk of a self-inflating one. My Thermarest mats (I have a couple) seemed a little lost in the Outhaus Swag as they are made large enough to be able to stick your rucksack etc in there with you. Now I’m an idle sod when it comes to sorting my gear out and don’t like to have to raid one system to borrow something for another system, which I had done with my Thermarest from my hammock. So, I had a look around and treated myself to a much larger mat from Trekology, a UL140 which is 12.5 cm thick when inflated and weighs only 1.05 kg!
My only criticism was that it took a while to inflate, so I brought one of these mini rechargeable pumps. Verdict – brilliant! Not only do they inflate the mat in next to no time, but they also deflate the mat for you too.
So, there I was not missing the bed chair and having brilliant nights sleeping (fact because I have the figures).
What - no carp bivvy?
When this latest hot weather started I was gathering my gear for the usual weekend session and watching the weather as I do I saw that we were due some heavy bouts of rain. The thought of hot humid weather and little breeze being couped up inside a bivvy was not very appealing at all. So, I grabbed one of my DD Tarps and decided to use that set high and slightly off the ground to maximise the feel of any cooling breeze. I had a real comfortable weekend with standing space under the tarp and a pleasant air flow. No brainer really and couldn’t see why I had gone so long since last using a tarp for angling. It had to be about 3 years when I needed one in a swim too tight for my umbrella.
My hammock lives in a bag with the tarp I had taken and during the second day when the weather dried, I strung it up and had a pleasant couple of hours simply water watching whilst swinging in the breeze.
Next session was still silly hot, so instead of the Canvas Swag which I had initially wanted for the colder months, I decided to spend the weekend in the hammock. I used to use it a lot but a series of venues with trees being in the wrong places for hanging and water watching I got out of the habit, even though I have used it on the bed chair as a mini sleeping cocoon as well as on the floor as a bivvy bag. Really just a lightweight version of a swag.
So, the last couple of weekends I have ended up leaving my bivvy at home with my semi redundant bed chair. Now I am not saying I won’t be using my bed chair anymore as there are plenty of venues with trees in the wrong places for the hammock, or with sloping banks where a bed chair with adjustable legs is obviously a benefit. But, for the most part the venues I am fishing have plenty of trees and relatively flat banks, so my bed chair has not been needed.
I have had loads of questions through social media after sharing some of my ‘alternative camping’ pictures over these past few weeks, so thought I would pen a few words as above.
Best wishes as always