The trendy practice of recent years: the bivouac flight!

It’s walking around with your paraglider and sleeping somewhere else!

Anyone can do it, you just have to avoid the image of the X-Alpes mutants or the exploits of Antoine Girard and his friends!
The biv flight is a connection with nature, a moment to spend outside while playing with your physical capacities helped by your equipment of the moment.

Here are different ways to fly&bivouac!

First of all, flying is a state of mind and not a competition, so we can use any kind of equipment… well yes! But with limits!

The limit is the weight and the size. Indeed, the lighter you carry the easier it is to imagine walking. But not everyone has light equipment? So we have to look at two or three things…

Bivouac equipment:
Nothing changes with the classic hiking gear.

Gas stove, cooking pot and utensils

Like hiking? However we can replace the stove by a good campfire, if we are sure to find good wood and that it is allowed to make fire, the solution is often to find on its way shelters in the mountains, often equipped with wood stoves. A cooking pot and utensils are still essential for healthy cooking.

A floor mat

Not essential but more comfortable. A good night’s sleep is a good recovery for the next day. The mattress insulates you from the dampness of the ground and from unpleasant micro stones. It can be replaced by a survival blanket on the ground with its wing spread over several folds.

Sleeping bag

Not essential but more comfortable. In August it is warm, but the nights can be cool. It all depends on the altitude at which you plan to sleep. If it’s at the bottom of the valley, sleeping in your wing is fine. We do two three S’s on the ground and two three S’s above us, this allows a correct temperature maintenance. The disadvantages are the noise when we change position at night, and that often the glider has become dewy in the morning and therefore heavier for the ensuing walk. If you have a sleeping bag, it should not be too bulky to carry in the bag and especially in the harness when flying.

A tent ?

If we are going to fly for one or two days, knowing that the weather is rather mild, we can do without it, it is often cumbersome and heavy. The mountain shelters often indicated on the maps do the trick to spend a good night. There is wood and some leftover pasta or rice to eat. Another alternative is the Tarp, a tarpaulin spread over you, protecting you from light rain or fog. Any light tarp will do, you just have to think about how to fix it, take some string, some sardines, or use your walking sticks for the guy ropes.

Small equipment:
(Remains the same for all night and outdoor activities)

  • A small first aid kit and toiletries.
  • A water bottle that is easy to fill, or a Camel-bag with a large opening.
  • A headlamp
  • A knife
  • A lighter
  • Dry clothes (socks and T-shirt)
  • Warm clothes. The same as in the air. A large feather down jacket is often welcome if you sleep under the stars.

Here is the cheap version concerning the bivouac equipment, we all have friends who can lend us this equipment for this little trip! This should not be the factor of renunciation.
Nevertheless, it is once again judicious to adapt what we are going to take according to the weather, the altitude and especially the number of days in autonomy!

Concerning food, it is good to foresee what to eat with autonomy during one or two days, because often while passing in the village or bottom of valley a grocery shop opens the door to you, and we can refill the tank. Water is essential, so make sure you plan ahead.

The flight material:

I would say it doesn’t matter, as long as you are willing to carry it!
Bivouac flying is a form of travelling in nature through the air, so the equipment doesn’t matter much if it suits your goals and abilities. I have done several bivouac flights with my monosurface in autumn. I used to take advantage of the light foot climbs and ballistic descent to my choice of site for the night. I have also done more cross country bivouac flights but over two or three days, with the strict minimum favouring the flight and the fast and light walk rather than the comfort of the night. I also remember bivouac flights 30 years ago, we didn’t ask ourselves all these questions, we went with what we had!

Before any little experiment like this, make sure you don’t find out about your equipment when the time comes, remember to anticipate the use of everything you take, because otherwise there will be bad surprises. Put everything in your glider bag and walk around with it for a while, put it in your harness or rucksack before flying, to see if it doesn’t change your position in the air too much…

A piece of advice: do your little tests before your outing, this will allow you to realise the usefulness of certain things and the opposite. And here’s a little video preview of your next adventure!

Enjoy the mountain, leave no trace behind, pick up litter as you go and fly safe!


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