ON TEST – Rab Ridge Master Bivi

Rab Ridge Master Bivi
Rab Ridge Master Bivi with a Vaude Norrsken mat inside

Well, I’ve just got back from a few nights bivvying in the Peak District working as usual and enjoying the summer weather we’ve had at the beginning of spring! But that’s for another blogpost.

This is just a quickie really on an interesting new product from Rab – the Ridge Master Bivi.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit I generally prefer tents as a shelter when on the hills. There’s likely no need for me to explain what factors contribute towards this but even so, I do enjoy the freedom that bivouacs can give you when hiking. You can literally make camp anywhere and despite the somewhat awkward routine of getting changed into dry clothes during inclement weather – a bivouac has the advantage of almost certainly never failing on you during storms (if you’re unable to position it’s small footprint behind some shelter and so on).

Rab Ridge Master Bivi
Rear/foot end pole and guy rope

I’ll submit some thoughts on the Vaude Bivi 1 in due course of which I’ve been using for a few months now, but I have to say I’m really quite excited at one of Rab’s new shelters.

eVent fabric is the order of the day and all in comes to just shy of 1.2kg on my scales. Favourable DAC V pegs (and the right number required for pitching) help position the bivvy along with a very generous bathtub groundsheet. I didn’t measure it on this occasion but it’s a good 4 inches minimum all round.

What I’m particularly excited about is the fact it’s got a side entry door with a considerable and stiff storm flap as well as strategically positioned loops for you to use the outer door as an awning! You get a mesh inner door too to keep the bugs at bay on those balmy nights like we’ve had of late.

So, easy exit and entry is a non issue now when compared to most bivouacs (inc Rab’s previous Ridge Raider). It’s extremely roomy inside too. The head end is 60cm in height and approx 80cm wide. The shelter tapers from the main arching pole towards another pole at the rear with a inner height of 36cm and 40cm wide.

Overall length from the inside is approx 250cm (just over 8 feet for those of us Brits who still use imperial for saying how tall we are).

I’m pleased to say, that not only have Rab taken on board feedback for customers and their gear testing colleagues to produce this new product but they’ve taken into account the fact that more and more backpackers use air mattresses now. Often the depth of these forces you to sleep tight within the confines of a bivvy and thus negate any loft you may have on your sleeping bag.

I lay a Vaude Norrsken mat inside which is about 6cm thick and was pleased to discover that even at the foot end there was plenty of room for a winter down bag to loft.

Anyway, more details and such like to come in the next month or so as I get out and use it. But on first impressions I’m really impressed with what Rab have drummed up here. There are some minor niggles (aint there always!) I’ve picked up on after having a play in my overgrown back garden. But overall I’m really looking forward to trying it out. It certainly ticks most of my boxes.

In the meantime, check out this video from YouTube user alcdbc1402 who’s a regular user of bivouacs and has put together this short informative video of the Ridge Master…..

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