Hike and Fly – Vol Biv

The expression Vol Biv has been adopted from the French, meaning fly and bivouac, or fly and camp.  It introduces a new element to the idea of hike and fly and means we can extend our adventures to multiple days.


There are so many variables regarding Vol Biv but we won’t begin to try and cover them all here. The concepts discussed for hike and fly remain but now we must think about a bit more equipment, provisions and route planning (tabs below).


Just ensure you think through the trip, about your provisions and about all the eventualities to mitigate surprise and risk to yourself.


The Black Mountains offer a great playground to give Vol Biv a go.  A couple of route options are described in the classic routes.

Below are links to videos produced by two of our own club members on their individual and monumental Vol Biv expeditions.  They are captivating to watch and will teach you an awful lot about both hike and fly and Vol Biv.


Steven Mackintosh – Nepal – https://youtu.be/mLX0XSvv-PE


Tim Pentreath – The Alps – https://youtu.be/jDad3NYJXbg

Sleeping equipment is now required and how you approach this is up to you.  Roll matts, sleeping bags and tents will all make your night more comfortable.  They do add weight and require space though.  If you are out for one night and you know it will be dry, you could decide to leave the tent behind and sleep under the stars.  You might also decide to leave the sleeping bag behind and sleep in the wing which does work well but might not be how you want to treat it.  A roll mat is generally always advised for comfort and insulation.


Some single skin tents are very lightweight and use walking poles instead of dedicated tent poles.  Ask around to see what other people use.

Unless you are going to incorporate a pub into your Vol Biv, which is a great idea, you will need to carry more food for dinners and breakfasts, and will probably need a method of heating them.  Again this can be bulky and heavy so think carefully about what you are taking.  Dehydrated ready meals are a good option, combined with a camping burner such as a Jet Boil.


For water, plan to collect and treat your water with purification tablets or by boiling it.

Now we are beginning to think about where we want to camp and where we want to be to give ourselves a good starting position for the next day.


You might be hoping to camp in a town for the reason of a meal or to restock your provisions.  Alternatively you can plan to stay out in the hills though you should think about where your nearest source of water would be or where you will be most protected from the elements.  The plan for the next day might mean that you choose to land early and high so that you are in a good position.