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Military Bivouac equipment

Military bivouac: what equipment is essential?

If you want to be complete across the board, you'll need around 15 items for a foolproof military bivouac.

Itmay seem like a lot, but once you've packed it into your military backpack it'll fit, as the team has tested for you (minimum 45L capacity).

The importance of equipment for a good military bivouac

For a successful military bivouac, here's a list of essential equipment:

1. The tent or survival shelter

A tent or survival shelter is a temporary shelter for protection from the elements during a bivouac or survival situation.

  • Tents are generally lightweight, easy to transport and set up, but can be unfit for extreme weather conditions.
  • The survival shelter is sturdier and more resistant to extreme weather conditions, but heavier and less easy to transport.

The choice depends on weather conditions and planned activities.

Survival tent for military bivouacs

2. The sleeping bag

A sleeping bag is an essential accessory for a bivouac or survival situation. It serves to maintain body heat during the night by providing extra thermal insulation.

Sleeping bags are available in a variety of sizes, temperature resistances and materials. Goose or duck feather comforters will differ from microfiber and wool comforters, for example.

You need to pack the ideal sleeping bag for the weather conditions forecast for the bivouac, as an unsuitable sleeping bag can lead to heat loss and the risk of dying from cold or heat.

3.floor mattress

Ground mattresses and mats are accessories designed to improve comfort during a bivouac or survival situation by insulating you from the cold, hard ground. The ground mattress is more comfortable but heavier, while the ground sheet is lighter and easier to carry.

Choose according to your needs in terms of comfort, weight and transportability.

4. A quality flashlight

flashlight for military bivouac

You need a flashlight or a headlamp to see in the dark when bivouacking. The flashlight is small and light, while the headlamp is attached to the forehead and frees up the hands.

It's essential to choose a durable, waterproof, easy-to-use lamp with sufficient light output. A dynamo lamp could be very useful.

5. A good multi-purpose knife

The multi-purpose knife is an indispensable tool for a bivouac or survival situation. It can be used to cut food, prepare firewood, prune branches, open boxes and bags, and perform other tasks necessary for survival in the wild.

Choosing a multi-purpose knife that is strong, durable and easy to use, with a good-quality stainless steel blade and a comfortable handle is essential.

It's also important to know the proper safety techniques for using a multi-function knife safely and effectively.

Military bivouac knife

6. Lighter or stove

Lighters or stoves are very important in a bivouac or survivalist situation to light a fire and cook food.

Lighters are compact, lightweight objects for lighting a fire quickly, while stoves are heavier and bulkier but can be used to cook food on a stable surface.

It's essential to choose a reliable, easy-to-use lighter or stove, made from durable, waterproof materials, and suitable for the weather conditions forecast for the bivouac.

Take a good box of matches just in case!

It's very important to know the proper safety techniques for starting a fire safely and efficiently, without burning down an entire forest.

Stove equipment for a military bivouac

7. Crockery (plate, cup, fork, spoon)

This is far from being the most important thing, it's all about making your bivouac a little more comfortable!

Crockery such as plates, cups, forks and spoons are necessary for eating and drinking in a military bivouac.

Choose plastic or metal items that are lightweight, durable and easy to clean, to avoid carrying unnecessary weight and ending up with broken or damaged crockery.

It's important to take into account the quantity of meals required, depending on the number of people and the duration of the bivouac.

It's often advisable to use reusable rather than disposable crockery to reduce environmental impact and save money in the long term.

8. Non-perishable or vacuum-packed food

Non-perishable, vacuum-packed food is crucial to survival on a bivouac. You must choose nutrient-rich foods, easy to prepare and sustainable (military rations, for example)..
  • For short bivouacs, dried fruit, nuts, cereals, pasta, canned fruit and canned meat may suffice.
  • For longer bivouacs, vacuum-packed food with a longer shelf life is recommended.

Take into account the quantity needed for meals and check the expiration dates of foodstuffs.

Bivouac equipment military survival ration spread out on a table

9. Drinking water or water filter

Drinking water or a water filter is crucial for a bivouac. For short bivouacs, bottled water may suffice, but for longer bivouacs or intense survival situations, a water filter is recommended to purify river or lake water.

Take into account the amount of water required, and maintain the water filter regularly.

10. Warm, waterproof clothing

Warm, waterproof clothing is important for protection against cold, wind and rain. Layers of clothing provide better thermal insulation and flexibility in changing weather conditions.

It's important to choose quality, durable and comfortable clothing, depending on the duration and destination of your bivouac. Take a look at our military clothing range, which will accompany you on all your bivouacs without a hitch.

11. A pair of sturdy shoes

Sturdy, comfortable footwear is essential for bivouacs and survival situations. Choosing footwear that is adapted to the conditions of the terrain (waterproof for wet conditions, canvas or leather for dry conditions), and offering good support and protection for the feet is very important.

Investing in quality footwear can help prevent foot injuries and pain.

12. Compass and topographical map

A military compass and a topographical map are important for navigation in bivouac and survival situations. The compass allows you to determine the general direction of magnetic north, while the map shows reliefs, rivers, roads, etc.

Knowing how to use your military compass correctly is a key point when you set out on a bivouac.

Military compass and topographical map for a bivouac

13. First aid kit

A first-aid kit or first-aid kit is important for treating minor injuries and knocks when bivouacking. They can include bandages, antiseptics, analgesics, bandages, medication for allergic reactions, etc...

Knowing how to use the items in the kit correctly, and updating them regularly, is ultra-important. In the event of serious injury, you also need to know how to call for help, so taking a cell phone is highly recommended.

14. A mosquito net

Mosquito netting is an important piece of equipment for military bivouacs, especially in areas where mosquitoes can be very prevalent.

Mosquitoes can transmit diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and yellow fever. A mosquito net can help protect against mosquito bites and maintain a healthy, uninterrupted night's sleep.

Choosing a mosquito net that is easy to install and offers sufficient protection against mosquitoes is important. It's also important to ensure that the screen has no holes or cracks to guarantee optimum protection.

Mustiquaire for military bivouacs in a hammock

15. A waterproof umbrella or poncho

Umbrellas and ponchos are important items of equipment for protection against rain and storms when bivouacking.

They can help maintain comfort and protect gear and clothing from water. An umbrella may be easier to carry and more practical for more casual use, whilea poncho may be more useful for covering the whole body and backpacks on extended hikes or bivouacs.

A high-quality, sturdy umbrella or poncho that's easy to set up and waterproof. Making sure the equipment is easily accessible in case of sudden rain is also a consideration.


It's essential to be prepared for a bivouac outing! Make an inventory of your belongings, and above all, don't forget anything - a mistake can be fatal. Some items are more important than others, but you can also indulge yourself by bringing other useful things you like. Don't forget your cell phone!

Please note: other equipment may be available depending on weather conditions and planned activities.

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