Understanding The Bothy

Bothy bags are basic emergency shelters to protect the user from the elements.

Bothies take their name from the small buildings / basic cottages which are available to use free-of-charge in remote, mountainous areas of Scotland, northern England, Ireland, and Wales. These buildings provide basic temporary shelter from the harsh wind, rain and snow. When a bothy building is not available, bothy bags provide a useful emergency alternative.

Simply put a bothy bag is a large rectangular box shape of fabric, allowing a group of people to quickly get under and take cover from the elements. These shelters can quickly warm up with shared body heat, creating a micro-climate inside the simple structure. They can also be waterproof and offer great protection from biting winds. Thanks to their tiny pack size and weight, they’re extremely portable and will fit easily into most rucksacks and day packs without adding too much weight or taking up much space.

Terra Nova Superlite Bothy 2

Super lightweight, super small!

When selecting a bothy bag it is worth looking for the following features;

  • Well made (so that the stitching doesn’t come lose or suffer fabric tears in the wind)
  • Waterproof
  • High quality wind-protective fabric
  • Ventilation considerations
  • Lightweight
  • Small pack size
  • Suitable size for number of people (bothy bags can vary in size to accommodate 2 to 20 people)
  • Quick and simple to use and pack away.


In summary

A bothy bag is an invaluable piece of safety kit that everyone should ideally carry when out walking on the hills – becoming essential if the weather changes unexpectedly and quite dramatically whilst on a walk. They can save lives in the event of someone being injured, providing necessary shelter to keep them warm and dry whilst waiting for help. The bothy bag is a real must for those involved in river sports such as canoeing and kayaking, also hikers, climbers and other mountain activities.


View Terra Nova Bothy Bag Range



If you’re still unsure about which Bothy to choose, or whether you really need one, then please do contact us for further advice.