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A bivouac is a temporary camp, usually a camp without tents or other shelter, which is intended for very short-term use. Bivouacs are often pitched by soldiers or mountaineers. Bivouac may also be used as a verb to mean pitching a temporary encampment without tents or other shelter. Related words are bivouacs, bivouacked, bivouacking. Bivouac comes from the French word bivouac, which in turn is derived from the Swiss word biwacht meaning night guard. The word bivouac was not common in the English language until after the Napoleonic Wars.


A couple of weeks back, he capped his year in trademark style by dropping over to The Jungle, the rough bivouac in Calais, France, of the refugees who are trying, and dying, to hop the Channel tunnel trucks bound for the paradise that they believe lies in England. (Forbes)

Bivouacking — derived from the German words for “night watch” — sprang up with the sport of mountaineering in the late 1800s as climbers found they needed to sleep sometimes on their way to the summit. (The Financial Times)

If he spots elk, he will begin loading his daypack with essential gear — a small tarp, cloth bags for meat, camera, knife, a few extra 460-grain conical bullets, food, water, emergency bivouac supplies. (The Valley News)

Himalayan Sky Safaris are offering two vol-bivouac tours in the Himalaya this autumn, for adventurous experienced pilots. (Cross Country Magazine)

The report noted that despite this history and his comment to McCaskie that they should burn down the bivouac, there was no sufficient evidential basis to find that the fire was deliberate. (The Manawatu Standard)

The witness said he thought the boy was just snoring and shivering in the cold of their basic bivouac camp. (The Guardian)