Inspiration / Outdoor /
Who's Up For a Microadventure?
Adventure is a scary word. It conjures up visions of expensive trips halfway across the world, trekking through the Himalayas or travelling to the Antarctic, things that most of us don’t have the time to regularly do.
But what if adventure could be a little more accessible to all of us? What if adventure didn’t mean taking any time off work or spending thousands of pounds? What if we told you that you could have an adventure in the middle of the week, just a few miles from where you live?
Enter the ‘microadventure’. The term was coined by legendary British adventurer Alistair Humphreys, who believes that it would do us all a great deal of good to spend a bit less time on the sofa, and a bit more time getting up close and personal with nature.
A microadventure is deliberately ambiguous because it’s whatever you want it to be. It’s an antidote to the repetitions of everyday life, allowing you to escape your routine for a short time to recharge and reconnect with the simpler things in life. It can be anything from a night out camping in your garden to a bivvy-bag adventure on a hill nearby. And, according to Humphreys, there’s no excuse not to get out there and try it. Live in the city? No problem, he’s even written a blog about adventures in or near London to try. Short of money? That’s ok, Microadventures should be affordable – you just need a few bits of basic kit and you’re off.
A Cotswold Outdoor Microadventure
Inspired by Alastair Humphreys’ tales of adventure, five of the team from Cotswold Outdoor decided to plan our very own midweek microadventure. Finishing work at 5 and starting again at 9 the next morning gave us 16 hours of precious freedom to break from our usual routines and try something different. So we planned an overnight bivvy bag camping trip in the Cotswold countryside.
The day soon came around, and at 5 o’clock on a sunny Wednesday afternoon we turned off our computers, jumped on our bikes and headed out into the countryside. Rather than the usual 5.30pm traffic jam hell, we spent the next couple of hours pedalling through areas that we’d never seen, the stresses of the day melting away.
A slightly soggy bike ride, snapped bike chain disaster and the most incredible rainbow later, we arrived at our destination. Before long, we were chatting around the stove as our evening meal bubbled away. We enjoyed a hearty dinner of boil-in-the-bag meals (tastier than they sound), sausage and tomato pasta and crusty bread, before finishing the evening with rounds of s’mores.
As the light faded, we bedded down in our bivvy bags, switched off our torches, and went to sleep.
Waking up the next morning in the open air was an amazing experience. There’s no need for an alarm clock – you’re gently woken by the sunrise.
We spent a sleepy hour feeding the local crayfish (in the absence of any ducks) and sharing a freshly brewed espresso – bliss compared to the usual panicked morning routine. Then it was back on the bikes and back to the office for much-needed showers and bacon butties.
Although the weather wasn’t perfect, the rain didn’t dampen our spirits. Getting out of the office makes you see your colleagues in a different light, nothing says ‘team bonding’ quite like waking up in a field together. We sat back at our desks that morning feeling that we’d done something different, achieving real adventure on a Wednesday night without heading more than 10 miles from home.
Planning Your Own Microadventure
Ready to take on your own microadventure? The great news is that a microadventure, by its very definition, should be simple. Keep it local, cheap, safe, easy to achieve and short. Check out Alistair Humphreys’ Guide to Microadventures for inspiration in abundance.
Why should you try a microadventure?
There are so many reasons why it’s a great idea to go on a microadventure of your own, and so few reasons why not to give it a go. If you’re feeling stressed out, stuck in a rut or just bored of doing the same thing day after day, then a little burst of adventure is just the thing. If you need inspiration or more persuasion, go check out Alistair Humphreys’ blogs about microadventures.
Where should you go?
Finding a spot for your first mini adventure can seem like a daunting task, but it’s best if you keep it simple. Grab a map and look for a green space near your work or home. For advice on the legalities and safety of wild camping, take a look at this blog Alistair Humphreys has written about wild camping.
How should you get there?
However you want! Go solo, go with a friend, go with colleagues or a family member. Walk, run, cycle, canoe, take the bus or take the train. Your microadventure is whatever you want it to be.
What should you take on your microadventure?
A microadventure shouldn’t require bags of expensive technical kit. Pack light and keep it simple. Here’s our microadventure kit list, inspired by Alastair Humphreys’ own kit list:
- A bivvy bag – this is like a waterproof for your sleeping bag. It’s way smaller than carrying a tent so it’s easier to pack into your bag.
- Sleeping mat and sleeping bag
- Insulated jacket and waterproof jacket. Even in the summer the evenings can get chilly so pack something warm.
- A warm hat (even in the summer – trust me, you’ll thank us!)
- Stove – we used the Jetboil Sumo, MSR Windburner and Trangia but for one or two people you’ll just need the one stove. Don’t forget to take fuel too.
- Basic cooking utensils like a bowl, mug and Spork.
- Food and drink – obviously not forgetting the marshmallows.
- Head torch
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- A rucksack to put it all in. A 45-50 litre pack should be plenty big enough for one night.
You’ll find lots of what you need in our Microadventure category.