SUMMER is the perfect time to enjoy the great outdoors and embrace a camping holiday.
However, not everyone has the luxury of being able to book weeks off work at a time, and sometimes there is only a weekend available to enjoy a break under canvas.
An outdoor specialist is encouraging people to taste adventure this summer by embarking on a micro expedition.
Carolyn Budding, marketing director at Wild Country Tents, has put together a short guide for anyone tempted by dreams of exploring the wild, but with limited spare time.
She said: “A micro adventure doesn’t have to be an extreme challenge. Just getting outside and trying something new is an adventure in itself.
“The UK has a lot to offer people looking to explore the outdoors and there are plenty of opportunities for anyone – whether they are a complete novice or already active in the outdoors – to find a fresh and exciting experience.”
How to plan a micro adventure
“Obviously your personal safety is paramount,” Carolyn warns.
“Don’t let yourself be fettered by fear, but at the same time, sensible precautions are essential.
“If you have a smart phone, keep family and friends up to date with where you are by sharing pictures or messages online, or simply make sure you text someone to let them know where you are likely to be and when.
“Think carefully about what kit you need to take and make sure you can carry it all easily.
“Do a little research into the kind of activities you want to do – is there any specialist kit you need to have?
“Think about visibility too – sometimes a high-vis rucksack or gloves with a retro reflective strip are ideal for early morning or late evening walks.”
Keep it light
“Lightweight equipment is a must,” adds Carolyn. “As an outdoor specialist with Terra Nova Equipment and Wild Country Tents I know how many years of research and development have gone in to designing incredibly lightweight kit – including rucksacks and shelters.
“If your rucksack is too heavy you won’t enjoy yourself and could even put yourself at risk of injury by carrying something too heavy. Look around for the kind of kit you’re going to need, but think about comfort too.
“There are a lot of factors which dictate how long your trip can be,” says Carolyn.
“Work commitments and arrangements with friends and family can sometimes limit the amount of time available for exploring the outdoors.
“But most of us can manage to keep at least 24 hours free for a break away from it all at some point.
“Plan it into your diary and, if you can, give yourself an extra day to recover and pack away all your kit on your return.
“If you’re thinking of going for more than a couple of days explore all your options for shelter, equipment and how to transport it all.”
Kit yourself out
“It is incredibly important to have the right kit with you.
“If you’re starting out and playing it fairly safe, then make sure you have the basics such as a tent, sleeping bag, water bottle, torch and sun screen for sunny days.
“Investing in lightweight equipment and spare clothes which are light but warm and offering a sensible level of protection is also wise.
“Think carefully about what you’re actually likely to need – and what you’re not. Make a list of everything you think you should take and then go through it crossing out anything you can actually manage without.
“Don’t forget extra batteries for your torch and think about things like how to charge your phone if you’re not going to have access to a plug socket for a few days.”
Embrace the new
“If you’ve taken yourself out of your comfort zone to try something new, don’t waste the opportunity to test your limits,” urges Carolyn.
“Don’t spend time worrying that other people can do it better or have more experience. Focus on what you are doing, concentrate on the moment and give it your all.
“There will always be someone who can climb higher, run faster, owns a better bike or has more experience than you – but that doesn’t mean doing something for the first time isn’t an achievement, whether that’s sleeping out under the stars or cycling a new trail.”
“There are lots of shelter options for the solo adventurer,” Carolyn says.
“A bothy bag is literally a bag you can climb inside to keep yourself warm and dry whenever you need to.
“Popular with mountaineers, rescue organisations, backcountry skiers and canoe guides, a bothy bag comes in a variety of sizes for one to 20 people. It’s not just for emergencies, but handy for lunchtime stops or taking shelter in a rain shower.
“Another option for hardened adventurers is a bivi bag. As well as the traditional bivouac sacks which essentially give additional protection to a sleeping bag, there are shelters such as the Jupiter Bivi which has great ventilation and provides more space and comfort thanks to the use of the pre-curved aluminium alloy pole.
“A tarp or bivi both offer some protection, but for those who can’t quite face the thought of sleeping outside without a tent, the Zephyros 1 Lite from Wild Country Tents fits the bill, weighing just 2lb 12oz when packed.
“A single pole tunnel design with a high spec ripstop flysheet and groundsheet, the tent can be pitched in just five minutes and offers sturdy resistance in poor weather.
“When you’re out in the countryside having somewhere to shelter can be one of the most important considerations. Weather conditions can change very quickly and for anyone planning a trip superior shelter is absolutely essential.”
“You might be planning on getting away from it all on your own,” says Carolyn, “but don’t make the mistake of staying away from everybody.
“If you pass someone out on the trail, smile and say hi – sometimes adventurers can feel lonely, but even the briefest contact with another person can help lift your mood.
“There are plenty of adventures to be had on our shores – whether you fancy a coastal hike, a mountain climb or cycling alongside a river – so share your experiences and encourage others to step out of their comfort zones and embrace their own adventure.”