If the idea of a Microadventure has appealed to you but you haven’t yet enjoyed a night sleeping wild in the great outdoors, the answer is to keep it simple.
Remember, wild camping isn’t hard, you just have to walk into the countryside and lie down for a night.
There’s one rule, no tents. A wild camp should be low level and you’re more likely to enjoy an undisturbed night if you hide away. Likewise, a bivi bag is much less intimidating than a tent for a dog walker who isn’t used to finding a temporary village on their morning route.
If you’d prefer to sleep on the ground, as most do, the most simple set-up includes: a sleeping mat for comfort, a sleeping bag for warmth, a sleeping bag for your dog and a bivvy bag for waterproofing.
If you fancy a bit more comfort, a memory foam pillow packs down tight and beats the heck out of a folded up hoodie. A groundsheet will stop moisture seeping upwards and make camping after a rainy day much drier. Rig up a tarp to keep prospective rain off and throw a head torch in for the darkest nights (this is more essential outside summertime or if you’re camping in thick woodland).
Of course, you could choose a hammock. There are many different brands out there, some come with inbuilt rainfly and/ or mosquito nets and some even have a pouch for a sleeping mat to slide into, ensuring a flatter sleeping area and some insulation for colder nights.
There are thousands of items of outdoor, adventure and camping gear on the market but if a Microadventure is the most simple form of adventure, then let’s simplify the gear and get you outside straight away.
For many nights over the Summer it will be dry enough to get away without a bivvy bag and light enough that you won’t need a headtorch, so just a sleeping bag and sleeping mat will suffice. That said, for a few extra grams add a little peace of mind by packing a bivi bag and head torch.
I always keep a Microadventure bag packed and ready to go should I take the fancy, so I thought I'd share with you my choices for a perfect lightweight Microadventure set-up. Enjoy, then head out with some friends to enjoy a night under a clear, star-filled sky.
Rucksack: Montane Ultra Tour 22
It’s always important to have a good-fitting comfy rucksack with water bottle holders, an internal sleeve for your iPad or laptop (if you’re heading out straight after work) and other compartments for food, an extra layer and whatever else you can’t leave the house without.
Dimension: 56 x 30 x 28
Sleeping Mat: Thermarest NeoAir XLite
Keeping my pack light and bed comfy is a super important balance. At 6.3cm thick the NeoLite is beautifully soft and doesn’t crackle noisily like many lightweight sleeping mats. It delivers more warmth and comfort per ounce than any other three-season air mattress available. This mat is actually a women's size but I don't mind if my toes pop over the end, it saves a bit of weight!
Dimensions: 51 x 183 cm
Sleeping Bag: Vango Ultralite Pro 100
There’s nothing like looking forward to slipping into a soft, warm sleeping bag. This Vango is warm enough to survive a chilly Spring night (although I’m fairly warm blooded) but light enough to ensure you don’t overheat on a boiling summer night.
Dimensions: 24 x 18cm when packed in compression sack
Bivvy Bag: Terra Nova Survival Bivi
What's a bivi bag? It's a waterproof cover for your sleeping bag, so perfect for a lightweight, low-level camp without lugging all those tent poles about.Spacious with a good size hood to pull over your head in case it starts to drizzle, this Terra Nova bivvy breathes well (ensuring you aren’t soaking with condensation in the morning) and is light enough to carry without using if the night is going to be dry.
Packed Size: 21 x 11cm
Headtorch: Petzl Tekkina
Lightweight, simple, tiltable and with two distance modes operated from just one button: proximity or long distance. Powered with 3 x AAA batteries and waterproof with a washable headstrap, for a simple Microadventure this is a great value head torch that will give you all the light you could possible need.
So there we have it. This isn't comprehensive (there are so many choices out there!), you could spend more or spend less, but if you want a quality, long lasting selection of Microadventure gear that isn't going to fall apart after a couple of nights in the woods, I thoroughly recommend this lot.
Total Weight: 2.254kg including rucksack
Total price: £337.50
My usual first port of call for camping gear is Simply Hike, and they supply all the gear mentioned in this blog.
So, what are you waiting for? The gear is light and cheap, and the great outdoors is waiting. And if you don’t know any friends who would be up for a Microadventure check out the YesTribe on Facebook for a group of like-minded people who really like adventures big and small.
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