Everyday life and responsibilities can make it challenging to go on as many adventures as you would like. COVID certainly adds additional challenges to that, with having travel advisories and precautions to keep everyone safe. But who says adventures have to be defined by weeks out in the wilderness, flights across the country, or trips planned out months in advance? We certainly don’t! Microadventures, a term coined by British Adventurer, Alastair Humphrey, are adventures that are close to home, inexpensive, and the perfect way to fill up that adventure craving in your heart in a way that anyone can do. Whether it is exploring your city by bike, hiking a local trail, or car camping for a night, microadventures are a local, cheap, and accessible way to adventure outdoors in the midst of everyday life. Here are 5 tips to inspire you to chase after adventures frequently and locally.
Tip #1: Make Your Car Microadventure-Ready
The key to the microadventure is being ready for wherever the day may take you. Maybe you are working and end up getting done a little early. This is a perfect opportunity to go on a microadventure, but doing so requires that you are ready to go on the fly. One way to make sure you are ready for an outdoor adventure at all times is to make your car “microadventure-ready”. This will be your microadventure essentials kit. It could contain a camping blanket, hiking boots, energy bars, rain ponchos, trekking poles, heroclips, a pair of outdoor clothes, a climbing harness, just whatever gear is essential for your go-to adventures. This will be unique to each person depending on what kinds of outdoor activities you like to chase after most.
You can build and create organization in your car for your gear. If you are a car camper, maybe that looks like converting the trunk of your car into a foldable platform you can sleep on. If you are a hiker, kayaker, or climber, that may look like building DIY car drawers or buying bins to put your most essential gear in and leave in your car trunk. Our tip is to create a list of the gear you need on the adventures you go on most frequently and gather all of that gear in a dedicated location. If you live in an area where you do not feel comfortable leaving your gear in your car, make sure it is all organized and packed in a box, so it is quick to access and pack up when you are ready to head out.
Tip #2: Get a Local Forest Pass / National Park Pass
State and national parks are great places to experience the outdoors. We encourage you to get a local forest pass or national park pass. Each park is unique and offers different scenery and is good for different kinds of activities. Find Your Park is an awesome website where you can look up national parks in different states filtered by activities. States often have similar websites to explore the state and local parks near you. Typically it will be on their state park website like these ones for Washington, Idaho, Montana, California, and Colorado. Every state and area is different but there are generally passes for state parks, beaches, and forests, as well as a pass for national parks. These passes allow you access into these nature areas and make it so you don’t have to buy day passes. We think that having one of these handy at all times encourages you to get outside more to take advantage of it. Whether you want to go hiking, camping, climbing, fishing, swimming, snowshoeing, kayaking, whatever outdoor activities you are passionate about, the national and state parks are great places to go.
Tip #3: Find a New Local Spot
Some of the best adventures end up being right in your backyard (or maybe a couple hours away). The hidden gems of places become a lot less hidden when you start to look for them. Whether it’s a new trail 20 minutes away from your house or a private cove at your local beach or lake, it’s always exciting to come across a new favorite place to adventure. Another fun part of these local gems is that they can be enjoyed across seasons. Maybe that hill with the brown grass at the park in the summer can become an epic place to build jumps for sledding, snowboarding, and skiing in the winter. Or maybe you’re not a big skier, but the ski resort turns into a mountain biker’s paradise in the summer. Different parks and nature areas stand out in the spring when the wildflowers bloom. The point is there are so many places to explore right outside your door when you are willing to look for them.
Sometimes the best places to adventure are discovered through friends. Another tip is to look for and join Facebook Groups of people who enjoy the same activities as you, so whether you are a surfer in the PNW, trail runner in California, or cross-country skier in the mountains of Colorado, you can join a community of folks who if you’re lucky will share their favorite places to adventure in near you.
Tip #4: Bring Along Good Company
The best adventures are made even better with good company. Like Christopher MicCandless writes in Into the Wild, “Happiness is only real when shared”. A fun idea is to create a group chat of your friends who are always down for spontaneous adventures. So when anyone is ready to hit the road, trail, or beach, they can invite everyone else to join along. Brainstorm microadventure ideas with your group of friends (preferably around a campfire with a brew in hand) and then make it happen. Microadventures don’t necessarily always have to be spontaneous. You can plan them out too, but don’t be afraid to just head outside if the opportunity presents itself. Also PSA: dogs definitely count as good company too.
Tip #5: Don’t Overthink, Just Get Outside
There’s no need to overthink microadventures. The whole point is that they are accessible, local, and cheap. They don’t take the months of planning that a thru-hike, mountaineering trip, or overseas adventure requires. It’s all about the idea of getting outside in the midst of everyday life. It could look like a short road trip, mid-week camping adventure, or afternoon bike ride. It’s not bad to make a plan, but just don’t let the time planning take away from the actual adventure.
There is no reason to not get outside, even if it is somewhere local. Microadventures are a great way to get out of your house and enjoy the fresh air with people you love on any regular day. Some ideas to get you inspired is to go bike riding, trail running, paddle boarding, fishing, car camping, day hiking, or kayaking. With the right gear prepared, fun company, and an adventurous spirit to find some outdoor spots nearby, you are well on your way to mastering the microadventure. We want to know your favorite microadventures you like to go on. Leave us a comment of where you like to go and what you like to do on your microadventures.