Life happens fast. Emails pile up. Calendars fill up. The to-do list grows. It’s not a bad thing. A closer examination shows exciting opportunities and time spent with the people you are close to. However, sometimes it’s necessary to plot an escape. Sometimes you just need to enjoy some good ol’ fun-hogging microadventures.
We can’t take full credit for the idea of the microadventure as Alastair Humphrey literally wrote the book on it. However, we’ve had our fair share of opportunities to practice around the Therm-a-Rest headquarters in Seattle.
Recently, our crew took a mid-week bike-camping trip to a nearby campground for a night under the stars. We had such a good time preparing for Swift Campout that we wanted to share the love.
Whether it’s a few laps of mountain biking on our nearby trails or paddling the closest lake, we’ve got the tips you need to maximize the fun on your next microadventure.
Go Micro In A Big Way
Fundamentally, Humphrey’s microadventures are three things: simple, local and cheap. These traits are important, but you can’t spell “microadventure” without “adventure”.
Planning our trip, we handled logistics by planning for adventure. Why stay on this side of the water when we could take a ferry? Why ride the shoulder of the arterial road when we could ride the route with scenic views of the sound and city? Why take the mostly flat ride through town when we could tackle climbs and bomb hills between walls of giant pines?
It’s crucial to keep your microadventures simple and cheap. Otherwise, they just won’t happen because of the high commitment level. However, make sure to properly season your trip with the right adventure without adding any unnecessary complexity.
At the risk of telling you something you already know, exercise does wonders for your psychological well being. It releases endorphins in the brain and promotes neural growth, helping reduce stress and anxiety.
Besides the obvious health benefits, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of sitting down for a quality dinner and cold beverage with tired legs.
Our little trip gave us the perfect amount of output for a weekend getaway. Enough to get us breathing and our legs warm, but not so much that we were wiped out when we arrived at the driftwood beach. It left us with smiles on our faces and plenty of daylight to appreciate our surroundings and enjoy our dinner.
When you’re packing for a trip, most people tend to break their gear list into two sections: activity and camp. Activity is all about the gear you need for the pursuit of the day, ranging from boots and boats to ropes and reels. Camp is all about the rest and relaxation at the end of the day. The quiet moments where you get to enjoy the company of good friends by a fie and the soul-stirring array of stars above.
However, there are two “R’s” in “R and R”. Don’t forget to pack the crucial gear need for a good time between your activity and camping.
Sleep Under The Stars
We already discussed the reasons that getting active is good for your well being, but I’d wager sleeping under the stars has just as many benefits. Although it lacks the same scientific backing, those who have camped outside more than a handful of times will know where I’m coming from.
While camping isn’t mandatory for microadventures, it sure makes them a whole lot better. Maybe it’s the absence of artificial light. Maybe it’s being bone-tired. Maybe it’s crawling into a warm Vesper quilt with a belly full of warm food. Whatever it is, I know that, after camping, I wake up rested and content.
A major key to letting sleeping under the stars rejuvenate and refresh you is the right sleeping bag and pad. Check your gear and make sure it’s EN/ISO and R-value ratings have been properly tested and meet the needs of your microadventure.
Roll With It
Things don’t always go according to plan. However, according to some circles, that’s when the adventure starts.
When we woke up, we found ourselves in a thick cloud of fog. Those of us that bivvied were pretty psyched to have our down protected by Nikwax. We started the process of shaking out and packing our bikes taking our time. When someone finally looked at a clock, we realized we might miss our ferry.
During an adventure, even microadventures, things won’t go as planned. Weather, logistical issues, gear failures can all cause headaches. Expect this to happen. Even on microadventures, always bring the 10 essentials on every trip. It may seem like overkill, but it’s better to have it and not need it than it is to have it and not need it.
We pedaled our bikes to the dock and managed to roll right onto the boat seconds before the gate closed. We shared high-fives before stumbling up to the cafeteria for the day’s first cup of coffee.
Rinse and Repeat
After riding from the ferry to Therm-a-Rest HQ, we locked up our bikes and showered off the campfire before heading to our desks. A few emails later, I popped open the 10-day forecast. A cool and dry Tuesday looked prime for some post-work rock climbing. A few texts and emails later, our next microadventure was on the books.
If you need some inspiration, consider signing up for Swift Campout. We’re stoked to be supporting this awesome event that encourages people to get on their bikes and go camping on the summer solstice.
The real key to microadventures is to keep them going. Sprinkling little excursions into your weeks keep you invigorated and motivated. Not every week or month holds multiple microadventures, but that just means that each trip is that much sweeter. Microadventures are small and simple enough that you don’t return drained. Plus, it’s tough to beat days of fun-hogging and night’s sleeping under the stars.