Why Plan? – Planning in some form comes in handy, it reduces your chance of finding the most uncomfortable, waterlogged and exposed location whilst out in the great outdoors (or perhaps in this case the not so great outdoors) Most of my microadventures to date have been planned to some degree, sometimes is a very loose plan, with really just a date and location in mind, others we have needed to plan to make sure what we would like to do is achievable and not going to become a horrible experience
Here’s what I normally do, it’s probably not all best practice, but it seems to work and will give you a start on things to think about.
Brainstorm planning – We start out by brainstorming what we would like to do in the year. Microadventures come in all shapes and sizes, mine are normally a cheeky night away, but sometimes it’s worth setting some time aside to spend longer and have a purpose to your adventure. It may be that I would like to spend a night on a hill, by the sea / lake, in a deep forest, close to home or far away.. all of these need different considerations. The weather affects all of these locations, if you know it’s going to be wet and windy the coast or hilltop probably isn’t the best of ideas, so look for some shelter in the woods.
Find your location – Finding your location is the tricky bit.. we don’t want to run in to an angry axe murdering vampire farmer 😉 There are some great resources available for free to help. Bing maps have access to the Ordnance Survey mapping data, with both 1:50,000 and 1:25,000 scales, which makes finding a place to park, footpaths, lakes and woods easy to find. When you settle on a location make sure you have an alternate in mind, that way if your number one site is not what you expected you can always revert to your spare. Reading the map you will start to be able to visualise where you will be heading.. .It may be dark when you venture out, so having a mind map really does help.. a few other things to think about (from experience) –
- Parking – I don’t like to leave the car unattended by the side of a country road, I also like to visit a pub before heading out. Pubs make great overnight parking sites..
- Woodland sites over the winter months may contain pheasant feeding stations, during the pheasant season you may get a rude awakening from game keepers, so worth checking in the daylight.. (blog here)
- If in doubt, bug out.. sometimes a location just doesn’t feel right, if that’s the case walk on and head to your backup location.
- Understand what effect the weather will have on the locations you pick, its amazing what difference getting out of the wind or undercover can make!
If you need to stop but you don’t want to be spotted its often worth arriving after dark and leaving before first light. You can always get back on the footpath and stop further on for your morning brew!
Solo or Group trip? – This makes a lot of difference, I prefer going in a group of 2 or 3. Think about what kit you are duplicating when you head out, do you each need a cooker, or can you pool your cooking and water heating? You may only need to carry one tarp between you. On trips such as a backpacking journey, or long walk lightening your load can really make a difference, it also helps you to work more as a team, both in the planning and active stages of your microadventure. If your heading out alone you need to consider that you will need to carry all your kit, make sure your sensible about what you can achieve.
Be flexible – When you have set a date try to be flexible about what you will do, and make a decision a few days before when you can see what the weather is likely to do. The beauty with microadventures is travelling light. Your kit needs wont drastically alter between the woods or a beach.
Being Ready – I like to think that I could pretty much grab my kit and go, so having everything in its place and ready to go is a good way to have a quick packing experience. I will often pack and repack my kit to optimise space in my pack or on the bike. Everything is stowed away in a ready to go state, fresh gas in the jetboil, tarp, pegs and bungees together (you get the idea)
I’ll keep adding to this as I come up with new tips, I’d love to hear your tips on planning! Feel free to comment below