My Microadventure Kit List

My microadventure kit list is something that has changed quite a lot over the past year. In some cases, I have needed to change out items due to them being too heavy. However, for the most part, I have simply purchased new and better gear.

As you may know, a microadventure is a relatively short escape and quite different from my recent hike on the Pacific Crest Trail. With this in mind, I need only a small amount of food and supplies on a microadventure but the quality of my gear is just as important as a long distance journey.

Anyway, I digress, here is my new microadventure kit list:

My Microadventure Kit List

As a rule, a microadventure kit list should serve a purpose and yet be reasonably light. Unfortunately, this is where I start to get worried as the danger with packing for an outdoor trip is always that one might go unprepared.  For this reason, please know that this is not a definitive list of any kind. You should always do your own due diligence and make sure that are well prepared and knowledgable for whatever it is that you are about to do!

  • UltralightTent
  • 3 Season Sleeping bag
  • Thermarest
  • Warm Clothes and Wooly Hat
  • Rain Gear incl. Waterproof Pants
  • Reliable Head torch
  • Enough Food and Water
  • Small First Aid Kit
  • Smartphone
  • SPOT Device
  • Optional – Credit Card

To be fair, this is most often all you need for a microadventure kit list!


Detailed View of My Microadventure Kit list

Blue Kazoo Sleeping bag

Best sleeping back for a Microadventure kit list - North Face Sleeping BagI took this sleeping bag on the Pacific Crest Trail this year. It got me through but there were some nights below freezing where I needed to wear my thermals to bed. Other than that, I absolutely love this sleeping bag and feel it should be adequate for microadventures in areas above freezing temps.

 Check Out the North Face Blue Kazoo Sleeping Bag

 


Backpack

Picture of an Osprey Exos 58I am a bit of a gear snob nowadays. In the beginning, I didn’t pay much attention to the gear but the more I get out there, the more I appreciate good gear. My Osprey Exos 58 is one of my favourite pieces of outdoor gear. Strong, lightweight, reliable – I just love it!

 Check Out the Osprey Exos 58L


Petzl Actik Core H

Headlamp by PetzlI am such a huge fan of Petzl and this incredible head torch. Although the full beam tends to run out pretty quickly, the torch comes with a rechargeable battery. This also means you can carry spares. However, it’s a fantastic torch and ideal for putting your tent up in the dark when you need to be handsfree.

Check Out the Petzl Actik Core Here

 

 

Thermarest

Ultralight Sleeping MattressAnother incredible item that lasted the entire Pacific Crest Trail. Over time, they start to lose their cushion but when I say “time”, I mean after 110 nights sleep. An excellent lightweight option that I recommend.

Check Out the Z-Lite Mattress Here

 


Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2

Big Agnes Tent in IrelandObviously this ultralight tent is not a must for a microadventure kitlist. You can probably have just about any tent, so long as it can withstand the elements. That being said, this tent is so light that I would never consider carrying any other.

Check Out Big Agnes Tents Here


Trail Shoes & Clothing

You obviously need to have warm gear for cold weather. However, there is always a trade off between what you want to have on a kit list for microadventures and what you can actually carry.

Warm Wear

Take thermals, warm socks and leggings. I always keep a spare set of clothing in a dry sac just in case of heavy rain. You can never have too much clothing, but you can certainly have too little.

 


Day Wear

Wear whatever feels comfortable when you hike. Personally, I will never ever go hiking without my Columbia Shirt again. The thing just never gives me problems and still looks the same as the day I bought it. Also, for the absolute best footwear, check out my Darn Tough Socks Review.

 


Waterproof Wear

OR Hellium Rain jacketYou have to stay dry. Even if you don’t expect it, make waterproof gear an essential part of your kit list for microadventures.

 

 


Optional Items for a Microadventure Kit list

Some items don’t make my kit list for microadventures but that doesn’t mean I don’t like them.

Pillow

Picture of a pillowPillows, I have decided, are not a luxury. They should be enjoyed and taken on every adventure. This is one item I will be buying online shortly.

 

 


Camping Stove

Lightweight BRs stoveNothing can beat a warm meal after a day of hiking. In fact, on a cold night, this is especially true. Plus, how else can you make coffee in the morning? I am currently waiting to order one of these online.

 

 


Towel

Micro Fibre TowelI used these towels to dry my feet when it rains. Also, wait for it, I use this same towel to clean my feet when they sweat. Footcare should always be a priority in the outdoors.

 


I hope it goes without saying that this list is not extensive and you should always tailor your research for every trip.

Do you have a Microadventure kit list of your own? What are your favourite pieces of gear? Let me know in the comments.


Disclosure: Please note the trust my audience has for my advice is of utmost importance to me. Hence, I will only recommend equipment I love from brands that I trust. I was not paid to review any of these products and I purchase this equipment myself. I am also without obligation to leave positive reviews for any product, I just know that this gear works for me and it is likely to work for you too. This page contains affiliate links meaning I might receive a small amount from the supplier should you decide to purchase an item through one of my links. Thank you for supporting me.

What to Pack for a Microadventure Packing List

Wondering what to pack for a Microadventure? Honestly, this is a super straightforward process but you should still take care not to exclude any important items on a Microadventure packing list.

A Microadventure is short and simple. It is usually a local adventure and requires little money, yet the location of these adventures will often involve some exposure to uncertain elements in the outdoors. For this reason, you still need to prepare and have a reasonable idea in terms of what to expect. Here, you will find that I have laid out the bare essentials and what to pack for a Microadventure but please be aware the detail of this list should change accordingly.

Essentials Items On a Microadventure Packing List

Packing for a Microadventure is only complicated if you allow this to be the case. As always, the main objective should be to have a fun, stay safe, and find reward in an outdoor adventure. In some cases, you may not need everything on this list but at the same time, you should always expect the unexpected and approach a Microadventure packing list with caution.

Here is a basic checklist of what you will need to squeeze into your backpack:

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping mattress
  • Warm clothing and hat
  • Rain jacket and waterproof trousers
  • Headtorch
  • Food and water
  • Optional – Credit Card

While circumstances will be slightly different in every instance, this is all you really need to enjoy a rewarding Microadventure.


Detailed View of What to Pack for a Microadventure

Sleeping bag

Best sleeping back for a Microadventure packing list - North Face Sleeping BagIf you plan on spending a night outdoors in the middle of Winter, you will need the best sleeping bag for a Microadventure. Depending on the season (warmth) of the sleeping bag, you could always take a number of sweaters and thermal underwear to make up for the difference.Either way, never underestimate the importance of keeping warm.  Read more information about the North Face Blue Kazoo ProDown Sleeping Bag

 


Bivvy bag

Bivvy BagBivvy bags are essentially an alternative to taking a tent. However, they are not always ideal and are often the choice of those with a little more experience in the outdoors. There are several types of bivvy bag and each one is suited to different circumstances. As you can see from the image, they are very small and super lightweight but certainly not ideal for particularly harsh weather. Check out an example of a Bivvy Bag here


Backpack

Picture of an Osprey Exos 58I am embarrassed to have taken so many long-distance trips with a terrible backpack. When I picked up the Osprey Exos 58, I realized the pure joy that comes with investing the best backpack for a Microadventure. Although lightweight, the frame is rigid and the backpack has endless features. There are also several sizes with 48L and 58L (Litre) being the most popular. I recommend 58L for those who might be interested in taking multi-day hikes in future. You can read my review of the Osprey Exos 58L here.


Headtorch

Headlamp by PetzlWith 350 lumens, you can be guaranteed it lights up the night but there is also a rechargeable battery which came in handy on more than a few occasions. Keep in mind, headtorches are extremely useful for keeping your hands free and this is especially important when setting up a tent in the dark – which happens a lot. Check out the Petzl Actik Here

 

 

Sleeping mattress

Ultralight Sleeping MattressYou need this one for warmth just as much as comfort. Many camping enthusiasts will swear by inflatable therma-rests. However, for me, these are just frustrating to setup and pack away. I love the simplicity of Z-Lite but also how it radiates heat upward back into the body. which is especially important on cold nights when the mattress prevents warmth from escaping into the ground beneath. Check Out the Z-Lite Mattress Here

 


Tent

Big Agnes Tent in IrelandAside from the bivvy bag, the tent is obviously one of your main pieces of outdoor gear for a Microadventure.

Also, this will be the heaviest item in your pack, even if you do go for a lightweight tent such as the Big Agnes Copper Spur 2. Either way, the best tent for a Microadventure is quite a personal choice. Check Out Big Agnes Tents Here


Clothing and Footwear Essentials

You do not need to look fancy or beautiful on a Microadventure, but it is crucial that you wear comfortable clothing that can withstand the elements on an adventure. Here are the main items you need to include on a Microadventure packing list.

Warm gear

If you are without proper thermals, your sleeping clothes can consist of shorts, thick pair of socks, leggings and a long sleeve as the base layer. You should also ensure the warmth of your jacket is sufficient and if it happens to be too warm, you will be thankful for going with a smart layer system. As a rule, it is okay to be too warm but not the other way around.

 


Day clothing

Again, you do not need to look fashionable on a Microadventure (trust me, nobody out there cares). However, comfort is crucial and every hiker will eventually realize the importance of having the best hiking shoes for a Microadventure. Having a spare pair of socks is a good idea but make sure you keep these somewhere dry with a spare set of clothing

 


Waterproof Gear

OR Hellium Rain jacketKeeping everything dry is crucial for both enjoyment and safety. You should always have a rain jacket just in case and rainproof trousers are something which you will also find at the top of my Microadventure packing list.

While the rainjacket is important, please do not forget the pants/trousers

 


Optional Items

There are also certain items that you may want to include on a Microadventure packing list, even if they but seem entirely unnecessary. Often, these are luxury items which you could easily do without but at the same time, that could make your journey that little bit more exciting, comfortable or even fun.

Pillow

Picture of a pillowAnother item that I went without for years and for the life of me, I cannot understand why. Pillows are extremely small and considering the importance of a good nights rest, this should be considered on a Microadventure packing list. Many inflatable options are favored by adventurers but for me, I just care about the fabric and how it feels against my skin.

 

 


Camping Stove

Lightweight BRs stoveOne of my favourite things to do at the end of each day involves either a warm cup of tea or a hot meal (sausages). For this reason, when it comes to my ultralight stove, I never have a second thought regarding what to pack for a Microadventure. You can get by without it, sure, but nothing can substitute something warm for a cold night camping.

 

 


Towel

Micro Fibre TowelWell, it may come in handy at the end of a very wet day but more importantly, how about after swimming in a river?

Microfibre towels are always popular given the slight amount of weight they hold. Furthermore, while you may be concerned that these particular towels stink, there are now many microfibre towels which remain odorless after use.

 


Please know that this list is certainly not extensive in any way and merely a guide in terms of what you will need in general. Every destination and circumstance will have different requirements so please tailor your research for each trip rather than picking outdoor gear and hoping for the best.

What have you got on your Microadventure Packing List? Have I missed something? Please let me know in the comments.


Disclosure: Please note the trust my audience has for my advice is of utmost importance to me. Hence, I will only recommend equipment I love from brands that I trust. I was not paid to review any of these products and I purchase this equipment myself. I am also without obligation to leave positive reviews for any product, I just know that this gear works for me and it is likely to work for you too. This page contains affiliate links meaning I might receive a small amount from the supplier should you decide to purchase an item through one of my links. Thank you for supporting me.

You Can Buy ALL This Outdoor Gear For Less Than an iPhone X

You will find an iPad Mini, Canon G7X, HERO 2 Go Pro and Samsung Galaxy in my Osprey Exos 58 Backpack. Now, none of the above is a shameless plug but rather to illustrate my genuine love for smart technology and electronic devices.

In fact, I would say that electronic devices along with Facebook, Instagram, and the online world have greatly enhanced my interest in getting outdoors. That being said, until it offers some form of superpower, I just cannot justify spending more than €1,000 ($1,200) on a smartphone.

I refer to the latest Apple installment, the iPhone X. While people will continue to buy the latest iPhone in record numbers, I wanted to put this into perspective for outdoor adventurers or those looking to experience their first microadventure.

Outdoor Gear You Can Buy for The Cost of an iPhone X

With this in mind, here is a list of outdoor gear and gadgets that can be purchased for the same price as the latest iPhone:

Garmin Vivoactive HR GPS (SmartWatch for Outdoor Adventures)

Petzl Actik Core Head Torch

Osprey Exos 58 (Professional Backpack)

MSR Hubba Hubba Tent

Columbia Conspiracy IV Outdry (Trail Shoes)

Outdoor Research Helium (Rain Jacket)

Believe it or not, you can purchase the entire list above for less than the cost of an iPhone X. Personally, I think Samsung will do for now, and at least then I can invest in some of this outdoor gear with the change!

More in-depth Information on the above Outdoor Gear

Garmin Vivoactive HR GPS Smart Watch

While I have never owned a smartwatch (or had any interested to own one), they are now firmly on my radar. I say this in lieu of my hike on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2018 but at the same time, this is a long-term investment.

After all, I have only ever owned three different watches and used each of them for at least four years.

At this moment, the Garmin Vivoactive is my top pick regarding affordable a smartwatch for outdoor adventures. Featuring a full range of tracking features and an attractive design, this is also one of the best GPS watches for hiking.


Petzl Actik Core

Headlamp by PetzlSimply put, this is the best head torch I have ever come across. While there are certainly options out there to match the Actik Core regarding Lumens (350), it features a rechargeable battery and a relatively sturdy design.

 

You can read my full review for the Petzl Actik Core Here

 

 


Osprey Exos 58

Picture of an Osprey Exos 58While I have reason to believe that a new Exos is arriving on the market in January, the current series is one of the best backpacks for microadventures. In fact, I wrote a full review for this backpack recently in which I described it as my number one purchase of the year.

You can read my full Osprey Exos 58 Review Here

 


MSR Hubba Hubba

MSR Hubba TentMSR Hubba Hubba is probably the most popular backpacking tent for microadventures in Europe. I would love to have one personally, but there is another model in the United States which I have my eye on at this moment. Either way, the MSR Hubba Hubba would make an impressive piece of kit for your outdoor adventures.

 

 


Columbia Conspiracy Iv Outdry

It took me a long time to pick out the best trail shoes for the Pacific Crest Trail. However, having tested these out in various weather conditions in Ireland, I can fully recommend the Columbia Conspiracy Iv Outdry. They are super light, comfortable and dry out quickly.

 

 

 


Outdoor Research Helium HD

OR Hellium Rain jacketIf I did not already have my North Face Jacket, this is most definitely the one I would be taking on my next outdoor adventure. As you should know, Outdoor Research is a solid brand, but the online reviews for this rain jacket are impressive.

 

 

 

How would you spend the money and what would you buy instead? Please let me know in the comments!


Disclosure: Please note the trust my audience has for my advice is of utmost importance to me. Hence, I will only recommend equipment I love from brands that I trust. I was not paid to review the above items and I purchased my own equipment. I am also without obligation to leave positive reviews for these products, I just know that this equipment work really well for other outdoor adventurers and so they are likely to work for you too. This page contains affiliate links meaning I might receive a small amount from the supplier should you decide to purchase an item through one of my links. Thank you for supporting me.

Please Don’t Tell Me What Adventure Looks Like

In my case, outdoor adventure is not about having the latest gear or looking a certain way.

With this in mind, I feel somewhat disillusioned with the approach taken by much of the outdoor industry. Sure, I could ignore everything that goes on and move on with my life, but then part of my purpose involves removing the obstacles (and reasons) which seem to be stopping people from getting outdoors more often.

So yes, let it be known that I take issue with how these businesses get in the way and how they make ordinary folk feel about their own potential. After all, why do we still maintain an image of runners, climbers, and hikers as perfectly toned or incredibly fit athletes?

I would like to run marathons, without training for marathons

The truth is, there are no similarities between how I feel and the image being flaunted in the outdoor industry. I am not as flexible or as slim as the exterior of my clothing suggests, and I’m the kind of person who would like to attempt a marathon, without having to train for a marathon.

In fact, when I finished struggling my way across Africa on a bicycle for one year, a British Adventurer finished the very same trip in just eighty days. Eighty days! Of course, this superhuman effort deserved serious credit, but instead, it left me feeling pretty inadequate and almost as if my own adventure was not so special after all.

But I am an Adventurer, even if I look nothing like the one we see on television. Some might say, I am a fluffy and much softer version of Bear Grylls, except I have none of his vast experience, no brands, sponsors or expensive equipment and no camera crew following me to the toilet.

Further, I am the polar opposite of that image you often find in the outdoor industry. I have fat in places which I can thankfully hide, and I am often too lazy for a ten-minute stroll never-mind the prospect of climbing a mountain. I am not proud of this being the case, but I do take pride in the fact that my outdoor adventures are motivated by an urge to reach out and engage with those who feel the same disillusion. You know, people who might also be fed up with hearing about invincible athletes as they attempt to break another long-standing record.

You know something else? Nobody refers to me as an adventurer – just me, and this was a conscious decision. You see, it is incredibly difficult to break into the outdoor industry and more to the point, I feel inadequate anytime I compare the above mentioned images to whatever I see in the mirror every morning.

After all, if I do not “look like an adventurer”, then how can this be true?

I am not as flexible or as slim as the exterior of my clothing may suggest, and I’m the kind of person who would like to attempt a marathon, without having to train for a marathon.

An Entirely Unlikely Adventurer

Back in 2013, I spent one year riding a bicycle across Africa as a means of combating some very serious anxiety and depression. Scaling the highest mountains in Africa, crossing the oldest deserts in the world and camping in unprotected lion territory – the adventure was quite a primitive journey and this was extremely important for my own self-awareness.

However, it was enlightening for the fact that I was suddenly fixated on the road ahead and without depression or any concern for my general appearance. On the contrary, I felt empowered during this time by my own potential both mentally and physically. Yes, I was vastly inexperienced on that trip but this was when I started to realize how there was really no difference between an adventurer and the average Joe Soap.

In short, my motivation and outlook on that trip went from reaching a destination to slowing everything down and appreciating the present moment.

Training for the Pacific Crest Trail

Since then, I have taken many more adventures and recently announced my plans to hike the Pacific Crest Trail in 2018.

However, as I began “training” for the Pacific Crest Trail, I developed a habit of assessing my physical condition each and every morning. Standing in front of the mirror in my boxer shorts, I felt that same familiar feeling of inadequacy.

An adventurer? Who are you kidding? I guess we never see pictures of these adventurers arguing with their insecurities in a bathroom.

As the weeks passed, I tried to ignore these concerns and continued to research every last thing about the trail. However, throughout this process, I was still feeling a distinct resentment for the images and stories filling my newsfeed. It was almost as if Facebook was in on it.

Fastest, strongest, first, best – since when was an outdoor adventure a competition?

Once again, I did not look like any of these adventurers and this was certainly not the way I looked or felt on an adventure.

Outdoor Adventure Does Not Look a Certain Way

Derek Cullen

But here’s the thing; focusing on my appearance and the physical requirement of an adventure was a failure of my own making. Instead of realizing my strength, I was choosing how to feel about my adventure based on advertisements and promotional material. I mean; so what if someone broke records and managed to look good at the same time? Good for them.

It was me – I was the only person stopping myself from becoming an “Adventurer”. And for this reason, I not only decided to call myself an adventurer but I also determined that I should establish myself as a different face in the outdoor industry.

That is to say; an adventurer who tries, cries, vomits, fails and tries again.

The thing is, you know what has happened since I started to call myself an adventurer? Nothing. Yes, I finally realized that nobody really cares about my own insecurities and they certainly have no will to challenge me anytime I refer to myself in this way.

To summarize, I am entirely obsessed with nature and the great outdoors. However, for as long as I can remember, I have felt no connection with an industry that continues to tell me what I should look like to enjoy the outdoors. The truth is, I may never look like a typical adventurer, but I see more value in encouraging other people to get out there, rather than feel sorry for themselves in the bathroom.

Microadventures Can Change the Way You Feel About Life

When I first began riding a bicycle through Africa, there was little on my mind other than the road ahead. From desert crossings and mountain climbs to remote tribes and wildlife around my tent; there was more than enough to occupy the mind.

In short, I spent one year focusing on the simple pleasures and far from the distractions which often consume my daily life. As my cousin says; “we can be busy fools” and it can be all too easy to allow mundane or meaningless thoughts to consume our time each day.

Replacing “Reasons” with Microadventures

Anyway, I also realized during that trip that taking a long distance adventure is not a realistic option for most people. Simply put, it seems like a ludicrous amount of time, money and commitment, not to mention the fact that cycling across Africa is a rather silly idea.
Continue reading Microadventures Can Change the Way You Feel About Life