Get the kids outdoors with “Microcamping”: 4 essential tips
I came up with the term “Microcamping” last year. This slightly watered down version of the “Microadventure” will be sure get your kids to love the outdoors.
You may well have heard the term microadventure used over the last few years when talking about enjoying the outdoors. The phrase (if you haven’t) was coined by British Adventurer and avid wild camper Alastair Humphreys.
It basically involves getting out if the house for one night, finding a hill (not campsite) to sleep on and spending a relaxing night under the stars. This is supposed to be done without the use of a tent and instead covering your sleeping bag with a Bivvy bag (a posh plastic bag) to stop you getting wet if the weather turns south.
I have spent many a night this way and let me tell you its fantastic – I urge anyone to try it. The thing is the British weather can quickly turn a potentially great Microadventure into a miserable night in a wet plastic bag.
I wanted a microcamp to capture the spontaneity and sense of adventure that comes with a microadventure but with the extra comfort and security that comes with “proper” camping. The four essential tips below are the key to getting it right.
1. Take only the bare essentials.
Camping trips with kids can end up with you packing everything but the kitchen sink. FIGHT THIS URGE!!!
Remember that you’re only going to be out for one night. They don’t need six changes of clothes, they don’t need a week’s worth of food and neither do you. Let them get dirty, let them eat Super Noodle sandwiches for supper with toasted marshamallows. They’ll love you for it.
A tent, a stove, sleeping bags/blankets, food, sweets and drinks and you’re pretty good to go. Take a football or a frisby for some outdoor entertainment.
Check out this post for a list of my own microcamping essentials.
2. Keep your gear Microcamp ready
Procrastination is the biggest microcamp killer, remember spontaneity is key here. Once you have your bare essentials nailed down, don’t use them once and stick them in the back of the garage and forget about them. Keep them somewhere easily accessible so you can just grab everything and sling it all in the car. This enables you to be impulsive but also confident you have everything you need for an awesome night.
3. Keep it local
We’ve all probably spent time at the big lesiure company campsites. You know the ones; static caravan villages, super expensive clubhouse for entertainment and huge shower blocks you have to queue up for.
Take the time and look a bit more locally. You’ll always find an independently run campsite or a small working farm that uses an empty field for campers and walkers. They’ll appreciate the custom and the kids might even get to feed the animals.
Another benefit of staying local is that you can even microcamp on a school night! An early breakfast, a quick trip home to get freshened up and your little ones will be itching to get to school to tell their friends what adventures they’ve been having!
4. Don’t hate on the Technology
This isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but one thing we make sure before we go microcamping is that the dreaded tablet is fully charged.
Mobile devices (for all their faults) can be used in many ways to give your child a better understanding of the great outdoors. For example, the Geocaching app is a great download (a bit like global hide and seek). It is certain to keep them engaged for hours whatever their age. Use the on board camera to identify plants and animals for later review or let them make their own outdoors videos to upload to YouTube. Similarly,a list of great outdoorsy apps check can be found here.
Then at the end of the day, once you’ve watched the sun set, snuggling into a sleeping bag with a belly full of toasted marshmallows to watch a downloaded movie is the perfect way to end the day.
Keep it simple, keep it impromptu, keep it fun but more importantly, enjoy YOURSELF.