The secret to affordable adventure

Affordable adventurous living

I have embraced this lifestyle for many years and would like to encourage and inspire you to do similar. It’s hugely fulfilling and available at some level to most of us. It doesn’t need to be grand or expensive. Tiny adventures are good, and in some ways, better than big expensive ones.
I still camp in the garden!

What is an adventure?

Anything that gets you out of your normal world and exploring is an adventure. It could be walking down a street you haven’t used before. Or walking the entire coastline of Britain.

Close to home is great, but it’s nice to get away and adventure further afield too. I love the hills, but live in Suffolk. Therefore, I head for the hills when I get a chance. It can be for simple day walks or maybe camping on a hill. That’s a real adventure treat for me.

Wild camping can be a huge adventure that may take you out of your comfort zone a little. Whilst it is not legal in most of England, it is legal in Scotland. It is also “tolerated” in many parts of the UK. Stealth camping is another option as it is not a criminal offence to wild camp. The worst-case scenario is that you get asked to leave.

It’s your adventure – you choose.

The adventurer

The true adventurer is the one who is out there exploring. It’s not the guy in the office at six thirty earning the money to buy fancy kit. That’s a simplification, but you get the picture. It is better to be out there.

Decide what is an adventure to you and do it.

Affording adventure

It is much better to spend money on a trip, than to fill a bag with expensive gear. To make it affordable, adventure could mean buying nothing if you don’t have the cash.

Schedule the time, get the kit you need and go. Adjust the kit according to your budget. Choose a cheaper option if needed, but go on an adventure. There’s loads that can be done without money. That’s the beauty of being a British adventurer.

If you don’t want to win, be the fastest, or go the highest, you can save a fortune on kit. The money saved will pay for a lot more adventures.

What gear do you need?

Quality gear is the best value in the long term, but if you can’t afford it, there are cheaper ways. The downside of cheaper is weight and quality. My advice is to buy quality gear if you can afford it. It costs less in the long run and does a better.

There are lots of articles on this site which will help you choose what’s best for you.

Cheap and quality?

There’s lots of cheap, good quality army surplus gear available. For example; army sleeping bags are heavy but bullet-proof. Well, not literally, but they are soldier proof. The extra weight of an army sleeping bag is not an issue if you are only walking a few miles. I still use mine for wild camping close to the car. It’s ideal. It doesn’t matter if it gets wet and muddy. I also use my army tarp and bivvy bag where weight is not an issue.

The enemies of the adventurer

There are enemies and obstacles to adventure, which I’ll point out, so you can avoid them. I know these enemies well and have fallen foul of them. I’ve learned my lessons, but still get caught sometimes.

#1 Dreaming too big

We hide behind ideas of grand adventures. In reality, the best adventures are the ones you actually go on. A walk in the woods is an adventure. Watching a YouTube video of someone camping in the woods is not.

Dreaming of grand adventure, when you could be doing something smaller, is a trap. It’s better to be doing something rather than nothing.

#2 The time trap

Not having time is a common complaint. There are too many things competing for our time. Netflix, social media, work, family, researching gear on YouTube, to name a few. Is it true that we don’t have enough time? No. What we mean is that we don’t schedule the time. It’s an accepted fact that you can’t create time. So the solution is to schedule the time.

It can be simple. A picnic lunch with a sandwich, or up the game a little and take a stove. It could be dinner or breakfast. I’ve been known to fry up breakfast on the beach before work. All that takes is a decision to not check email, news, or social media when I get up. The time saved creates an adventure slot. Social media and email are a drain on adventure time.

I often go out to dinner – meaning a trip to cook in the outdoors. It takes little more time than staying in and is so worth it.

I regularly camp out in the woods. I arrive before dinner and get back for work the next day. A few bits of simple gear in a rucksack, a short drive, and I’m on an overnight adventure. You should try it, it’s an amazing mid-week treat.

#3 The gear traps

There’s a whole industry trying to convince you that you need more stuff. This can trap you into thinking you can’t go on an adventure until you have it all. It’s not true.

A few things you don’t need:

  • Mountaineering gear to walk up Snowdon. You certainly don’t need it for a walk in the woods.
  • A £600 4 season tent to go camping in the British summer. Buy a lightweight £160 tent and go camping. I use my £160 tent all year round.
  • 4 season mountain boots unless you will use crampons. Save the money and weight by buying appropriate boots.
  • The best and most expensive kit if you are not aiming to go fast and light.

Some things that don’t matter:

  • Big brand names on your gear.
  • What you look like.
  • What others think of you.

To be honest, I’d rather blend in with the locals than stand out in over-the-top gear. You may be different, but please don’t let it stop you from getting out and having fun.

#4 The research trap

The internet is great for research. It’s too good. It becomes the activity. I’ve fallen into this trap too many times and I still do. I call this research paralysis and it’s another enemy of the adventurer. You could spend this time on an adventure. Don’t overdo the research.

I’ve spent weeks researching kit. It’s fun and engaging, but I have been held to ransom by research. Should I get this stove or that stove? All the time I was deciding, I could have been out cooking up lunch with any of them. This is the research trap, and it is crippling. If you need a piece of kit, and have the money, I urge you to make the choice. And go on your adventure.

#5 The weight trap

The weight trap is easy to fall in to. We think everything has to be as light as possible. For most of us, that’s not true. If you read magazines and watch YouTube videos, it is easy to believe that unless your gear is ultralight, you might as well stay at home.

If you want to go long distances fast, or want to win things, then weight is critical. You need to spend the money on light gear. If that’s not you, you can save a fortune.

If you can afford lightweight gear, that’s great, but don’t let it keep you at work earning the money for it. It’s better to have heavier gear and go less distance slower, than stay at home with no kit.

Ultralight gear that costs a fortune often wears out quicker than heavier gear.

Moderate weight is a good balance. If you don’t want to win a race or run ultra-marathons, keep the gramme counting in check. Keep it appropriate to what you actually want to do.

#6 Gear paralysis

Gear paralysis is a problem “I can’t go on an adventure because I don’t have all the gear I need yet.” This is based on a perfectionism that says; only the best kit will do. It’s a fallacy. In most situations, any kit will do. The solution is to go on an adventure you have the kit for. Or, if you can afford it, get the kit and go.

#7 Choice paralysis

Choice paralysis sets in when we have narrowed it down to a couple of items and need to choose the best option. One review says this and another points out a benefit of something else. The choice is hard. The answer is to choose and go.

I can help with gear choices but my biggest advice is don’t get bogged down by choice.

The secret

The secret is simple – don’t get caught in the traps and paralysers of gear, time, and research. Follow these tips and go on an adventure – soon.

  • Have a can-do attitude – get what you need, and go.
  • Live a lifestyle that allows time to adventure by scheduling it.
  • Don’t let gear get in the way of adventure.
  • Learn basic navigation and gain the confidence to not get lost.
  • Find something that inspires you and do it
  • Start small and work up if you are a beginner.

Hopefully, this article has helped you.

Please comment below if you have anything to ask. Or to tell me something that could add value to the article.

What’s your experience of affordable adventure?

Leave a Comment