A parallax image

Our Autumn Microadventure Kit List

Posted by Gav Grayston.
First Published Oct 2014; updated May 2023.

Here's our microadventure kit list. We list the things we took, what worked well, and what worked less well. Check list for your micro-adventure planning.

My little lad and I recently completed a micro-adventure by sleeping out on a hill in Wales in mid-October. If you've not read about our microadventure yet then click here.

Someone commented that we must have had amazing sleeping bags. We did not. We just used what we already had.

So here's some of the kit we took.  This is not the best kit you can take, but it's what we made work, along with what didn't work too well.

Hopefully, it will give you some ideas for your own microadventure.

Sleeping Bags

Vango Wilderness 250 - Packed

Our sleeping bags were Vango Wilderness 2 season bags.

It was a clear night, so the temperature dropped to just above freezing, beyond what is comfortable in these bags. However, we weren't relying on just the sleeping bags to keep warm and made sure we layered our clothes well.

The good thing about these bags was that their exterior was slightly water-resistant. When everything got damp during the cold night, the outside of the bags was damp, but the inside stayed dry. This made these bags ideal.

The other thing you need to think about is carrying your gear. I had to carry two sleeping bags. These Vango Wilderness bags packed down small enough, and there was no way I could take our 3 or 4 season sleeping bags that are much bigger.

Sleeping Mats

HI Gear ultralite lightweight sleeping mat rolled up

Our sleeping mats were Hi Gear Ultralight Self-Inflating Mats.

These pack down small and a good choice when taking two sleeping bags and two sleeping mats in one backpack. Our best SIM is not designed for backpacking; so it stayed at home.

The comfort the SIMs provide isn't important: the insulation from the cold ground is important, as the ground can sap the heat out of you.

These SIMs are relatively inexpensive and don't have the high insulation properties of more expensive SIMs.

A problem we encountered was that our 'shiny' water-resistant sleeping bags would slide down these mats on the slight slope we were sleeping on (it's hard to find a hill in Wales with flat bits). Ultimately, most of our bodies were off the SIMs to avoid sliding, negating their insulating use.

On the Ground

Easy Camp Picnic Rug

Now here's something you may not have expected: a picnic rug!

We have an Easy Camp Insulated Picnic Rug and have been very impressed at how well it insulates from the ground. Considering how using the SIMs was a failure, this picnic rug probably saved us from getting extremely cold.

Underneath the picnic rug, I had a plastic tarp to use as groundsheet as I knew it was wet and muddy.

I also took a wool travel blanket wrapped around my lad's sleeping bag. As well as helping to keep him warm, it had the added benefit of making it easier to lift him after he slid down the slope!


High Peak Tarp 2

The weather forecast was for a clear night - but you can never rely on forecasts completely, especially when up a hill, and especially in Wales 😉

For this, I grabbed our High Peak Tarp that we've been using for camping this year.

This is a massive 4m x 4m that we have been using as the shelter for our family camping kitchen. I needed a shelter big enough to cover us and our bags, but this was way larger than we needed. However, it is lightweight and folded down smaller than the plastic tarp we used as a ground sheet.

Our evening camp and shelter for the night

Our evening camp and shelter for the night

I didn't take tarp poles. Instead, we had some trekking walking poles. Simply extend the walking poles to the full height, and secure the tarp.

The shelter won't be high enough to stand in, but you can sit and get in and out of your sleeping bag OK....or so I thought.

Water collected on the tarp as the night got damper, which became heavier and lower. Condensation was on both sides of the shelter, and I would soon have a wet head!

Our little lad also wanted to bring the tarp from the Bear Grylls Dangerous Den set. This was hung over the front of our shelter to make a door that could be closed at night.

Other bits and pieces

First brew of the day

First brew of the day

The Trangia with the Bio Ethanol fuel gel worked well and lit with no problems when it was cold.

The mess tins with the hexi stove were nostalgic fun for me, and my little lad liked cooking on it. As usual, though, they're only really good for warming food.

For water, we carried it in water carriers/bottles. For one night, there was no need to bother with water sterilisation.

Plastic bags/bin bags. Can't do without them. Leave no trace. All our rubbish, and even the washing up, came out in a plastic bin bag (which you can see at the end of the video).

It's Simple

As you can see, we didn't need to take a lot of fancy gear to do this micro-adventure.

Suppose you are doing it in the colder months. In that case, you will need to layer your clothes, and a good base layer is essential.

Hopefully, this has helped you plan your own little micro-adventure.

Our Kit List

Here's my little checklist I made of items to take. Use it as a basis to build your list for your own micro-adventure.

  • Tarps x2 (One for ground, one for roof. Could use one big one for roof and ground.)
  • Insulated Picnic Rug
  • SIMs
  • Sleeping Bags
  • A few tent pegs
  • Tarp clips (didn't need them though)
  • Bungees
  • Head torches
  • Glow sticks (for our little lad)
  • Plastic Bags
  • Trangia, fuel, matches
  • Spork / Cutlery
  • Mess Tins and Cups
  • Hand gel and wipes
  • First aid kit

There are more items you could add to the list, such as a folding shovel and a folding saw. However, you don't need too much gear for one night's adventure.

You can find more ideas on a micro-adventure kit list on Alastair Humphreys website.