Illustrations by Kailah Ogawa
"A microadventure is an adventure that is short, simple, local, cheap,” says British author and adventurer Alastair Humphreys, who coined the term back in 2015. The appeal, he adds, “is that they make adventure accessible to people who may have very little outdoor experience.”
It’s been more than a year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, forcing millions of people across the globe into perpetual lockdown. And while vaccines and falling infection rates provide a glimpse of light at the end of this tunnel, it will be a while still before everyday citizens are planning cross-continent escapades in the name of adventure.
The remedy, then, to a long year indoors, is to heed Humphreys’s advice and seek out your thrills a little closer to home: Walk every street in your neighborhood. Forage your own dinner. Bike 100 miles. Paddle the length of a local river. Or drive somewhere no car has been before.
Sound fun? We think so. Here’s everything you need to get out there.
You probably bought a bike this past year. Or at least a Peloton. Who didn’t? Put those chiseled calves to the test by completing what cyclists endearingly refer to as a “century” — biking 100 miles in one go. Don’t worry, bathroom breaks are allowed.
These shorts feature a mesh pocket on each leg — perfect for securing a phone or loose energy gels — as well a size-specific chamois pad to keep your bum from burning after the first few miles. If you prefer shoulder straps, Rapha also offers a traditional bib format.
Not to be taken lightly, Sport Superfuel is for long and grueling workouts. Each serving carries 400 calories of easy-to-digest energy by way of a key ingredient: Cluster Dextrin, which consists of 60 to 70 glucose units that break apart slowly during digestion. In other words, it's ideal for multi-hour hauls.
Not all saddlebags are created equal. This one, from San Francisco brand Outer Shell, uses a rolltop closure, meaning you can make it as big as it needs to be to hold extra layers, a repair kit or whatever else may come in handy down the road (pro tip: pack more snacks).
Don't forget to lube up. This organic, nongreasy formula calls upon shea butter, vitamins A and E, aloe vera and coconut oil for instant relief on sensitive areas. It washes out easily and won't damage or discolor technical apparel.
Not just another bike computer, this stalwart offers “Back on Track” rerouting, a colored screen that makes for quick and easy navigation and an ambient light sensor that activates a backlight when needed. Don't worry about it dying on you, either. Its 17-hour battery life is sure to get you to where you’re going.
If you're thirsty enough, any bottle will do. But why suffer through gulps of warm sugar water? This lightweight, insulated bottle can keep beverages cold hours after they're poured. It comes in two sizes — 20 and 24 ounces — to help you stay hydrated.
Few endeavors are as satisfying as seeking out edibles in the wild, let alone filling a whole plate with them. But even if your first few hauls are lackluster, the hikes alone are reason enough to get out and try. Just be careful about which mushrooms you pick.
An absolute must-have for fungi foragers. A curved three-inch blade helps cut even the most delicate of morels, while a boar’s-hair brush delicately wipes away dust and debris without damaging the goods.
Barebones turned to vintage orchard bags for inspiration when designing this rugged waxed-canvas carryall. A convertible strap allows for chest- or back-carrying, and a clever drop-out bottom makes quick work of unloading your harvest.
Good gloves shield your digits from prickly thorns and the like. And few pairs can outshine those from Filson. These are made with fine-grain goatskin and feature an elastic wrist, guaranteeing a better fit — and better protection.
Made for fish in the six- to 18-inch range, this supple 12-foot rod can take on even the most finicky of trout. It's light, playful and responsive, doing everything you want it to — and then some. An extra $30 will net you a furled line, spool and three hand-tied flies to go with it.
Highly durable and made for a lifetime of use, this five-piece cooking system includes a grill net and adjustable-height bridge, which pack down into an accompanying carrying case. But you'll have to find your own wood.
Simple, elegant and hard as, well, steel, these deep-seated plates can take a beating. And don't worry about a few chips here or there — they call that patina, even in the backcountry.
Word of warning: overlanding is a lifestyle, and once you start, it can be hard to stop, even if you do find yourself stuck in some mud. But you’ll need more than a good off-road SUV to really do it right — and get out of that mud pit.
Dig yourself out of sticky situations with this compact folding shovel made from powder-coated carbon steel. It features a serrated-blade edge to take on all types of difficult terrain.
Our pick for the best rooftop tent is true to its name, minimizing drag and its impact on fuel efficiency — especially when packed. So you can leave it on even when you’re not off to the woods. It sleeps two to three people.
Magellan has been making GPS systems for three decades, but the TRX7 is its first attempt at hardcore 4×4 navigation— and they nailed it. The unit comes preloaded with more than 44,000 off-road trails from National Parks to public lands — and should you choose to go off off-road, it lets you record your own data too.
Want to increase your range? Bring more fuel. Rigorously tested, this modern take on a classic jerry can holds more than five gallons of extra gas — which is never a bad thing to have in your reserves.
Traveling off-road without a winch isn't impossible, but it's not far off, either, as the tool remains the most efficient means to overcome common obstacles. This one is a mainstay in overlanding communities, top-rated for its simplicity and value.
Could you use your car's floor mats to get unstuck from the mud, sand or snow? Sure, but these compact recovery boards do a far better job — and they're easier to clean.
Sound impossible? You just haven’t tried stand-up paddle boarding, a growing sport that may soon feature in the Olympics. But even if you’re not chasing athletic glory, SUPing is a great workout — not to mention a novel way to explore nearby lakes or rivers.
A fun, convenient and affordable option for first-time paddle boarders, the inflatable Breeze Aero comes in two sizes, with the bigger of the two capable of supporting up to 315 pounds. It comes with a hand pump, repair kit, three-piece adjustable paddle and aero bag for easy storage.
This sleek PFD (personal flotation device) isn't your average life vest. It's low-profile, so it won't get in your way in the water, while mesh fabric on the shoulder straps and inner panels keeps things nice and breezy during extended wear.
These are Kelly Slater's signature swim trunks. Constructed from recycled plastic bottles, the fabric is lightweight, durable and fast-drying. These trunks also look right at home in, out of and above the water.
This mineral sunscreen doesn't rely on chemicals to save your skin. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide combine for a powerful, reef-friendly option that's safe for all skin types — and free of parabens, dyes or synthetic fragrances.
Keep your phone, keys and other accessories organized — and dry — with this new bag from Hydro Flask. The best feature: a touch screen window that still lets you check your messages or map.
Who says adventures have to happen in the wild? Cities are full of opportunities for discovery. Block off half a day and head for a curious landmark, shop or just some random pin on the map. You never know what you might unearth along the way.
Danner's signature hiking "shoe" can tackle trails and sidewalks in equal measure. It’s lightweight and comes in plenty of colors — including an understated black-and-gray colorway — but doesn't skimp on support. An external heel counter keeps feet in place, while grippy multidirectional lugs keep you on them.
You'd be wise to bring a little extra juice, especially if you plan to use a navigation app like Google Maps. This power pack provides up to 13 hours of additional life, while an integrated charging cable means one less thing to pack.
Cutting-edge tech in a timeless package — that's the X100V. Inside the polished aluminum body are a state-of-the-art 26.1 megapixel sensor and a powerful quad-core processor that boosts autofocus performance. The exceptional 23mm F2.0 lens is just the cherry on top.
Patagonia's Black Hole series is legendary. Made with 100 percent recycled fabric, lining and webbing, this simple, top-loading rucksack is comfortable and durable, and it packs into itself when you're at home planning for your next little adventure.
One of the best water bottles you can buy, straight up. It's lightweight and hard-wearing, and the unique mouthpiece allows for a smooth, steady stream when drinking. Fill it up with hot coffee, cold water or whatever best fuels your concrete trek.