Everyday adventures for all, real outdoor experiences in your own backyard. The outdoor industry is well equipped to respond to this enthusiasm for getting out there. Microadventures are the future of the outdoor market and by no means detract from the particular authenticity and spirit of the outdoor industry. At this year’s OutDoor (18th to 21st June, 2017), this new outdoor trend will be an important issue for many market players. And Alastair Humphreys, England’s best-known microadventurer is giving a keynote address on the first day of the show.
Mountainblog met Alastair last year, at EOS, in Barcellona. We shot a video interview where he describes his life as adventurer and microadventurer:
Microadventures are mini adventures that fit in with everyday life. They are simple and achievable, inexpensive and accessible to everyone. They are not organised events where success is guaranteed, there is no right or wrong. Exploring the unfamiliar on your doorstep is the name of the game. Microadventures generally take place close to home and require neither special equipment, nor extensive preparation. It’s all about being spontaneous, having fun, interacting with different kinds of environments and people and fitting it all in with your everyday life. The only rule is: leave the car at home – because travelling by car blinkers your perspective.
Overnight outdoor adventures, wild camping, even if only for one night, is the inspiration behind it. Antje von Dewitz, Vaude CEO, sees two issues as particularly important: “The trend towards urbanisation is having a knock-on effect: microadventures are attractive to people, as they are easy to combine with busy, modern lives. And more importantly, normal people can enjoy these adventures – there is no element of the extreme or elitism.” As a mountain sports equipment provider with a broad offer, the southern German company is a good starting point for microadventures on foot or by bike, and also provides plenty of inspiration on its YouTube channel.
Jack Wolfskin also recognises that microadventures are perfect for outdoor fans. “Why not hike to the source of a river?” the German outdoor equipper is challenging supporters. It encourages fans to upload their photos with the hashtag #jackwolfskin to its facebook or instagram page to share their experiences with the outdoor community. British brand, Mountain Equipment, organises a WildNight event where it encouraged enthusiasts to, “Pack your bivouac gear and spend the night outdoors. No tents, just you and the stars. Have your own WildNight microadventure, wherever and whenever you want to.” Country Manager Germany, Tom Strobel explains, “Microadventures mean experiencing something extraordinary, they are an enriching experience and a welcome break from everyday life.”
Short, simple adventures, where you don’t need much outdoor equipment? That’s right, say manufacturers. “It doesn’t always have to be about big sales. If users are enjoying themselves, then that’s good for retailers and the industry. Outdoor activities don’t always have to be extreme, but they should help build a strong, positive connection to nature and be genuine experiences,” says Thomas Groeger, Deputy CEO of Scandinavian manufacturer Fjällräven. Microadventures do exactly this – and can also be shared via social networks – inspiring others in the process.
Microadventures are going to be an important issue at this year’s OutDoor show in Friedrichshafen. There are a number of reasons for this. The Outdoor industry is looking for new goals and new target groups, and wants to position itself more broadly. In addition, microadventures are a definite trend. They fit neatly with busy, modern lifestyles, are spontaneous, offer a real change of perspective and don’t need much specialist equipment. As such, they are accessible to all.
Alastair Humphreys, the adventurer credited with inventing the term microadventure will be delivering a keynote speech on day one of the OutDoor show, on Sunday the 18th June. The British explorer is a well-known adventurer. After spending years on grand adventures, including travelling around the world by bike, crossing deserts and icy wastes unsupported and climbing big mountains, he was made “Adventurer of the Year” by the National Geographic Association in 2012 for his microadventures in Great Britain. These small, unusual, local trips began and ended at his doorstep. While others claim that their nine-to-five jobs are the reason why they don’t move enough, Alastair Humphreys takes advantage of the hours before and after work to escape from the daily grind. His microadventures include simply heading off to spend the night out on a nearby hill and then heading straight into work the next morning. His motto: There are so many new things to discover right on your doorstep.
INFO: OutDoor Show