an overnight outdoor adventure that is “small and achievable, for normal people with real lives”
Coined by Alistair Humphreys, the term ‘microadventure’ is the perfect way to describe an impromptu night under the stars close to home. With busy lives and mounting work commitments, it’s hard for a lot of weekend warriors to find the time to get out into the hills and escape. This is where the mid-week microadventure comes in. Where the 5-9 explorer can pinch back a bit of free time, sleep under the stars and still be in work by 9 am the next day.
Wanaka, New Zealand, is the perfect setting for such micro adventures. With so many wide open spaces close to town, you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere in the world with so much potential. But like a lot of people, I’ve been struggling to find the time to get out and spend time in the mountains.
So, one Wednesday afternoon Em and I decided to pack our bikes up and head out to the much quieter, often overlooked Lake Hawea. We pored over the map the night before to find somewhere suitable: the idea was to ride out, set up camp and ride back to the car before work the next day. After throwing a couple of potential options around, we decided on checking out the Dingleburn Track on the Eastern shore of the lake. We hadn’t been there before and from some quick Google Earth-ing, it looked like a good option.
From the car, we peddled along a gorgeous gravel road with the lake to our left. Snowcapped peaks in the distance bathed in warm afternoon sun and the wind whistled gently through the emerging lupins. After only an hour of riding we stumbled upon a sheltered little beach with a flat area just big enough to pitch our home for the night.
I pitched the tent while Em prepared dinner, both of us working in perfect harmony, knowing our roles and getting camp set up in a matter of minutes. Before long we were both sat in our sleeping bags on the beach watching the sky change from pink to blue, and then a deep black, punctuated only by the faintest stars through the thin layer of cloud which had blown in from the West.
We rose with the sun the following morning, just as we had retired with it the night before. A quick coffee and muesli bar from the tent and then it was time to pack everything back into my Thule 15l pack and ride the short stretch back along the lake to our waiting car.
Even though the thought of going to work put a slight downer on the morning, we were both content. Not only had we witnessed the best of the day from a deserted beach on the lake, but we had also spent the night under the stars together and managed to make it to work, albeit a little late.
It goes to show that making a little bit of effort, no matter where you go or how small your adventure is, it’s always worth it.
About the Thule Stir 15l
For this short overnighter, I took the Thule Stir 15l pack. It’s small, lightweight and along with my handlebar roll, fit everything I needed. The waist and chest ensure that the bag is comfortable and stays just where you want it. Inside the bag, you’ll find a small interior pocket for bits and bobs and the drawstring opening clasp makes getting into the bag really easy. No buckles or straps to fiddle with, just pull and cinch. On the outside, there is a loop to clip extra gear too and a clip for your hydration pack if you choose to carry one.
Overall, for short days out or lightweight overnight trips, the Thule Stir 15l is great. We’ve been using it for the last few months on day hikes, bike rides and even occasionally running.
Find out more info on this pack here.