For those families who would like to try out a microadventure but aren’t sure how or what or where to start, or for families who just want a little push to get them outdoors more I’ve compiled a short list of books that offer both inspiration and advice on the practicalities of cooking and eating out of doors. Get in touch if you’ve any suggestions of inspiring books that I’ve missed!
1. Camping and Walking by David Watkins and Meike Dalal
First published in 1979, I had to put this book first on the list as it was THE book that inspired me when I was younger. I spent many hours pouring over the pages dreaming of the day when I could go off camping alone. After I started taking my son on microadventures I sought out this book online to give to him and although he can’t read it yet, he too loves to look through it’s pages.
2. Microadventures by Alastair Humphreys
This was the book that inspired me as an adult to try a microadventure. I had this book for a year and read it several times before I psyched myself up to take the family on our first microadventure last summer. Although not specifically aimed at families, it’s packed full of good ideas for adventures with minimal time and cost outlay and most of Alastair’s ideas can be adapted to family situations. There’s also a great section on microadventure practicalities including how to find a wild bivvy spot and what essential kit you need when starting out.
3. 100 Family Adventures by Tim, Kerry, Amy and Ella Meek
I love this family who are so enthusiastic about spending time in the outdoors together and their book provides inspiration for all sorts of family adventures. After reading it, it really gave me the confidence to think ‘I can do it!’ Some of their ideas are expensive and require some prior knowledge and expertise or to go with an organised group like sea kayaking and skiing trips buts there are plenty of ideas for lost cost microadventures too. Some of my favourites are the ‘midweek eat outs’ and the snow and scooter safaris. There’s also information about different ways to sleep outside.
4. Swallows and Amazons and Winter Holiday by Arthur Ransome
The quintessential kids adventure story. I never read it as a child and didn’t realise that Swallows and Amazons was just the first of a whole series of books following their adventures. Winter Holiday is an great story and inspiration for a winter microadventure.
5. The Scottish Bothy Bible by Geoff Allan
This guide hadn’t been published when Finn and I undertook our 5 Bothies in 5 Weeks with a 5 Year Old adventure but we’ve been using it to plan some bothy trips this year. There is an element of fun in finding a bothy for yourself and this was the prevailing attitude for a long time when bothy locations were a well kept secret. If planning for a family bothy trip, however, this is invaluable because of the good advice on how far the walk is, how big the bothy is and how busy the bothy generally is (i.e. the bothies to avoid with your little ones!)
6. Wild Guides by various authors
I really like the format of the Wild Guides and their beautiful and inspirational photography and although they’re not specifically aimed at families, most list family friendly options or just general inspiration to plan your own family microadventure. Choose from titles such as Wild Swimming, Wild Ruins and area guides such as Wild Guide Lakes and Dales.
7. Cool Camping Guides by various authors
Good if you’re not quite ready for a wild camping adventure, we’ve used the Cool Camping guides to direct us to a number of campsites, one in Wales which we love so much we’ve camped there for 4 years in a row. There is a Cool Camping Kids edition specifically listing family friendly sites which include both basic camping and glamping options and ideas for campsite games and recipes.
8. Books by Jo Schofield and Fiona Danks including The Den Book, The Wild Weather Book and Go Wild!: 101 Things To Do Before You Grow Up
Lots of child and family friendly ideas of activities and things to do on a microadventure. They are all well written and packed full of fun, simple ideas and I highly recommend them!