Unique Adventures: Making time in nature your own

Unique Adventures: Making time in nature your own - Apricoat Brandedcontent Graphic F

Adventure can – and does – mean different things to all of us. But, it’s all too easy to let preconceptions and stereotypes shape our view of adventure. Our time in the outdoors should be our own and, if we can step away from our expectation of what the outdoors should be, then perhaps we can find something we truly love. We’ve partnered with Apricoat, a relatively new clothing brand with some impressive environmental credentials to explore how we can make our outdoor experiences unique.

Unique Adventures: Making time in nature your own - Fayandmatt Bgraphic

Nature means different things to each of us, and we each have our own motives and take away something different from the time we spend outdoors. Unfortunately, far too many people allow their time in nature to be shaped by other people’s ideas – whether that’s via social media or simply through preconceptions. There’s a pervasive achievement culture that can often be seen in the outdoors and, for many people, time spent in nature becomes all about trying to achieve a goal and not about the pure love of nature, solitude and the joy of discovery. However, the spectrum of experiences and types of adventure available to us is enormous and, if we are willing to try something different, might find something new and more rewarding than we expected. This attitude of individual adventure has the ability to stop us comparing ourselves to others so much and allows us to be freed from the idea of what an adventure needs to look like.

So, how can we connect with our individual sense of enjoyment in the outdoors? Read on for our tips on how to get the most out of your precious time outdoors and how to ensure that this time is your own.


About our partners for this initiative: Apricoat, a relative newcomer to the outdoor clothing scene, launched their first product off the back of a successful crowdfunding campaign in 2017 and have grown to offer a comprehensive range of outdoor garments including coats, trousers, base and thermal layers. Apricoat is proudly run by outdoors enthusiasts and their products are developed by taking feedback from their community of users into account. We think this is clear the moment you try their products on. The design is thoughtful and practical: there are pockets in all the right places, which are usefully deep and sealable so there’s no risk of the contents accidentally falling out. Apricoat have also put thought into how the garments fit when these pockets are full and none of them ever seem to get in the way – there are no zippers or uncomfortable seams digging into you as you actively wear the garments. As an example, the Adventure 2.0 jacket which we’ve tested for this iniative features sixteen well-placed pockets including a dedicated pouch in the back for a hydration bladder – you could very possibly wear this out for a day without needing to take a backpack! The outfits we had – which featured the Adventure 2.0 jackets and pants along with thermal t-shirts were plenty warm enough for a chilly British day and we have no doubt that with a few more layers they will serve us well on deep winter Alpine trips. The manufacturing quality on the garments looks great too and we have no doubts that we’ll be using our Apricoat gear for many years to come.

Explore at your own pace

If you can free yourself from the notion that adventures, hikes, trails (or whatever your thing is) always has to be a ‘race to the finish’, you’ll find you’re more flexible with your route. You may even find you have more opportunity to explore something you’d otherwise pass on the way or simply stop for a while to take in the view.

Outdoors people will often describe themselves as ‘explorers’ and this is a great opportunity to truly adopt the explorer’s spirit. It doesn’t need to be about being the first person to see or climb something, but simply about letting your curiosity guide you. It could be a case of plotting a variant on the same route you always take or simply deciding to head to some place you’ve never visited before. These diversions aren’t always a success, but it’s also true to say that many of our most treasured memories from the trail have come from times when we’ve decided to rework our plan or step away from the main trail to investigate something we’ve seen.

Be prepared

Time outdoors should be fun, but at worst, it can become dangerous if you don’t plan correctly. So, know your route, bring a map that will work offline (or a paper one) and know how to read it too. Bring food and water and make sure you’re wearing appropriate clothing that fits within your budget range.

We’ve been wearing Apricoat’s Adventure 2.0 Coats and Adventure Pants along with their Quick Dry shirts underneath. These are great pieces of technical clothing with a good level of water resistance. The design has clearly been well thought out by people who love the outdoors (we especially love the provision for a hydration bladder in the back of the coats) and the manufacturing quality seems spot-on too.

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Don’t forget the journey is as important as the destination

It’s all too easy to get fixated on a single objective – whether that’s a summit or hiking a certain distance in a particular. There’s nothing wrong with these kinds of goals and setting personal targets can be a great thing to do both in terms of motivation or charting your progress if you’re attempting to build your fitness level.

However, fixation on the end point can turn into a form of tunnel vision and it becomes all too easy to only see the goal and to ignore everything else that happens along the way. Let’s think about a hiker who has ambitions to get into high altitude mountaineering – they might become so fixated with setting foot on the top of an 8000m mountain that they forget about all the incredible things they’ve seen and done in order to get there. Years of training and building friendships as well as seeing and doing wonderful things can get pushed aside in the pursuit of that one summit. It seems a shame, but it’s an attitude we’ve encountered many times!

Personal goals and fitness targets are great – we’re sure most of us wish we could achieve more – but remember, we’re not all competitive athletes and the pursuit of personal bests should not take over everything else. If you can release this, then the scope for your experience suddenly becomes a whole lot bigger and more immersive and with that comes so much more potential.

Love the outdoors

One of the reasons many of us surely choose to spend time outdoors is to experience the splendour of nature – and it can be absolutely stunning. Big vistas and epic views in new places are one thing, but there’s also something magical in watching a familiar place – even somewhere like a local park that might seem otherwise mundane – change through the seasons. But we think that loving nature is about more than just enjoying it – it should be about enjoying it responsibly. Often the most outwardly wild environments are the most vulnerable to damage and we can do our part to help protect the spaces we love by making informed decisions about how we enjoy them.

It goes without saying that we should all abide by the principles of Leave No Trace when outdoors, but beyond this we should consider the impact of over-tourism on destinations and consider visiting alternative places off the beaten track or travelling off-season to reduce stress on infrastructure and resources. ‘Bucket Lists’ have come to dominate the way many of us plan our travels. However they are also responsible for many popular destinations becoming over-run. Stepping away form bucket lists is a great way to have a more tailored and personal experience of a place. We’ve personally experienced fantastic hikes where we’ve encountered only a handful of other hikers on the trails whilst we could clearly see lines of hikers waiting to summit the ‘Honey Pot’ summit across the valley. We know which experience we’d prefer!

We can also use our power as consumers to buy from brands with genuinely good environmental credentials and in doing so bring about a change in corporate attitudes to the environment. At a time when many companies are greenwashing us about the true environmental impact of their products, Apricoat produce all their clothing form 100% recycled material (they use polyester fabric derived from plastic bottles – saying that around 300 bottles are recycled for each coat). The material isn’t just good for the environment but also offers technical advantages – their synthetic down claims to have superior drying properties relative to duck or goose down, for instance. Beyond the use of recycled material, Apricoat ensure their manufacturers employ certified fair work practices in their factories and they also partner with environmental initiatives such as tree planting, ocean cleaning and Rhino conservation.