What makes a good trip when in the great outdoors?

I have been reading other people’s blogs and musing recently about what drives us to go into the great outdoors and what constitutes a good trip?

Is it the planning of the trip and the working out of gear lists that floats your boat, or is it the “getting away from it all” or perhaps the physical exercise and activity? Then there is the seeing of new places or conversely revisiting an “old friend”. Being on your own or going out with a group of friends? Everyone is different but I am interested as to what makes us go out, what makes up the majority of the enjoyment for us and also what might spoil that.

Personally, its a mixture. I am, sadly, one of those people who likes to pour over maps and visualise and plan a route to a high level of detail rather than just bimbling along with no real route in mind. Following on from this I do like making kit lists as well, based on weather forecasts and the time of the year. I will quite often pack and then repack several times according to the latest weather forecast in a very OCD way… I would like to think that I like being organised but in reality I am just probably anal. Other big drivers for me include being on my own and setting my own agenda. Maybe this is appealing purely for the fact that I have a regimented life (as do most people) and need to generate some chaos and unpredictability even if it is organised!

My sense of well being from being outside is also partly because of the beauty and starkness of the surroundings. Although I like summer days and nights out in the wilds there is also something primitive and satisfying about being out in a howling gale. Without realising it I sometimes find myself grinning insanely into the teeth of a bad storm. Dont get me wrong I dont like being wet and cold but sometimes a weather pounding is good for the soul. Another aspect for me is the self sufficiency that comes with being out in the wilds for any length of time. Sitting under your shelter, looking out towards a great view (and hopefully memorable sunrise/sunset) whilst cooking and eating your food is one of life’s greatest little pleasures.

I am not a summit bagger but can understand why people go for that. Neither am I a thrill seeker looking for challenging scrambles and climbs. I dont go for the biggest distances I possibly can although some days a good walking “workout” can be cathartic especially on wind-down from a hard week in work. I guess in summary for me its the opportunity to get away from my day to day stresses and reconnect with the outdoors, to wander and contemplate my existence and to smile upon all that I encounter. Its a lot of things and even bad experiences can be ultimately rewarding by keeping an open mind and open heart to what is on offer.

What about you?

About Saddlebags and Backpacks - a brewer's outdoor adventures

I am a keen hiker, camper, cyclist and general all round gear addict..... I also manage to be a professional brewer in my non-spare time :->
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6 Responses to What makes a good trip when in the great outdoors?

  1. Overall, aside from the fact its away from day to day life and chores, its just being outside. I don’t particularly care where I am or who I’m with, I just like being outside and sleeping outside in particular. There’s just something about it.

    I do like to have at least a rough plan of my route and I do enjoy researching and buying new gear, but when all is said and done these things are just a happy consequence of the fact that I like to camp in high, lonely places.

    I like having to adapt to the weather and I like the feeling that I am exercising and working hard. Cooking in the tent is also a favourite with me, especially when its blowing a gale outside!

    I’ve only managed to go solo three times since I first began wild camping but I have to say that this is where I tend to thrive. I began to see things in me that I don’t get to see when I’m around friends and family. Particularly that I do (unlike some) enljoy my own company. I often start out with my head full of details, like the route, the weather, that long climb, where to pitch etc… but this soon becomes just part of the flow and second nature after a few hours of being out. My latest scotland trip has definately informed my judgement and given me more confidence in deviating off plan!

    My biggest problem is that I don’t get out enough and there isn’t much I don’t like about it and I guess that’s why its become almost like an obsession!

  2. backpackbrewer says:

    I couldnt agree more! The less I go out and about the more the “obsession” grows. Sometimes planning and buying kit etc in anticipation of the next trip (even if not nailed down) partly satisfies the gap felt when not walking and camping.
    I do need to get out and about more though. There is only so much planning and kit buying to be done! 😉

  3. john hee says:

    It used to be the planning stage when my fun kicked in

    But these days that tends to go by the board so I can cut to the chase

    Peace & quiet (Solo) with all my selfish choices to follow from dawn to dusk

    To be frank its probably the complete change from my hectic lifestyle that means the ‘just go and do it’ is such a joy

    • backpackbrewer says:

      I know where you are coming from there John. i have just changed jobs and my life that was hectic before is now hectic and uber stressful! I need to get out there real soon otherwise I think I will in fact go mad


  4. backpackingbongos says:

    For me it is being out there with my pack on my back and heading into the hills. I do spend alot of time looking over maps and planning my route and I always try and get in a new peak (yes I am a summit bagger!). I do hate the packing bit though as I find it a chore, just select my gear the night before, put on the bed, look at it then stuff in my rucksack. I do like buying gear though!

    • backpackbrewer says:

      are you sure we werent separated at birth! 🙂

      Spooky how closely my backpacking outlook resembles yours! I even sometimes take 3 rucksacks and loads of kit then stuff it in one of them when I get to my destination!

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