How to enjoy the great outdoors and conquer financial barriers in your way | Personal Finance | Finance


Family hiking outdoors

MoneyMagpie says the great outdoors need not break the bank (Image: Getty)

I love the great outdoors. I live rurally and have a dog and as a journalist this escape and fresh air is hugely necessary for my mental health.

However, much to my shock, research released by outdoor brand Helly Hansen has revealed that almost 3 in 10 (29 percent) of the population have not participated in any outdoor activities in the past year, and one-fifth admit to not participating in outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, trail running, kayaking/canoeing, wild swimming, paddle boarding, scrambling or rock climbing at all.

As a nation, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to nature and open spaces. When questioned on the factors preventing the British public from venturing into the outdoors, the main reasons were lack of knowledge, confidence and safety concerns (38 percent), bad weather (27 percent) and being unable to afford it (21 percent).

Almost half (47 percent) admitted to not knowing the right equipment to use, whilst 45 percent revealed they don’t know where to go and a third (33 percent) don’t know the basic safety precautions – such as preparing for a trip or calling for help.

More than half of Brits (54 percent) said they would like to participate in outdoor activities more often and see the physical (46 percent) and mental health (37 percent) benefits, however, four in 10 acknowledge a lack of transportation is a barrier and 53 percent stated there are financial barriers to participation.

MoneyMagpie’s team like nothing more than getting out in nature. With our founder Jasmine Birtles being a fond forager and myself a strong advocate of outdoor swimming and camping.

I really believe that once we have the essentials then the great outdoors waits with free open arms.

By the end of this article you will have everything you need to get out in nature.

Which Type of Explorer Are You?

Are you craving an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life? Look no further than the great outdoors for a rejuvenating adventure that won’t cost you a penny.

From serene walks in the park to awe-inspiring stargazing sessions, there are countless ways to enjoy free trips out in nature. Soak up the sights, sounds, and sensations of the great outdoors and embrace the wonders of the natural world without breaking the bank.

After all, the best things in life are free! But also, here are some super products to help you on your way and enhance your enjoyment even more:

The City Starter Pack

You’re not so intrepid that you want to climb a mountain, but you’re keen to discover the hidden gems right in your backyard by exploring local parks and nature trails. Lace up your hiking boots or grab your bike and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature without venturing far from home.

From tranquil lakes to towering forests, there’s no shortage of natural wonders to explore. Pack a picnic basket with your favorite snacks and head to a scenic spot for a relaxing outdoor meal.

Whether it’s a sprawling meadow, a shady grove of trees, or a peaceful riverside, dining al fresco surrounded by nature is a simple pleasure that can’t be beaten.

And don’t take public transport if you don’t have to: walk it!

I like my cute little LunchKit mainly because it is incredible! It has lots of smalls sections for freshness and is amazing for eating on the go.

The kit provides food storage options with tight-fitting snap-lock lids that are ideal for travel and, once unpacked, become your plates and bowls. Plus the spoon, fork and knife (aka the spork) the all-in-one ingenious plate to mouth delivery system is a perfect little space saver,replacing the need for extra bits.

When it’s time to go, the kit stacks up and packs up, all held together nicely with the Lunch Kit harness-super easy! Paired with my Thermos Revival – the amazing replica of one of the original Thermos flask designs – I have been using it on dogwalks and sitting on random benches with my bestie.

In my head, I am straight out of the 70s, but let’s face it: you cannot go wrong with Thermos. They are simply the best.

I love my Osprey Arkane Roll Top Waterproof 25 backback. It doubles up for all outdoor pursuits as has an incredible capacity, but is chic enough to also wear in town. Recognised for their durable build and subtle functionality, you can’t find a better pack for urban adventures.

The Waterproof Roll Top 25 features a removable work caddy that fits laptops up to 16” and introduces IPX4 waterproof protection, meaning you can still sop up the miles without your gear sopping up the rain.

Prepare to put some serious pep in your pace in the new Zionic speed hiker from KEEN. KEEN’s fastest and lightest ever hiker, the Zionic represents the ultimate fusion of support and performance, designed from the ground up to deliver second to none comfort, allowing you to break new ground and tackle the most challenging terrain with ease during pacey outdoor adventures.

A playful yet practical little bag that extends the definition of what a Kånken can be, the Fjallraven Kånken Hip Pack from the same durable fabric that has contributed to the longevity of the original backpack, the Kånken Hip Pack lets you carry essential items in compact format.

It has an inside pocket and key clip, ensuring your essentials are organized and secure. The Kånken Hip Pack features two zippered pockets on the outside, providing additional storage for quick access items. Fasten it around your hips, and you’re ready for any adventure that comes your way.

This is so good for dog walking and looks so cute that I keep taking it to the supermarket.

A classic military style boot, Hush Puppies Porter Lace Boots feature a waterproof construction and foam comfort insole so you’ll be set for adventure anytime and whatever the weather.

Waterproof cemented construction, quality leather upper, adjustable lace up fastening, breathable waterproof membrane with seam sealing tape, waterproof moulded PU foam comfort insole with textile sock and lining, durable and comfortable PU sole unit. We all want to look as cute as these when having our city struts.

The Country Casual

Whether you’re a dog walker or a ‘small explorer’, many cities boast a network of dog-friendly trails and parks all for free, perfect for exploring with your canine companion. From paved paths to rugged terrain, these urban oases offer a welcome retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Let your dog sniff and explore to their heart’s content as you soak up the sights and sounds of nature right in the heart of the urban jungle.

Keep an eye out for dog-friendly events and festivals happening in your city throughout the year. From pet parades to outdoor concerts, there’s always something fun and exciting happening that you and your dog can enjoy together. Join in the festivities and make memories that will last a lifetime.

Helly Hansen were all the rage when I was in school and I totally get why. Their stuff is built for extreme weather and the qaulity is next level. My Dad swears by their alpine boot and he is a very outdoorsy person. The Men’s Coastal Hikers boot features a rich waterproof nubuck leather accented by metal hiking hardware.

A comfortable, well-cushioned midsole provides great comfort, whilst a well laid-out rubber outsole adds all the traction needed up in the mountain resort or in the city.

An old favourite, this AKU hiking boot has enjoyed 30 years of success on the Italian market. The AKU Slope GTX Boots has an extraordinarily comfortable fit; it is lightweight and breathable and perfect for day treks on easy/medium difficulty terrains. It is also suitable for light work and spare time in the mountains.

I have been riding horses since I was a small kid and Ariat is a brand pretty synonymous with the activity. I have had my Ariat boots for years and the Moresby Waterproof Boot looks to be the modern version.

These versatile short boots perform their best when put to the test outdoors. Sporting a multi-surface traction design and fully waterproof, these boots are handcrafted to keep your feet supported and dry when traversing through rain, mud, and muck. So if you want to wrap up, lace up your boots and pack a mini-survival kit and go out on an adventure (on land or on horse) these will have you covered for a long time.

These are a newish purchase for me and Cotswold Outdoors supplied mine: they are maybe THE BEST welly I have ever had. They are comfortable, warm and offer genuine support. They also look really good. The Arctic Adventure Winter Boot is a welly with a difference.

Designed to keep even the most experienced explorer’s feet warm in extreme temperatures. These cosy fleece-lined wellingtons have the signature Muck Boot neoprene stretch-fit; keeping warm air in and cold air out whilst helping the boot stay snug to your calves.

The lightweight EVA midsole and rubber outsole are a perfect combination of comfort and traction. It’s actually tough to leave the house in anything else now.

My brother-in-law does triathalons so I asked him what his favourite hiking boot was. He said he hasn’t bettered his trusty Berghaus Hillwalker II GTX boots. Incredibly “lightweight and comfortable”, these boots bring you the features you’ll need to take on all the weather and landscapes can throw at you.

Strong, streamlined construction combines together a surprisingly soft oiled suede shell with a GORE-TEX lining for durability with dependable waterproofing and breathability, and memory foam at the heel and tongue for outstanding, custom-fitting comfort.

He also reccommend this: Octane™ 16 Hydration Hiking Pack 14L with 2L Reservoir 16 pack isa rucksack with a built-in water tank and straw, making hydration easier than ever. My brother-in-law says it is “rugged, versatile, and ready to help you tackle a variety of terrain. Up for any adventure, anywhere.”

It has an overlay of lightweight recycled triangle wall mesh to keep your back cool by enabling optimal airflow, and a Dual Adjust Sternum Strap: Easily adjustable straps give you a custom, comfortable, and secure fit for the journey ahead. Fuel and Gear Storage: Spacious main compartment designed to house all of your gear, hydration, and essentials. Stretch Overflow Pocket: Secure outer pocket for any last minute extras, like a rain jacket, shoes, and more.

The stylish Women’s Rothley Jacket – Black is such a superb coat and great in the wet UK weather, with GORE-TEX PACLITE® fabric and clever, weather stopping details. Who doesn’t love a trek in the rain? In this well kitted out, waterproof, GORE-TEX PACLITE® jacket you can enjoy it all the more.

The longer length and dropped hem is perfect when it pours and the snorkel style hood is great at keeping rain out thanks to its drawcord adjustments and superb fit. Plus, there are two zipped hand pockets for keeping essentials safe. Don’t wait for the sunshine, get out and enjoy whatever weather comes your way.

The Weekender

You’re escaping your cosy home environment for a few days, so you need something more like light camping items and ‘serious’ coats. You might not want to pitch a tent per se, but you might want to go peak climbing while staying warm and waterproof and having the right luxury items with you: fresh water and the means to have a rest between hikes. We’ve got you covered:

The dry robe has become an absolute necessity for me. Amazing for wild swimming you can stay cosy and dy anywhere! I personally have the White Water Coat.

This particular robe will also retain its waterproof rating after machine washing. The warm recycled polyester Sherpa fleece lining has the perfect combination of being highly effective at wicking water away from the skin and drying you, and still being soft and comfortable against your skin.

This is proper apocalypse survival stuff: Camelbak make the Eddy® + filtered by LifeStraw® takes the worry out of hydrating on the go. Water is filtered twice to remove bacteria, parasites, and microplastics, and reduce lead, bad taste, chlorine and other unwanted chemicals delivering a steady stream of clean and safe hydration.

The Eddy + straw cap is sip-friendly and spill-proof when open, leak-proof when closed, and easy to carry.

And if you really fancy a campout…

Coleman’s® range of Supercomfort self-inflating mats give the ultimate comfort for a good night’s sleep without compromising travel space, which solves all those problems I’ve had on hiking trips where I’ve had to lie on bumpy ground. No accessories or pumps are required, just open the rotating valve and let the mat self-inflates for about 10 minutes or to your desired preference.

If you prefer more firmness in your self-inflating mat, your Supercomfort travel bag converts into a convenient pump to inflate your mat to the firmness of your liking. A bit of home on the go.

We all need to eat while camping and the Attitude 2go CV Black Table Top Gas BBQ brings barbecue pleasures to all who want to stay flexible!

This table top barbecue pairs sleek, urban styling with pioneering precision cooking, all within a compact, portable package. Intuitively designed for effortless barbecuing, it benefits from perfectly even heat distribution thanks to the powerful stainless steel burner.

Key product features: Pre-assembled table top grill – no screwdriver required! Front loading grease tray is dishwasher safe, which ensures quick and simple cleaning. For feasts in the wild!

If you do want that tent these two are both highly recommended and are both under the £500 mark:

Perfect for helping you soak up all the benefits of the outdoors and making you feel emersed in nature, the Coleman Octagon Grey and/or Octagon Extension offers a full 360° view of your surroundings. With a self-supported, geometric tent design and colour-coded steel poles, the Octagon can easily be pitched in 15 minutes so you’ve got more time to relax.

It provides full head height throughout, so even those over 6ft will be able to stand up inside. To ensure your stay is as glamourous as possible, the Octagon Grey features a flysheet with fully-taped seams, a hydrostatic head of 2,000mm and sewn-in groundsheet to provide protection from the elements and bugs. If you want to feel even more at home, there is also a specially designed Octagon Tent Carpet available (sold separately) for extra comfort underfoot.

The Vango Joro Air 450 Eco Dura Tent Package is the tent of my dreams, to be honest! Complete with a three-zone design, the Joro Air 450 has a front enclosed porch area for storage, and a large living space, with a sewn-in groundsheet and pre-hung Midnight inner bedrooms, designed to help prevent early morning light from waking the occupants.

It’s ideal for mmall families or couples who require a spacious, lightweight family tent, ideal for Spring to Summer camping. It’s also great for touring due to the ease of pitching the Joro offers, due to the Single-Point Inflation design, allowing the Joro to be pitched in 10 minutes.

And to save money in the long run…

If you have invested in outdoor ware then you want it to last, I am a big fan of your good, old fashioned Cherry Blossom shoe polish, polishes are their bread and butter: they have a wide range of easy-to-apply, durable solutions restoring your favourite leather footwear to give you confidence in every step.

From coating sprays to polish. I am also obsessed with Grangers waterproof sprays and deodorising shoeproducts. Keeping my waterproofs and footware well maintained has meant I have held onto the same gear for years.

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