How the Outdoors Can Help Combat the Cost of Living Crisis

Ethan Ball5 min readWellbeing

With the price of household bills and everyday items set to rise across the UK in the coming months, we at Blacks have put together a guide to help you get out and enjoy the great outdoors while keeping your hand firmly on the purse strings. Often, the main expense of a trip to one of the country’s numerous nature spots is just the price of the petrol or train ticket! Here’s how to use the outdoors to save money and fight back against those creeping costs.

Pitching up for a Getaway

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Camping is one of the easiest and most popular ways to enjoy the outdoors and can cost a fraction of the price of going on holiday abroad. With thousands of campsites the width and breadth of the country, seeing somewhere new on your front doorstep has never been easier. Wild camping is another perfect way to knock even more off the cost of your next holiday. But whichever way you choose to camp, the fresh air and sense of freedom are always free.

The kit required for a weekend or even a whole week of camping can be affordable and streamlined. A trip away camping is not only a cost-effective holiday, but it can also be a terrific way to de-stress and give yourself perspective. We think getting out and pitching up is perfect for times when getting away on a budget is the smartest option.

If you’re new to camping or need to update that tatty roll mat that’s been coiled up in the shed for years, our complete Camping & Equipment range has everything you’ll need to kit yourself out. Check out brands like Eurohike and OEX for great value kit that won’t break the bank. If you’re craving a weekend off the grid, read our guide to Wild Camping for Beginners to discover the do’s, don’ts and legal requirements when pitching up in the wild.

Membership is Free at Nature’s Gym

The UK’s most active cities table

Monthly outgoings like gym memberships can be done away with for good by opting to use the original (and best) gym – nature. Hiking, running, and wild swimming are just some of the many ways you can utilize the outdoors when excising. Everything you can exercise out in a gym can be worked out for free outdoors. For example, fell-running or trail running is the activity of running over hilly and mountainous terrain and, besides the breath-taking views, offers up some of the best fat-burning exercises there are.

Hills and mountains are numerous in Great Britain and most of the time you can find one that’s cheap and easy to get to. But if that sounds a little full-on for your first outdoor workout, there’s always plenty of less hilly and gentle terrain to choose from.

If a slower, more scenic way to exercise is your preference, why not opt for walking the trails? With a sturdy pair of walking boots, the countryside is your oyster to enjoy at your own pace. Finding a route that lasts just an hour or two is easy and with a good waterproof jacket, you’ll be getting the steps in come rain or shine.

Cycling is another great activity to swap out the gym with for several reasons. Not only does it provide a great workout for the muscles and does wonders for your cardio, but it’s also practical too! Those rising petrol costs could be avoided by using cycling as transport as well as for fantastic outdoor recreation. Think how productive you’ll feel after an invigorating ride into work!

Swap the Mojitos for the Mountains

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Meeting friends for drinks is great, but with the ever-growing cost of a pint, we had the idea of planning your next get-together around a hike. A day out hiking up a mountain has so many benefits for the body and mind, can be a lot more fun, and can cost a lot less than going for pricey drinks or food. It’s not just hiking that the UK’s rugged beauty spots have to offer, sports like climbing and bouldering are just some other fun activities to try with friends, even if you’ve never had a go before. Your wallet isn't the only one that will thank you for the time spent outdoors instead of drinking. Your body will be much healthier, and it will put a spring in your step – no more sluggish Monday mornings spent wondering where the weekend went!

Top Picks for Affordable Kit

The beauty of the outdoors is that you don’t need to spend a fortune to enjoy it. For what little kit you do need, Blacks is on hand with some affordable options that will keep you comfortable and protected whether you’re hiking, running or camping.

Affordable tent – Eurohike Sendero 4 Family Tent

The Sendero 4 is a budget-friendly family tent from Eurohike. It’s easy to pitch and can sleep up to 4 people in the large bedroom section, while the porch area is ideal for storing your muddy boots. A pair of windows ensure there’s plenty of natural light and the bugs will be kept out by the sewn-in groundsheet.

Outdoor scene

Affordable sleeping bag- Vango Starlight 250

With ThermoLock Pro Insulation and Polair® technology, the Vango Starlight offers supreme warmth and comfort whilst maintaining a light and easily compressible construction. The auto-lock zip prevents the bag from opening during the night and can be accessed from inside the bag, while the insulated zip baffle prevents cold spots from forming. It's a mummy-shaped sleeping bag, meaning it tapers from the shoulders to the foot, reducing the pack size and increasing the bag’s thermal efficiency

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Affordable running shoes- Men's Pacer TR Running Shoes

North Ridge's Pacer TR has been designed for all types of running, whether you're heading out on the road, the trail, or even the gym. Their uppers are made from a supportive and highly breathable synthetic fabric with a fine mesh, keeping your feet cool and comfortable. These running shoes are also available in a women’s version.

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Affordable walking boot- Women’s Aysgarth II Mid Waterproof Walking Boots

These waterproof Walking Boots are designed to be comfortable, lightweight, and robust on rough terrain. A Dri-Tec™ waterproof membrane is breathable to keep your feet comfortable as well as dry, while the hardwearing rubber outsole gives you all the grip you need on slippery surfaces. They’re also available in men’s.

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Affordable mid-layer- Men’s Ullswater Half-Zip Fleece

Adapt and explore comfortably on chilly days with this cosy fleece from Peter Storm, designed as an ultra-soft mid-layer that can be worn alone or as part of an effective layering system for greater protection. Its cosy Polyester fabric construction seals in valuable heat while its half-zip pullover style allows you to manually vent the garment.

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Affordable waterproof jacket- Women’s Packable Hooded Jacket

Comfortable and packable waterproof jacket ideal for exploring in unpredictable weather. The Peter Storm Women’s Packable Jacket has a lightweight yet tough nylon waterproof outer to ensure that you remain comfortable and protected in wet weather. The Packable Jacket is also available in men’s sizes.

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Affordable walking trousers/leggings- Peter Storm Men’s Waterproof Packable Pants

When you're trekking, you'll want to plan for every eventuality - and that includes being able to rely on a practical pair of over trousers. When the heavens open, you'll be able to whip out these packable waterproof trousers, made with Storm Shield fabric. They pack away into the staff sack provided, meaning they can be tucked away in your pack ready for when called upon. The same trousers are available in women’s.

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Affordable day pack – Technicals Slipstream 25L Daysack

If you’re setting out on an all-day hike, you’ll need a comfortable pack capable of keeping all your gear safe such as your waterproofs, spare layers, food and valuables. The Technicals Slipstream 25L Daysack is a great affordable option that combines tough fabrics with padding to provide long-lasting carrying comfort. Made with a tough ripstop exterior, the Slipstream 25L is extra tough on the outside with a spacious interior for keeping contents safe and secure. The padded and ventilated back system and straps work together to provide luxury cushioning, with constant air flow for increased cooling, ideal for tackling your local trails

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