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My first hostel event


We purposefully aim for the ‘value for money’ end of the hostel accommodation spectrum to keep the event costs low and accessible to as many people as possible. We usually take a hostel over completely so that we are the only people there.

Whether it's a YHA hostel or a privately managed one the facilities are usually clean but basic. Typically there are shared rooms sleeping from 2 to 8 people (or more in larger hostels), mostly in bunk beds. 

The YHA usually provides bedding but no towels or shower gels or shampoos, so you’ll need to bring these yourself. Privately run hostels may differ, but the event description will always tell you what you need to bring.



The event page will advise you what to bring, but generally it will include:

  • towel
  • shampoo
  • wash kit
  • ear plugs and/or eye mask
  • food for the Friday evening buffet
  • a packed lunch for Saturday
  • a packed lunch for Sunday
  • any drinks for the weekend
  • a power adapter
  • walking gear (boots, walking trousers, walking jacket, gloves, scarf, hat, waterproof, rucksack)

If you have any questions in advance of the event, you can send the event leader a message via the link on the event page.



The event page will contain directions to the hostel and a range of arrival times. Don’t arrive before the earlier time as the hostel leader will likely be preparing for people to arrive and so the hostel may not be open.

If you will arrive after the latest arrival time, just let the leader know via a message on the website what sort of time you will be arriving. They then won't be concerned about your late arrival and may even be able to arrange a later dinner for you..

When you arrive at the hostel, the first thing you need to do is check in with the event leader. They will confirm your attendance on the event list and then let you know which rooms have space available in them, and give you a idea as to what will be happening that evening.



The beds in the shared rooms are first come, first served. Choose a bed and put your bag on it so that people arriving later will know that the bed is taken. It is a good idea to make your bed now so you won’t have to do it later at night, when it may be dark in the room and when others may have already gone to bed.

Sleeping in a room with other people may seem a little strange at first but you soon get used to it. But if you are a light sleeper then bring a set of ear plugs and/or an eye mask.

Hostel rooms usually have one or two power sockets in them, but everyone will want to charge their phone overnight, so bringing some form of plug adaptor with you is a good idea.



In general, the event cost includes Saturday breakfast, Saturday dinner and Sunday breakfast pus tea and coffee throughout the weekend. 

If you have special dietary requirements, please make sure that these are entered in your Next of Kin data in your profile on the OutdoorLads website. The leader will know in advance what is written there, but if you have unusual requirements then send the event leader a message in advance so they can incorporate your needs in their planning. Remember they will be planning the meals and buying the food in advance, so don't leave this to the last minute. If your needs are very unusual, the leader may ask you to bring food with you to keep things manageable.


Friday Evening Buffet

This is not included the cost, and you'll normally be asked to bring something for a communal buffet, which is normally served around 8pm.

Try to think of food that works for a buffet, so that's typically things that can be served in slices or portions and which is easily heated up if hot. Things like pizza, cold meats, salads, sausages, cheese, deserts or fruit salad work well. Whatever you chose, bring enough for between one and two people as anything left over can then be eaten during the weekend. Some people love cooking and bring home made food, but most will buy something ready made. 

When you arrive, please drop your buffet food off in the hostel kitchen and let the hostel leader know.



Usually it's cereals, toast and jam, but sometimes the hostel leader stretches the food budget to include bacon butties or even a full cooked breakfast.


Saturday Evening Meal

There will be a hot meal on the Saturday evening. It will usually be served around 8-9pm. 

All our hostel leaders have completed Food Preparation and Hygiene assessments, but they haven’t gone to culinary school. They will be preparing food in what is often a basic hostel kitchen and for a lot of people, so although the meal should be good, plentiful and hearty, don’t expect anything too elaborate.



Lunches on Saturday and Sunday are not included in the hostel price. You are usually expected to bring packed lunches with you for these meals and space is normally reserved in the hostel fridge to accommodate them. Most of the events held on hostel weekends are out of town, so don't assume that there will be a shop nearby.



There will be activities laid on for the Saturday, and often also on Sunday morning. Most typically there will be one or more walks, but some events will include cycling, climbing, abseiling, caving, canoeing or other options. The event page will describe what activities are planned and what you may need to bring with you to participate in them.



Apart from tea and coffee and tapwater, drinks are not included in the event cost.

Anything else you want to drink during the weekend, which includes alcoholic drinks, should be brought with you. Remember that most of the hostels we use are a remote, which means we have good walking routes right from the hostel front door but there may not be a local shop or pub to buy drinks from.

So if you are partial to a drink in the evening after a good walk, bring it with you. If you are drinking alcohol, please be considerate of others, particularly when heading to bed if you've stayed up late, and remember that you might have an earlyish start to the event the next day.


Helping out

The price you pay covers the accommodation and some of the food, but we do need participants to step up and proactively offer help with some of the cooking and cleaning during the weekend. 

Remember that the event leader is a volunteer and can't be expected to do everything for you. They will already have invested a lot of their time in planning the meals, buying the food, leasing with the hostel warden and planning (and often then running) events during the weekend.

Helping each other out and looking after each other is partly what binds the group together too.


Cleaning the Hostel

We usually have to vacate the hostel sometime between 10am and noon on the Sunday.  Before we leave you need to remove the sheet, pillow and duvet covers from your bed and put them out for laundry.

We need to clean the hostel ready for the next group and the event leader will ask for volunteers to help with the cleaning required; vacuuming bedrooms and communal areas, cleaning the kitchen, cleaning the bathrooms, taking out the rubbish and making sure that the place is generally tidy. 

We have a good reputation with the YHA and our other hostel providers and leaving the hostel in good condition is important to us and OutdoorLads' future relationship with them.


Leader Qualifications

The hostel leader will have gone through an OutdoorLads evaluation and assessment process and have proved that they are capable of leading the event. This includes food hygiene training. The hostel leader may involve other leaders during the event, for example, walk leaders, who will also have passed an evaluation appropriate for their roles.


What are other types of OutdoorLads events like?

Find out about other types of events and what to expect if you are going on them for the first time.


More questions?

If there's still something you're not sure about related to attending your first bouldering event or any aspect of OutdoorLads, please do contact us.