Hiking in the mountains, kayaking down a river, camping in the woods. Do these sound like the perfect way to spend your free time? Taking vacations to the outdoors is a great way to see the world and maintain a healthy lifestyle, not to mention that it can refuel your mental and physical batteries for everyday life.
Going to the great outdoors for vacation is wonderful, but whether you are heading to a National Park for the first time, or you’re climbing your 15th peak, you need the right kind of gear. Forgetting to bring the right socks can mean painful blisters. You can get a nasty sunburn with sunblock, or have a reaction to a bug bite. You can even find yourself in danger if you get lost or seriously injured.
If you want to avoid calling in rescue services, you need to plan for certain events before heading off on your adventures. Here are some tips to help you be sure that you have the essentials for any outdoor vacation.
Basics: on and in the body
Office attire definitely won’t do for your outdoor activities. You need to take the right clothes for your activities, and plan for weather changes. You’ll want to layer your clothing, and this includes bringing extra layers and something waterproof. Don’t forget gloves and hats for more wintry climates, and sunglasses and sun protection clothing for sunny areas. Make sure that your shoes are right for the terrain and activity. Extra shoelaces don’t take much room, and you won’t even know how useful they are – until you need them.
Proper hydration and nutrition for the endurance of your trip takes planning and preparation. Your body needs two liters of water for a four-hour walk. Remember that hydration keeps you alert, so for longer excursions, consider a collapsible reservoir of water. Depending on your destination and the availability and quality of water, you may need a water treatment product.
Having enough fuel in your body keeps you alert and energized. Snacks with high sugar or high carbohydrates, such as protein bars, nuts, and dried fruits, will keep your energy primed for those long treks on the trails, or your paddling down the river.
It’s great to go old school with maps and a compass, but a handheld GPS will let you have hundreds of maps to hand, and it doesn’t take up space. Not to mention that you don’t have to fold them! A Swiss army knife is a great multi-tool that can be incredibly handy, and a field repair kit will help you patch holes in things such as tents.
You may be planning to keep your phone off while on vacation, but you should take it with you for emergencies, and also a power pack in case its battery dies. If you will be cooking, or heating yourself with a fire, bring waterproof matches, and bring firestarters such as candles or priming paste to get your flames going quickly.
Everyone hopes to avoid it, but minor injuries happen. A first aid kit, including sun screen, bug repellent, hot/cold packs, antibiotics, pain medications, and bandages, will get you through most trips. You should also include an emergency contact list in the first aid kit. For ease, you can find a pre-packaged kit.
A whistle is perfect for attracting attention if you get lost. A light can also be used to signal for help, but is also helpful for lighting paths at night. Don’t forget batteries to keep your headlamp or flashlight going. Nowadays, going on a day trip means including some form of shelter if you get lost or hurt. A plastic trash bag will suffice, but there are also products such as a bivvy or emergency blanket that are also great.
Once you know the essentials that you will be bringing, you will save time and money by getting as many of them as you can in one place. Many products are sold by As Seen On TV, such as canteens, flashlights, bug repellents, and heated socks. Online recreation retailers can help you find the rest and will give you different prices and options to complete your list.
Traveling is supposed to be fun and relaxing. Choosing to spend it outdoors is great if you prepare for the unexpected. You can avoid emergencies, treat minor injuries, and survive any weather changes by packing the essentials in your trip bag – and of course, you will have a great vacation!