Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or a casual traveller, you absolutely need to consider these!
So you’ve decided to somewhat throw caution to the winds and decided to go on an adventure outdoors. We could not be more pleased to hear this. Getting back in touch with nature fulfills a primal urge in all of us, however small that might be. It’s always good to unwind, and get away from the noise and the hustle of a large town and city, and shedding off a lot of material comforts that we do take for granted.
It’s important to be safe though. We do want you back in one piece, rather than several.
So keep these all in mind before you set off and you’ll have an amazing time!
When you’re out in the wilderness, it goes without saying that your adventure would be cut short without the right amount of food intake. You need to strike the right balance between packing enough for sustenence without overpacking. Walking over hills or mountains like say the Three Peaks, or even more random adventures like caving or canyoning can take up a lot of calories, sometimes several hundreds. Our bodies store reserves of an energy known as glycogens, that helps us get through adrenaline fueled activityor strenuous forms of exercise.
You can help conserve glycogen levels by consuming carbs or sugar rich food such as energy bars. In high altitudes, even a packet of raisins can come in very handy, if you’re running short of meals. Eat less while actually on the move, to give your body a chance to digest.
As a general rule, it is suggested that strenuous activity requires approximately around 500ml of fluids for every hour of exercise your body goes through. One of the more common mistakes people make is waiting until they are thirsty to have their first sip. Whatever your adventure, be it canyoning or free climbing, hydrate yourself well before you set off, and drink a little at a time and often. If you run out, make sure any streams you pick out has clean running water. If not, it’s not too much effort to pack a small water purifier that can fit on most bottles or canteens. Temperature is another factor that will affect your hydration levels. Hotter and humid climate means more sweat and more fluid loss, so keep that in mind when you’re setting off!
Let there be light! Definitely enough to ensure that you’re able to see the path ahead of you and are not caught unawares. In certain areas of the world, it can get overcast and day can seem to turn to night extremely quickly. Make sure you’re carrying some form of flashlight instead of relying on the torch on your cell phone. You may also, depending on the length of your trip, want to pack a set of extra batteries in case you run dry. Make sure to keep them dry and cool in your luggage or backpack, until you need them.
If you’re on a bike, a headlamp is an absolute must. You may even want to consider wearing it, when it gets close to dusk, if you’re on foot.
A well stocked first aid kit should at the very least contain adhesive bandages, pain and anti-inflammatory medicine, tweezers, a pair of scissors, antiseptic creams, sterile wipes and rinse solutions. Nobody goes out actively seeking to get hurt, but it’s best to be prepared in the event it happens, so you’re not caught off guard.
It’s tempting to rely on Google Maps to get to where you’re going, and GPS mapping has certainly come a long way, but you really should also consider a physical map and a compass for navigating. There’s no battery to go flat, no satellite signal that dies on you when you least expect it to. Make sure you pick up maps of the area that you are going into, along with some of a larger scale that also mark off every major road or transport hub near you.
Also, here’s a pro tip. Getting your maps laminated will keep them safer as well, allowing you to mark important landmarks with a pen, and wipe them off at the end of your trip.
The whole point of getting back in touch with nature or having an adventure in the wild, is not having to pick up the phone. We get it, nature is amazing when enjoyed in solitude. But the last thing you need is to be out of touch, when you’re in an emergency. See if you can either pick up mobile wireless routers before your trip, or cell phone boosters. Of course, if you can really afford it, go in for a satellite phone, that will work way better than any cell reception.
If you do happen to lose signal anywhere, try not to panic and make your way back to the nearest populated area you last visited. If you’re lost, head to higher ground. Finding a clear elevated area can give you more direct access to a signal.
You might assume you need to pack an entire room’s worth of repairs, but it doesn’t have to be that way necessarily. There are of course some essentials you cannot avoid such as carryout bags for dirty clothes or shoes and a miniature sewing kit. There are several simple hacks to repair kits, to make sure you’re not packing too much weight on you, and can plan for (almost!) every hazard. For instance, clothes pins are great to dry your garments, but they’re also good for securing gaps or tears in tents, or to close crisp packets. Paper clips can keep your maps and important papers together but they’re also a great replacement for a broken zipper on a backpack or strap.
Sun protection is the most effective about 15-20 minutes before you set off anywhere, as it gives an opportunity to penetrate your skin. A common mistake that you should not be making is waiting until it’s sunny to apply sun block! We can assure you that clouds do not block UV rays and you’re definitely at risk of exposure. There’s also the likelyhood of UV rays bouncing off surfaces like snow, water such as you find in oceans, lakes and rivers. Also, sunblock expires! Check your packaging and sell by date before setting off into the wilderness.