Did you never have an outdoor experience, like hiking but you would like to do this? That’s great because outdoor activities are always something special. But what do you need to take with you? Maybe you would think, you need tons of items for an outdoor activity. But actually there are just a few essential things you should to take with you. In this article I will show you some important things you should take with you on your next outdoor adventure. The information I give you is based on my own experiences I gathered during my hiking activities. So read on, folks.
To be clear first: I am not talking about some hardcore outdoor activities, like expeditions to the North Pole or to the Mount Everest, because it would be another story. In this case I am talking about normal one day trips or guided trekkings e.g. through the Andes to Machu Picchu.
Proper footwear prevents from injuries
For easy trips over an even terrain, you can just use sneakers. But if you are planing to do some longer hikes, this is a completely another situation. Especially, when you would like to go into the mountains or walk on a rocky trail, you need good hiking boots. Not only because your feet are doing the most of the work but also to prevent injuries. You don’t want to twist your ankle far away from the next hospital or at least, far away from your car.
Thus, choose boots with a good ankle support. Besides that, choose footwear which is waterproof but still let your feet to breathe. If you would like to buy some hiking boots online, you can do this. But I strongly recommend you to go first into a store and get some expert advice. For a good hiking shoe hasn’t only characteristics I mentioned, but it must fit to your foot anatomy. Besides that, there is not just one category of hiking boots, but it depends on the type of usage. Hiking boots for outdoor activities in the mountains have e.g. much harder and thicker sole than outdoor boots for normal offroad trails.
Hiking socks prevent from blisters
Did you choose the right footwear, combine it with some thick hiking socks. The reason is simple: when you walk longer distances, you run the risk to get some very unpleasant blisters on your feet. Adittionally, hiking socks support the wearing comfort of outdoor boots. They also ensure that the sweat from your feet will be absorbed.
You can never take too much water
When I do some outdoor activities, I take every time at least 2 l of water with me, even if I don’t need it all. But believe me, it is better do have more water than you need than be thirsty. Besides that, you can survive without food several days. But without water you would be done right after 2 or 3 days. Of course, this is an extreme situation and could happen when you do some longer hikes, like trekkings in the wilderness without any civilization. But nevertheless, to have enough to drink with you is crucial.
Food is good, but choose wisely
Sounds simple, right? But I can tell you, as you already carry at least 2 l water with you, every kilo or pound of food will increase the weight of your whole equipment. Wandering in a flat area would not make any problems, but when you go into mountains or do a long distance hike, you will feel every additional kilo/pound, believe me. Thus, try to take food which has good nutrition values and is relative light. E.g. take some nut mixtures, cereal bars, jerky, protein bars or dried fruits. Of course, it is not a gourmet meal. But it will be just for a limited time period and it is still edible and lovely (for a certain time).
Okay, folks, that’s actually it. In my opinion, you need just four things to get successfully from A to B during a normal outdoor activity, like hiking. Of course, there are some special situations you would need other items. I call them situation based must haves. Thus, let’s take a closer look on those.
Situations based must haves for outdoor activities
First aid kit? It depends….
In some forums and other blogs I’ve seen this item as a real must have. But my opinion is different and I say, it really depends on where you would like to go and how dangerous the activity is, you are planning. Wandering in flat area on a trail which is frequented by other people, would not require a first aid kit. But if you are planning to make a trip into a wilderness and do some dangerous water rafting, a first aid kit would make sense. I do hikes frequently and the only case I took a first aid kit with me, was as I walked the Salkantay Trek in Peru towards Machu Picchu.
Sun cream not only in summer
This one might be a must have when you are planning your outdoor activity on a sunny day. It is even useful in winter when you are in the mountains, for in the higher altitudes you can get a sunburn even on a sunny winter day. On the other hand: when your outdoor trip takes place on a cloudy day, sun cream is really unnecessary. My recommendation to you is: purchase a small tube with sun cream and carry it always with you, just in case you need it.
Windbreaker for windy areas
In case you go into the mountains, you should take a windbreaker with you even during warm summer days. For the weather in the mountains can be pretty volatile and even in the summer there can a cold wind come up. When you are hiking upward, you will sweat a lot. A cold wind onto a sweaty body is not a pleasure, and it will increase the chance you get cold (even in the summer). I’ve made this experience a couple of times and since then I carry always a light windbreaker in my backpack when I go into the mountains.
Outdoor activities in flat areas are making a windbreaker usually redundant. So again, this item is to my not a general must have but it depends on, what are you going to do, folks.
Power Bank for your electronic devices
Not a real must have. But again, it depends on your preferences and the kind of activity you are planning. Since I am using my smartphone as a navigation system in the mountains and taking a couple of photos every time to post them on Instagram, the power consumption of my smartphone soared. Thus, the battery of my smartphone was chronically low outdoors. A power bank brought me the solution I needed. With a power bank of 24000 mAh you would be able to charge an iPhone about six times (depending on a model) or a Samsung – Device about 2 to 5 times (depending on a model).
Last but not least – Gloves for fixed rope routes
Gloves for via ferratas are useful for outdoor activities in the mountains for sections with wire ropes and they can prevent skin abrasions. I appreciated the advantage of such outdoor gloves as I walked one day a trail in the mountains and at the end of it was a steep ascent with a fixed rope. I didn’t have any gloves and in the middle of the section I fret the skin on my hand and this made the ascent much difficult.
Okay, folks, that’s it. I hope, this information was helpful for you and I wish you some great outdoor experiences. Please, don’t consider my tips als a final suggestion but take it as a starter. Over time, when you did your own experience, you would know on your own, what really matters and what is unnecessary.