Taking your favorite activity from indoors to the great outdoors is much more pleasant when you come prepared. In the second part of our little two-part series, we will discuss the little things to bring with us that make a huge difference. In the previous post, we spoke about my first outdoor climbing adventure and a few of the things that I may have done differently if given a second chance to do it all again. If you missed that post it would be helpful to start there
Clenching a Victory from a Mess.
Depending on the source of your outdoor drive, or the activity you pursue, there can be a lot of gear to pack. Taking climbing as an example, it can be rather chaotic making sure you have everything you need for your adventure. Especially if you leave preparations for last minute. As we get more experienced it becomes more simple to know what we need to bring.
At least the first time, make a list. It really helps to make the process less frantic and ensures you don’t forget anything important. For myself and many other climbers, it seems to help to lay everything out on the floor in front of our packs and go over the list.
Separating the list into categories can help too. For instance; Gear, Layers, First Aid, Food, etc. I find this helps turn a long list into a series of shorter ones, making the process more manageable. I also find the categories have a way of jogging my memory if there was something I forgot to list, so perhaps it’s a good reminder as well.
Save yourself form Mother Nature Herself!
Lets be honest, we have all forgotten the one big challenge we face we outdoors at least once; Mother Nature.
The sun on your back is usually a nice feeling. Unless it is 30C and you are on the side of a giant slab of hot rock and you forgot your sunscreen. Everyone reacts to the sun differently and you likely already know how badly, if at all, you burn in the sun. Use whatever sunscreen you know will do the job and bring it with you so you can remain shielded throughout the day.
The other thing the sun is super good at, is sucking the water out of you. Being active outdoors, we go through a lot of it so make sure you have plenty. Packing a little extra is always a good idea for things like washing hands and sharing in the event your partner is running low.
I speak of the ones that walk on all fours or buzz around your ear. The ones that live in the places we choose to venture; bugs and bears as an example. I won’t go into too many details about the specific animals we encounter in the Bow Valley, but if you would like to get familiar, here is a good place to start
Checking online to see if there are animal sightings around where you are heading is helpful. Regardless of whether or not there is a clear threat, always bring your bear spray if you know you will be in their back yard. Bear bells and the like are also nice to have.
As far as the bugs go, stock up on the bug spray. I always go with the deep woods stuff as it helps with the nasty ticks we seem to have a lot of around here, and a few other creepy crawlies that regular bug spray does not seem to phase.
For lack of a better term, self-maintenance should cover the last few big things.
Bring it! We work hard in the great outdoors and our body needs the fuel to tackle the challenges we face. I prefer to bring several snacks over a bigger meal; cliff bars, trail mix, apples, and the like are all great ideas. Be sure to consider where you will be snacking so you can plan ahead, and bring things that will be easy to consume and prevent unwanted mess.
Take your garbage with you. Lets keep our impact on the areas we visit minimal and be a good neighbor to our furry friends.
The Basic First Aid.
Being active, you are bound to end up with a scratch or two. We climbers have a lot of them. When indoors at a gym, there is always first aid close by but this changes very quickly when we move our adventures to the outdoors. Keep a small first aid kit with you for the small mishaps. Having some form of formal first aid training is also helpful, and although it can be expensive, it can prove useful when you least expect it. One of those ‘better have it and not need it’ things.
Also toilet paper, the outdoor washroom lacks in this department. It also does well on spills and in place of a bandage if needed.
Make sure you have enough of them. In our part of the world the weather changes on a dime, there is no such thing as being over-prepared. A sweater and a puffy are always a plus. Rain gear is also a must, getting wet can seriously ruin a fun day outside.
My other personal recommendation is to always bring an extra pair of socks. Sounds strange I know, but if you ever got wet feet unexpectedly you know it sucks. You lose heat super fast, plus wet feet are a great way to get nasty blisters and infections. I always carry a second pair.
Every activity presents its own challenges. Be proactive and try to anticipate what you need. Hopefully this will give you a quick idea on some of the basics. If there is anything general and important that you think we missed let us know below.
Thank you for checking in and stay safe!