Preparation is essential to comfortably enjoy outdoors activities, especially if you love spending time in remote areas with few modern conveniences. Basic supplies like shelter and food are among the most important things to consider before heading into nature for your first adventure.
Shelter and Clothing
Emergency shelter supplies are a must, even if you are carrying a tent for overnight use. A tarp easily becomes a shelter when you use tent stakes to secure it, while a space blanket is a smaller, more convenient option for keeping your clothes dry while hiking on damp days. Bring a sleeping bag that is rated for the temperature to comfortably sleep in nearly any climate, and select flexible clothing that transitions from cool to warm temperatures easily.
Clothing that you can layer is typically best for outdoor activities. Ideally, a combination of natural and synthetic fibers is best for camping or hiking. Wear natural fibers like wool next to your skin to trap heat efficiently. Outerwear made from synthetic fibers like microfleece resist wind and water, but are breathable enough to wear while engaging in more strenuous activities.
Rugged Outdoor Wear
While you don’t need to wear safari beige, choosing quality outdoor wear is essential if you want to stay comfortable while spending time outdoors. Opt for cargo-style pants or shorts with extra pockets to store smaller items within easy reach, and choose vented shirts to make summer outings a little. When choosing outdoor footwear, opt for shoes that feature slip-resistant soles and ankle support to protect your feet in a variety of terrains and climates.
First Aid, Fires and Finding Your Way
As a general rule, you should expect the unexpected when you are preparing for an outdoors adventure. To handle minor ailments, you need a first aid kit. Stock your outdoor first aid kit with bandages and a selection of over-the-counter medicines, including antihistamines and pain relievers. Other supplies to pack can include a snakebite kit, moleskin for blister treatment and medicines to treat stomach upset.
Waterproof matches, an extra lighter and a compass are must-haves for all outdoors activities. A map of the area is also recommended for both novice and experienced outdoors enthusiasts. Other essentials include a pocket knife, flashlights, extra batteries and duct tape. If you take prescription medicines or wear glasses, bring backups to use in an emergency situation.
Food and Water
Finding clean water can be challenging in the outdoors. Take a container, such as a canteen, to easily carry clean water, and pack water purification tablets and a purification straw for emergency use. Purification straws are lightweight, but allow you to safely drink water directly from streams and puddles in an emergency situation. Lightweight cookware, washable, camp-friendly dinnerware, and a hearty selection of foods provide the backbone for outdoor food prep.
When deciding how much and what kind of food to bring, consider your calorie needs based on the weather and your planned activity level. Both cold weather and intense physical activity increase your calorie needs. Take at least one day’s worth of food, plus emergency food supplies, on every trip. For winter activities, plan a menu that provides at least 4,000 to 5,000 calories a day. You also need a supply of emergency food like dehydrated meals, or MREs, and 2,000 calorie meal replacement bars.
From matches to maps, you can head outdoors for an adventure throughout the year with a simple selection of supplies. After you have the basics packed, customize your pack to fit the season, climate and your personal preferences for a truly enjoyable experience.