How to Pack & Prepare for an Extended Outdoor Adventure
Extended outdoor trips require more preparation and packing. Unlike other trips or vacations, you don’t always have access to a general store or outdoor gear shop in case you forget something. Follow these tips to prepare for your next extended outdoor adventure.
Research the Gear You Need
The gear you’ll need for your trip depends on the environment, the time of year and the activities you’ll engage in. Once you’ve confirmed your destination, length of trip, and the dates, make a checklist of the gear you’ll need. If you don’t know where to start or if this is your first long-term outdoor trip, find someone else’s list online.
Above all, take what you need and leave what you don’t. Compare prices, read the descriptions, compare specs and, most importantly, read reviews of others who have used the same product. You don’t need to buy everything brand new. A general rule of thumb is that if it comes into close contact with your body, things like tents, sleeping pads, clothing and shoes, purchase it new. Otherwise, look into renting or purchasing lightly used outdoor gear.
Find the Perfect Pack
The perfect backpack will be comfortable, durable, protective and long lasting. Look for packs with multiple compartments, an internal frame, a padded back, hip belt, shoulder strap and are made from water resistant material. Not all backpacks are the same size, so before purchasing, head into an outdoor gear store and ask a sales representative to assist you in finding your size and try one on. The pack should be proportional to your body to ensure proper weight distribution.
Invest in Good Footwear
Unless you need specific footwear such as rock climbing shoes or snowboard boots, you should survive your extended outdoor trip with two pairs of shoes. One pair for resting in (like flip-flops, loafers, Teva sandals, Birkenstocks, etc.) and another pair that you’ll be putting your miles on, like hiking boots. Choose a pair of boots that are made for long distances, extended wear, and that provide support and protection.
Layer Up Your Clothing
Your destination dictates the clothes you’ll need to pack. If you’ll be spending most of your time in a tropical place, layers are not as important (although bring plenty of sun protection). Packing layers for anywhere else you go is your best bet to stay comfortable.
Layering generally involves three steps. The base layer should be wool or synthetic for moisture management. The mid-layer should be wool, fleece or down to keep you warm. The shell layer is meant to protect you from the elements such as wind, rain or snow. In addition to your three layers, you’ll need hats, gloves, bandanas, undergarments and socks.
Put everything you think you’ll need in a big pile, then cut that pile in half and pack just that. The biggest regret you’ll have during your trip is over-packing. You’ll be in the middle of nowhere and you’ll be lugging around those pairs of jeans you never wear, all those extra toiletries and any makeup or jewelry you thought you’d need. Only pack items that are essential, have multiple functions or pack extremely small.