There is something intangible yet irresistible about an outdoor adventure. Throwing on some practical clothes and heading out to explore the backcountry conjures up some ancient instinct, the pioneering spirit that has driven explorers and adventurers for centuries.
Taking on the wilderness might sound like a daunting prospect, but in reality, it is genuinely something that anyone can do and makes for an amazing vacation. The thrill of being surrounded by nature, the challenge of doing things for yourself, and the limitless, matchless beauty of the great outdoors make hiking, backpacking, climbing, or kayaking through nature a truly special experience.
So if you are planning your next vacation getaway and want to get a little bit closer to the great outdoors, here are a few thoughts on how to make your next outdoor adventure truly memorable.
Is a plan really necessary?
You might think that too much planning is unnecessary, and might even rob some of the joy from a ‘do-it-yourself’, rugged, wild adventure. After all, the greatest explorers didn’t plan, did they? They just set off and backed themselves to take on whatever nature could throw at them. But this attitude is far from the truth, and the reality is that planning your outdoor adventure is vital, and will ensure that you have a great time, as well as help you make it back in one piece! A good, well-thought-out plan will save you time, money, and frustration out on the trails, and while you might be confident of your ability to improvise, following a plan lets you enjoy your adventure far more!
What gear do I need?
There’s a popular saying amongst explorers: ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes’. Essentially what this means is that the right gear can make or break an outdoor adventure. There are certain key items of clothing that you should never be without; a solid pair of hiking boots, durable pants (with lots of pockets), and layers for your upper half. This should include lightweight tops made from wicking fabric, and a waterproof jacket, at the very least. Additionally, choosing a great backpack for hiking can make all the difference after a long, hard day out on the trails. Your back will thank you for spending a little extra on the right pack at the end of the day!
Where should I go?
Choosing your destination is the fun part, and there is such a great range of choices to make! The US is packed with amazing state and national parks, as well as a brilliant system of well-marked trails, so the National Parks Service is a great place to start. You might find yourself climbing mountains in Tennessee, trekking through rainforests in Washington, or hiking across baking deserts in Utah. There are also plenty of options further afield, from exploring jungles in Costa Rica to taking on the highest peaks in the world in Nepal. All you need to do is choose how extreme your adventure should be, and off you go!
When should I go?
Timing is all-important, and often the ‘where’ is actually defined by the ‘when’. There are awesome places in the US and worldwide to explore year-round, but some are better than others at certain times of the year. For example, if you plan on exploring the glaciers of Alaska, you’ll probably want to avoid the winter months, when temperatures regularly hit −50°F! Broadly speaking, you’ll want to find a combination of destination and time of year that offers spring or autumnal temperatures and weather, as this is the perfect blend for an outdoor adventure.
What about gadgets?
Tech is not essential on the trail, and many people prefer to switch off and disconnect, to better be at one with the natural world. And that’s fine! But there are certain gadgets that can help make your outdoor adventure go a little more smoothly. A GPS watch will help keep you on the right trail, while a solar charger will give you light, power, and even heat. There is also a bunch of cooking equipment that can be a real game-changer when it comes to making a meal at the end of the day.
Will I need food?
Nutrition is one of the most important things to think about when it comes to planning an outdoor adventure. There are two many things to think about when it comes to nutrition: food and drink.
You need to ensure you can carry enough water to sustain you on your trip. The normal recommendation is that you will need around 1 liter of water for every 2 hours of activity. If your backpack comes with a water bladder, that is usually a great option. You should look for places along your route to refill and consider salt tablets or electrolytes if you are exploring in a hot climate.
Food is very dependent on what sort of trip you are taking and for how long you are going to be out in the wilderness. Short treks will mean snacks such as power bars, dried fruit, or energy balls to keep you powered up and on the move. If you are planning a longer trip you will want to think about more substantial, portable meals, and how you will cook them. It is also worth considering your route, and if you need to carry supplies for the entire adventure or whether you will be able to stock up and refuel along the way.
Look up activities
No outdoor adventure is complete without an activity or two and it is worth doing a little research in advance to find out what there is to do in your chosen location. You might want to tailor your destination to your favorite outdoor activity, whether that’s bouldering, kayaking, or fishing.
Exploring the great outdoors doesn’t always go to plan – nature can be a fickle mistress! So it is always important to remain flexible. A good plan can always take a little disruption, and part of the importance of planning your outdoor adventure is building in enough flexibility to allow things to go wrong!
Last Updated on September 23, 2022