By Michele Koh Morollo
Outdoor lovers and adventure seekers will all agree that there is nothing more pleasurable than being out in nature. Whether you're hiking along a scenic ridgeline, scaling a foreboding cliff face, exploring the countryside on a bicycle, fishing or camping, there's no doubt that nature offers us some of the most exhilarating ways to experience life.
However, those who revel in the great outdoors know that while mother nature offers us plenty of fun and beauty, she is also unpredictable and dangerous at times, so it's always wise to greet her well prepared. When venturing out into the wild, you never quite know what's brewing in the horizon. There might be a thunderstorm, mosquitoes, wild animals, you might get your clothes stuck on thorny bushes, or you might be unlucky and sprain your ankle. To make sure you're ready for whatever is thrown your way, make sure you're armed with your adventure travel kit.
Depending on how long you're going to be outdoors and away from a drinking water source, bring enough fluids to keep you well hydrated. When hiking on hot days, carry an extra one or two liters of water in case you get lost, or your hike ends up taking longer than planned. If you're spending a lot of time outdoors, buy a hydration pack, so you don't have to carry plastic bottles with you.
When you're near exhaustion, your blood sugar drops dramatically. Instant glucose gels or tablets help bring your blood sugar up almost instantaneously so you don't end up collapsing from over exertion.
To protect your skin against damaging and cancer-causing UV rays and sunburn, apply sunscreen with at least SPF 40 and make sure you slather it on your face, neck and exposed limbs. In strong sun, reapply every 30 minutes.
If you're going to be out in tropical jungle, mosquito repellant is an absolute must. By covering yourself in repellent, you can reduce your exposure to bites from mosquitoes that spread dangerous diseases like dengue or malaria. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, repellents with DEET, Picaridin, oil of Lemon Eucalyptus and IR3535 are the most effective ingredients. Reapply every three hours.
Flashlight or Mini Torch
This will come in handy if you find an interesting but dark cave that you want to explore. It will be even more useful when you're camping at night and need to find your way to the restroom, or if you find yourself stuck on the trail after nightfall.
First Aid Kit
Always be prepared for minor accidents, cuts and scrapes. A good first aid kit should contain: compress dressings, adhesive bandages of assorted sizes, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, aspirin, one-way valve breathing barrier, non latex gloves, adhesive clothe tape, roller bandage, sterile gauze pads, smelling salts, hydrocortisone ointment, tweezers and scissors.
Swiss Army Knife
During the late 1880's Swiss army officers were issued folding pocket knifes that would aid them in opening canned food and disassembling their rifles. Later, these knives evolved to include various tools and even a wine opener. Small enough to carry in your pocket, the Swiss army knife is especially useful if you are camping. Tools like scissors and blades are particularly convenient for mountaineers who might need to cut rope, while tweezers come in handy for freeing yourself from ticks.
A torch lighter will be useful for starting campfires. The flames from your torch lighter will also be helpful if you should encounter a snake or wild animal.
A whistle might help scare off wild animals and is also helpful for getting attention if you find yourself stuck in ditch, in a river or in any other dangerous situation where help is needed pronto.
Light rain or thunderstorms are things you will encounter often, especially during the Monsoon season in Southeast Asia. To keep from getting soaked, bring along a rain poncho, preferably one that is big enough to keep your backpack covered too. During rainy season, waterproof hiking boots from brands like Patagonia, Keen Targhee, Asolo, Zephyrs and Hi-Tec are smart investments.
Navigation is crucial when you are out in the wild, so make sure you have a compass to guide you. Smartphones often come with a compass and GPS system which can help you find your bearings if you are lost.
If you are going on longer trips, you might consider investing in other useful items like a water purifier, thermal blanket, sleeping bag, waterproof bag and flares. Always make sure you have your phone with you and do carry emergency telephone numbers too.