It’s the Boy Scout motto: “Be prepared!” and if you’re an outdoor adventure enthusiast or just dipping your toes in for the first time, it should be your motto too! Here is a check list and a brief explanation of why for each thing to help you to be safe and have fun!
You need water. You need 1 cup for every 15 minutes of heavy exertion according to ACE recommendation. More than that you need water to keep going. You want to make it to the top, swim to the end, hike it to the view point and basically reach the goal! You won’t without hydration. Water is your ideal form of hydration. Sports drinks and Gatorade are just sugary chemicals in water, they aren’t going to help anymore than water and you don’t need them. If you are going to be out all day exerting yourself you can replenish half way with electrolytes. Here is a great homemade electrolyte drink: Click Here!
Eat a good dinner the night before with a larger portion being complex carbohydrates. Yes! That’s right… carbs! They aren’t evil, actually they are really good for you and excellent sources of long term energy. I could get into all the details of why this is but I don’t want to bore you. I did say this list is brief. Complex carbs are things like whole grains and many types of vegetables. Make your meal 60% carbs, 20% protein and 20% healthy fats. Also, eat a good filling breakfast of carbs, sugars, fats and protein. A great example of this: oatmeal with nuts, dried fruit and brown sugar or honey a small cup of greek yogurt and a glass of OJ and a cup of joe (okay you don’t need the coffee, that’s just me). A bad example: donuts or a fast food breakfast meal. Finally, you will want fast energy snacks through out. My favorite is dried apricots and almonds. A handful every hour or so will do. If you are going all day the same applies for your lunch as your breakfast. Your dinner should be a good recovery meal full of lean protein to help quickly build those muscles up.
3. Clothing and protection from the elements.
Layers are your friend. Good shoes appropriate to what you are doing (river sandals won’t do if you are riding up trails on your mountain bike). Protection from the sun like a hat or sun block. Protection from sudden windchill particularly if you are going to be sweating a lot. Clothes for hot and cold. If you are hiking up a mountain it could be 80 and balmy at the bottom and 50 with wind chill at the top. Take your backpack and research what is appropriate to go in it for your trip. My example is for a trip I am doing soon with my buddies: Biking up the 242 a 7 mile straight climb followed by 3 miles of hills and a final destination of the Dee Wright Observatory. You would need: a helmet, sun screen, good shoes and socks, a wind breaker, a warm jacket, long pants and shorts as well as a few layers for shirts. If you have spiffy biking pants that wick sweat and repel cold and a biking shirt that does the same you are probably set. I wear shorts over my thermals and long socks over that with ankle socks. I can strip what I need if I get hot and add a coat that’s in my back pack if I get cold. Finally I have a rain proof windbreaker for wind and rain. It sounds complicated but it isn’t and you will enjoy your adventure much more with appropriate protection.
4. Appropriate gear.
This could be mixed with #3 but in addition to protective clothing your trip might need equipment. In my case, that is almost always a bike. I love biking! Road biking specifically. I have a nice hybrid bike that I spent a little money but not a fortune on. Good equipment is necessary but top of the line could just be gouging you. You’ll have to do a little research to see what works best for you. In addition to having the gear, take care of it. I cleaned and oiled my chain and gear assembly just yesterday in anticipation of this weekends ride. Clean your hiking shoes, sew up rips in your back pack… respect the gear that helps you to have fun!
5. Know where you are going and when to turn back.
I have this great book called: Central Oregon Cascades, 100 hikes. I also use the app Map My Ride and of course Google maps. However you do it, know where you are going, what is the terrain, how far you are going and an estimate of how long it will take you. Check the weather before you go and always keep an eye on the sky. If dark mean looking clouds are forming don’t wait until you are being stormed and hiding under a tree to realize you should have turned back. If you don’t make it the first time its just another challenge for your next attempt!
It’s a real bummer if you and your buddies make it to the destination of your outdoor adventure and you can’t document it somehow. You gotta have the all important prove it picture, right!? Not to mention many of these places have breath taking beautiful. There is no better wall paper for your laptop than your own splendid photo of majestic mountains.
In a last note. This list of 6 was developed from my own personal experience. I am just a lady who likes to go out and have fun outdoors. I don’t climb Mt. Everest or swim the Amazon. I know what it’s like to run out of water, snacks and to get burned to a crisp because I didn’t wear protection. I would love to save you that pain. It’s not fun. If you ARE a super Amazon swimming mountain climbing bear wrestling adventure person and you have more tips I would love to see them. Kind worded and polite comments are always appreciated. Post them in the comments section if you like. Thanks for reading and have fun being a well prepared adventurer!