It is a nice breezy Sunday day in the Spring and it is the perfect time for going on your next outdoor adventure. Whether you are heading out to the woods or your nearby camping spot, one needs to be prepared and equipped with all the necessary tools and equipment required before heading out into the great outdoors.
Essentials For Outdoor Adventure
We have curated a list of what we think are 5 of the most essential tools and gear to take along on any outdoor adventure, whether you are heading out on a mountaineering excursion, or hunkering down at your favorite backcountry camping spot.
Our choice for number one in the list represents its critical nature on any outdoor trip. An ergonomic carry-all, made with quality components, and offering a host of key features is a clear necessity for any outdoor adventure.
Backpacks come in a wide range of styles and sizes, and offer multi-purpose usage and functionality – from commuting to the office to hiking to the top of the loftiest of summits – there is always a demand for a backpack that you can trust. Trendy, rugged, heavy duty and strong, you need a backpack that can be relied on. Backpacks come in all forms and shapes from ranging from old school backpacks, fashionable trendy ones, military-grade emergency/survival backpacks and finally the modern day smart backpacks.
Getting ready for your outdoor experience will mean having a place to put all your gear, and of course, to carry it comfortably. Shoulder bags obviously wouldn’t be the recommended choice due to their storage and space restrictions, and it is critically important to choose a backpack that keeps you comfortable and relaxed, allowing you to channel your focus on your trip and enjoy the journey.
Some of the features that need to be kept in mind when selecting a backpack for your next outing are highlighted below.
Whether you are climbing mountains, or simply wandering the unexplored wilderness in your area, be sure to consider purchasing a backpack that provides waterproofing, and also one that has quality clasps and zippers (such as YKK), so you avoid tears, slipped zippers, and leaks resulting from poor quality components.
Another important factor to consider when purchasing a backpack is the quantity and practicality of all the included zippers, pockets, slots and storage on the inside. This ensures that you can manage and fit all the necessary items for your next outdoor venture. This also ensures great organization, and all your gear is stored properly and is conveniently accessible. Look for things like compartments for water storage on the outside of the backpack, hanging chords for keeping wet towels and other items on the outside of the pack – each of these small additions will make a big difference to your overall experience.
The backpack should have long and wide straps for stability and comfort and should be fully adjustable as required based on preference and weight of the backpack. Many backpacks include adjustable “skeletons” that include aluminum inserts that contour to your back, providing additional support, but remain lightweight.
The backpack you are considering should generally weigh less 2.5 lbs or around 1 KG when empty in order to ensure it does not put a strain on the shoulder. In general, every ounce/gram counts when carrying things on your back, and any additional weight from the pack itself could make you tired and fatigued easily. (which could mean a quick U-Turn back home!)
Backpacks are generally measured in liters, which is a reflection of the amount of internal space inside the pack. For any significant outdoor experience, it is worth considering a pack that is able to carry between 40L – 60L. This is especially important if you plan to spend more time outdoors, or perhaps an overnight excursion. If your intention is for a short day-trip, it would be wise to choose a lighter pack that offers great weatherproofing, while still being able to contain all your needed gear. Keep in mind that whether you choose a pack with substantial amounts of space one with more storage or not, any backpack you choose should be able to accommodate key essentials such as a jacket, blanket, a power bank, some essentials like a blanket, toothbrush, pocket mirror etc.
Modern-day backpacks have an accessory attachment which is somewhat similar to a tube port that accommodates a range of hydration bladder sizes that will quench your thirst on any trekking trip. Such devices offer easy access to water, allowing you to keep moving without having to stop to take out a water bottle or hunt through your pack. These options also often mean you water stays cooler, as it is not exposed to the direct heat of the sun.
Generally speaking, backpacks should be small, compact and easy to carry anywhere, so you can enjoy your outdoor adventure knowing that all your essentials are safe and easily available right there on your back. Some backpacks come with added gadgets like safety whistle, compass, and other great tools that might help you on your trip – these are great additions that often just sweeten the deal!
Your choice of Backpack will depend on a number of factors, such as the duration of your trip, which would determine how large of a backpack you require. In addition, your selection will depend on your body type/size, and your ability to carry different weights. All of those things being said, our selection for a great backpack for a shorter day trip would be The North Face Borealis Backpack. It offers a host of great features and makes the perfect carry-all for anyone on a shorter outdoor adventure, or day-trip.
If you are heading out for a more substantial adventure, or simply need to carry a lot more gear on a day trip. then we think a great consideration is the Mountaintop 40 Liter, which has adjustable straps, padded and mesh back panel for your back comfort, and lots of pockets and compartments for storage. If you are thinking of anything larger than 40L, you should really consider your gear choices, and determine whether you really require a specific item, or whether you could live without it for the duration of your trip. Every liter of space you add to your backpack also means more gear, and more weight to carry. Choose wisely!
Second, on the list is a sleeping bag, and it is a critical component of any outdoor adventure. To ensure you have the most comfortable and successful journey possible, we have outlined a few key points that we think you should take into account when making your selections and final decisions.
Sleeping bags tend to restrict the amount of freedom that one has during the night. Sleeping bags have less room around the legs, so if you are a person who stretches and turns around in sleep, sleeping bags are definitely not an option for you, hence the word “mummy bags” and if you have ‘claustrophobia’ which is a fear of being in confined places.
An important factor to ensure when choosing sleeping bags is insulation. As you are going to be in the wild and temperatures are known to drop well below city limits, this is an important factor to consider to ensure you sleep well (like a baby), if you are still unsure, we recommend you get this jacket, The North Face Thermoball Jacket which has a PrimaLoft technology with synthetic insulation that retains loft and warmth even during chilly nights and the best part, it is lightweight
Length / Width
The last factor to consider, which is quite forgotten at times and might not be relevant to all is to be sure to check the length of the sleeping bag, that only applies if you are tall as sleeping bags tend to be between 5″ to 6″.Some sleeping bags tend to come with hinges which are at shoulder level, which help the bag to expand, give a bit of room while breathing and to wiggle around in your sleep.
Our top pick for the Sleeping bag is the Abco Tech Sleeping Bag which is relatively inexpensive, and is not only designed to keep the cold out, but has a strong rating of 20 degrees Fahrenheit – meaning that it is designed to keep the average sleeper warm even on a chilly night when the weather drops to 20F. Our second pick is the TETON Trailhead sleeping bag which comes with a drawstring hood to keep your head warm, and an interior pocket to keep your valuables safe! Importantly, it includes a full draft tube which keeps the warm air in and helps to keep your body temperature stable. It is also worth mentioning the very practical Zenbivy Sleeping Bag as well, as it provides a great deal of comfortable sleeping space, and can expand on a hot night to give you more air to breathe.
Tent & Shelter
Tents come in a myriad of different sizes and shapes. In fact, there are tents that are as big as some small cabins, so making your choice here really depends on the specific use you have for your temporary abode. As with most outdoor trips, the choice of a tent is usually a practical one and is largely decided on a few key criteria and features that we have outlined below.
Time to Set
Tents can take time setting up, and that can be a disadvantage, not to mention a daunting task for anyone. Putting up the stakes and poles are one thing, but taking them down when leaving can also be an arduous exercise. Tents should take no longer than 10-15minutes to set up as a rule of thumb, so time to set up should be a factor when considering your shelter – consider situations where the weather may be poor – the longer it takes, the longer you will be waiting to be warm and cozy in your tent.
Tents tend to be constrained when it comes to height and usually heights for tents are measured from the highest point; which is from the center. Be sure to keep that in mind when buying a tent that is going to be shared by members of the family. If you want a tent that you can actually stand upright in, then you will need to consider the additional weight this will add. Generally, if you only intend to sleep in the tent, you can have a great weight advantage of choosing lower height tents.
Tents are generally fragile and you need to keep a look for 3 things in terms of strength. Firstly – how does it perform under extreme winds? As an example, Coleman Tents are known to perform extremely well even at winds of 35+ MPH! Secondly when it is windy and winds are blowing quite strong, whether the poles remain sturdy and straight, or whether the wind has the upper hand and causes damage and bents the poles permanently. The Third factor and this might be important in rainy areas, is whether the tent is waterproof and whether water can penetrate and enter the tent through poorly designed zippers or seams.
In conclusion, think of a tent like your own personal space. It respects your privacy, you can sleep as you like (with your mouth open, I do that sometimes!) and you have that much-needed space to empty your backpack and organize all your gear. If you are anything like me, this includes a lot of cameras, cables, power banks and other important pieces of my outdoor experience that need always to be kept dry, and safe from inclement weather, sand, dust, and insects.
In our recommendation, the CORE 9 is one of the perfect tents on the market – it is very spacious on the inside, not only allowing one to sleep comfortably but provides sufficient space to have all your gear and sleeping backs in a de-cluttered and organized format. It can be set up in 60 seconds, and is so big that can it fit 2 Queen size mattresses! It is water-resistant and super easy to put up and take down, meaning you can spend your time doing the things you enjoy (like making some great food!). It also has a room divider to create separate living and sleeping spaces, and can also provide some additional privacy if you are traveling with a friend or colleague, and prefer some additional private space. This specific model doesn’t suffer from ventilation problems as it has lots of windows but that also means that it has thermal limitations, and can get cold in certain late autumn and winter environments – it not an all-season tent. Be sure to check the Coleman Sundome before heading out, as this is also a fantastic option too, and it has been tested to withstand strong winds, keep rain out, and includes a patented system for setting up your tent that ensures your tent is up in a flash.
So, what’s next on the guide?
Being hydrated throughout the course of the journey is very important, as it allows you to go on further, take that next step, or climb that next mile being hydrated gives you an extra boost when you need it!
But there is a downside to it as well, if you drink too much or often you will need to answer the call of nature more often. You can do your part for the environment by using BPA-Free bottles such as Nalgene while simultaneously reducing your exposure to harmful chemicals. This example includes a narrow mouth, so you can drink it sip-by-sip, enjoy it, without the risk of wastage or spilling this essential resource.
In the case of long trips, where water might not be accessible, or importantly clean drinkable water is not available, consider getting a mini-hydration system, that can filter water on the go. Mini-filters are light and tend to have two or three filters, which involves passing the water through a cotton, carbon or foam membrane – alternatively, Hollow Fiber UF Membranes are the most effective. (Most filters on the market tend to use a combination of two or more techniques to clean the water directly from the use)
While purchasing the water filters, be sure to make sure that it can remove bacteria, protozoa and other chemicals. Double check whether it can filter micro-organisms up to 0.2 microns in size.
Our pick is the Etekcity Portable Water Filter Filtration which is not only tested by the FDA and TUV independently, it has 3 layers of filters, passing water first through a pre-filter, followed with a carbon filter and finally a 0.01 Micron Hollow Fiber UF Membrane (yes, 0.01) making it is the necessary tool for any trip, survival or emergency scenario. This great tool can be used in such a way, that you are able to drink directly from the source through a provided add-on, or using a normal threaded water bottle. It can also be attached to a water bladder that is available inside some backpacks. The Sawyer Mini Filtration System is a great second option when compared to the Etekcity model, and should also be considered when browsing your options.
Our unconventional pick for this category also includes Fontus which is a self-filling water bottle out of the air (how is that possible, that’s cool, tell me more). Fontus is a self-filling water bottle that allows you to plan your adventures without having to worry about heavy water loads on your trip. The way that Fontus works is that the device is designed to capture the moisture contented in the air, condense it and store it as safe drinking water. A small fan draws the air from the surrounding environment, runs it through a special filter and presses it into the condensation chambers. A series of small coolers bring the moisture contained in the air to condense on special surfaces. The resultant liquid water then drops into the bottle´s main body and is stored.
Who doesn’t love eating, but when you are outdoors on your camping trip or summiting your next peak, this is a survival necessity that you simply can’t live without.
If you have some meat with you from home or hunted some game, and now want to settle down for a BBQ consider getting the Wolf Grizzly Grill and is the best that we have come across. It is adjustable for any platform and height and includes a fire starter and a carrying case as well. The Muncher is a great and handy tool that also includes a spork (spoon + fork), serrated butter knife, fire starter, and a pry-bar as well – great and handy tools to have when cooking over a fire.
If you can light fires using the caveman’s technique of rubbing sticks stones together, you are certainly an experienced adventurer. If you weren’t trained in this old technique, there are some great modern fire starters to help you along the way. The Survival Spark does the job for you and will have you set up and cooking in no time, and even includes a whistle and a compass to help you along your way.
If you’ve had the energy to pack along some propane containers, then you have a number of options, chief among which is the Optimus Vega stove. It is one of the perfect choices available for your outdoor adventure – small, compact and collapsible, it saves space and does the job efficiently.
You never want to be lost in a forest, or on a climb up a treacherous mountain – in fact, common logic would dictate that you simply never want to be lost! That’s where your navigation comes in. Compasses show the Magnetic North as compared to True North (Read more about the differences here). If you like a simple compass, this one does the job, or you can opt to go for something sophisticated like the North Edge Watch which has functions like a thermometer, altimeter, barometer and a compass among other great features.
If you don’t like old school methods and prefer to have a real GPS, you can either use your phone’s inbuilt GPS and compass (if it has one) or go for Garmin eTrex 30 if heading out on a long journey. Another great option to consider is the Garmin GPSMaps.
If you are going to be spending a night at the campsite or planning to make it a complete 2-3 day trip, consider getting a flashlight. A brightness of a flashlight is measured in lumens and depending on whether you like your neighbors, you can either go for extremely bright one which is 6000-lumens bright, or a decent one which has is 2000 lumen bright.
A convenient option for your tent to have LED Lanterns hanging from the top of your tents and provides brightness and illumination for 12 full hours, this portable LED lantern light bulb is the perfect light source for you.
An extra item to consider getting for your next trip, which isn’t essential by any means, is a drone. When going deep into the forests or climbing mountains, there are so many panoramic views, that you just want to see, or capture with your mobile phone, but your phone simply can not do the trick or re-create that feel, that is when the drone comes in. If you decide to take a drone (which we recommend you do) the magnificent, marvelous scenes that you can capture are truly legendary. We recommend the Ehang GHOSTDRONE 2.0, not only does it shoot video in 4K, it has a 12 MP camera and a 93-degree wide angle field-of-view lens. It also allows you to scan the area without changing the direction of the drone, and its remote control is your mobile phone!
Yes, it has its own proprietary app, through which you can make the drone go up, down and left and right. It has a companion mode, so it follows you as well and returns and lands back to you when its battery or your mobile’s battery becomes low.
It is worth mentioning that you can see the entire thing in VR. That’s why we chose it and that makes it super awesome addition to any outdoor adventure! GhostDrone transmits real-time data directly to the VR Goggles. You can also control the camera by moving your head when wearing the VR Goggles. Look up and the camera moves up, look down and the camera moves down. Combined with the mobile app the VR Goggles provide a fully immersive experience so you can become one with your GhostDrone. The drone has a flying time of 25 mins on a single full charge and you can get a battery extension as well.
Author’s Side Note:
Other items to consider when going out for your adventure trip is taking a first aid kit, you can get a decent one with lots of accessories and consider getting a sunblock when climbing high altitude as the skin would be directly exposed to UV rays. Consider getting a Sunscreen lotion which protects against both UVA and UVB rays (learn about the difference here) and yes don’t forget to pack some food and snacks for the trip and don’t forget clothes, if you plan to stay more than one day.
So, now that you know what the Essentials for Outdoor Adventure, we hope that you leave your comfort zone all prepared knowing, well-informed on how to take-on mother nature and enjoy your next outdoor adventure.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this guide and it should give you some great tips on how to get you to get organized for your next trip, and let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and check out our other great articles and guides here and subscribe to our newsletter as well for more content and updates.