Absolutely Essential Items for your Day-PackAugust 13, 2018
-Words by Arizton Pamplona from VentureSeekr-
Essential adventure day-pack gear checklist from VentureSeekr
A day away from the city is a sure-fire way to help clear your mental clutter. But even for short weekend excursions, it’s easy to jump ahead and over-stuff your backpack. Unless you’re preparing for a long-term survival situation, it’s best to pack light for day hikes and other short adventures. Here are some useful tips and items to remember when you're packing for your next day-trip.
Before the adventure
When planning an adventure, you want to choose locations and activities suitable both for you and anyone tagging along. This is true for a local nature walk, an intense trek through the Inca Trail in South America, and anything in between. Take some time to find the right adventure for you so that you pack the right gear in your backpack.
Another important tip is to tell people about your plans and destination before you tackle the outdoors. Most remote locations don't have reliable internet or cell signal, and this is equally true for a lot of local adventure spots as well. Making your plans known may make a huge difference in getting yourself back home in the event of sudden bad weather or injury.
Each adventure calls for different gear: hiking shoes are usually your best bet on most trail walks, but it's a good idea to carry flip flops on your day hike if you plan to do any swimming. Responsible adventurers should pack light but smart – your backpack should have all you need for a great outdoor experience while also helping you get back home safely. Prep-time can make or break an adventure. Be sure to start your day with enough rest, a healthy meal, the right clothing and shoes such as hiking boots, and a well put together day-pack.
Size and weight is key when putting your packing list together. Make sure you carry travel sized items such as toilet paper and hand sanitizer in your travel backpack and pockets. Your day bag is as important as its contents, make sure you have something suitable for all your adventures.
- Stay Hydrated – Whether in rain, snow, or shine, it’s important to bring enough water on your day-trip. The Mayo Clinic recommends 3 to 4 liters of water on a normal day. But this depends on the amount of sweating (and perhaps crying) you do on your adventure. More and more adventurers are carrying compact water filters/sterilizers that allow outdoor refills as well. With so many options, be sure to pack at least a water bottle, hydration bladder, or water bag in your day pack to ensure you have enough to drink.
- Stay Nourished – What's a trail without trail mix? Light and energy-dense food is a good way to keep you going throughout your outdoor excursion. Pack food high in calories and macro-nutrients: consider nuts, dried fruits and vegetables, or dried meats for your day-trip. These snacks are not only easy to pack but also easy to share with fellow adventurers (and also easy to hide if you aren’t the sharing type).
- Stay on Track – Expert adventurers are thought to be able to get around using the sun, the stars, and mossy rocks. Consider going old-school for your shorter expeditions and pack a physical map or compass in case of spotty cell signal. Some adventurers also carry a separate GPS relying on satellite signals to be extra safe. No matter your gear for getting around, be alert and familiar with your surroundings. Research routes before heading out and stick to clearly labeled areas on trail.
- Stay Connected – Even if you seek mobile-free meditation, you might want to eventually share post-adventure pictures or videos. The old adage of “take only photos, leave only foot prints” is as true as ever. Nowadays, compactness and increasingly powerful lenses make smartphones the modern adventurist’s camera of choice. Just make sure that your phone is protected from anything nature throws at it. A protective and durable case should definitely be on any adventurer’s list.
- Stay Ready – Even within a short time frame, your adventure may not go completely according to plan. There are many factors that can change the outcome of your outdoor experience. sure to pack warm and water-resistant clothing just in case of sudden temperature drops or heavy rain. You can also consider a small tent or sleeping bags in case you need to set up camp for an extra night. A small first-aid kit and multi-tool are useful in facing unexpected injuries and obstacles. Pack travel sized sunscreen, ointment, and insect repellent to protect from bites and burns. A small flashlight or headlamp can be put to good use for more dimly-lit adventures. Always remember that compact is key.
If for any reason your adventure unexpectedly lasts longer than a day, it’s especially important to Stay Calm – a clear head + a well-packed bag with the right gear can make a lot of difference in your journey back home.