What is Essential Outdoor Activities Equipment?

What Outdoor Activities Equipment Do I Need To Take?

There are nine main groups of Outdoor Activities Equipment, we’ll break them down into more detail, but here they are in general:

  • Shelter
  • Bedding
  • Cooking and Eating
  • Clothing
  • Personal Hygiene
  • First Aid
  • Navigation
  • Backpacks
  • General Comfort/Everything Else

How you choose to do your adventure is totally down to the individual and can range from Minimalist almost Survivalist packing to Inspector Gadget and taking the kitchen sink. Your choice will probably be based on your experience of the outdoors, and your tolerance to discomfort. Always remember though, the more Outdoor Activities Equipment you take, the more you will have to carry. So some sort of trade off between weight/amount of kit and, what you could do without has to be considered.

Is Shelter Considered Essential Outdoor Activities Equipment?

Equipment for outdoor adventures - a ridge tent

Generally Shelter Equipment for Outdoor Adventures will be in Tents. However there are also other forms of shelter that can be used such as: Bivouacs, Survival Shelters, Caves, Gazebos, Hostels and Bivvy Bags to name a few, however we’ll look at the most common, which is Tents.

Tents come in all shapes and sizes, and some are far more suitable than others, here are some of the most common types.

  1. Ridge Tent
  2. Dome Tent
  3. Pop Up Tent
  4. Geodesic Tent
  5. Inflatable Tent
  6. House Tent
  7. Tunnel Tent
  8. Tepee
  9. Pod Tent
  10. Trailer Tent

In our experience and on our expeditions we have found that Ridge, Dome and Geodesic Tents are the most suitable shelter equipment for outdoor adventures – , because of their light weight and ability to be packed small for transport/carrying. For any adventure with Hiking, Pop Up Tents are totally unsuitable as they generally fold into a large disk that can’t be packed away or easily carried. We will look at Tents in far more detail in future articles.

Is Bedding Considered Essential Outdoor Activities Equipment?

Sleeping Equipment for Outdoor Adventures can be further broken down into 2 groups:

  1. Something to sleep in.
  2. Something to sleep on.

Outdoor Activities Equipment – Something to sleep in
In the majority of cases it will be a Sleeping Bag, but again it could be a Survival Bag, a Blanket, a Quilt, a Bivvy Bag or just some warm comfortable clothes, depending on your chosen type of adventure.

Sleeping Bags

Mummy Sleeping Bag

There are 3 main types of Sleeping Bag:

  1. A Winter or Expedition Sleeping Bag. Rated from 0 to around -30 degrees C.
  2. A 3 Seasons Sleeping Bag. Rated from 5 to 15 degrees C.
  3. A Lightweight Sleeping Bag. Rated from 15 degrees C and upwards.

Sleeping Bags normally come in 2 styles:

  1. A Mummy Style.
  2. Envelope Style.

You should choose wisely as you need to pick a suitable and versatile Sleeping Bag for the conditions you are going to camp in. Generally we take a 3 Seasons Envelope Style Sleeping Bag on our expeditions.

Outdoor Activities Equipment – Something to sleep on
This will be some form of Sleeping Mat or nothing at all. There are 3 main groups of Sleeping Mat:

  1. Solid
  2. Inflatable
  3. Self-inflating

Each of these types have their Pro’s and Con’s:

Solid Sleeping Mats are generally like a Yoga Mat that can be rolled up and packed on to the outside of a backpack. They offer limited comfort benefits and some thermal insulation from the ground, however they are lightweight and inexpensive.

Inflatable Sleeping Mats are a step forward in technology. They offer improved comfort, improved thermal insulation, they are extremely lightweight and can be packed into a very small space, but they are fairly expensive, can be punctured fairly easily if the instructions are not followed, and require the user to either take a pump or blow them up manually.

Self-inflating Sleeping Mats have evolved to take into account the drawbacks and advantages of the other 2 types. They obviously Self-inflate, they are extremely comfortable to sleep on being filled with foam and air, they pack away to the same size as the Yoga Mat types, they are stronger and more durable than inflatable mats and they only weigh around 1kg.

Since first sleeping on a Self-inflating Sleeping Mat, I now use nothing else. I only wish I’d had them 20 years earlier! We are now working with a team on a design for our own Self-inflating, foam filled Sleeping Mat, and we are really excited about the project. Watch this space for more news!

Which Cooking Items are Essential Outdoor Activities Equipment?

Cooking equipment for outdoor adventures can be broken down into 3 types:

  1. Cookers
  2. Cookware
  3. Utensils

Cookers come in 3 distinct types:

  1. Canister Fuel – These easy-to-use, low-maintenance stoves typically screw onto the threaded tops of self-sealing fuel canisters that contain one of, or a mixture of two pressurised gases: butane and/or propane.
  2. Multi/Liquid Fuel – These cookers are capable of running on a variety of liquid fuel sources such as Petrol, Naphtha, Kerosene amongst others, normally stored in a Sigg bottle or similar container.
  3. Alternative Fuel – This growing category of cookers run on such fuels as pellets or wood.

Cookware is generally chosen for it’s versatility and materials. Having a pot that doubles as a bowl or mug cuts down on the amount of items that have to be carried, and washed up! Having lightweight cookware is also a big bonus, after all no one wants to carry a cast iron pan set around all day while hiking. Lightweight materials such as Titanium are ideal for keeping weight down and are extremely hard-wearing.

Utensils are also chosen for their versatility and materials, and many utensils can have multiple uses such as a 3 in 1 Spork (Knife, Fork and Spoon), or a shallow large spoon that can be used as a Spatula or a Spoon for stirring in the pot whilst cooking, or eating with.

What Clothes are Essential Outdoor Activities Equipment?

Whether you’re hiking for two nights over the weekend or two months on an expedition, you’ll need basically the same fundamental pieces of clothing for layering, with variations depending on the climate or environmental conditions you’re going to be encountering.

The features of your garments will be key to a successful trip. Something that is lightweight, dries quickly and is versatile is what is needed. There are lots of hi tech modern materials about which make Camping and Hiking trips far more bearable than they were 20 years ago.

Clothing can be broken down into several types or layers:

  1. Base Layer – Underwear – needs to be lightweight and quick drying as well as multi functional. 2-3 sets that can be swapped out, washed and re-worn is ideal.
  2. Mid Layers – T Shirts, Long Sleeved T Shirts and Lightweight Shorts and Yoga Pants.
  3. Outer Layers – Puffer Jackets, Soft Cell Jackets and Fleeces, in case the weather changes for the worse.
  4. Rain/Storm Wear – Waterproof and Breathable are a must, there is no point in keeping dry from the rain only to be soaked with condensation caused by non-breathable fabrics.
  5. Boots/Walking Shoes – This is one area that is of real importance. It in itself is a massive subject, but in general, something robust, lightweight, with ankle support and breathable will suffice.
  6. Accessories – Hats, Gloves, Gaiters and Sunglasses can all be a comfort and make a tough hike more bearable.

What Outdoor Activities Equipment is needed for Hygiene?

Stay clean and stay healthy! Normally Camping and Hiking are physically demanding, so you are going to be sweating and getting dirty. A basic Hygiene kit is a must. It should contain at least:

  1. Toothbrush and toothpaste.
  2. Soap or a washing/shower gel.
  3. Towel, preferably microfibre.
  4. Toilet Paper, Tissues or Wet Wipes.
  5. Chapstick or Vaseline.
  6. Deodorant.
  7. Small Mirror (Metal or Plastic).

You must practice good hygiene if you want to stay healthy whilst camping and hiking. Poor personal hygiene leads to poor health and poor performance.

What Outdoor Activities Equipment is needed for First Aid?

The importance of First Aid cannot be overstated whilst in the outdoors. Not only should you learn and practice First Aid, but you should always carry a Personal First Aid Kit as an essential piece of Equipment for Outdoor Adventures. You never know when it might be needed.

A Personal First Aid Kit should include, at least:

  1. Sterile wipes and rinse solutions
  2. Pain and anti-inflammatory medicine
  3. Hydro-cortisone cream
  4. Tweezers, scissors, safety pins, and knife
  5. Sunburn relief spray or cream
  6. Anti-diarrhoea medicine
  7. Antihistamine for allergic reactions
  8. Eye drops
  9. Antibiotic ointment
  10. Hand sanitiser
  11. Adhesive bandages of various sizes
  12. Butterfly stitches
  13. Gauze pads of various sizes or gauze roll
  14. Antiseptic creams and ointments

What kind of accidents should we anticipate while camping? Well, there are always cuts, scrapes, and scratches. We’re playing outdoors now, and common camping tasks can be hazardous. Hiking through bushes, thorns, or cooking outdoors or around campfires; and exposing ourselves to the elements and insects are just some examples of the outdoor activities that might just require our attention. Be prepared and know what to do in an emergency.

What Outdoor Activities Equipment is needed for Navigation?

Generally a Map and a Compass, and a way to keep your map dry are all you need. However things have moved on and you can now add Altimeters, GPS Devices and Trackers to that list. However, whenever we go out we stick to the trusted Map and Compass.

Other Essential Outdoor Activities Equipment – Backpacks

Backpacks come in all shapes, styles, sizes and materials. So we’ll make this brief. If you are Camping you are going to need a minimum of a 50 litre backpack, preferably without a frame to save weight. If you take too small a backpack you won’t fit everything in and will have things hanging from the outside looking like a Christmas Tree, and if you take too large a backpack you will feel the urge to fill it and will probably end up carrying too much weight. 50 to 75 litres is ideal. If you are Hiking you can get away with 25-30 litre backpacks as you generally won’t take a tent and cooking gear.

What Non-Essential Outdoor Activities Equipment should I take?

General equipment covers everything else not covered so far, such as the small luxuries like pillows, lanterns, bluetooth speakers, headphones, phone chargers, walking poles, portable showers, solar chargers, flasks, torches, hand warmers, rucksack covers, playing cards, cool boxes and many more items that are non-essential but can make the camping experience more bearable.

This list is far from exhaustive, and I’m sure I have left something important out, as I usually do when packing! If you have anything you would add, please let me know in the comments section and I will ad it if I feel it is relevant.

Thanks for reading, and stay in touch.

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