In our younger years, we thrive in social scenarios. We all have photo albums of teen outings with friends and family, drunken spring breaks in college and boozy vacations with friends. As we get older, however, our tastes change and mature. The call of the wild nights no longer appeals to us. Instead we hear a different call of the wild. We yearn for quiet, solitude and some good old fashioned alone time with mother nature. There are many good reasons for this. We’re hardwired to gain gratification from spending time outdoors which is why access to open air, trees and plants and animals are such a tonic for your mental health. It’s a proven fact that people who live close to trees and green spaces have better mental health and suffer less from obesity. Spending some time alone with nature on a solo camping trip or even on a long hike is a humbling and profoundly meditative experience (as well as great exercise) which can lend us a greater understanding of ourselves and the world around us.
Whenever we’re a guest of the natural world, however, it behoves us to take precautions. Unless you take some essentials with you, a refreshing and edifying experience can become at best an incredible inconvenience and at worst a tragedy. Here are some essentials that will make your sojourn in nature’s bounty a pleasure rather than a pain…
The right footwear
Sounds like a no-brainer, but you wouldn’t believe the amount of people who attempt long hikes in sneakers. Not only are you likely to get your expensive shoes very wet and / or muddy, you are courting danger if you don’t start your journey in the correct footwear. Aside from protecting your vulnerable feet from the elements they will also help to prevent any slip trips or falls which could make your trip take a turn for the worst.
Map / compass and GPS
Because nobody wants you to get lost.
A good pair of binoculars
A pair of good binoculars is essential for a number of reasons so it’s important to take the time to find the right pair for you. You should choose a pair based not only on magnifying power but their field of view and rugged casing should your binoculars take a tumble. A good pair of binoculars can help you to plan your route and watch out for any potential impediments to your journey which could otherwise set you back by hours. Of course, they also offer an opportunity to view local birds and animals from a respectful distance.
Rations and lots of water
Even if you don’t feel thirsty on your trip, it’s vital that you drink plenty of water. Without adequate hydration your muscles may cramp or not perform as expected, increasing your chances of injury while keeping plenty of food with you will help you to maintain energy and morale.
Multi purpose tool
A Swiss army knife or other multi purpose tool is a great way to remove the obstacles nature may throw your way just for fun. It can help you to cut intruding branches or remove painful splinters.
Finally, it’s vital that you dress in layers so that you’re covered in the event of rain or shine… And remember that when you travel in nature, leave only footsteps and take only memories!