Traveling out into the wilderness and just staying there for a couple of weeks (or longer if you can manage it), is one of the most important things that you will ever do in your health. At long last, you can unplug yourself from the rest of civilization and just experience the joy of being.
You’ll soon discover that what really matters in your life is the moment to moment experience of being a part of nature. The quietness can teach you a lot.
Unfortunately, nature isn’t always a kind place to be. It can get unbearably hot or unremittingly cold. And when it does, you need to be prepared. Outside of the Savannas of Africa, naked apes like us don’t manage particularly well without the right kit.
Here’s what you need for survival.
A Rain-Proof Shell
Rain-proofing technology has come on leaps and bounds in recent years. Modern jackets or shells as they’re known in the hiking community, come with tremendous water resistance and breathability.
Most vendors use a proprietary technology called Gore-Tex. It sounds fancy, but it is essentially just a breathable fabric that doesn’t allow moisture to get in but allows water vapor to escape. Most jackets feature the material that will keep you dry in all but the most torrential and long-lasting downpours.
A Water System
If you’re planning on marching through the desert (or any terrain for that matter), you’ll need a hydration pack. These are usually inserted that you place in your backpack with a hose from a water bladder that you can easily access with your mouth. It takes all the hassle out of using a bottle. And it provides you with the additional capacity you need.
A Water-Proof Tent And Pack
Waterproofing technology varies from tent to tent. Cheap models use treated polyester to keep the water out. More expensive versions use silicone-coated nylon which is better at resisting condensation.
The best tents use Dyneema fabric. It’s light, strong, and perfectly waterproof, but it is frighteningly expensive. Expect to pay hundreds of dollars for it.
Any pack or tent you buy needs to be able to keep you dry. If you get damp in cold weather, you’re at risk of hypothermia.
Reinforced Walking Boots
Soldiers in WWI got a condition called trench foot. It occurred when the feet didn’t get a chance to dry out during trench operations.
The same thing, however, can happen while you’re out in the wilderness. If your feet remain wet for more than two or three hours, it provides opportunities for fungal and bacterial infections to start. And that’s usually the end of your expedition.
Reinforced and waterproofed boots help to prevent this kind of thing when hiking in wet or mudding conditions. It’s vital in hot countries as well as cold. Remember, a rainforest is a wet place.
Finally, you’ll need a reliable fire starter. Options include chemical fire starters, flint sticks, and even just a piece of twine for using the wood-boring method.