If you are like me, you love getting out in the wilderness. When it is time for recreational activities, I cannot stand to sit in the house watching TV or making casual small talk. Getting out in the wilderness is good for the body, and even better for the soul. The spirit of the wild is not just an idea, but a tangible presence that can be felt once you remove yourself from the grasp of modern civilization.
Nevertheless, you still need to plan appropriately for a wilderness outing. Like your ancient ancestors, you must carry everything you need on your back for as long as you are out there, so don’t neglect to put a lot of thought and effort into this process. You will need to concentrate on meeting the basic needs of survival, which are shelter, water, warmth (if necessary), and food, in that order.
Top Survival Priorities
Priority one needs to be the erection of an adequate shelter. If you are only staying for a single day, this is not a concern. Of course, it wouldn’t be much of a camping trip if you didn’t stay at least one night. A tent will usually be sufficient, but if you want to test your skills, you can try improvising many types of shelter from the materials around you. The next priority is water. Again, for very short trips you can just bring your own water supply, but for an extended trip, you will need to acquire your water from the land. Warmth is critically important, but only if it is cold outside. Obviously, warm climates and summer weather negate the need for a campfire or other source of heat. Food comes in last on the list of priorities because it takes several weeks for a person to starve to death.
The Importance Of Clothing
However, all of these considerations are relatively obvious. One thing that people do not always think enough about is the need to dress appropriately for the wild. Don’t just throw on some clothes without thinking about it, because you will be stuck with those clothes for a while. As such, you need to consider your environment and the conditions that you will be dealing with.
First, you must consider the temperature. If it is a hot environment, like the beach, you don’t necessarily want to wear shorts. If you are trekking through an area with tall grass, dense woods, thorns, stinging nettles, or poisonous insects, you would do well to cover your legs. I would suggest baggy pants made of a thin, breathable fabric. While a jacket is unnecessary, you may want to bring gloves just in case you need to protect your hands. The general rule for hot weather is to keep it light and keep it loose.
For cold weather, you should dress in layers. If the cold is extreme enough, you may need up to three layers. Wearing more than three layers is a bad idea because it will constrict your movement. Dressing in layers will create extra pockets of air and space in which heat can remain trapped for long periods of time. It is very important to remove a layer if you begin to sweat. Sweating can be very bad if you are dealing with sub-zero weather, for the same reason that getting wet can be very bad.
The Importance Of Proper Footwear
Of course, no article about the outdoors should forget to mention the importance of proper footwear. This, I believe, is an area where you cannot afford to make a mistake. Don’t wear your old ratty tennis shoes or a flimsy pair of sandals. A shoe malfunction in the middle of the woods can really be a pain. If your trip involves climbing or walking on treacherous ground, you will definitely have a problem. I recommend boots for most situations because of their superior ankle support and foot protection.
Make sure your shoes or boots are waterproof. You can buy waterproof work boots for men and women from many shoe suppliers. Boots designed as “work boots” tend to be more rugged than any other kind, in my experience. They may be a little more expensive than those cheap hiking boots at your local discount store, but they are well worth the money for their superior lifespan.