If one of your friends knocked on your door right now and said “Lets go on an adventure – you’ve got 1 minute to get ready” could you do it?
No one likes waiting around for people faffing about when you are trying to get out the door for an adventure, nor do they like being out with you and listening to you complaining that you have forgotten something.
There is just one thing for it – to be prepared for an adventure at all times!
So what’s the recipe for a good adventure kit? What is in your bag?
Now if you ask a lady to show you the contents of her handbag, you will probably be met with a horrified response. My poor friend Naomi can vouch for this…
We were in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds staying at my friend Justine’s bach. We somehow ended up playing a silly game on the iPhone which involved doing such things like brushing someone else’s teeth, gift wrapping each other, drawing faces in people’s tummy’s and other random things, which all become hysterically funny if you combine the game with alcohol as well.
Poor Naomi drew the short straw on one of the challenges and had to empty the contents of her handbag on to the table for us all to inspect. This was absolutely hilarious for us, and quite stressful for Naomi.
What was apparent was how prepared Naomi was for many situations. Her bag was like a tardis and I think she could have easily survived in the wilderness with the contents of that handbag for at least a week – and she would even have a clean pair of knickers for when she got rescued!
I am not a naturally organised person. I was married to someone who was super organised and also have a very organised friend called Nic. This meant that I could be on holiday with those two and simply peel myself out of bed and head off for an adventure, not even having to think about bringing anything. Nic would produce cheese & crackers, blankets, wine glasses, nail files, and magazines. When our kids were born, Nic would even pack snacks for Seth.
We never fully appreciated just how organised Nic was until one year when she didn’t come on our holiday. My friend Justine and I found ourselves on a remote beach on a beautiful lake watching our friends waterski past which was lovely. Until we realised we had nothing to sit on, no magazines, a bottle of wine with no glasses, no corkscrew and a broken nail with no nail file. It just wasn’t the same.
A few years later, newly single, I took my son Seth camping for the weekend. When we came to put up the tent I didn’t have a hammer to bang the tent pegs in with, no dustpan & brush to sweep the sand out of the tent, no pump for the air bed, and no matches to light the BBQ.
It was then that I realised I was going to have to become more organised! Now, with a bit of practice I’ve become the one that people bring along on trips because they know that I will have all the bits that they might need when out adventuring. I have got a pack that is full of all the essential stuff and ready to go at a moment’s notice.
So – what’s in the kit!?
Firstly you are going to need a decent pack. Not too big and not too small. I’ve got a camelback pack, with three large pockets and some smaller internal ones. Having a backpack is great for getting on and off boats when you need both hands, and you can sit in the dinghy with it on your back and it doesn’t get wet in the puddle on the floor.
Inside the camelback, I have got a drybag. I put all the bits in here that don’t like getting wet. Having one that is about the size of your laptop is handy if you plan on making dinghy trips with it on board.
All adventurers need to stay hydrated! So include a water bottle – handy to have pockets on the side of the pack so you don’t have to unzip every time, or if you get the camelback pack, simply fill up the water bladder and sip away until your heart is content (or until you run out of water).
Take a method of communication with you. It could be your handheld VHF radio if you are going out in the boat, your mobile phone, or even a PLB if you are heading somewhere remote where phone coverage could be a problem.
Of course if you have got your phone then you will also be able to use it for maps and navigation, and for taking photos of your adventures and putting them on Facebook to make all your friends who aren’t on your adventure jealous. You could also pack your GoPro and make a cool video as well.
I also have my 12 volt phone charger in my pack, so I can charge up while I’m in a car on my way to the adventure!
Here in New Zealand, you can get four seasons of weather in one day, so no adventurer heads off without a jacket. A lightweight, waterproof jacket can easily be rolled up tight and put in the bottom of the bag. For this same reason you will also need sunglasses and a cap for when the weather changes again a few minutes later.
A headlamp torch. You never know what time you are going to get home, so a decent torch is super handy to have, particularly if you are going to have a night time trip in the dinghy as well. I love my LED Lenser headlamp. It is small and light, rechargeable, waterproof, super bright and also has a red light mode to preserve your night vision. I have also just stumbled upon these super cool Luci lights. They are solar powered inflatable lanterns and give of either coloured or white light. You can just clip them on to your pack to charge up as you walk along.
I’ve got a zip lock bag with plasters, pain killers, seasickness medication, and antihistamines etc, along with a packet of baby wipes. If you fall over and cut yourself, at least you have a way of cleaning and covering a wound, blister or sting, and treating the pain as well. Add some insect repellent and sunscreen and I have also got a packet of tissues, and a roll of toilet paper, and an emergency silvery blanket.
If you are worried you are going to get caught short, or have to deal with grubby public toilets, then girls might like to pack a shewee!
Every good boy or girl scout will always have their pocket knife in their pack, and some matches, because, well you just never know when you might want to light a fire or cut up some cheese or open a bottle of beer.
Take some money, cash and a credit card, and some ID – a drivers license or copy of your passport perhaps. I have also got a pen, some notepaper, and some boat business cards to dish out of we meet anyone interesting along the way. I have also got my name tag on my pack, so that if it did happen to get lost or stolen, then I’ve automatically increased the likelihood of getting it returned.
Some snacks are handy to have – a couple of muesli bars perhaps to tide you or the kids over. Seth loses his sense of humour very quickly when he gets hungry…
So there are your standard, ready to roll adventure kit ingredients. From here you can branch out to different things depending on the type of adventure you are on. For example if you are off to the beach you might want to add a magazine or good book and a turkish towel – these are thin so they dry quickly, and don’t take up much space in your bag.
If you are off to the supermarket then you might want to add your reusable shopping bags.
If you are Andrew, you will also add things like small rolls of line that you can knit up in to practically anything, like a washing line, a tow rope, a hammock, a new halyard or a lasso.
What is in your essential day trip adventure kit?