Updated: Apr 30, 2021
I always advise when I’m going on an adventure into the wilderness with someone that prevention is better than cure - that means they stay comfortable and safe! This can be done in several ways. I am going to go through a few key things to help you on your way whether you come with me or go on your own!
Short Version of this Blog...
When we are warm we are happy campers! I always advise on an adventure with me into the wilderness is to first stay warm and dry. So under skin layers are a must, thick socks and a warm waterproof jacket and a good belt to keep the pants up and support the waist in the steep ground. A nice woolly hat is another good idea to have in your backpack. Bring a spare of everything, socks etc, My biggest must on a day out is a good pair of hiking boots for grip and support in the amazing locations I want to show you. Small things like sun cream, sunglasses and a neck buff etc will make you more comfortable so take these along with you too. Food and water and a hot drink is a must, ideally a flask of nice warm tea, two fresh sambos, two bars of chocolate, plenty of fruit and a bag of sweets to keep your energy high. Of course, another must is at least 2 litres of water. Your phone is very important it should be fully charged not only for safety but to take some unforgettable pictures of what I am about to show you in the great outdoors.
Full Version for More Detailed Information...
1 First things first, get up nice and early and get a good breakfast. I love a nice bowl of warm porridge with some sliced banana on top & a nice cup of tea to wash it down. I always head off at about 7 am because I like to get up the mountains before sunrise to chase the sun before it rises above the mountain. Witnessing wildlife, nature and the smell of pollen from the wildflowers in the early hours of the morning is unreal if you want to see them at their very best. The sky changes its colours so frequently early in the morning, it’s something unforgettable to the human eye.
2 Check the weather forecast! so you always have a good idea of what the weather will be like and how it will affect the terrain you will be crossing. I recommend checking out the “Met Eireann Weather Ireland” app for the most reliable weather. The App can be downloaded from any app store or play store if you are using a mobile phone. If using a PC or laptop visit www.met.ie. This app/website allows you to view an hourly update on the wind direction/rainfall and mist fall which is so important before hitting the hills
3 You don’t need to ever be in pain! Wearing the right gear can mean you are not physically or mentally in discomfort or pain. Not everything in the outdoor shop that looks well is suitable and functional in the outdoors. Over the years I have tried and tested and with some trial and error, these are my recommendations. The right gear usually has a Gore-Tex lining, this material is fully waterproof and lightweight which allows you to be extremely comfortable on long-distance adventures. You do not want a material that will allow you to sweat easily for example oil skin material.
4 Keep warm, dry and cosy! When we are warm we are happy campers so a nice warm woolly hat (preferably insulated and waterproof) in your backpack is also a great idea and a spare of everything material (socks, gloves, fleeces, hat) Under skin layers is a must, wear at least 3 layers. You can always take them off and put them in your bag or bring an extra one with you just in case. I recommend the brands
1. Underarmour for your under layers
2. Karrimor for hiking trousers
3. Simms or Regatta for a good hiking/adventure jacket either
4. The North Face for your woolly hat and don’t forget to bring along with you a Buff from any brand.
5 Keep it light. It's all about bringing only what you need in a pack that is light enough to carry and won’t strain you or hold you back. You want your gear to be light, functional, simple, easy to wash, durable and not too expensive. Simpler means as few zips, compartments, straps and buttons as possible. There is some great lightweight equipment that can do all these things and be both safe and comfortable. I recommend the brand Osprey for a good hiking bag along with a minimum 2-litre Bladder. A Bladder is a must when hiking as it saves having to carry a bottle up the mountains and allows you to take a drink of water without stopping or unzipping any bag.
6 Your feet are so important, look after them! My biggest must-have on a day out is a good pair of hiking boots for grip and support so I can bring you to the crazy locations I want to show you. I recommend Salewa or Lowa boots and Gore-tex (GTX) and Smartwool light socks for warm days and short easy trails. I always wear light socks.
7 Break in your boots. I recommend the best place to break your boots in is when you are in the outdoors on a maximum 2-hour hike to test them out. After your first hike with your new boots expect your feet to get sore, that is normal until they soften up a bit and mould to your feet. Make sure your laces are tied properly especially around the ankle location. Naturally, dry your boots slowly after a hike so they keep their shape and comfort. Never dry out on a radiator or I will dry out your boot and harden it.
8 A good jacket is King! A warm waterproof jacket with a hood and neck. The jacket I usually wear is Simms or Regatta because they are made from light material, is 100% waterproof and have a comfortable hood that will not cover your eyes (can be a hazard), preferably with a peak, if you can get it. Velcro cuffs are a must with a YKK waterproof zip.
9 A strong wide leather belt to keep your pants up and support your waist in the steep ground. My father always swore by a 50 mm leather belt to support the lower back and to keep you warm because the leather gives off heat in cold conditions, similar to how a horse saddle heats up.
10 Small things can make all the difference! like sun cream, sunglasses, and a neck buff to cover your mouth, neck and ears. These essentials are small but can be the difference between you being miserable and ruining your trip or you being comfortable. I always bring a neck buff with me because it is light and even on warm days it can get cold and windy on a high trail.
11 Take food and water! A hot drink is a must, ideally a flask of nice warm tea, two fresh sambos, two bars of chocolate, plenty of fruit and a bag of sweets to keep the energy levels high. I recommend you also bring at least 2 litres of water. Again I recommend having a Bladder so your water is easily accessible at any time.
12 Having a fully charged phone is very important for a priority which is safety. Remember safety is the number one priority so always be careful in the outdoors, make sure someone knows, call mountain rescue 112 if you get into any difficulty. It is also important if you want to take some unforgettable pictures of what I am about to show you in the great outdoors. I use Huawei P30 Pro, this phone has 3 lenses that come into one to take some of the best shots.
13 What do I need to be careful about? The biggest risks to anybody going into the outdoors is getting lost, getting dehydrated, exhausted or suffer from heat exhaustion. We can slip up at any time! Nobody is safe from a trip or fall on a trail – not even the experts! Never cross a river for a short cut, you never know how deep it is or if there is an underlying current. I will cover this section better in a separate blog.
Last but not least live in the moment when you are out there so you can revisit and think about your amazing adventure at work behind the desk or steering wheel.