Preparing for a Successful Adventure

Most Bucket Lists are filled with adventure.

Rock climbing, hiking mountains, and running marathons are all common goals. And while these goals will make your list sexy, actually doing them can be intimidating. Often these kinds of goals require us to step outside of our comfort zones, and push the boundaries of what we thought possible, both physically and mentally. But don’t despair! Whether your adventure is climbing Mount Rainier in the dead of winter or backpacking across Southeast Asia, these tips will help make your journey a succesful one.

Get educated. There’s nothing worse than being ill-prepared. Trust me, I’ve found myself in some pretty bad situations. Nature is indifferent to your joy, comfort, distress, and pain. It’s critical that you plan accordingly. The first step of any successful adventure is research. You need to know what to expect. Study maps of the areas where you’ll be traveling, read blogs from others who’ve done what you’re planning to do, and find a good book on the subject (and read the reviews of the book on Amazon, they’re always filled with excellent advice and information.)

Have the right gear. When you’re buying gear, you’ll have to make trade-offs. Many of the questions you have to ask yourself (and answer) will depend on your personal preferences. Is comfort more important than weight? Is the added cost of something worth the extra features? Knowing the limitations of your gear and whether it’s suitable for the elements you might encounter are also things you’ll need to consider. Again, do your research.

Click here for a printable Backpacking Checklist from REI

Know your gear. Don’t wait until you’re on the trail just moments before sunset to figure out how to set up your tent. Spend a weekend doing a trial run at a state park to familiarize yourself with how to properly use all of your gear. Read the product information to learn how to troubleshoot in case you encounter problems on the trail.

Travel light. Less is more. Don’t bring a bunch of shit things you don’t need and won’t use. Going on an adventure is a chance to leave it all behind. The less you have to carry, the better your experience will be. Don’t drag it all with you. Leave everything but the essentials at home. You don’t need 60 pounds of gear.

Know your limits. And the limitations of everyone in your party. Don’t overestimate your ability, and be sure to condition yourself before striking out on the trail. When you’re training, do your best to simulate the types of environments and scenarios you could find yourself in so you know what to expect. Load up your pack with everything you plan to take and go for a hike…a long hike. Can you hack it? Adjust accordingly.

What adventures do you have planned for the summer? How are you preparing? Do you have any advice for others who are just starting out?

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