Planning ahead for your general needs when preparing for your outdoor adventure can make the trip safer and much more comfortable. Your advance preparation will give you the ability to adjust and deal with different weather extremes like rain, sun, cold, heat, etc. and could turn a miserable situation into a fun, enjoyable one. We say to prepare for the worst and then hope for the best!
Fabrics, Fibers and Such
- COTTON is a comfortable material when it is dry. However, it loses its insulating ability when wet and dries slowly. Cotton will not wick moisture away from your body but will instead retain body moisture. If cotton gets wet and cold, it will make you colder than if you were wearing nothing at all!
- WOOL is a good insulator when dry and retains some of its insulating ability when wet. It dries more quickly than cotton. It comes in a variety of weights and thickness. Some wool is rough or scratchy and uncomfortable when worn next to the skin.
- SYNTHETICS such as polypropylene and capilene are designed to wick moisture away from the body. They retain insulating ability when wet, do not absorb moisture away easily and dry quickly. These fabrics are soft but sometimes retain odors.
- PILE or FLEECE is soft, breathable, and very comfortable. It does not absorb moisture easily. When wet it retains much of its ability to insulate. It comes in a variety of thickness, is lightweight and packs well.
- DOWN is a warm, lightweight insulator which compresses well for packing into small spaces. It readily absorbs moisture and loses all of its insulating properties when wet.
Wearing layers of clothing is the easiest way to remain comfortable in the outdoors and adjust to varying levels of activity and weather conditions. Having several thin layers available are better than one thick layer so you can easily adjust how much you are wearing as you heat up or cool down.
The first or UNDERWEAR layer provides a thin, comfortable layer of insulation. For low activity levels and dry weather conditions, cotton, silk, or wool may be acceptable. For higher activity levels or in damp weather, one of the synthetics designed to wick moisture away from the body will serve better.
The second or INSULATING layers may be wool, pile, or down. The thickness and type of insulator will vary with weather conditions and level of activity.
The final layer or SHELL is a windproof and/or waterproof layer.
Recommended Clothing Checklist for Sunny Summer Days
_____ T-Shirts/long-sleeved shirts
_____ Shorts/swimsuit (towel)
_____ Lightweight long pants (cotton, polyester or wool)
_____ Sun hat with brim
_____ Appropriate footgear (boots, river shoes, cycling shoes, etc.)
_____ Camp shoes (lightweight tennis shoes)
Since there are few "perfect" days, it is best to be prepared for those that are less than perfect. In the wilderness you can use only what you have with you, so take it with you in case of bad weather or unexpected emergencies!
Clothing for Wet and/or Cold Conditions
_____ Polypropylene or wool long underwear (top and bottom)
_____ Lightweight long sleeved shirt (cotton or wool)
_____ Wool or pile jacket or sweater
_____ Wool or pile pants
_____ Rain jacket and pants
_____ Wool, pile, or polypropylene hat
_____ Wool, pile, or polypropylene gloves or mittens
_____ Wool or polypropylene socks
Recommended Equipment Checklist
The following items are useful in making you more safe and comfortable in the outdoors.
_____ Chapstick or lip balm
_____ Insect repellent
_____ Personal first aid kit (Band-Aids, medications, etc.)
_____ Personal repair kit (sewing kit, spare shoelaces, etc.)
_____ Pocket knife
_____ Small flashlight with extra bulb and batteries
_____ Sunglasses with keeper strap
_____ Toiletry items (toothbrush, toothpaste, biodegradable soap, etc.)
_____ Toilet paper (personal sized roll in a ziplock bag)
_____ Water purification tablets or filter (a must for backpacking)
_____ Other (matches, can opener, etc.)
In addition, you may want to take along some of the following items:
_____ Camera, film, extra batteries
_____ Fishing equipment, fishing license
_____ Journal and pen or pencil
_____ Reading material
_____ Small board or card games