Oh. My. God. How on earth is it nearly Easter already?
It feels like Christmas was only a couple of weeks ago. Hell, it feels like last Easter was only a couple of months ago. Even the kidlets are saying how fast the year seems to be flying by, and as we all know it gets a whole bucketload worse as we age.
If there’s one thing that makes the hectic rush of life all worth it, though, it’s got to be having things to look forward to. For me those things are the adventures I get to have, whether they’re alone or with Lori and/or the kids.
The Easter break is obviously the perfect opportunity to make memories, but we’re in the last week of summer now and, especially in Victoria, we’re in the last month of semi-reliable good weather. So that’s why, when I heard from the good folk at Anaconda that they’ve started something called Great Outdoors Month, I thought it was a brilliant idea.
Great Outdoors Month runs from February 24th (yesterday) through to March 24th (right before the Easter break), so it’s a great reminder that you should be using every spare minute you’ve got over the next month to soak up the outdoors as much as you can.
Anaconda wants to educate and encourage people of all ages and from all communities to get outside and active, especially in the lead up to Easter. They’ll be running free educational workshops in-store, including tent pitching, fishing, bike safety and much more. They’re also having barbecues every weekend with proceeds going to local community groups and charities. Contact your local store for details of what they have on offer.
With that in mind, I’ve decided to feature 10 essential items from Anaconda for your next hiking adventure. They’re also running some Great Outdoors Month specials, so take advantage if there’s anything you need…
When I said essential items, I meant it. Just to reiterate, you should not be going hiking without a map and compass. I’ve heard about people who take off on hikes with only a smartphone to guide them. That’s a really, really silly idea. There are heaps of good websites and youtube videos that’ll teach you how to use a map and compass properly, and it’s not like compasses cost much. Not to mention this one is totally stylin’. I’ve already got a compass but I totally want this one.
As great as having a GPS on your smartphone is, they’ve really got nothing on a proper GPS unit. A gadget like the Magellan is a million times more reliable than your phone, more durable and holds way more battery charge. I know I said you shouldn’t hike without a compass, but it doesn’t hurt to have a GPS as well. You can even use a GPS unit like this for geocaching, which tickles my inner nerd in all the right places, and as I’ve mentioned a million times before, I really do like my gadgets.
Hiking shoes are where it’s at. Anyone who knows me would’ve realised by now that I’m not a huge fan of hiking boots. Although I have tried them on before, I’ve never bought myself a pair because to me they defy logic. My osteopath agrees with me, too. You don’t wear a knee brace unless you’ve got an issue with your knee, so why do you need extra support for your ankles? Most of the research I’ve read says that if you want to prevent ankle injuries, you should focus on stretching and strengthening. The extra weight of boots is another huge issue so, at only 812 grams, these bad boys are the kind of thing you’re looking for. Note: They’re also available for women.
Even if you only hike or camp once a year, it’s worth owning a good thermal top. They can make the difference between a fun night in the wilderness and a thoroughly uncomfortable one. In you happen to be someone who lives in a climate like Melbourne’s, you’ll probably wear it a whole lot more than that. I’ve taken to wearing mine under T-shirts all through Melbourne’s coldest months, and nobody even notices I’m wearing thermals.
Thermal pants, on the other hand, are never stylish. I have been known to rock the stripey thermals under shorts look myself, but I’m the only one who thinks I look any good. They are, however, another item that can make a huge difference in your comfort level when you’re camping or hiking. I’ve even spent a couple of nights in the wilderness at this time of year sleeping in them. On one such occasion, I’m pretty sure they helped narrowly save me from hypothermia.
As much as I can appreciate the elements when I’m out for a hike, rain is never what you hope for. Let’s face it, even a light shower can pretty much ruin everything. If you’re planning on staying overnight or if you happen to get lost, you’ll need fire, and if your lighter or matches get wet (and there’s always a chance they will) you’re basically screwed. These things are waterproof, which sounds totally like an oxymoron. It’s some kind of freaking witchcraft if you ask me.
Remember putting up a tent 20 years ago? It would take a couple of hours and four people, and I’m nearly certain that it ended in divorce a significant percentage of the time. That’s not to mention how much they used to weigh. These days, though, you can get a tent that’ll take up hardly any room in your backpack, weigh hardly anything, and be ready to sleep in within 20 minutes. This one comes in 2.7kg but as the prices go up, the weights go down, so check out what else is on offer if you’re looking for something even lighter.
Whether you’re preparing your dinner or looking for something in the tent after dark, or turning in for the night with a good book, a good head torch is well worth having. Ever wanted to watch a sunrise from the summit of your favourite mountain? Don’t even try it without a headlamp. A powerful one like this would be perfect for taking on even the sketchiest trails in the dark. They’re useful for other kinds of outdoor adventures, too. Spelunking, anyone?
Sleeping bags are tricky to buy. If you’re not hardcore enough to need multiple bags for different times of the year, it can be tough to choose one that won’t have you potentially sweltering in summer or freezing your butt off in the colder months. If you’re like me, there’s not a whole lot of camping going on between April and November, so this one should do the job for most situations. It’s camo too, so if decide to play hide and seek in the bush on a cold night, you’ll be impossible to spot.
My ex-mother-in-law threw together a first aid kit for me back when I started hiking, and I quickly realised just how essential it was. Being my clumsy self, I’d used up all the Band-Aids in no time, and that’s not to mention all the times it came in handy when I wasn’t hiking. It’s even more handy to have one now that I’ve got kids. This one will have you well stocked with the basics for a good year or so, and there are things in there that’ll make you the hero in even the direst emergencies.
This post is brought to you by Bushwalking Blog and Anaconda. As is always the case, this does not influence the opinions I put forward here in any way.
What outdoor adventures have you got planned for Great Outdoors Month and the Easter break? Please let us know by commenting below.