Exploring the great outdoors is nothing like following the beaten path. Remote areas offer breathtaking sights and experiences along with a unique set of risks.
Before you venture into the distant unknown, here are the basics for being prepared with the right safety gear, including sturdy clothing and navigation essentials.
First Aid Kit
A comprehensive first aid kit should include such supplies as gauze, antiseptic wipes, medical tape, bandages, cold packs, and antiseptic ointments. It’s also a good idea to bring a thermometer, tweezers, scissors, and a few other items. Before you leave home, be sure to check that all the supplies in your kit are up-to-date and haven’t expired.
Also consider taking a first-aid course, so you’ll be prepared to handle any medical emergency that may arise during your expedition. It’s one thing to have your first aid kit at hand, but it’s another to know how to use it.
If you’re heading to a remote area, you’ll need a reliable navigation system.
A good GPS system should be able to track your location and provide you with accurate information about the terrain. That way, you’ll be able to find your way back in case of an emergency, especially in areas where there is no cellphone coverage.
It’s also a good idea to get an old-fashioned map of the area, as well as a compass and/or altimeter. These can come in handy if your GPS fails or if you want to double-check your route.
Having a reliable communication device is essential if you’re heading to a remote area. A two-way radio should be included in your pack, as well as some kind of satellite phone or personal locator beacon (PLB).
That way, you’ll be able to call for help in case of emergency – and since cell phone coverage if often spotty in remote areas, such a device adds peace of mind. Make sure to practice using them before leaving home, and check that their batteries are fully charged.
Necessary hiking gear includes sturdy footwear, protective clothing and rain gear, headlamps or flashlights, and trekking poles. Be prepared for extreme weather and temperatures, since excessive heat can be as dangerous as cold temperatures.
Layers are important, especially lightweight fleece or down.
Food and Water
If it’s just a day hike, pack protein bars and trail mix, and lots of water.
If it’s an overnight expedition, pack nutritious meals that can be easily rehydrated with some of the water you are carrying. Cooking utensils and a stove aren’t necessary for a single overnight,but you’ll need them for a multi-night excursion.
Another good idea is water filtration tablets, or a reusable water bottle with a built-in filtration system, so you can re-supply from a waterfall, stream or lake.
Having the right survival gear can make a huge difference in case of an emergency. A survival knife, an axe or saw, and a multi-tool are essential items that should be included in your pack for a daytrip or longer. It’s also a good idea to bring a loud whistle to signal for help if needed.
Such tools will allow you to build a shelter, prepare your meals, and even protect yourself if necessary. Check them before you head out to make sure they are in good condition and that they work properly.
Sunscreen and Lip Balm
This may not sound like a big deal, but sun protection is essential in remote areas. The higher the elevation, the more intense the UV radiation. Bring sunscreen and lip balm with SPF 30 or higher to protect your skin from sun damage. And opt for an eco-friendly, biodegradable brand without ingredients that could harm coral reefs underwater or delicate wildflowers above ground.
Keep in mind that UV radiation doesn’t change with temperatures. Although you feel the sun burning more intensely when it’s hot outside, you should still wear sunscreen even if it’s sub-zero.
To Sum Up
Traveling to a remote area can be an amazing adventure – as long as you are properly prepared. Make sure to pack the right safety gear before you hit the trails.
Where is your next adventure to a remote location?
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter is a journalist with 20+ years of experience as a newspaper and magazine writer, radio & TV news producer & reporter, and author of guidebooks and smartphone apps – all focusing on travel, automotive, the environment and your rights as a consumer.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter currently serves as 1st VP of the International Motor Press Assn. (IMPA) and is a former Board Member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW)
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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