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How to Plan a Multi-Day Outdoor Adventure

Posted On: January 6th, 2021

Whether it’s by yourself, with a partner, or with a group of friends, taking a multi-day trip to the great outdoors has a multitude of potential benefits. Aside from providing new cultural experiences and opportunities to strengthen bonds, going on a multi-day outdoor adventure can be a great way to reduce stress and can be a great hobby for those suffering from PTSD.

Regardless of the number of travelers involved, it is important that the trip is planned accordingly. On top of obtaining an accessibility guide for outdoor recreation, using the tips listed below can be helpful for those planning an extended outdoor trip.

Choose an Activity

Discovering new activities to do while on an extended stay will vary in availability with each location. This is why you will want to conduct research prior to your vacation; to inform the creation of an itinerary of events. A few of the different yet common outdoor activities include:

  • Camping
  • Dirt biking
  • Four-wheeling
  • Hiking/Mountain climbing
  • Hunting
  • Mountain biking
  • Snowmobiling
  • Surfing
  • Swimming

Before finalizing your plans, it is important to address each activity entirely. For example, ask yourself: are you able to get to the activity location? If so, how do you get there? How much time will the excursion take? Does it cost money to go on the excursion? If so, how much and can you afford it? What are the risks? Is everyone involved okay with this plan?

Pick and Research a Destination

Before preparing for a destination, you must pick one that everyone agrees upon. To help you narrow in on a destination, take the following into consideration:

  • Budget and costs
  • Destination rules and regulations
  • How far you want to go
  • How much time you have
  • Length of stay
  • Preparation time
  • Regional and aesthetic requests
  • The region you are visiting
  • The size of the group
  • Time of year and weather
  • Transportation

Traveling cross-country to reach your destination can pose its own set of risks and considerations, though it can also open up a wider array of sites to visit and explore.

Pack the Right Gear

Each trip requires different gear, so it is vital that you know which type of adventure you are planning prior to packing. Once you have selected your destination and any excursions, you can pack accordingly.

Gear for Hunting Trips

Keep in mind that the gear you should pack for a hunting trip varies based on the type of game you are hunting. The following list is an example of basic gear to pack for hunting trips, regardless of game-type.

  • ATV or dirt bike to cover more ground (this may require the use of a ramp, hitch carrier, or trailer to haul this extra cargo)
  • Clean water
  • Firestarter and flint
  • First aid kit
  • Flares
  • Food
  • Game call
  • Game bags
  • Gun and ammo (or bow and arrows if you’re archery hunting)
  • Headlamp/flashlight/lantern
  • Hunting license
  • Knife
  • Rain jacket/coat
  • Rangefinder
  • Rope
  • Rubber gloves
  • Survival blanket
  • Warm change of clothes

Gear for Hiking and Backpacking Trips

The following items may vary based on the terrain you intend to hike/backpack, however, packing the list below is a great start!

  • Camping stove with fuel
  • Compactable kitchen supplies
  • Compass and a trail map
  • Emergency flares
  • Extra pair of hiking shoes
  • First aid kit
  • Food and water
  • Knife
  • Rope
  • Sleeping bag and/or sleeping pad
  • Trash bag (It is a respectful hiking habit to pack out any trash you may bring in)
  • Tent (if it is an overnight/multi-day trip)
  • Walkie talkies
  • Water treatment supplies
  • Weather-appropriate clothing with backups

Gear for Camping Trips

The gear needed for camping is similar to the gear needed for any extended outdoor stay. Some examples of basic camping gear that are useful for camping in any season include:

  • Camping stove with fuel
  • Cooler
  • Emergency flares
  • Extra blankets and pillows
  • Firestarter/matches
  • Firewood
  • First aid kit
  • Food and water
  • Hatchet
  • Headlamps, flashlights, and lanterns (and extra batteries)
  • Kitchen utensils for eating and cooking
  • Knife
  • Rope
  • Sleeping bags
  • Tarp (either to create shade or place under the tent as a moisture barrier)
  • Tent (tent stakes, poles, and stake hammer)
  • Towels
  • Weather appropriate clothing with backups

Gear for Mountain Biking Trips

Mountain biking may require less gear than other outdoor excursions, however, larger equipment like ratchet straps and a bike mount may be needed instead. Other items needed for mountain biking trips could include:

  • Bicycle repair kit
  • Bike helmet
  • Bike suitable for the terrain you are riding on
  • Emergency flares
  • Eye protection (i.e. goggles, sports glasses, or sunglasses)
  • First aid kit
  • Hydration pack
  • Mountain biking gear (shoes, clothes, gloves)
  • Protein and energy-packed snacks

Gear for Cold Weather Adventures

The items needed for a cold-weather adventure are similar to those needed for a camping trip. However, there are a few items that weren’t mentioned before that are worth noting.

  • Fleece-lined leggings/baselayers
  • Heavy coat
  • Insulated sleeping pad
  • Probe
  • Regular hiking boots
  • Snow boots
  • Snowmobile
  • Snowmobile dolly and ramps for loading/unloading
  • Snowsuit/snow pants
  • Snowshoes
  • Snow shovel
  • Waterproof/insulated gloves
  • Winter hat
  • Wool socks

Plan Your Route

While going on a spontaneous trip with no destination in mind can be exciting, it isn’t the most ideal for those who are wanting to take part in a multi-day outdoor adventure. Prior to your travels, you will want to plan out your route. This can be done by reviewing guidebooks and topographical maps or conducting online research and reading reviews. Once you have arrived at your destination, you can even ask the locals that know the area well for advice on which routes to take and which ones to avoid.

If you have a general idea of where you are wanting to go but have yet to pick out a final spot, take into consideration the following tips:

  • Find a campsite that is close to a water source
  • Make sure you aren’t traveling to a dead end
  • Scout out the surrounding area to see if there are any potential hazardous spots that should be avoided (i.e holes, animal dens, swift rivers, and sharp rocks)
  • Study the surrounding terrain

Consider Travel Insurance

Depending on your destination, you may want to look into travel insurance. Travel insurance is “a type of insurance that covers the costs and losses associated with traveling.” It can be used for those traveling abroad or domestically and is highly sought after for its ability to refund the traveler if they need to cancel a trip or if they lose their luggage.

Travel insurance would be particularly helpful for those whose plans aren’t certain and may need to cancel, or for those who are traveling with expensive/irreplaceable gear.

Know Your Limitations

You shouldn’t travel to locations that are beyond your limitations. This could mean that you or someone in your group can’t afford the travel costs, you don’t have the right equipment, or you aren’t experienced enough to partake in the excursions that are common in that area. It is okay to push your boundaries, but it is also important to know your limitations and be aware of what you and your group are capable of achieving.

Bring Documents and Money

Important documents that should be brought with you on a trip, no matter the location, are:

  • Valid, government-issued photo ID
  • Debit and/or credit card
  • Cash (for those places that only accept cash)

If you are traveling abroad, then aside from the documents above, you will want to pack the following:

  • Visa and/or Passport
  • Medical insurance cards
  • That country’s currency (this can be done by purchasing foreign currency from your bank if they offer that service, or exchanging cash for currency at customs upon arrival in that country, or by using an airport currency exchange kiosk)

Regardless of where you are traveling, you will want to notify your bank of where you are going and how long you will be there. This will inform them that it will be in fact you that is using your card in a new location, and that it hasn’t been stolen.

Let Others Know About the Trip

Informing others of not just where you are going, but what you plan on doing during your travels, is extremely important. If there is an emergency, the people that are aware of your whereabouts are going to be the ones that are most helpful. This could mean you have scheduled check-in calls with your family, you give them the names and numbers of the hotels/motels/or hostels that you will be staying in, and they have the contact information of everyone else you are traveling with.