Welcome adventurer! This is Tyco, the elf of the Nordic Lands. I am here once again to enlighten you who wish to explore the world around you. This time we will take a closer look at the tools of the adventurer, their purposes, and exercises to get to know them.
The map & compass
The most basic tools of an adventurer. With the right knowledge each one can tell you how to get to your destination and how to avoid unnecessary trouble. Technology makes navigation mostly automated nowadays, but knowing the basics can be surprisingly helpful in everyday situations: it makes you more aware of your surroundings and less dependent on electronics.
Exercise: Take a look at the map (phone or paper) to a chosen destination. Try to calculate the best path and memorise it. Put the map in your pocket and memorize the time. Take out your compass and use it to get to your destination. How long can you go before you have to take out your map?
Clothing & boots
There is no bad weather, only bad clothing, and I promise you that the top three things that will always affect your adventures will be the sun, the wind and the rain. Thus clothing is the number one challenge everyone must prepare for in order to have a consistent and reliable outdoor life. Boots have a big impact as well, especially if they are of good quality and protect the three most important areas: The heel, the toes and the sole.
Exercise: Note down the following weathers: Hot, Cold, Windy, Raining. Your goal is to find the ultimate clothing combination for each type.
Bonus challenge: You are only allowed to have 6 unique items of clothing for your torso and legs for all types of weather. If you want to hike in the mountains with a light backpack, this exercise is golden!
The thing that keeps you warm during the night. Or at least it should, unless it’s a cheap one. Or if you get caught in some really cold weather. Therefore select one for your most active season. I made the mistake once of buying a winter one for summer; kept me awake because of the heat. And a thin one during cold weather is bad too,so make sure you know how sensitive to cold you are and for what season you want to be outside.
The outdoor way to get warm meals at any time. Old ones run on alcohol, newer ones on gas in small (light!) canisters. From just-add-water meals to full out Gordon Ramsey beside your tent, just like in a normal kitchen, the only limit is your cooking skills. And, if you get there, how much you can carry on your back for mile after mile. Although heavy, never underestimate the power of a warm meal in cold weather; it pays back.
Exercise: Find five different meals that you would enjoy outdoors. Bonus points if all five involve the kitchen and are neither just-add-water or fry-to-eat meals.
What’s this? A phone is an adventurer’s tool? Yes indeed, but not for playing games. Its main use is for emergencies, more of a “just in case” tool. If you have not already done so, put the numbers of your local police, fire department, and other emergency numbers. You don’t wanna google them when things get chaotic.
Secondary uses include the camera and (if you cheat a little bit) a map. If you are more into virtual adventures you can download applications that require you to move around (Geocaching, Pokémon Go, Zombies Run!) to spice up the adventure. Just don’t forget your charge pack!
Pro tip: Turn off your wifi and bluetooth to save battery. Some phones include a power-saving mode that you can turn on, if performance isn’t an issue.
Exercise: Put your phone in your backpack. How many hours can you survive without turning it on? If you manage 48 hours you are awesome!
Other equipment that’s very handy to have:
- Knife. Create tools, open food packets and shape your situation for the better!
- Flashlight. Great in the dark!
- String or lightweight rope. Makes building shelters much easier!
- Walking stick. Perfect for long walks, especially if you go up and down a lot.
- Small towel. Never underestimate the use of one!
- Matches. Fire has many uses. Practice your firemaking skills beforehand!
- Whistle. Attract human attention or scare away animals.
- First aid kit. Practice beforehand, it’s a life saver.
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