So you’ve finally decided to take the plunge and go on a gap year adventure. Packing for a whole gap year can be daunting and if that includes doing a good deal of outdoor camping in foreign countries as well, you’re bound to feel stuck for ideas. These points from gapper Rhys Jackson should cover the basics you’ll need for any trip whether it’s spending a night on an Icelandic glacier or pitching up on a beach in India.
1. Lightweight backpacking tent
Invest in a good quality portable, lightweight tent that can keep you warm and dry. Lightweight Vango tents are a great value option for single or multiple use and can be ideal for mild weather. Bear in mind that you’ll need a speciality tent if you’re thinking of camping in high altitudes and rough weather. You’ll probably have to pay a little extra for a mountain tent, but you’ll be better protected against high winds and rough terrain.
2. The perfect rucksack
It’s impossible to overstress the importance of choosing a good rucksack. This will be the home of all your possessions while you’re out camping in foreign lands and so you need to make sure it can handle everything that’s thrown at it. You’ll also need to be comfortable carrying it, so it’s important not to rush this decision.
Start your selection process by figuring out how long your camping trips are likely to be. If you’re looking at just single day trips without any overnight camping, a rucksack with a capacity of 30-40 litres should be enough to carry all your gear. If you’re however looking at doing longer camping trips with overnight stays, it’s a better idea to choose a 50-80 litre capacity rucksack that can carry more gear.
You’ll need to be comfortable carrying your rucksack so make sure you pick one which has padded shoulder straps and a decent back support. Remember that a good rucksack will never put the entire load on your shoulder, but will distribute it through waist straps to your hips as well. It’s also important to ensure the rucksack is proportionate to your height, so make sure you ask someone in a specialist outdoors shop to help you try it on.
3. Portable stove
If you’re planning on cooking your own meals while camping, finding a dependable cooking stove is really important. A small and light portable camping stove can be ideal for anyone looking at simple backpacker camping. A basic single burner unit is suited for a short trips and single person use.
The next thing to consider is the fuel source. Propane (flammable gas) can be easier to transport and is lighter to carry. The downside is that it can stop working in very cold temperatures. It can also slow down cooking times if the supply is running out. Liquid fuel is another option and can burn quickly and speed up cooking times. It is also unaffected by cold weather, but is more expensive and heavier to carry. Whatever choice you make, it’s advisable to opt for a stove that uses a standard fuel container rather than a customised fuel container that can be harder to find on your travels.
4. Water purification system
There’s plenty of options when it comes to treating water on camping tips. For sheer convenience, water purifying tablets are a great idea. These effervescent tablets can purify water on the go and hardly take up any room in the rucksack. One tablet can purify up to 25 litres of water.
For something faster acting and longer lasting, you could try water purification liquid. A 250ml bottle of liquid can treat up to 625 litres of water.
If you’re looking to filter sediment as well as bacteria from water, then a filter bottle can do the job nicely. Using a simple pump system, a water filter separates the unclean water and filters the treated water into another reservoir. All you do is fill the bottle with the available water, squeeze, and then drink the purified water. It’s a simple and effective way of removing dust, rust and other sediments as well as bacteria from water.
5. First aid kit
While you shouldn’t hopefully have to use it, packing a first aid kit is an important part of your camping preparations. Make sure you include essential items such as blister pads (you’ll definitely need these if you’re going to do a lot of walking), sterile gauze, bandages, wound dressing, anti-bacterial cream and pain-relievers.
It’s also a good idea to keep some anti-itch creams handy in case you get insect bites or suffer a reaction from poisonous plants. Also be sure to pack any prescription medications you may need.
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