The Outdoor Life

The outdoor life

Living in Australia you’d have to be mad not to enjoy the outdoor life. We’ve got some of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes in the World and which ever part of the country you live in there are great adventures right on your doorstep.

My old man first gave me the love of the outdoor life when I was just an ankle biter. We started off with nights away and these soon became weekends and longer – and more challenging – hikes. Camping gear was pretty basic back then – certainly what we could afford anyway! It was pretty much a canvass tent and a down sleeping back along with cooking gear all stuffed into a rucksack which wore most of the skin off my shoulders and which doubled in weight when it got wet!

My early outdoor life means I’m pretty hardy these days but embracing the outdoors doesn't mean ditching safety and preparation and ‘roughing it’ all the time. Careful planning, appropriate equipment for the conditions and a few key skills will ensure the adventure you get is the adventure you were hoping for. Certainly if you’re looking at winter trips or anything like mountain hikes you need to do some homework and know what you’re up to.

The outdoor life

I have a three season tent for general hikes but also have a winter tent at the ready and an alpine backpack for those cold season adventures. I like to travel light and love my bivy sack but I know it’s not the right shelter for all conditions and I’m not afraid to be called a ‘woos’ if I feel the need to pack more serious kit.

An adventure can soon go to rats if you set out without the right gear! Last year I was hiking up Mount Bogong with a mate when we saw some guys ahead of us in shorts and t-shirts and carrying daypacks. It got damn cold that night and I can’t imagine how they got on.

Even experienced adrenalin junkies carry emergency items – in fact most I know won’t even take their mountain bike down the road without their GPS in case they get lost!

Most outdoor adventure enthusiasts will spend time planning to ensure they avoid an unscheduled trip to the hospital or early return home. We might like to think we like ‘life on the edge’ but even if you’re pushing yourself with a challenging mountain climb having the right gear and being prepared is just plain common sense.

Even the most experienced adventurers can forget a piece of equipment or item of clothing. You can do without a forgotten toothbrush or change of socks, but how will you light a fire when you're a full day's hike into backcountry without flint or matches? The further you stray from the comfort of home the more essential your gear becomes. But generic approaches don't work. What you need for a week of camping in Queensland in the summer won't be good for your night up Bimberi Peak in the depths of winter.

And now read everything about What makes the best sleeping bags?

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