When it comes to great adventures, hiking, mountaineering and skiing are especially good activities for testing your limits and seeing new sites. Whether you’re new to these experiences or a pro at high-altitude adventure travel, it’s essential to prioritize your health and safety.
Being a new adventure traveler may make you feel insecure about this. It’s an understandable feeling since illness and injury could ruin any trip. That said, fear should never get in the way of life’s inspiring and memorable moments. Staying safe on a high-altitude trip just requires the willingness to prepare and learn from experienced guides.
As any experienced high-altitude traveler will tell you, a smooth-running adventure starts with the proper equipment and right tools — those that will help maintain your health and safety throughout your journey, while also equipping you to deal with unforeseen circumstances.
Although each unique high-altitude adventure requires specific gear and equipment, there are items that every peak-seeker should have in their pack, no matter what. Here are our five must-have items:
Every adventure traveler should have easy access to a first-aid kit. You can make one yourself, or buy a pre-made kit at any outdoor adventure or camping store. A proper first aid kit should include:
You may also want to add medications for pain relief, like acetaminophen and ibuprofen. And on a high-altitude journey, supplements for altitude sickness are also good to have on hand. It’s also a good idea to make a checklist of items that are in your kit. When you use an item, mark it down. This will make it easier to restock your kit for future adventures.
Why a headlamp and not a flashlight?
Headlamps are flashlights worn on your head, which frees up your hands. You’ll save time when rummaging through your sack. You’ll be able to manage cooking or setting up camp in dim light or the dark. And if the sun goes down before your trek ends, you can carry on and see where you’re going.
Whether it’s the classic Swiss Army or the sturdy Leatherman, utility knives are easy, efficient ways to carry a valuable tool kit. Knives that include a small and mid-size knife, scissors, tweezers and a file often prove invaluable during any outdoor adventure. These tools can be used for anything from food prep to handling minor first aid situations to gear repair. The cost of a good utility knife will varies, but one with a warranty is definitely worth the investment.
This is the cheapest item on our list, but boy-oh-boy is it valuable when you’re on a trip! Tough and sturdy, duct tape is great for short-term repairs like waterproofing a tent or seaming-up torn rain gear. It’s also good for reinforcing bandages, ankle braces or moleskin that covers blisters. Duct tape is so versatile that you’ll probably find a new use for it on every trip! So throw a roll in your pack. You’ll be happy to have it on the trail.
One of the most common challenges of high-altitude travel is altitude sickness. This is caused by the body’s inability to properly oxygenate the blood as a result of reduced oxygen levels at high altitudes (above 8,000 ft). Altitude sickness ranges in severity and may require different levels of medical attention. However, you can mitigate milder cases with the right supplements and a little extra oxygen boost.
Oxygen canisters can be purchased in adventure sports stores. They are small, easy to pack and may be useful as your body adjusts to its new environment.
High adventures are invigorating and exciting, but they’re only enjoyable if you’re safe. Lack of preparation can take you down in a heartbeat. Bringing the right tools is one of the secrets to any successful trip. Don’t leave home without them!