Protection from the elements

Right then, on to item two of considerations when packing for outdoors mischief. Here is that list again, in case you forgot.

  1. First aid
  2. Protection from the elements
  3. Water
  4. Food
  5. Mobility
  6. Communications

Similarly to first aid, there are no concrete answers for what to pack for protection from the elements, but the considerations are simpler. In fact, you only need to keep in mind two things – hypothermia and sunburn.

Packing for outdoor sports

Ready for anything. Not moving too quickly though. (Credit:

When I was in my early teens, my friends and I used to spend the weekends bivouacking in the local hills and woods of south-west England. To begin, we did not have a clue about bivouacking and tried to compensate for this by packing for every eventuality and bringing enough food to last a week – despite only camping out for one night at a time. But as we gained experience and confidence, we were able to reduce the volume of stuff we would pack. Eventually, it became a matter of pride to pack the least and still be comfortable.

Obstacle course racing

It’s great to watch the joy with which young children throw themselves into mud. As any parent will know, kids seem to make an almost instinctual beeline to muddy puddles. Getting completely caked in dirt is a pure form of hedonism and a playful up-yours to the prim sterility of modern living. But as kids get older and start to play in more “sophisticated” ways, there are fewer opportunities to get feral in a mud-bath. Most of us adults are unable to remember the last time we did so. It seems a shame to deprive ourselves of such an innocent means of enjoyment and connection with nature.

Core training for outdoor sports

Hiking with a heavy pack is core training. Credit: Sierra Trading Post

Core training is a popular term in sports training circles, but it has a strange status. Everyone seems to talk about how important it is, yet it gets relegated to the end of a training session as an afterthought. Core training usually consists of a few ab exercises, such as crunches, sit-ups, planks or the like. Except for planks, these are similar to exercises that target the major muscle groups. The athlete concentrically contracts her trunk muscles against resistance and then eccentrically releases them under control. The logic is that if extension and contraction of the muscles under load works for the arms and legs, then it must be effective for the abs, too, right?

Trail running: the best outdoor sport, for all the wrong reasons

Running is the best outdoor sport. You probably didn’t want to hear that, did you? I don’t like it either, because I hate running. Man, I hate running. I hate running 4-6 times a week for between 5 to 25 kms at a time and at varying, hateful speeds. There are several types of running, and yes, I hate them all. I hate tempo runs, interval runs, recovery runs, ventilatory threshold runs, long distance runs, and especially, maximum effort sprints. Oh man, do I hate them!