Layering Up: How to Maximize Comfort and Warmth with Fleeces and Rain Jackets

Layering isn’t just a fashion statement. In cold, wet conditions, it’s a survival technique. Understanding the art of layering is paramount if you want to maximize comfort and warmth. Enter fleeces and rain jackets. Traditionally, they’ve shielded us from chilly breezes and unexpected downpours. Yet, there’s more beneath the surface. Delving deeper, we’ll uncover how these layers work symbiotically. We’ll also explore how to optimize their benefits. So, if you’ve ever shivered despite wearing your thickest sweater or felt clammy under a raincoat, you’re in the right place. Let’s embark on this cozy journey together. 

The Science of Layering 

Dressing for warmth isn’t about bulk; it’s about strategy. Layers trap air, and trapped air acts as an insulator. Interestingly, our body warms this captured air, providing a personalized heating system. Meanwhile, moisture-wicking is vital. Sweat, when trapped, can cool the body rapidly. Hence, the innermost layer should whisk moisture away, maintaining a dry feel. 

Furthermore, each subsequent layer amplifies this effect. But it’s not just about warmth. Layering also allows flexibility. Shedding or adding layers is a cinch as temperatures fluctuate or activity intensifies. In essence, it’s the harmony of these layers that ensures optimal comfort. 

couple in fleece jackets enjoying ice skating
For warm days, microfleece is great, while heavyweight offers additional warmth on chilly evenings. 

The Basics of Fleece: More than Just a Cozy Material 

Fleece, for many, evokes images of snug evenings by the fire. Yet, there’s a rich history behind this warm fabric. Initially, fleece emerged as a game-changer in outdoor apparel, a dynamic shift from traditional materials. With time, it evolved, offering varieties such as microfleece, midweight, and heavyweight. Each variant serves a unique purpose. For instance, microfleece is ideal for mild days, while heavyweight provides added warmth on frigid nights. Notably, fleeces are more than mere insulation. Their breathability and moisture-wicking properties set them apart. 

However, it’s not all rosy. A downside? Fleece can pill over time, losing its sleek appearance. Nonetheless, considering its sheer comfort and functionality, many view these minor imperfections as a small price to pay. Ultimately, embracing fleece means appreciating its depth, versatility, and transformative role in keeping adventurers warm. 

The Role of Rain Jackets in a Layering System 

Rain jackets play more than a cameo role in layering. They shield us from wetness at their core, but there’s nuance here. First off, understanding the difference between water-resistant and waterproof jackets is pivotal. While the former offers protection against drizzles, the latter is your fortress against torrential downpours. Besides, breathability is equally crucial. Why? Because an impenetrable jacket can turn into a sauna, negating our efforts to maximize comfort and warmth. 

Consequently, features like pit zips, adjustable hoods, and cinch cords come into the limelight. They offer adaptability, ensuring you can face Mother Nature’s every whim. Moreover, a well-chosen rain jacket complements the layers beneath, allowing them to perform optimally. In sum, it’s not just about staying dry; it’s about crafting a harmonious ensemble that tackles cold and wet challenges head-on. 

couple walking with an umbrella on a rainy day
A well-chosen rain jacket maximizes comfort and warmth. 

Step by Step: Building the Perfect Layering System for Cold and Wet Weather 

Crafting an impeccable layering system isn’t magic; it’s methodical. Firstly, commence with the base layer. Ideally made from synthetic materials or merino wool, this foundational piece wicks away sweat. Next, introduce your insulating fleece. Depending on the chill, you might opt for a lightweight version or its bulkier counterpart. Sometimes, layering two mid-weights achieves desired warmth without added bulk. Thirdly, crown your ensemble with a rain jacket. Ensure it fits comfortably over preceding layers, allowing freedom of movement. As conditions shift or as you heat up, adjust. Shed a layer, unzip a vent. In essence, the secret lies in adaptability. You can brave rain and cold through these steps, ensuring your outdoor adventures remain exhilarating, not teeth-chattering. 

Care and Maintenance 

Proper care can extend the life of your outdoor gear. When washing, always follow the label’s guidance. Generally, gentle detergents are best. Moreover, avoid fabric softeners; they can hinder performance. Post-wash, resist the urge to wring out fleeces. Instead, lay them flat to dry. As for rain jackets, periodically reproof them to retain their water repellency. When packing up your winter clothes for storage, ensure they’re completely dry. That prevents mold. Store in a cool, dry place. If minor damages arise, timely repairs can save the day. Nurturing your layers today ensures they’re ready for tomorrow’s adventures. 

Tips and Tricks for Maximizing Comfort 

Are you navigating the world of layering? Here are some nuggets of wisdom. First, prioritize fit. Overly tight layers restrict movement and trap moisture. Conversely, excessively loose ones let in the cold. Striking balance is key. Secondly, remember breathability. While insulation keeps you warm, ventilation ensures you don’t overheat. Thirdly, be ready to adapt. Temperatures swing, activities vary, and so should your layers. Don’t hesitate to adjust on the go. Also, consider zippers; they’re quick temperature regulators. Lastly, keep an eye on sweating. Wet skin cools down rapidly, diminishing warmth. 

 jackets on a clothes rack
As the weather changes and your activities change, so should your layering. 

So, the mantra? Stay dry, stay flexible. With these guidelines, you’re well on your way to mastering the art of comfortable layering. Additionally, don’t forget the importance of the material. Fabrics like merino wool or certain synthetics can offer insulation and moisture-wicking capabilities. And when transitioning between different activities or settings, always pack an extra layer; it provides options and ensures you’re prepared for unexpected weather or activity level shifts. 

Conclusion on How to Maximize Comfort and Warmth 

In wrapping up, understanding layering is transformative. It’s not just piling on clothes. Instead, it’s a curated process, a journey toward achieving the ideal balance between protection and breathability. We’ve delved into the nuances of fleeces, rain jackets, and the art of combining them. These insights, when applied, can significantly maximize comfort and warmth, especially in the unpredictable outdoors. Thus, it’s not merely about the individual pieces but the symphony they create together. So, as you venture out, armed with this knowledge, embrace the elements confidently. After all, with the right layers, the world is truly your oyster. 

The Best Outdoor Cooking Gear for Your Next Camping Trip

 A family preparing sausages on a bonfire.

Traditional camp meals are straightforward. Typically, people picture hot dogs and burgers that you can prepare over a small fire. But in actuality, most of what you prepare at home may be prepared at the campsite. There is only one catch: you must have the proper camping cooking equipment. Utilizing the extra-special ingredients of woodsmoke, birdsong, and fresh air, you may prepare meals as creative and delicious as those you enjoy at home with the correct outdoor cooking equipment. With a few tweaks to your camping equipment, even campsite staples like grilled hotdogs and pot noodles can improve—and there will still be plenty of room in the car for the tent, sleeping bags, and charcoal. That’s why we at Outdoor Adventure Store would like to share our advice on the best outdoor cooking gear. Hopefully, with our tips, you can become the most popular person on your camping gear.

A camp stove is a must-have for any camping trip

A camping stove is one of the best outdoor cooking gear you can get. A camp stove is a portable cooking device explicitly created for cooking outdoors while camping, trekking, or having a picnic. These stoves are designed to resist the many weather conditions found in the wild and typically run on propane, butane, or other fuels. Different styles and sizes of camp stoves are available, from compact backpacking stoves to larger family-size stoves with numerous burners. Most camping stoves have adjustable flame control, automatic ignition, and wind protection to make cooking simple and secure. They are ideal for outdoor activities because their design allows them to be portable and small. They are simple to transport and store in a backpack or suitcase; some models include collapsible legs.

Using a camp stove is relatively simple, and it may be a terrific way to warm up food, make coffee, or boil water while you’re out enjoying the great outdoors. However, adhering to the manufacturer’s recommendations and ensuring safe usage is crucial to prevent mishaps or unnecessary risks. That’s why your camping gear needs to be carried properly. Backpacks designed for camping usually have straps and compartments perfect for carrying stoves, fuel cans, and other camping gear. Using this backpack, you can safely carry your equipment. After the hike, you can put away your gear in a storage unit and keep it safe until your next adventure.

 A frying pan on an MSR portable stove.
portable stoves are one of the best outdoor cooking gear because they are waterproof and easy to ignite.

A Dutch oven is perfect for group camping

A Dutch oven is a large cooking pot of cast iron or aluminium. It is generally employed for outdoor cooking, especially when camping with a larger group. It has a snug-fitting lid that aids in keeping heat and moisture inside. Because of this property, it is ideal for slow-cooking stews, roasts, chilli, and other foods over an open flame or charcoal. Dutch ovens come in various sizes and shapes, and most have tripod legs so they can be set upright over hot coals or charcoal for even heating. They might also have a handle on the lid, making lifting it off and checking your food simpler. Dutch ovens would not be ideal for solo camping or short overnight camping as they can be quite heavy.

You can prepare the food in a Dutch oven like in a traditional kitchen before putting it inside the oven. Then, to heat the oven’s lid, add some hot coals or charcoal on top of it and arrange them in a circle around the oven. A Dutch oven’s cast-iron construction effectively and evenly distributes heat, making it ideal for slow-cooking foods that demand constant heat. Due to the uniformity of the heat distribution, it’s also excellent for baking pies, cakes, and bread. When cleaning, use hot water, light soap, and a non-abrasive scrubber to wash the Dutch oven. Avoid using abrasive cleaners, steel wool, or harsh detergents, as these can harm the oven’s seasoning.

Grilling equipment is considered the best outdoor cooking gear

Grilling equipment is essential for outdoor cooking activities such as camping, picnics, or backyard BBQs. Outdoor cooking is a breeze with a portable barbecue. From little hibachi-style grills to bigger gas or charcoal grills with many burners, these grills are available in various sizes and designs. In addition, you will require a variety of utensils to make and serve your grilled meals. Tongs, spatulas, grill brushes, kebab skewers, and grills are essential. Depending on your preferences, your grill might be charcoal or gas. While gas grills utilize propane or another fuel, charcoal grills use charcoal briquettes to heat the cooking surface.

Be aware that temperature management is essential to ensure your food cooks evenly when grilling. You can check the meal’s internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer, also available with many grills. These are some of the essential grilling tools you might want to think about. For the ultimate grilling experience, selecting equipment that depends on your needs and preferences is critical.

A man standing next to a black portable grill.
These grills are much easier to clean after your meal

A cast iron skillet is a must-have for any camping trip

The robust and adaptable cast iron skillet is the ideal cooking tool for outdoor cooking when camping. These cast iron skillets are great for outdoor cooking since they can endure high heat and heavy use. Cast iron skillets are excellent for frying or searing foods because they hold heat, one of their most important advantages. They can also be used on a stove or over an open flame, giving outdoor cooking more versatility. Cast iron skillets are helpful because of their non-stick surface, which gets better with use and seasoning with oil. You can use a cast iron skillet to prepare many dishes.

It would be best never to use soap on your cast iron skillet when cleaning it. Instead, wash the skillet with hot water and a stiff brush. After that, season it and prevent rust by slathering it with cooking oil and heating it briefly over high heat.

Having a camping trip doesn’t mean you can’t have the best food possible. In this article, we wanted to share our advice on the best outdoor cooking gear.

Meta: Having a camping trip doesn’t mean you can’t have the best food possible. This article shares our advice on the best outdoor cooking gear.

Beginner’s Equipment for the Best Trail Running Experience

A person who is trail running

Trail running is a fantastic way to kick your running and fitness up a notch. It combines a great healthy activity and the ability to experience the outdoors. Understandably, it can be a bit daunting when you’re just starting, especially when surrounded by experienced trail runners with expensive high-grade gear. However, there is no need to stall. Much beginner-level equipment is available to ensure you’ll have the best trail running experience possible. The minimum gear requirement is shallow, and it’s possible to have a great start with only a tiny investment. Let’s go through a list of some of the most crucial equipment that every beginner needs to have a confident start to their trail running career.

Running Clothing

The first thing any beginner needs to understand is the importance of proper trail running apparel. It doesn’t stop at what kind of clothes you will wear. You should also have a deeper understanding of which fabrics and materials are best for this experience.

One of the first items on your list when shopping for your first trail run should be a set of clothing made from moisture-wicking fabrics. This type of fabric achieves two goals. Firstly, it pushes any moisture or sweat to the outer layers of the fabric. And secondly, it dries quickly. Generally, it would be best if each part of your outfit was made from this material. That would include socks, running shorts, underwear, T-shirts, etc.

Next, you should consider what weather you should expect on your track. If you’re expecting wind and possibly light rain, the best option would be to bring a windbreaker or lightweight jacket. However, if you’re going on a winter outdoor adventure, packing on a few extra layers and a more heavyweight jacket will help you ensure your safety and avoid getting frostbite during the run. In addition to all of this, you should also consider investing in some grippier shoes.

Pro Tips

  1. Remember to wear layers- This way, if your day starts chilly, you can protect yourself from the cold. But, once the sun starts shining and your heart rate rises, you can take off any clothing items you don’t need.
  2. Check your closet – See if you already have any of these things in your home to stay on budget.

The right food and supplements

As fun as it is, trail running can be pretty intense and taxing on the body. That is why proper nutrition is imperative for everyone, beginner and expert alike. Your best bet is to create a healthy mix of specialized supplements (prep and post-running recovery) and nutritional snacks/lunches.

Generally, it’s best to stick to things that are easy to carry, like energy bars, drinks, and gels. You can also make yourself a protein shake if you’re running longer. When it comes to food, you should bring calorically dense foods, a.k.a. “trail running superfoods.” Some examples include nut butter sandwiches, trail mix, granola bars, dried fruits, etc.

A bowl of trail mix
Trail mix is the perfect snack to ensure the best trail running experience.

Eating schedule

An eating schedule is a homemade piece of “equipment” that every beginner can benefit from. That is especially important for long runs that may take a full day or weekend (ex., organized trail running camping trips). Since it’s common for beginners to struggle with timing food intake, writing down your snack break timetable in a small notebook is a great idea. Eventually, you’ll learn the ins and outs of eating during a trail run, and this item will become obsolete. But it’s great to have the first few times.

Your general plan should be to avoid food breaks for the run’s first part (unless necessary). In the best-case scenario, your first break should be in the middle of the trail, and you can snack intermittently toward the end. You can calculate how much you should eat and how often relative to the length of the second half of the trail. Additionally, if part of your trail is uphill, you should avoid eating before you’re done with that part to avoid any gastric problems.

Hydration equipment

No matter what physical activity you’re doing, staying hydrated is essential. But this becomes even more important when it comes to trail running (or any sort of long-distance running, for that matter). To best explain what kind of hydration gear you need to achieve the best trail running experience possible, we’ll separate it into three levels:

  1. Short runs – A large water bottle or waist pack should be enough for short runs;
  2. Long trails – If a longer trail is in your plans, you’ll need something more substantial than a water bottle. Consider a trail running hydration pack or vest;
  3. Long excursions – If you plan on running a full day, your best bet is to bring a hydration backpack. It’ll offer double service since it’ll also give you additional clothing, food, and other storage equipment.

Account for every part of the run

Trail running starts even before you step on the trail of your choice. To avoid any unpleasant surprises, it’s also essential to prepare your body by doing dynamic warm-ups for running. You’ll only be able to withstand the whole run if you get properly warmed up before it. All of this is to say that you should consider this pre-run workout session when deciding how much water you’ll need to bring.

Sun protection

That is something that beginners commonly overlook. Since a trail run guarantees prolonged sun exposure, equipment that offers protection from harsh rays is necessary. Even a short amount of sun exposure can cause skin damage. That’s why taking a few preventative measures is always a good idea. Here is a short list of some of the best sun protection gear you can use:

  1. Sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher),
  2. Bucket hat/Baseball cap/Vizor, Chapstick,
  3. Sunglasses,
  4. Lightweight clothing to cover as much of your skin as possible without overheating.
A few of the best sun protection products for trail running lined up
SPF and other sun protection are essential during a trail run.


These are great for added safety during your run. If night falls before plan, or you end up in a darker area, these nifty gadgets can save your life. While this is a niche-use item, it’s very cheap, so even a beginner can get one without thinking of it as a colossal waste. Plus, chances are you already have one in your garage or shed. Remember to browse a few options to get the most bang for your buck. Ensuring safety is the first part of ensuring the best trail running experience.

A man using a headlamp
Headlamps are an essential part of trail running safety.

To conclude

Trail running is a gratifying and delightful experience. But if you want the best trail running experience possible, it will take some preparation. And if you’re a beginner, you must invest in some new equipment. It’s good to be frugal, but don’t be cheap! As fun as it is, this activity can sometimes be pretty dangerous, and improper gear can put you at risk. But, as long as you gear yourself up with affordable entry-level equipment, you will have a great time on your first trail run.

5 Coastal Hikes in Ireland That Will Take Your Breath Away

Ireland is home to some of Europe’s most awe-inspiring coasts. However, the weather isn’t for the usual sunbathing beachfront experience. So, the best way to enjoy the landscape is to embark on one of the coastal hikes in Ireland. These hikes are usually so breathtaking that you’ll completely forget about the lack of beachfront sunshine that most of us relate to the coast. Of course, to fully experience them, you have to do a bit of preparation. This is why we have prepared this short list of some of the best hikes for you to choose from, covering the breadth of the country


#1 The Gobbins Cliff Walk

The Gobbins Cliff Walk is one of the most impressive coastal hikes in Ireland. However, what makes it such is the fact that it’s not just a typical nature walk experience.

The path you’ll be walking on follows the Gobbin cliff faces, but not in the way you would expect. The path isn’t natural, nor is it simply carved into the faces of the cliff. It follows an array of man-made tunnels, bridges, stairs, and gallery structures.

It was first created in 1902 by a railway engineer. After a while, it was reopened in 2014 with an updated series of new bridges and gallery structures. During the walk, you will see caves, cliffs, sea stacks, natural aquariums, and islands.

Keep in mind that this isn’t a beginner-friendly hike. It can be pretty challenging at certain points, and you’ll need a guide to help you navigate the “trail” safely.

#2 Malin Head

This hike is located at the top of County Donegal, Ireland’s northernmost tip. The terrain looks impressive and features unparalleled ruggedness. During the walk, you can also expect to see some interesting historical sites, such as a Napoleonic watchtower and an EIRE sign from the World War II era. Aside from that, you can also expect some incredible nature and dramatic rock pinnacles.

Malin Head in Ireland.
Though the terrain in Malin Head is pretty rugged, the hike is relatively easy, making it one of the better coastal hikes in Ireland for beginners.

While this walk can be busy during the summer, it’s still definitely worth it. The beauty of its nature won’t leave you wanting, even if you have to share it with others. The hike is about 7 km long, and although the terrain is rugged, it is not too difficult. And most beginners will also be able to enjoy it.

#3 Inis Nee Island Roundstone Loop

Connemara is a place full of amazing hikes. And although most of these are inland hikes that follow the mountains and the national park, it also features one of the best low-level and beginner-friendly coastal hikes in Ireland. The Inis Nee loop is an excellent option for any hiker who wants to get to know the region in a relaxing way. Later on, you’ll be able to start going on hikes that follow all of the things you’ll be seeing during this one.

This 6-kilometre looped hike is located around 3 km from the small village of Roundstone. After crossing a short causeway, the loop follows the small islands of Roundstone Bay. It mainly comprises tiny roads, rough tracks, and narrow laneways. Even though it is a low-level hike, the views will take your breath away.

On one side, you’ll be able to view Roundstone village and the beautiful Errisbeg Hill. While on the other side, you’ll be able to see the Twelve Bens of Connemara. As we’ve previously stated, this is a great introduction hike, whereas later on, you’ll be able to hike both the Errisbeg Hill and a few of the Twelve Bens you saw. After a long day of hiking, you can rest and freshen up at Roundstone.

#4 The Dingle Way

The Dingle Way is a 162 km multi-day hike looping the Dingle peninsula. This is one of the most famous long-distance ways in Ireland. Keep in mind that it does not only feature coastal hikes. It also features a healthy mix of rural trails, which go through a few towns and villages, and inland mountain paths. Even as an experienced hiker, it would be best to research the hike before attempting it. As experts from like to point out, any long-distance voyage, be it moving or walking, should not be taken lightly.

The Dingle Way coastal landscape.

Additionally, there are some lovely beach walks on other days. These include:

  • Inch Beach,
  • Ventry Beach,
  • Wine Strand.

The part of the hike that covers Slea Head will also introduce some archaeology (you’ll mainly be seeing some ancient beehives).

Make sure to plan properly for this multi-day hike since it most commonly takes about a week to hike the entire Dingle Way. Although, this depends on how much you’ll be walking each day. And, of course, you can always choose only to hike the smaller coastal sections.

#5 The Bray to Greystones Coastal Walk

Ireland’s east coast has fewer coastal hikes than the west coast. However, if you are looking for a hike here, The Bray to Greystones Coastal Walk is one of the best options.

It starts at the Bray Train Station and then follows the gorgeous Bray seafront. The ocean views here are unparalleled. You’ll also be able to gaze at some ancient ruins during the hike. However, you’ll have to do it from afar since most are on private land.

Greystones cliff walk in Ireland.
This linear hike ends in the town of Greystones, where you can rest and reward yourself with some great food.

This is a 5 km long linear hike, and it finishes at the coastal town of Greystones. Here you can find plenty of beautiful cafes, restaurants, and shops and rest up for a while. Afterwards, you can head back to Dublin using public transport.

To conclude

We hope we have helped narrow the choice between the many incredible coastal hikes in Ireland that are sure to take your breath away. Most of these are available throughout the year. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t forget to take into account weather patterns. If you decide to hike during winter to avoid crowds, ensure you do everything possible to make the hike as safe as possible. Ireland is full of incredible hikes; you shouldn’t stop at these five. However, if you’re new to Ireland, these five will surely entice you to keep going.

Busting Most Common Camping Myths

Camping is truly a full immersion activity. Nothing really brings you back in touch with nature and lets you escape the hustle and bustle of life as much as camping does. We are real believers that if more people got outdoors and slept under the stars for a night the world would be a better place. But there are many myths that stop people from getting out on a camping adventure. So we are going to bust some of these myths today!

Camping is uncomfortable

Vacation campers know that the experience is never bad if everything goes according to plan. Going to camp is to push yourself beyond your usual boundaries, so be prepared for some uncomfortable situations. Camping could be perfect if you’re looking for a way to break out of your routine. That’s why it’s never unpleasant if you plan ahead. Learning as much as possible about your camping destination is vital before setting out for the first time. So break those common camping myths and enjoy your bonding with nature.

Eating is a hassle while camping

Camping can make it feel like you’re out of luck when it comes to food, but this is far from the truth. There are tons of great recipes out there that can have you eating like kings under the stars while also not causing you to bring your whole kitchen with you. Prepping your meals before your camping trip is a great way to do this. Instant meals are also a great way to cure that hunger outdoors while also keeping luggage weight down.

It will be cold no matter where you camp

One of the most common camping myths is that you will freeze at night when camping. Frigophobia is the fear of cold experienced by those who camp in tents. But it doesn’t mean it has to be a real fight. If you’re going camping in the winter, you should take extra precautions to ensure you have the right gear for winter camping. Tents and sleeping bags designed for temperatures as low as -5 degrees Celcius are great ways to beat the cold nights. Wearing garments with a water-repellent covering is essential if you want to be warm in the rain or snow. And what about the old wives’ tale that it’s impossible to keep a fire going when it’s raining? That is also incorrect.

people sitting around a fire
If you prepare well enough, you won’t be cold no matter where you camp

You won’t get a good night’s sleep

Clinical sleep educator Martin Reed claims that camping improves sleep quality. According to the creator of Insomnia Coach, “research shows that avoiding artificial light and exposing our bodies to the natural rise and decrease of light associated with dawn and dusk may help reset our internal body clocks and boost sleep quality.” Even if you’re just going to be sleeping in a tent or a cabin, you might as well bring a mattress. The convenience and ease of use of air mattresses have come a long way since the first models were created (in 1889).

Bringing only a GPS is enough is one of the most dangerous common camping myths

There’s no way to pack up and leave the house for a camping trip or overnight stay somewhere else unless you have a map and are familiar with the area. Exploring uncharted territory is thrilling, but not if being lost is a cost you have to pay. Even if your phone has a GPS, you could still get lost in a foreign area for many reasons. This means you need a good compass, map or guide to help you find your way. And while camping is fun, incidents can happen. You need to know how to treat basic injuries and be prepared.

Moss only grows on the north side

Moss prefers cool, damp, and gloomy places to grow. While the north side of trees receives less sunlight in the northern hemisphere, the east, west, and even south sides of trunks can support moss growth due to other trees, giant boulders, and sloping soil. In order to find your way, a compass is a much safer bet. So be sure to pack all the necessities for camping. But be sure not to pack too much. As our friends at Big Man’s Moving Company say, “Less is more.” You don’t want to be over-encumbered by things you will never use.

picture of trees covered in moss
Moss grows everywhere in the right conditions. Moss grows everywhere in the right conditions. Everything else can fall under the category of common camping myths.

Camping is bad for your health

Many are concerned that the health risks associated with relocating to a camp in an uncharted location or experiencing significant environmental shifts may outweigh the benefits. However, there are no potential health risks if you adhere to all of the camp’s safety protocols. Camping can even improve your mental health. Of course, you should take the necessary precautions to maintain your health. However, the idea that going to camp can harm your health is entirely unfounded. There is in fact a ton of health benefits in spending time outdoors!

Camping is boring

Those who have never camped are likely to believe this frequent misconception. One only needs to ask a camper to hear how much fun camping can be. You might think there is nothing to do at a camping area, but once you get there, you’ll find that there’s actually quite a bit. Camping with your pals is a novel way to spend a vacation. When you have the right people around you, camping can be the most relaxing and rejuvenating of all the fun things to do.

In conclusion

The vast majority of people actually believe these common camping myths. However, they are totally off-base and wrong. Therefore, get out there and go camping! And if you never tried camping. Just take the first step. After your first adventure, we’re sure you will enjoy regular camping trips with your friends and family.

7 Backpacking Essentials for Travelling

Zoe Kinsella

So, you’ve finally booked that flight and you’re heading off backpacking. Whether you’re going for 6 weeks or 6 months you need to figure out what backpacking essentials you need to pack. This should be an exciting time and not a stressful one so I’ve compiled a list of the must-haves for you. Sit back, click away and with OAS’s super quick delivery you’ll be ready to jet off in no time.

Here’s a list of 7 backpacking essentials for you:

1. Universal Adapter

This USB world travel adapter is a backpacking must have. You can charge up to 3 devices at once with the 2 USB ports and the plug socket. Not all plug sockets are the same in each country you visit so this all in one adapter will save you buying an adapter in each country you visit.

USB World Travel Adapter

2. Document Holder

Keep all of your travel documents at arms reach and together in a safe holder. This document holder is RFiD protected which means your cards cannot be scanned reducing the risk of identity theft. You can wear it as a waist pack or stow it away when it is not in use. 

RFiD Travel Belt Pouch

3. Bum Bag / Money Belt

A bum bag will be your new best friend while travelling. Think about it, you’ll be spending most of your days in your swimsuit so where do you keep all of your valuables? I would recommend a money belt for underneath your clothes if you’re travelling to any countries that have high theft rates. There have been cases where people’s bum bags have been torn from their shoulders as they are walking down the street so a more discreet bag will put you at ease.

4. Travel Towel

You’ll find that while travelling and staying in hostels some hostels will supply a towel but that is not always the case. Microfibre and softfibre towels are a Godsend while you’re travelling. Anti-bacterial, quick drying, lightweight and compact, what more could you want? 

5. Powerbank

Think about how much time we spend on our electronic devices. We read our books, book our flights, answer our emails, update our social media accounts and watch our favourite movies and shows on them. The battery on our devices can’t keep up with the amount of time we spend on them so a powerbank is essential. Travel days while backpacking can be excruciatingly long, I mean like 20 hours long. You could be left at a bus station waiting 3 hours for a bus with 50 others all crowded around 4 sockets. Do yourself a favour and get a powerbank – you’ll thank me later.

6. Padlock

This resettable 3 digit lock is perfect for keeping your valuables safe while you’re travelling. All hostels will have a locker for you to store your valuables in but they won’t have a lock for it. This lock means you use a code and don’t have to worry about losing a key. I’d get two locks if you’re backpacking for a few months as things tend to get left behind as you jump from place to place.

TSA Combi Lock

7. Packing Cubes

Imagine storing all of your clothes in your wardrobe in a heap on the floor. That’s what backpacking with a rucksack is like without packing cubes. Pack all of your clothes into 4 cubes to keep them clean and organised. Unfortunately, packing cubes are not available at OAS yet but they are coming soon and of course for the best value in Ireland.

There you have it. 7 backpacking essentials to pack for your next trip that won’t break the bank. Only at OAS, Ireland’s best value outdoor store.

Gear Essentials for Winter Camping

A couple of people standing next to a tent with a bright light in the sky above.

Camping has many benefits for your mental well-being, which is why many people love it. It allows you to escape the hustle and bustle of the urban lifestyle and concrete jungles. It helps you reconnect with nature and find peace. However, preparing adequately for your camping trip is extremely important. 

With winter on its way, many people are slowly getting ready to spend their nights camping in a tent surrounded by frost or even snow. Experienced campers know pretty well how essential the preparation for camping in freezing weather is compared to camping in the woods during summer. If you’re used to regular camping in a warmer environment, be prepared to pack more gear for your winter camping venture. Let’s discuss some gear essentials for winter camping.

Proper clothing

The first and foremost item on the list. Your clothes are the primary means of keeping yourself warm. On top of the standard thick winter clothes, you will need a proper outdoor jacket. Your winter jacket will have to be waterproof and able to resist harsh winds that often gust on mountains. It should also have a water-resistant hoodie to provide further warmth to your head.

Your winter boots are another extremely important piece of clothing to consider. Good winter boots are able to keep your feet warm and dry even in knee-deep snow. The soles need to be comfortable so that you can travel without your feet hurting while hiking.

Some other pieces of clothing to consider for winter camping are warm and water-resistant gloves or mittens, a winter hat that covers your ears, socks that go up to your knees, insulated trousers, base layers and a fleece jacket. Consider the weather you expect to encounter on your camping trip and pack accordingly.

 A couple of people in winter jackets looking at a mountain.
A warm jacket and winter shoes will make your hike on a snowy mountain much more comfortable.

Snow-walking equipment

If you’re camping in the wilderness surrounded by frost or untouched snow, you will need ice grips or snow shoes. Traversing frozen ground or snow is not only tiring but can be dangerous. You need something that will give you grip when walking on frozen terrain or something to spread your weight evenly if hiking in snow

Ice grips on boots
Ice grips are great for trekking frozen terrain!

Choosing the right tent

One of the main gear essentials for winter camping is, of course, the tent. However, you will need a more durable tent for winter camping than you normally would during meek summer days. Winter tents, also known as 4-season tents, are heavier-duty than regular ones. They are able to withstand harsher winds and keep you warmer. They are also generally smaller than regular tents and are thus easier to pack and carry.

How you pack your tent is going to majorly influence the amount of space it takes. A well and tightly-packed camping gear will allow you to bring it along safely without wasting room in your backpack. It is not just the tent itself you have to worry about when packing camping gear, however. There are also tent poles, stakes, your sleeping bag, and other items you’ll have to find room for in your backpack. This is why it is important to know tips for packing camping gear that is bulky.

Tools for navigation

Having a way to orient yourself is essential to avoid getting lost, especially at night, so it is good to always have a phone app, a GPS, a map, or a simple compass on you. Unfortunately, phone batteries drain faster in cold weather. Keep your phone tucked into your jacket to prolong its battery’s lifespan, and make sure it’s fully charged before leaving the camp.

Lightweight snow shovel

Shovels are highly versatile. It is crucial to have one in case of an emergency. However, you can also use it around your camp. You can construct wind barriers around your tent by piling up snow. This will provide an additional layer of protection to your camp for extra warmth. The shovel will need to be lightweight and not too big, so it doesn’t take up a lot of space in your backpack.

A person in a tent holding a snow shovel.
A lightweight snow shovel has multiple uses.

Keeping yourself warm at night

The choice of your sleeping bag is going to drastically change how warm you will be at night. You want to get a proper cold-weather sleeping bag rated for temperatures lower by at least 5 degrees than you would expect them to be.

An insulated sleeping pad is another one of the gear essentials for winter camping. It puts distance between you and the cold ground. Without it, your sleeping bag will lose a lot of heat it’s trying to conserve.

Food preparation

Finally, there is the question of food preparation. Being able to have a hot meal or drink is one of the best ways to increase your body temperature in cold weather. Your stove will need to be reliable and efficient. For this, canister stoves are your best best. They are compact and very easy to use and carry. Some canister stoves have additional features that shield the burner, allowing you to use them in very windy conditions. Remember to always bring a few more fuel canisters for your stove than you think you’ll need.

Final thoughts

As you can see, winter camping takes a bit more consideration and preparation than camping during warmer seasons. There were some of the gear essentials for winter camping for you to keep in mind. Good luck on your next camping trip, and stay safe!

The Importance of the Right Sleeping Bag in Freezing Temperatures

a girl in a sleeping bag in the snow.

It’s not easy to find a suitable sleeping bag. There are many options and different features to consider: down or synthetic, mummy or rectangular, temperature rating, lightweight, and packable. After a long day of outdoor exploration, a good night’s sleep is the most essential (and fundamental) purpose of any sleeping bag. So how do you choose the right sleeping bag in freezing temperatures, and how vital is the temperature rating? You’ll find all the answers in today’s article, which will help you select the right sleeping bag for your needs.

The Importance of the Right Sleeping Bag in Freezing Temperatures

Comfortable and restful sleep for the vast majority of people depends on maintaining a temperature that’s neither too warm nor too cool. The last thing anybody wants is to be too cold or too hot when they awake in the middle of the night. That’s why we at the  Outdoor Adventure Store are always here with the best suggestions. For camping trips in freezing areas, you don’t want to bring the wrong gear.

Many people wonder how important a sleeping bag is for their camping trip. If you want a short answer – it’s essential. However, as with most things in life, finding the greatest option possible entails considering a variety of criteria and incorporating your tastes. Before attempting this, you’ll need to know the fundamentals of how sleeping bags’ temperature ratings are determined.

 people hiking in freezing cold and setting up tents
The most important thing for a good hike in the winter is a good sleeping bag.

Choosing the right temperature rating and material

When you go camping, one of the first things you need to do is to make a list of things you will bring. Therefore, while packing for a camping trip, you can make a checklist to make sure you bring everything you need. And maybe the most important thing is a suitable sleeping bag. High-quality sleeping bags often utilize either goose down or Climashield APEX for insulation. Which one is best for you will depend mainly on the weather and how long your excursions often are. Compared to goose-down, duck-down is often more affordable. But Primaloft provides more warmth per weight than APEX, but it must be sewn through to be durable. This is why you’ll find more APEX in sleeping bags with larger panels, and Primaloft is often used in garments with tiny panels and checkered patterns. Avoid using a sleeping bag made with cotton fill. They are best suited for glamping or hostels.

Why should you pick a down sleeping bag?

Ducks and geese, among other birds, develop down as part of their feathery plumage. When compared to regular feathers, the texture of down is very refined. Its spherical shape also traps a considerable quantity of air between its filaments. Though lower in weight, synthetic padding does not compare to the warmth provided by down cushioning. Down is more pleasant to sleep oneasier to transport, and longer-lasting than synthetic insulation. The increased popularity of down sleeping bags for multi-day backpacking expeditions is partially due to this fact.

a man on a hike with a backpack and sleeping bag with him
Consider down sleeping bags when you go to choose the right sleeping bag in freezing temperatures.

The fill power and the number of cubic inches displaced by one ounce serve as measures of its quality. Increasing the fill power means using less down to provide the same degree of warmth. This means you can achieve the same level of warmth with a smaller and lighter sleeping bag. When compressed, the difference in size between 600 fill power and 800+ fill power is around 25%. Down’s main drawback is that it becomes much less effective as an insulator when wet or even merely damp from extended usage in wet, rainy, or humid environments. This is why you should get a specific kind of down sleeping bag. The hydrophobic down! But no matter which one you pick, ensure you always have a first aid kit with you. Accidents can happen while camping, and it’s always good to be prepared.

Hydrophobic down is best for extreme cold

Hydrophobic down is just regular down feathers that have been treated with a hydrophobic material. Simply spraying down feathers with DWR creates this treatment. Most importantly, this process doesn’t damage the sleeping bag. The advantages are well-known; firstly, drying time for hydrophobic down is much faster. And secondly, if your sleeping bag becomes wet in the rain or a river, don’t worry about its effectiveness; it will work even better when moist. Hydrophobic down is best for mountain survival. Some people fear spraying may reduce the item’s durability or ability to bounce back after being punctured. We’ve seen a temporary drop in fill power after spraying, but no conclusive proof that it has any lasting effects. So you really won’t have much to worry about.

How to select the right sleeping bag for you?

  • Be sure to inspect the insulation material of the bag. As a bonus to keeping you warm, the insulation should also be watertight.
  • Verify that the bag has proper stitching. Both ends should overlap for a sturdy stitch. Inadequate stitching might cause the bag to rip, letting cold air through and rendering it unusable. The quality of the bag extends to the zipper.
  • Because you’ll be toting it about with you, choose a bag made of lightweight materials.
  • Make sure you feel comfortable in it.
  • Get the right temperature rating. There are typically four temperature classifications. Choose a sleeping bag that works for you and the climate you’re visiting. Comfort levels for men and women are different, so be sure to check both the temperature rating and the gender specificity.
  • Inspect the bag’s dimensions and form for accuracy. Pick a bag that fits your height, weight, and shoe size.
  • Finally, have a look at the cost of the sleeping bag. For your comfort and good health, invest in a high-quality sleeping bag at a reasonable price.
a man in a sleeping bag
Make sure you select the right size and shape for yourself.


Choosing the right sleeping bag in freezing temperatures is one of the most crucial things when camping in winter. We advise you not to save money on your sleeping bag since it could even save your life if the weather gets rough. We hope you’ll have a pleasant experience on your next hiking trip. Good luck!

Meta Description: Need help finding the right sleeping bag in freezing temperatures? Here’s a guide to find out more about sleeping bags for extreme temperatures.

Keyword: the right sleeping bag in freezing temperatures

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Top Camping Etiquette Tips

A person standing in a field near a tent watching the sunset

If you are preparing for a camping trip, you are probably excitedly going through your gear and reserving sites at campgrounds. Camping can be great fun. It involves late nights around campfires, falling asleep to the sounds of nature, and being woken up by the birds chirping.

However, many things can just as well ruin this idyllic trip for you. It may not be surprising who is at the top of that list—rude and disrespectful camping neighbours. Forget the peaceful nights and nature appreciation. You might experience quite the opposite with sleepless nights due to late-night partying or trash being thrown everywhere. This leads us to the rules of camping etiquette. Camping can be a fun adventure for families, but only if everyone plays by the same rules. These rules are easy to follow, and everyone appreciates a good camping neighbour.

Following the etiquette makes you someone who people are happy to have as their neighbour while on holiday. Whether you are getting ready to go on your first camping holiday or you are super experienced, it is a good idea to remember to be polite. Our list of camping etiquette tips will help you learn or serve as a reminder on how to be a tremendous and well-mannered camper.

How to Pack for Camping

Before you set off, consider a few tips for packing. When packing your camping gear, the right way to do it comes in a few steps. You want to first make sure to put all the camping-related items together. Make a list of what they are exactly before you start packing, and then go down the list to ensure you do not forget anything. All of that gear is vital to a successful camping trip, and you do not want to travel all the way only to realize you are missing a key component. After you are done with that, continue to pack your clothes, food, and other items you cannot live without.

Keep Your Campsite Clean

Do not leave food or rubbish unattended at your campsite. Aside from it looking bad, you will undoubtedly attract unwanted guests—rodents, birds, and bigger animals can vandalize your site and steal your food. If they sense an opportunity once, they will keep coming back. Birds can be irritating, but dangerous animals like bears and raccoons will lose their natural fear of humans and then you are in big trouble.

It is very easy to accidentally leave food out before going to bed. This is why it is vital to keep camping etiquette tips in mind at all times. Consider assigning someone to put everything away before bedtime.

In addition to this, wind and rain can ruin things that have been left out through the night. It is no fun to wake up to a complete mess of trash and soaked food leftovers.

Do Not Move Firewood or Chop Trees

Loads of insects and other parasites can remain on your firewood and create infestations. These begin in campgrounds and parks way too often. This is why campers must respect these regulations.
On the other hand, many campsites have seen young trees being chopped down for firewood or careless campers reversing their trailers into young trees in the camp area. Don’t thoughtlessly destroy wildlife. Firewood is typically sold at shops near campgrounds or even within the campgrounds. It is essential to follow these rules in order to preserve our natural world properly.

A large bonfire at night
Everyone likes a nice campfire, but do not chop random trees on your own accord

One of the Best Camping Etiquette Tips is to Keep Your Distance

Personal space is important to most people in everyday interactions. You know how annoying it is when someone puts a towel right next to yours at the beach? The same goes for camping! No one likes it when a camper sets up right on top of the campers around you. Find a spot in the middle of the campsite, and give space to those around you. Besides, isn’t one of the reasons for going camping to get away from too many people and enjoy the great outdoors?

What About Children?

Camping can be a fantastic experience for children, and they should have wonderful memories of these trips. But you also need to make sure that they follow the camping etiquette while still having fun. Keep in mind that not everyone wants to be woken up early in the morning by kids running around the campsite and making loud noises.

A dad with two kids in a tent laughing
Your kids should have fun camping but also be considerate to other campers

In addition to that, ensure that you are always aware of your children’s location. This is relevant for safety reasons as well as to make sure they are not disturbing other campers. Explain some rules to them and make them aware of being courteous to others nearby. Help them follow the noise level rules and ensure they are not playing or throwing balls within someone else’s campsite.

Let’s Talk About Pets  

Keep an essential thing in mind—your dog is your best friend, which doesn’t mean that everyone else will be thrilled or comfortable with it. Some folks may be terrified of dogs. Try to be aware of this and considerate of others’ needs and preferences. Do your best to keep the dog on a leash and not have it wander off all the time.

A dog looking into a campfire next to a lake
Make sure your pet follows the camping etiquette as well

Also, follow some basic camping etiquette while camping with your dog, and you will make your neighbours happy and your dog safe. For instance, your neighbours will not appreciate smelling or stepping in dog poop lying around the campground. Just like in the city, cleaning up after your dog is essential to being a good camping buddy.

Be Friendly

Drop a quick hello when you see someone, but avoid inviting yourself to their campfire or dropping in at mealtime. Basically, the same rules apply as in your everyday life. Being friendly but giving people around you space will label you a desirable neighbour. If you wish to make friends, you will likely find like-minded people while camping. The same goes for taking advantage to do the opposite—get away from unwanted chatter.

Enjoy Your Camping Trip!

We hope our camping etiquette tips will help you prepare for your trip properly and more importantly—enjoy it. The few rules will be easy to remember and will help you avoid any awkward and stressful situations during camping. Now you can pack, head out, and have the best camping trip with your loved ones. 

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Beginners Guide to Navigation with a Map and Compass

Most people like to stick to familiar trails and areas. However, some basic navigational knowledge is necessary for longer hikes or trips off the beaten path. This navigation refers to both skills and tools but these are nothing overly complex or expensive.

Whether you want to prepare for a multi-day hike or gather some potentially life-saving knowledge for the outdoors. I’d like to take you through some basic skills and tools that should get you started with navigation in the great outdoors.

What is Orienteering Exactly?

Navigation is all about being able to read specially designed maps that illustrate the trails, vegetation and features of a landscape. This might include rivers, bogs, forests and even fences or buildings. Most OS maps (Ordinance Survey) can feel somewhat intimidating at first. A basic understanding of how to read a map will fix this issue right away. It’s also a surprisingly fun skill to learn in the right circumstances!

Just so you know, OS maps are also drawn with difference scales and these scales are illustrated to give you a sense of size on the map. In other words, everything on the map is obviously smaller than what it represents in real life and so these scales help quantify the size and distance between features. But more on that in a moment.

📷 @trcklinefieldstudies

Who Learns to Navigate?

It should go without saying that all kinds of people learn these skills. Navigation is something that can bring an added sense of confidence for hikers. While I have yet to feel lost on my hikes around Ireland, that’s not to say it cannot happen. Having a basic knowledge of navigation enables me to feel more confident.

Aside from knowing the basics in this article, courses for navigation are available for all levels of experience. Beginner courses will usually take place on marked trails and where you find notable features. Intermediate or advanced courses can take place in remote areas. Hikers need to be more precise with their skills and tools in these areas.

But Why Else Might You Want to Learn to Navigate?

Learning to navigate is fun and something that you can practice in a safe environment. There is generally no danger or pressure during this learning process. You can learn to navigate on a day hike or brief trip into the mountains. Navigation is also quite an interesting skill to learn. It involves a map and compass…and getting outdoors!!

As you may know, many people treat navigation as a sport. It’s true, orienteering is another reason why some people take their navigational skills and tools more seriously. This is an activity that combines navigational skills with the excitement of a race and forbids the use of GPS devices. But you just want to know the basics, right?

📷 @thebeardedburton

The Basics of Reading and Understanding a Map

OS maps are topographic maps that include the natural features mentioned above. They also include various landmarks such as fences, power lines etc. These maps will outline vegetation boundaries in yellow and other man-made objects in black. As for counter lines, these lines illustrate whether a section of land is either flat or steep.

Relatively flat – Counter lines are far apart

Steeper Terrain – Counter lines are close together.

There are also many symbols and hieroglyphics on OS maps. You should always take a few minutes to understand what they represent. This might sound obvious but many hikers never take time to learn these symbols and hence, cannot read a map.

So take time to familiarize yourself with the map before going out into the wild. Here’s two quick examples to help you understand the scale on OS maps:

1:10,000 – 1cm is 100m on ground

1:7,500 – 1cm on map is 75m on the ground

A Basic understanding of the Compass

Your compass should be used to determine the direction of a particular object. This bearing can help determine either your intended direction or specific location. This is important because you need to know what direction to go at all times.

On a way-marked trail, it’s easy to turn left or right at signposts. Without these way-markers, there is often indecision. This is especially the case in a forest, bog and after dark or during conditions with low visibility. Either way, a compass should be inside your backpack at all times.

Most compasses have a magnetic needle. You should notice the red tip of this needle is pointing “magnetic north” which is also shown on the lines of a map.

Here’s the definition of “magnetic north” according to Wikipedia:

“Magnetic north is the direction in which the north end of a compass needle or other freely suspended magnet will point in response to the earth’s magnetic field. It deviates from true north over time and from place to place because the earth’s magnetic poles are not fixed in relation to its axis.” – Wikipedia

But you should also remember the sun can be useful for navigation and knowing which direction you might be facing. In fact, navigation is really about using a combination of your skills and tools to read and understand the environment.

📷 @kirstyhamilton_explores

Using the Map and Compass Together

For most beginners, the tricky aspect of using a map and compass comes when trying to hold the map in such a way that it matches the view. This means you need to keep rotating the map so that whatever lies in front of you is also how it appears on the map. It’s a form of “mirroring” that ensures what you see on the map can be seen on the landscape. Now, you might not get that fully so let’s consider the following:

A compass will always point north and you should do the very same with your map. For instance, if standing in the forest facing north, hold the map so that it also faces north. If you turn to face south, rotate your map so that north on your map continues to point north. Make sense? It’s much easier when you put this into action.

One way that I keep track of my location on a map is to hold my thumb on this location. As I hike further in a particular direction, I move my thumb on the map in that same direction. Although this technique is widely used, it takes practice.

With the above in mind, proper navigation requires that you learn how to use a map and compass together. After-all, a map and compass is far more reliable and helps ”triangulate” this location. This means you can consult three different systems during the process.

Here’s a reminder of the main objectives of navigation:

1. To determine your precise location on the map.

2. To identify your next target/destination on the map.

3. To calculate the time and distance to reach this target/destination.

The first of these steps can be assisted through “mental mapping” and this is a simple process that involves observing your surroundings in order to know your location. You then use a compass to take a bearing from that location to your intended waypoint and then get moving in that direction.

And before moving onto the next section, are you familiar with “Attack points”?

Attack points are features/locations to which you can hike quickly without the use of a compass. This can be a distinctive rock, maybe a bend in a river or something that stands out on a particular landscape. Instead of walking with hope, it’s worth using these attack points as a reference point and then measuring the distance between them.

📷 @teamwalking_hillskills

Judging Time and Distance in the Outdoors

Judging the distance between two points is extremely useful in the outdoors. Most people hike at an even pace. If you know how long it takes to hike 100 metres, it’s easy to calculate how long it may take to hike multiple kilometres. However, it can take much longer to hike through marsh or unmarked areas so keep this in mind.

It takes practice to develop this skill and get better at calculating time and distance. As mentioned, you can learn these skills in a safe environment without having to worry about not getting out alive!

But what does this look like in the field?

I use my “pace count” when hiking in the mountains.

About Using Your “Pace Count” in the Field

One natural step is equal to a pace. You just need to know how many paces it might take you to walk 100 metres. You can do this by walking a measured 100-metre and count the number of steps you take and then turn around and walk back to your starting point while recounting this number of steps. The “pace count” is the average of these numbers but you should try to recreate the scenario (carry a backpack etc) and conditions (the terrain) in order to be accurate with this calculation.

You can then use this pace count to gauge time and distance in the wild. That being said, time and distance is often deceiving on the trail. It can feel as though you are hiking long distances due to challenging terrain or a heavy backpack. In reality, you might have hiked half that amount of time or distance. I think you get my point…

Have an Exit Strategy Before You Hit the Trail

There’s a lot to be said about common sense on the trail. Honestly, this is often your best way to ensure you don’t get lost. Likewise, preparation and precaution are key to staying safe. This is why you should always have a backup plan.

To be more specific, before hiking the trail, you should know exit points in the case that you might need to get off the trail. This can be a road, carpark or a trailhead that leads to a settlement of some kind. It’s quite easy to identify these exit points in Ireland because most trails or National Parks are reasonably close to towns.

📷 @thehigherhiker

3 Last Minute Tips for Navigation-Related Safety

1. Tell Someone About Your Plans

I’ve come across a lot of sad stories in my time hiking trails around the world. Many of these relate to missing hiker but there are just as many rescue stories. Many of these rescues happen because the hiker made sure to tell someone about their plans. This can mean a quick text or call can potentially save your life.

2. Slow Everything Down in a “Situation”

If you do get lost, remember that panic can cause common sense to jump out the window. Try to avoid this at all costs. Slow everything down so that you can take accurate readings with your map and compass. It’s important to check this more than once so you can make the right choices in getting back to safety.

3. Wear the Right Outdoor Gear

You really shouldn’t be hiking in the mountains without proper hiking shoes and adequate outdoor clothing. This also means you should always have your map and compass on hand along with a first aid kit and water at the very least.

I genuinely believe that common sense is the best way to stay safe outdoors. However, proper navigational skills are necessary for longer hikes or trips off-the-beaten path. A map and compass should be the first two items placed in every backpack. A basic understanding of how to use them is something fun to explore and not to ignore!