SUMMER IS UPON US. And with it, the myriad of things you can do in summer.
If you've travelled somewhere to do adventurous things (specifically downhill skateboard), you'll realise that space is a luxury. You're probably well acquainted with your local airport's procedure for dealing with oversized luggage. You're also probably aware of which airlines will allow you to put your skateboard in the overhead bin (and the ones which will not). And to top it all off, you're definitely journeying to the middle of nowhere where all the cool mountains are at, and have to take at least 2 different kinds of transportation to get to your rental car BEFORE you're even able to set off on your wonderful skate adventure. Alternatively, you enjoy wandering in a random manner, you may not have strict plans, but you plan to be adventurous. Are either of these descriptions you? Read on.
Cheers to friends, travelling and the mountains.
I've travelled a bit (#thankyouskateboarding #blessed), and thanks to my travelling mishaps I have made notes of what works well and what doesn't. Feel free to read on if you're newer to this form of travel or if my mishaps amuse you.
1) Carabiners Are Your Friend
Look closely, there are definitely carabiners in this photo.
No space in your bag for your sleeping mat? Clip it onto the outside of your bag. No space for your shoes? Clip it on. No space for your water bottle? You get the drift. As a bonus, I've not seen an airline care about stuff I've clipped on, and as a double bonus you'll have a nice berth between you and the person in the queue behind you. Hurrah!
2) A Bright Compact Flashlight
I love my torch. I was at quite a disadvantage travelling without. Tiny torch is sitting next to the carabiner and a 300ml cup for scale.
I can't emphasis the necessity of this. Not only is it great for when you need to take a night poop, it's just really important to illuminate the ground in front of you in case you stumble across an errant rock/cliff/bear. Also great for when people lose things under car seats.
In terms of cooking gear a spatula is the real MVP as it cooks AND cleans. Also doubles as a spoon. Bonus points - it also has a really satisfying slap if you need to warn anyone off (i.e. snoring friends, friends who are making too many puns)
My spatula was definitely somewhere in this picture.
4) Sharp knives are your best friend
My knives. My knives! My lovely little knives. Top recommendation goes to my Opinel knife. French made, super sharp, and cheap enough that I don't have any problem using it to hack into things that could damage the blade.
The Kiwi in me didn't like knives. We (well, us non-camping folk) consider them dangerous and really unnecessary. There isn't really anything we need to defend ourselves against in the wild, given that most of our birds are flightless, and there is literally no wild animal in NZ that would want to kill you, but I'm assuming you don't irritate sharks or seals for fun.
When I got to Europe, I discovered that knives were indeed an asset. Why would you buy pre-cut salami? How could you tolerate pre-cut cheese? The best bread is bread you buy in uncut loaves!
Om nom nom.
5) A Warmer Sleeping Bag Than You Need
You might want to camp on a mountain. That might seem like a good idea. But then it gets cold. Shivering through the night is not a good time. Cuddling your tent mates is also a bit weird.
Pro-tip: too poor for a really well insulated sleeping bag? Take two sleeping bags and layer them. A 15 Celcius and 20 Celcius bag worked really well for me for a temperature under 10 degrees. Does it look a bit odd? Definitely. But who's going to watch you while you sleep? For your sake, I hope the answer is nobody.
6) Good quality Thermal Clothing + A Beanie
Flip flops have surprisingly good insulating qualities. I didn't feel a thing.
As per the above point. But additionally - if the thermal clothing is of good quality, it'll barely take up room in your pack. It'll also wick sweat well and also keeps bugs away.
There was this one time where I neglected to pack a jacket on a skate trip. This was not a good time. There was also another skate trip where a friend did not pack a jacket while we drove all the way to the Italian Alps to skate morning runs. We took turns and swapped jackets. Don't do what she did (love you Rachel).
7) An Item of Comfort
Cheese is surprisingly comforting (AND unsurprisingly delicious).
Because I'm assuming you're not all millionaires, adventuring can be uncomfortable sometimes. The early starts, pitching tents in darkness and the general sweaty unwashed-ness.
On some travels I've brought a handheld espresso maker (don't judge me, it was really good). I've also brought crossword puzzles (I admit to being a nerd). I am currently carrying around a small book about dispute resolution.
Bring a small item that makes you happy - you'll be glad that you did.
8) If You're Cooking, Bring Stock
Salt gives amazing flavour. And if you've been out for the whole day, you need to replenish what you've sweated out. I'd suggest swapping out plain salt for garlic salt or even powdered stock. Big flavour, small hassle.
Bonus tip for the traveller who also skates:
There is a magical substance that can be applied to shallow wounds (road rash, basically). Known as Fixomul, Omnifix and other names it's basically a sticky gauze that you affix to your wounds.
Board for scale to the amount of Omnifix I am bringing on my travels. Also for scale in the middle is the actual roll of Omnifix I bought for under 15 euro, and a toilet roll for scale.
Safe travels my friends. Feel free to tell me what worked (or what didn't)!