Outward Bound Croatia uses all kinds of sport and adventurous activities in nature to bring its participants into situations unfamiliar to them. It does that to take them out of their comfort zone. So, on our programmes one can experience adventurous activities like kayaking, free rock-climbing, scuba diving and hiking.
Of course, all of these activities requires more or less specific equipment. In the following lines, we will briefly explain basics of the equipment we use and give you some practical advice for handling it.
Nonetheless, some equipment is unique to all activities in nature. For example, it is always convenient to have with you a first aid kit, appropriate head cover, thermofoil, a whistle or a signal flare.
Hiking is the probably most known activity to everybody, but is is much more than mere walking the nice and labeled mountain paths. You can spend more than one day on the mountain (or some other type of wilderness) and during your stay you will have to set up a camp and navigate yourself and your team towards your goal. So, first of all, the basic equipment you need for a longer and pleasant stay in the wilderness are mountain shoes. We recommend having an at least medium quality model. Quality is essential due to multiple reasons – like sweating, air permeability, water resistance, surface grip and in the end, mere comfort during multiple hour walks. The advantage of high shoe wear is protection against possible ankle twists which are very plausible on rocky and slippery terrain.
Nowadays you can find hiking shoes starting from 15 euros, but we recommend models in price range at least from 40 euros upward. Shoes are part of the equipment used the most so it is very important for you to feel comfortable in them and that they provide you protection from outer weather conditions.
Also, there are many new technologies used in making hiking shoes (soles, membranes,…) whose names are guaranteeing certain quality of the shoe.
Situation is similar concerning clothing. Of course, you can hike in comfortable and casual everyday wear, but for comfort’s and health’s (you don’t won’t to find yourself sweaty in strong wind or on low temperatures) sake it’s recommendable to have some kind of hiking or sportswear. That sort of clothing is made mostly from artificial materials which are developed to dry quicker, have better air permeability (letting the air only in one direction), neutralize bad smells, etc. Remember one more thing – you can never have enough pocket when hiking! In them and in similar easy accessible places you can keep small equipment that can always come in handy – like a knife, a compass, a lighter, a lamp (headlamp), whistle, etc.
We all may know what compass is about, but rare are those who know how to use it properly. If you want to learn more about kind of compasses and how to use them in wilderness, check out our orienteering in nature article.
When you get caught up by the night, the lady fortune is on your side if the moon is full and provides you with enough light. In other cases, you need to have an additional source of light with you.
The most practical hiking lighting equipment are headlamps. Their advantage lies in their position on your head, leaving you with hands free for other activities. Along with the rise of the technology came the LED lamps which are consuming low energy compared to the light they give, thus lasting much longer.
Some models are even adapting their luminosity depending on the surrounding light or position of your head. Attention must be paid also on the lamp power, expressed in lumens. This kind of lamp range from 15 to even more than 1000 lumens.
During hot and sunny months you can cover your head with a quality wide brim hat to protect yourself from sun radiation. Winter cap will keep you warm in winter, but you should also be aware of the materials used in the production, because you want t avoid sweating and having wet head at low temperatures. So-called multipurpose buff can serve you both in winter and in summer, as a cap, undercap or face-mask.
While being physically active attention must be paid on the level of body hydration. It is necessary to input enough fluids according to the insensitivity of our activity. There are numerous types of water containers available today and everybody can find something that suits him. A water bottle / container can be plastic or aluminum and with various levels of heat isolation. Multiple use of ordinary plastic bottles is not recommended due to effect of releasing harmful chemicals over time and use. We advise using plastic containers labeled „BPA free“ since they are free of mentioned harmful chemical components. Bottles can be held and carried in your backpack or in specialized waist belt. Other option is a backpack with a water bladder from which you drink using a straw strapped on the front part of the backpack straps. This way you don’t need to use your hands much or put down your backpack.
In the backpack we carry most of the equipment need to successfully and safely finish our adventure. This bring backpacks to the top of the list as one of the most important parts of the gear. Most important characteristic of the backpack is his pack capacity expressed in liters. Size can range from the most basic backpack of 35 l, up to bigger ones of 75 l, used for adventures lasting several days.
Today’s backpacks are equipped with multiple support belts and cushions which ease up the carrying. All better backpacks are equipped with the waterproof cover which can be stretched out in the case of rain to keep its content safe and dry.
Depending on how hard-core is your hiking experience, you can find a lot more new technologies which help you keep your valuables safe regarding the wind, temperature or other climate difficulties. Remember one thing – there are never enough pockets on a backpack! In them you can keep your pocket knife, lamp, thermofoil, raincoat and everything that needs to be quickly accessible.
Outward Bound backpack suit all the above mentioned characteristics, thus ensuring a safe and happy adventure to our participants!
A kayak is a mean of transport which was, judging by the archaeological evidence, used to cross watercourses during millennia. Of course, the technology of made has advance a lot during time, but the main shape remained the same.
The first and basic thing you need is – a kayak! And you can chose from several types, same as is the case with the paddles – the second most important part of the gear. Paddles come in different sizes and can one sided or double sided.
Beside the basic gear, we need to be equipped with the safety gear. A helmet will keep our head safe if it comes to flipping over and the danger of hitting a rock with our head. A life west keeps the person above the water despite possible convenient and dangerous circumstances.
Sport climbing gear serves to ensure better safety of the climber. It helps us to prevent possible fall accidents, improve shoe-rock grip or to increase friction between our palms and the rock. Ensuring is done by the system of anchors, ropes and carabiners. As all climbing equipment is subject to wear due to often and strong friction and tensions, it is necessary to keep it maintained and functional. Bear in mind that climber’s life depends on the functionality of the gear! It is not recommended to buy from uncertified dealers and producers, as all gear should pass the UIAA standards and tests. At Outward Bound Croatia safety comes first and all our equipment matches all the required standards.
Climbing shoes are light kind of footwear, with softer or harder soles, designed to increase the friction between climbers foot and the rock climbed. Most climbers usually buy a size smaller than their everyday wear to ensure better fit and minimize the danger of the foot slipping out. Outward Bound Croatia will provide every participant with a pair of climbing shoes that fit him accordingly.
In case you need to spend the night in the outdoors, most common shelter will be bivouac. It is a kind of shelter that can be adjusted to the surrounding area and it is easier to carry than a tent. To set it up we need the following: nylon tarpaulin (waterproof material) with dimensions 3 x 4 m, a climbing sling 0,5 m x 5 m and a rope. Bivouac can be made several ways and our instructors will teach you everything you need to know about it!
Some of our adventurous programmes offer some special activities, such as scuba diving, which use special and specific equipment and you can read all about it on our scuba diving article! Or, our instructors can tell you all you need to know!
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