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Before You Go--A Check List

Going on a holiday that includes outdoor sports and activities is one of the most rewarding ways to enjoy leisure time. However, whether hiking in the mountains, horseback riding at the beach, or diving among the dolphins, there are some things to think about before you go:

  • Wherever you go, when outside you should protect yourself against the sun. Make applying sunscreen a part of your morning routine--don't forget the tops of your ears, and if wearing shorts, the backs of your knees!--and wear protective, loose, comfortable clothing. Always cover your head with a scarf or hat.

  • Be sure to take plenty of water along, especially if traveling to remote areas. Always operate under the assumption that you may get lost or stay out longer than planned, and bring enough water accordingly.

  • Bring extra clothing. It may get too warm and you may wish to strip down, or it may become unexpectedly chilly or wet. Always check weather reports, register or check in with local rangers or authorities, and pack your wardrobe accordingly.

  • If hiking, wear clothing to protect against poison oak, poison ivy and poison sumac. This generally means wearing long socks, keeping your feet covered and, if at all possible, wearing long pants. Light-colored clothing and broad-brimmed hats can help protect against ticks, as can tucking your pants into your socks. Around dusk, be sure you're wearing clothing that will protect you from mosquitoes.

  • Make sure you know your route, and bring along detailed maps of the area. Especially when hiking, let someone know how long you plan to be away. If hiking in remote areas, it's recommended to bring a topographical map and a compass.

  • Carry a small first aid kit with you in case of an emergency. This should include bandages, a splint, a wire tube (tourniquet), bee sting kit (if you are allergic), aspirin, anti-bacterial cream, and tweezers. A multiple-tooled knife with scissors, sharp knife and mini-saw is also handy when out in the woods. Also, carry matches in a sealed plastic box or bag.

  • Make sure to carry calorie-dense food such as energy bars, chocolate, hard-boiled eggs, sweets, and nuts. These are generally lightweight and provide the necessary energy to keep you going.

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