Adults spend an average of 11 hours per day looking at a screen (they also check their phones every 10 minutes). Meanwhile, younger people ages 8-18 spend an average of 7 hours on screen time, far higher than what the American Health Association (AHA) recommends – which is two hours per day.
There’s no doubt that technology is already deeply intertwined in our lives that it is almost impossible to separate ourselves from our computers or mobile devices. But research after research tells us that too much screen time is bad for our physical and mental health.
What’s the solution?
Enjoy the great outdoors!
Outdoor adventures are not only among the best antidotes to stress. They are also a great excuse to switch off your phone (and your kids’ gadgets), get some physical activity, and explore the beautiful world around you!
Whatever you fancy – camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, boat sailing, kayaking (name it all) – outdoor activities make a perfect opportunity for your whole family to bond and zone out. Additionally, outdoor adventures are sure to give you wonderful memories that you will treasure all your life.
Survival Guide for Outdoor Family Activities
Outdoor adventures will certainly bring you wonderful memories. But to ensure a fun and safe trip, there are some guidelines to consider.
Use the Right Gear
Investing on the right gear, from outdoor footwear to travel bags, tents, fishing rods, surfboard, bike, or whatever you need for your chosen activity, greatly reduce the risk of injury and maximize your convenience. Quality gears are usually expensive. It’s best to save up for them or buy one item at a time until you complete the must-haves for your favorite family outdoor activities.
Pack the Right Clothes
You want clothes that make you feel comfortable doing all sorts of physical activities. At the same time, give you protection against cold or extreme heat. To make sure you are packing the right clothing, check the weather updates for the days of your outdoor adventure. The best way to dress for outdoor trips is to layer up. Start by wearing thermal underwear and then layer it with breathable fleece so you don’t perspire too much. Backpackers prefer clothes made from natural fibers that offer warmth without discomfort. Additionally, wear sturdy shoes with good traction. You also need to pack a lightweight jacket that is comfortable and waterproof. Do the same for your kids. They may need extra layers as the weather can get unpredictable. If you have toddlers, be sure to pack some warm (thermal) blankets, gloves, socks, sweaters, rompers, and comfortable outdoor clothes for them too.
Before anything else, make sure to inform a relative or friend about your outdoor adventure plans. Create a trip plan and share it with them. Be sure to include where and when you’re going, and your expected date of the return (and update them once you’ve safely returned). Furthermore, if you’re new to the place, get tips from the locals. No one will be as knowledgeable as the locals when it comes to staying safe in a certain place. If you’re camping in a secluded area, consider seeking help from a local tour guide.
Get Your First-Aid Kit Ready
Anything can happen outdoors. Often, you will have little to no access to a clinic or hospital. One of the most important items that you should bring with you on any outdoor adventure is an emergency or first-aid kit. This should contain medications (including pain reliever and paracetamol), gauze, scissors, band-aids, plasters in different shapes and sizes, rolled and triangular bandages, disposable sterile gloves, tweezers, antiseptic, cream or spray for relieving insect bites, cotton, and cough medicine.
Find Your Own Trail
Choose the activity that is most appropriate for your family and your lifestyle. The thought of climbing the Alps might appeal so much to you but if you never hiked, and you have very young children who are going outdoors for the first time, it’s simply not realistic. Same thing when camping. Choose a campsite that is generally safe for families, those with trails that you can comfortably explore. More importantly, it should be something that your whole family will enjoy.
Learn Some Life Hacks
You and your family will be fine as long as you have the gears and supplies you need. But what if you forgot to bring a stove on your camping trip or a comforter? Or what if you lost your match? It pays to read and research for possible mishaps and learn how to cope with them. For example, did you know you can actually make a stove out of a beer can? With a knife and some denatured alcohol, you can make a little survival stove that can boil water for good 5-6 minutes using a 12oz can! Meanwhile, bringing a tarp can save you from a lot of trouble, from missing your comforter to heavy rains. And yes, you can create a fire with rocks.
Be Alert. At All Times
From wild animals to criminals, as well as natural calamities, there is always some risk of danger out there. The best way to deal with a survival situation is to stay calm. Panicking will prevent you from thinking of the best solutions quickly and effectively. Experts recommend doing the STOP (Stop, Think, Observe, and Plan) steps should you become lost in the wilderness, injured, or stranded.
Pack Extra Food
You might think you’ve had enough. But you want to make sure you have more. You never know what can happen during your adventure trip. It might get extended for another day or two so it’s best to be prepared. Have your kids carry their own backpack containing essential items like toiletries and food. Some great snacking choices that are easy to pack and prepare are fruits, trail nuts, granola bars, cookies, and chocolates. Bring extra drinking water.
Be sure to keep in mind these tips for a fun, memorable, and safe outdoor adventure with your family. Enjoy!