Tips for Your Adventure Travel Trip

Going on an adventure travel trip? Here are a few tips and ideas from your friends at Bushtukah.

Get some good advice before you go:

Buy a book! The internet is great and it’s probably more up to date but books don’t require Wifi, power or a data plan which makes them pretty handy when you are on the road in a foreign country. There are lots out there and what works for you will depend on the kind of trip you want to take. For budget minded independent travelers Lonely Planet http://www.lonelyplanet.com/ and Rough Guide http://www.roughguides.com/ are favourites. Let’s Go http://www.letsgo.com/#lets-go is popular with students but they cover less destinations.

Learn a little bit of the language. Even if it’s just hello, please and thank you. It’s worth the effort.

If you are going somewhere tropical you may need vaccinations before you leave. Check here for the most up to date information http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list/ and talk to your doctor or a travel clinic. Don’t leave it to the last minute as some vaccinations need to be done well in advance.

Get up to date security information. The world is a happening place! The government of Canada provides travel advisories http://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories and you can register your trip with them http://travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration .

Make sure your passport has at least six months left before it expires some countries require that for entry. You should also check visa and other entry requirements.

Take some basic precautions:

Make some photocopies of the front page of your passport. Leave one at home with friends or family and put another in your luggage separate from your passport.

Only bring the credit cards and ID you actually need. Leave extra ID and cards at home. Leave a credit card you don’t need with someone you trust so you can call and get the number if you need it in an emergency.

Packing:

What to pack and how much to bring obviously depends on what you are going to do but here are a couple of things to consider.

Unless you plan to rent a car don’t pack more stuff than you can carry. Dragging large amounts of luggage around gets really old, really fast.

If you are renting a car your wheeled suitcases will probably work but if not get something you can put on your back or over your shoulder. Suitcases don’t roll well over cobble stone streets or dirt roads!

If you are actually going to backpack or do multiday hikes bring a real backpack. Get one that fits properly, your back will thank you later.

If you just need to move your gear from point A to point B consider a duffle bag that can be worn on your back such as Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Great because it is tough and water repellent, can be worn as a backpack or carried like a bag and it only has one compartment so you can lock it with a luggage lock. It’s great for throwing into the hold of a bus.

Consider a TSA approved luggage lock. It is not theft proof but it will make you bag less attractive to a thief than a bag without one and it’s unlikely customs will cut it off.

Some things you might want to put in your bag:

Some of these are an investment (some are not) but they are worth it.

  • Merino wool such as Icebreaker or Smartwool- be it socks, a shirt, a base layer or a sweater merino is great it’s warm and breathable, you can wear it for days without washing it and it still does not stink!
  • A Gore-Tex jacket. A quality Gore-Tex jacket will really keep you dry no matter what the weather does and it’s a great outer layer for wind and cold.
  • A hat and mitts. Unless you will never be cold these don’t take up much room and they will go a long way to keeping you warm. Even the tropics can be cold at elevation and the desert gets pretty cold at night.
  • A headlamp. Really important if your hike lasts longer than planed and useful for reading while others are trying to sleep or for late night bathroom trips.
  • Zip lock bags they are small and always useful.
  • A money belt so you can keep your valuables safe.
  • A smaller daypack or bag for daytrips
  • For the ladies, a dress or skirt that can be used wrinkled. There are many places where shorts are not acceptable and you might just want to wear something less hiking once in a while.
  • Insect repellent and sun block.
  • A mutli-tool (just don’t put it in your carry on).
  • An extra SD card for your camera.
  • A universal plug for sinks and bathtubs in case your room does not have one.
  • Patience and a sense of humor because adventures don’t always turn out quite how you planned but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy them just the same!

 

Ten Online Shopping Ideas for Winter Hikers

Merino Wool Socks– for  warm dry feet.

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A Fleece– warm and toasty.

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A headlamp– because things do not always go to plan.

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An MSR stove– a little stove for a quick warm-up drink and more.

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Snowshoes– a must on winter trails.

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Hiking poles– for balance, snowshoeing and for saving your knees.

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Traction aids – for less snowy, more slippery trails.

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A Garmin Epix– GPS for the real outdoors.

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Merino wool base layers– to keep warm and dry

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A Bushtukah gift card

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Gift Ideas for Winter Hikers

The Basics

Merino Wool Socksto keep your feet warm and dry.

Hiking polesfor balance, snowshoeing and for saving your knees.

Yaktrax – for less snowy, more slippery days.

Snowshoes

A good quality day pack

Base layers- synthetic or wool both great choices for warmth. Avoid cotton!

Things you should carry just in case

A compass- great for safety, no batteries required.

A whistle- for emergencies.

An emergency first aid kit.

An emergency blanket or a bivi sack

A headlampbecause things do not always go to plan.

An ignition steel- to make a fire (HINT: dryer lint makes great kindling).

Great add-ons for Winter Hikers

A snowshoe bagto keep the snow out of your car.

An MSR Micro Rocket stovea little stove for a quick warm-up drink and more.

Gaiters- to keep the snow out of your boots.

A Jetboil cooking system– fast and efficient for a quick hot drink on the trail.

A water filter- for safe hydration.

Garmin Fenix 3 – the best GPS watch for hiking.

An Icebreaker mid-layer- for extra warmth and they don’t get smelly.

A pair of waterproof breathable pants- great for winter hiking.

A waterproof phone case.

A Swiss Army knife or a multi tool.

An insulated canteen.

A backpack rain cover.

Glove liners.

2014 Events-S.W.E.E.T.

 

This year's SWEET ambassadors.
This year’s SWEET ambassadors.

www.bushtukah.com

This women only event is always a winner and 2014 was the biggest yet! Over 400 women stopped by on a Sunday night to mix and mingle and get inspired.

The doors are about to open!
The doors are about to open!
Setting up inside.
Setting up inside.

Local experts on everything from hiking to triathlon, great treats from Artisan Bakery, coffee from Starbucks and inspiring talks by Cat Weaver and Sindy Hooper. Plus we raised $2000 for charity! The 2015 event will be held on April 12th.

Sindy Hooper.
Sindy Hooper.
Cat Weaver
Cat Weaver
Treena fitting bikes
Treena fitting bikes

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Starbucks Coffee.
Starbucks Coffee.
Sweet treats.
Sweet treats.

 

Snowshoe Buying Tips

Snowshoes have changed a lot over the years. If you are over 40 you may remember using these:

snowshoes

Walking in them was like strapping tennis rackets to your feet. It was hard not to step on your own toes, and when you did, the bindings let go and the snowshoes fell off. If you hit any kind of slope you had to walk sideways to avoid sliding down it. You can still buy snowshoes like that but most people don’t!

Modern snowshoes are lighter, narrower, have better binding systems and they have crampons so you don’t slide around. If you are looking to buy some here are some basics to help you find what you are looking for.

Snowshoes come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. In order to make things easier we are going to put them into three general classifications: recreational/walking , back country/hiking, and fitness/ running. What kind of snowshoes you need to buy will be determined by what you plan to do with them.

 

Recreational/ Walking Snowshoes

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Atlas Rendezvous

 

If you plan to chase the kids around the yard, walk the dog in the Greenbelt or just putter around the cottage these will work for you. They have crampons for traction so you don’t slide around.

Back Country /Hiking Snowshoes

MSR Lightning Ascent.
MSR Lightning Ascent.

 

If you are looking to do some distance in the back end of Gatineau Park or climb a few peaks in the Adirondacks this is what you need. The crampons are bigger and more aggressive and the snowshoes have additional traction provided by saw teeth along the sides of the snowshoe.

Both of these types of snowshoes are sold in different sizes. The size you need is determined by your weight (keep in mind that your “weight” is not just you it includes your winter weight clothing and your pack if you are going to carry one). The weight ranges for snowshoes are quite broad. If you will be using your snowshoes on hard packed snow go with the smaller snowshoes. If you are going to be on light fluffy snow go with the bigger ones.

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Most winter or hiking boots can be worn with snowshoes. Some even have a lip on the heel designed specifically for snowshoe bindings and a gaiter clip on the front for securing your gaiters to your boots. Avoid really soft flexible boots, the bindings may rub which can damage the boots and hurt your feet.

What do you get when you spend more money on a walking or hiking snowshoe?

Gender specific snowshoes– Women’s snowshoes are generally narrower and designed for a women’s gait. Men with a narrow gait may also prefer these.

Better quality/ more durable materials- Snowshoes are constantly rubbing against ice and snow when you walk on them. Eventually it wears them out. A better snowshoe will last longer.

A heel lift- That’s the bar you see in the picture of the MSR snowshoe above. You use it to change the angle of your feet on the snowshoes when you are going up hill. If you are only going to use your snowshoes in relatively flat areas you will never use it BUT if you ever plan to do any longer climbs you will be very glad you have this feature. It’s not something that can be added later.

Better crampons- For better grip.

A better binding systems- In general more expensive snowshoes will have binding systems that are easier to walk in and to get on and off.

The final type of snowshoe is a little different:

Running/ Fitness Snowshoes

Atlas Run Snowshoes.
Atlas Run Snowshoes.

If you are looking to take up snowshoe running these are what you need. They are smaller and lighter than other snowshoes and they have a different binding system which makes it easier to twist and turn as you run through the snow.

These only come in one size and the more expensive versions are generally lighter weight. Most people wear trail runners when they use them.

Other things you may want:

Gaiters – All snowshoes will throw snow up onto your legs as you walk (although some kick much less snow than others). Gaiters will help to keep the snow out of your boots.

Poles– Great for balance and a must for serious mountain hiking. However, poles are NOT used in snowshoe running.

A Bag– Great for keeping the snow out of your car. Just make sure you dry your snowshoes and the bag properly before you put them away at home.