Most backpacking trips or even day hikes take quite a lot of planning, often months in advance. Sometimes though, you have to be ready to get outdoors even when your bags aren’t packed and you still have dishes in the sink. Being ready and able to hit a trail as soon as the opportunity arises may sound risky, but it’s definitely awesome. It may be rushed, but it’s adventure at its finest. This is how you can be prepared all the time:
Always Keep a Packed Bag
This may not be ideal for longer hikes, but if your friend calls you up early in the morning to go hit a trail you’ve been dying to do, then keep the bag packed. It can take so much time to put together everything you would need, and by the time you’re ready, you may miss the opportunity. Having an extra bag, or your regular bag, already packed up and ready to go will give you the freedom to get out as soon as possible.
Keep a Supplies List
Just like having a bag always ready, having a list written out of must-haves that’s ready at all times is also a great way to be prepared. Remind yourself of everything you must grab before heading out, whether it be the cooking stove, the first-aid kit, water, or anything else you may not be able to keep packed all the time. It’s also a good idea if you have a hiking buddy to split up the supplies list, therefore you know what you’re responsible for and what he or she is responsible for. It also helps the chance of you forgetting something when you’re in a rush!
Don’t Wait to Get Something
How many times do we tell ourselves that we’ll just “get it later”, or “when we’ll need it”? All too often. If you like to get up and go whenever you can, then don’t be this type of person, or at least try to break this habit. If you need new gear, don’t wait until the very last minute to get it, even if you may not be planning on using that gear anytime soon. If you’re running low on those granola bars that you eat on the trail and on your couch, then don’t wait to get them. Make sure they’re stocked. This will make it a whole lot easier to leave instantly.
Have a Transportation Plan
This may be a given, but not having a general transportation plan lined up could seriously hinder your chance at being able to just head out. Besides making sure you have gas in the car, there’s other ways to be prepared. Maybe there’s a train, bus, or other form of public transportation that will get you to where you need to go. Pin up the schedule at your house, or even have an open ticket. If you’re going to need to fly to your hiking destination, it’s not always easy to just buy a ticket suddenly. That being said, make sure you have the finances already saved up and ready to go.
Have a Trusted Friend or Neighbor to Look Over Things
Your hiking group has a spontaneous hike that they just told you about, and you need to be ready tomorrow at 8 AM. Unfortunately, your dog can’t feed itself or take itself to the bathroom while you’re gone, and perhaps the maintenance crew at your condo is supposed to come over tomorrow and take a look at your broken washer. While you can’t expect a trusted friend, neighbor, or even a family member to drop whatever they’re doing to help you out, you can maybe do each other a favor here and there or have a plan when this kind of situation happens.
Make Sure YOU’RE Prepared
You can have all these other things planned as best as possible, but if you’re not ready, then that can make everything else fall apart. Without getting too dramatic, if you think there’s a chance you might randomly be invited on a hike, then make sure your health is okay. Take some vitamins, get proper rest, and make sure you keep in shape as often as possible. This way, if the opportunity arises, you can worry about being excited and forget about being anxious that you’ve forgotten to take your allergy medicine for a week, or you’re legs aren’t up for the challenge.
With everything we have going on in our busy routines, it’s hard enough as it is to prepare for a hiking trip you’ve been planning for months, let alone one that’s planned on the spur of the moment. A big part of loving the outdoors is being able to get to it whenever is possible. Don’t miss out on exciting hiking opportunities just because you don’t have enough time to get your things together. Have this much prepared, and you’ll be ready for any trek at any time!