By Jason Smith
Whether you are taking part in an expedition to the frigid arctic, the dense jungle or the barren and steep Himalayas, your kit list is key. The same goes if you are going for months or just weeks, packing all the essentials is paramount. However, expeditions are often brutal, long, tiring and sometimes boring. It is important to make sure you get a couple of luxuries in your pack to stave off those cold nights or sore feet. Here are ten luxury items My Baggage thinks you should consider taking on your expedition.
Portable Espresso Maker
God bless the 21st century. We live in a time where we have small and compact espresso makers that ensure you won’t lose out on your beautiful java on an expedition. The rancid, bitter instant coffee can become a morning chore rather than a morning pleasure pretty quickly.
These instant espresso machines are hand-pumped, meaning there is no machinery, which in turn means no charging or batteries are needed! They can go anywhere and produce amazing espressos. Start your mornings on your expedition right with a little warm treat to get you going.
A Paperback Book
The humble book will never cease to be one of the best luxury items you can bring. Depending on the time of year or location the nights can be extremely long. Likewise, there can be a lot of waiting around in the camp between excursions.
A book a brilliant luxury and a paperback are best. It is easy to go for the kindle as it is light and gives you access to lots of books, however, especially in the cold, the battery will run out. Likewise, the lights will attract unwanted bugs. Just switch on your red light on your head torch and you are good to go with your book!
A Deck of Cards
This is an easy one as they are light and compact. They can slot in any of your spare pack pockets with no issue. Again, like above the nights can be long and boring, so cards give you a limitless supply of games to play with your group.
From poker to snap, they will keep you entertained and can even be used for full game nights. It is a little luxury that can help stave off the homesickness or the boredom. Likewise, you can get waterproof cards online and this means there will be no damage if your pack gets wet in the rain or river.
Pretty quickly you are going to get fed up with the staples. Porridge, rice, and water are the backbone of some expeditions and can quickly begin to make your stomach turn. Especially with water as you need to keep hydrated throughout the day.
Bringing little luxury flavors can make a difference. A small pot of spices can improve rice, powdered chocolate can elevate your porridge and concentrated juice can make hydration much easier. They may not seem like much, but they may make all the difference when the same utilitarian meals or army rations start to get dull. A little flavor will make you feel better.
Your Favourite Chocolate
This one is really important and can just be the one chocolate bar. It is likely that there will be a low moment in the expedition. Whether that is homesickness, a long trek, poor weather or a lack of scientific results. Being out in the field for such extended times will eventually take its toll. But if you have your absolute favorite sweetie or chocolate bar hidden away this can be a small luxury that saves you.
It may remind you of back home and can be that small endorphin hit that can pull you from your reverie. Or that last boost of energy to finish a hike.
Inflatable or Double Sleeping Mat
Naturally sleep is one of the most important parts of an expedition. Getting decent and quality sleep means you are energized and mentally strong for the tasks you need to face. Getting this good night’s sleep is never easy on expeditions with poor terrain and unpredictable weather.
An inflatable sleeping mat can be expensive but well worth the cost. They allow you to sleep on your side more comfortably and provide heat. If you can’t justify the price, just grab another roll mat and double them up, it gives a similar result. Make sure you take sleep seriously!
It may not be the most glamourous of this list but you will find it to be a real luxury. Obviously, this depends on the length of your expedition. If you are away for over a month then, naturally, your nails are going to need to be dealt with. This is critical for your foot maintenance. Long nails can cause serious discomfort and blisters. If you are hiking, then this is almost essential.
Sure, you can use some scissors found in your first aid kit but they can leave ragged nails that will catch on your hiking socks. A small luxury that can fit in any pocket can mean you have more space in your boots!
Sadly, you are unlikely to be near a shower on an expedition. If you are lucky enough to be at a seriously well-equipped base camp, then just ignore this one. But most of the time we have to deal with the frigid waters of a local river or the sad ‘bucket over the head’ shower. You might not always be near a river or a source of water that means you can shower regularly. Pretty quickly you are going to stink, and no one wants that.
Packing a few bags of biodegradable (be kind to the area you are exploring) is a very good use of space. It means you can have a quick scrub anywhere and get most of the dirt off and help you feel fresh! They can also be used to clean your kit. Clothes and down lose their insulating properties when they are dirty.
One of the hiker’s best friends. Duct tape is completely invaluable as it can be used for just about everything. It can be used in patching up a damaged down jacket, a sleeping bag, inflatable roll mat or even your equipment. If you end up with a hole in the tent, duct tape is perfect to patch this up as well. It really is amazing how many times you might need duct tape while you are out on an expedition.
Worried this will take up too much room? There’s a really easy way to pack duct tape. Just wrap strips of it around your Nalgene or water bottle. This simple trick saves loads of space in your pack.
Sports Massage Ball
Who doesn’t want a sports massage after a day on the hill? Injuries are the enemy and frequent stretching and body maintenance is a great idea. Using this will help the tired muscles relax and give your body help to heal. Plus if you are out walking or hiking your feet will likely be in bits. A nice little foot massage will go a long way to boost your mood as well.
They may not be the most essential item but then that is why it is a luxury. It is just a little extra that can help with the aches and pains.