I was recently in a well known outdoor clothing and equipment store when a young chap approached me, he was going on a road trip which included the Western Cape as well as the Kruger, never having done so before he had no idea what to buy. Well as you are no doubt aware we can have various extremes even in summer and believe it or not days and nights can be cold. Well after helping him out with a few ideas I thought that it would be worthwhile compiling a basic list for a trip that would allow one to be comfortable and presentable under all circumstances-make no mistake it’s not the definitive list but it’s a good departure point.
Road trip checklist # 101
A few technical Tees are good, they keep one cool and wash easily, long sleeve shirts are best for the evenings as they offer protection against mosquitoes, choose lighter neutral colours preferably vented, as they are cooler. Flapped pockets for storage are also useful.
Technical cargos are the best, once again easy to wash and dry and accepted at most hotels. Those with the zip off legs are often favoured but choose a good brand to ensure that you do not get “iffy” zips.
For the odd occasion that something smarter may be called for take at least one pair of chinos.
Whilst I accept that you may get close to the game or the action a small pair of binoculars will always come in useful, good brands are Bushnell or Nikon.
If you want good pictures but do not want to lug a large bag with a DSLR and lenses then go for one of the better compacts-ask for a brand that the pro’s carry as a an emergency camera (Canon or Fuji X-E1 are good options)
If you are not doing serious terrain but want good footwear then opt for the trail running type of shoe, you will need two pairs to alternate as well as having a back up if a pair gets wet.
Sandals that are more durable than normal flip-flops are great for beachwear and can even be worn in the shower of an ablution block if necessary (protect feet)
Ok a peak is oh so cool but it does not protect your neck, a soft “crunchable” broad brimmed hat is best, you can keep the peak for the beach.
Buffs are great, they can be worn as emergency hats, headbands and scarves in the heat. In an emergency they can clean cameras, wipe glasses etc. as long as they are clean and dry.
Just the basics if you are not going into the back of beyond but you should have at least:
1. The necessary tablets for an upset stomach as well as nausea.
2. Rehydration mixture.
3. Burn Gel
5. Blister treatment (cream and an antiseptic)
6. Wound powder
7. Any prescription Meds
One need a decent water bottle, try and get one with a karabiner that will allow you to clip it off a daypack, also look for the double walled stainless steel types that keep water much colder as the day wear on especially in a car.
If you are going to be walking around a light daypack is a must as it allows you to keep all the kit together, holds additional items like raincoats etc. and keeps your hands free-you can even carry your camera in the pack as long as it is in a suitable case( also ensure that you have adequate memory cards for te trip as well as a spare camera battery and the charger)
One often asks why given that everyone has a GPS and smartphone with Google Maps- it’s simple sometimes technology fails, signals are lost or batteries fail- the compass will always show north and you can easily work out where the sun will ride for those early morning pictures. And its cool to do some old school stuff occasionally so don’t forget a map as well.
This is simple, you need a good durable bag for all the kit, lightweight with a few compartments as well as waterproof, in SA see that you lock the bag as well, preferably with a combination lock so that you don’t have to worry about keys.
Keep it simple; you don’t need the kitchen sink, soap, shampoo, toothbrush and razor, if you travel with an electric toothbrush slip a good old manual one in as a backup. Aftershave is cool but can attract mosquitoes. The next key item is your sunblock-don’t go out without it.
These brightly coloured wraps have multiple uses, you can shelter from the sun, wear them around your hotel room or simply as a wrap when going to the pool.
A jacket is essential, it will keep you warm and if extremely cold can be paired with a polar fleece, opt for something that is waterproof as some towns in SA can display all four seasons in a day.
Well I have covered the basics but one can play with the list and add or delete dependant on the itinerary, you may need a smarter jacket for dinner in hotels which will not really be suitable for outdoor wear, then just add a lightweight rain jacket A small torch and super tool are also handy in an emergency-but take one with a bottle opener, can opener and corkscrew- in that way you can wine and dine when having an emergency picnic.
Cape Union Mart and Due South are great shops to outfit oneself as is Sportsman’s Warehouse, good well priced brands such as Hi-Tec Way, First Ascent and K-Way are worth considering when getting ready.
Now get out there and enjoy yourself!