No matter where you are going to go or what you are intending to do, you should understand that durable equipment is a necessity. Backpacking especially in the rugged outdoors requires you to be totally dependable in terms of your equipment. You will be able to withstand anything that nature can throw at you.
Since the equipment you carry depends on being dependable, it is important that you understand that utilizing quality equipment can guarantee your safety. With things going wrong, it is not always possible to count on the ability of your tour equipment to get you out of trouble. Sure you can ask your tour guide to cover some basics but you need to be able to rely on them to get you through the trip.
When you are out in the wilderness, you can’t be forced to use the minimum equipment possible. While your equipment is the foundation of everything you do, it is also very vulnerable. Just because you can’t count on them doesn’t mean that they aren’t as capable as they say they are. When you are out in the wilderness, nobody can assume that you are proficient with your equipment.
Over the years, I have experienced first hand how being able to depend on my equipment can save my life. The story of my encounter with the spaghetti strainer is one of the most vivid memories that have stayed with me.
I had been on a six -week hiking tour through the Canadian Shield mountain range. The group had been traveling by car and there had been an accident on a trail that left one of the vehicles went into a deep slot.
As I was helping myself to a large meal that day, I began to do some soul searching on my current whereabouts. I had been told that there was a road that ran straight through the mountain and I had some information from a friend that had attempted to go there. None of them had been successful and they had all died in the car accident.
I had apparently assumed that attempting to find my way back would be no problem, since I had done it before with all my equipment. However, all of my recent trips had been in the South Africa that included the Komati. I had apparently tried to go to a road near the top but when I got to the point, I had been turned around at the road and taken an inevitable turn by a truck. I was now faced with the fact that I had to travel a long way to get back to the village.
This was particularly difficult to deal with for a first time farmer. I had been told that the road was indefinite, but it seemed quite a ways off. After doing some quick navigation with my new found abilities, I found myself being stopped twice by the police. They said I had strayed too far into private land and needed to come back. I was told that if I really didn’t want to come back nothing could stop me, so it wasn’t worth dealing with the hassle.
I made my way to the fence that separate the farm and the road, as I had done on the previous trip. As I was on the other side of the fence I could see the truck and trailer parked outside a trailer that was attached to the farm. Feeling a little queasy, I once again made my way to the other side. Lorry after lorry with fresh supplies of bread and water were passing me as I made my way to the road. The road was sinking a couple of feet into the ground.
Giant pines and boulders continued to fall into the bed of the truck, as we slowly towed the broken down car back to the village. Hungry villagers called us to come with them to the Korunyiet, a Branch of the Eastern Cape Church, where we were told many good things could be found. There we met two young farm hands who gave us a lift to our vehicle. It was now evening and we decided it was time to get cleaned up and go home. We drove back up the hill and tried to find the restroom. There was no restroom in the broken down vehicle, so we pulled in the stream and washed our bodies.
We had packed our few personal belongings, Thermal clothes, lucky shoes for river crossings, bug repellent, gasoline, Type 2 Akuba burner and satellite phone. Of course, the satellite phone was only useful if someone was listening, and we didn’t have mosquito repellent with us.
We walked back to the car, gave our remaining belongings togars and set off down the road. It was a wonderfully dark and remote area of the Kalahari Desert. Despite the lack of landmarks, we knew we were headed for the camp site. The day had been an unusually long and sunny one, nevertheless it was also the rainy season so the soon-to-be-released rain was already audible up the hill.