Heading on an outdoor excursion soon? There are certain essential items you’ll need to take with you, whether you’re just relaxing at the beach or you’re heading on a multi-day camping trip. The outdoors are beautiful and exciting, but there are also certain risks that you’ll need to avoid. Here’s your packing list for any outdoor activity.

Sunscreen – Even if it’s cloudy outside, you’ll need to be sure to pack some sunscreen when you head outside. The sun’s rays are warm and beautiful, but they can also do some serious damage to your skin. Not only can the sun cause burns and sun spots, but it can also increase your risk for skin cancer. Look for a sunscreen that’s easy to apply and sits comfortably on your skin, and provides at least SPF 30 protection.

Water – When you’re outside, you’re going to get dehydrated much more quickly than you would if you were spending time indoors. It’s important to bring water with you to sip on throughout the day. Not only will it help keep you cool, but it’s also great for your skin and internal organs. It even helps flush the toxins out of your body, which helps you lose weight and stay in good shape.

Bug Spray – There’s nothing more annoying than coming home from a day outside, only to find that you have tons of itchy bug bites. Be sure to apply bug spray before spending time outdoors, particularly if you are in an area that is known for mosquitos or other pests. As with sunscreen, you’ll want to look for a version that’s easy to apply, and feels light on your skin. Carry it with you and reapply throughout the day to prevent getting bitten.

Sunglasses – It’s not just your skin that can incur sun damage – your eyes can too. A good pair of sunglasses is an essential to help keep you comfortable and safe while you are out in the sun. They’ll help you see better as you’re navigating the trails (or just sitting on the beach), and they’ll protect your eyes from strong UV rays.

Map or GPS – It’s important to know where you’re going when you’re traveling, so keep a map on you at all times, whether it’s a traditional paper map or a digital one. The last thing you want is to be stuck somewhere you can’t get out of, so bringing a map with you will really help with your peace of mind.

Snacks – Spending a few hours outside has a way of making you hungry, so you’ll want to be sure to keep a few portable and nutritious snacks on you. There are tons of options that work well – granola bars, trail mix, or a piece of fruit are all good choices. You’ll want to avoid anything that melts in the sun, however.

Camera – This may not necessarily be an essential, but it always helps to have a camera with you while you’re spending time outside so that you can capture your memories. If you have a smartphone with a good camera, you could bring that, or you could bring a higher quality digital camera for even better pictures. You’ll be glad you brought a camera along when you have gorgeous pictures left to look back on.

These essentials can really help you make the most of your time outdoors. Before heading out for a hike, bike ride, camping trip, or even just a picnic, be sure to put together a small kit of these items to keep you comfortable.

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