This is the first installment in a two-part series on things that translate from backcountry use and practice onto the mission field. Being the gear junkie that I am, I’m kicking things off with my personal, and EDTS field-tested, top 10 pieces of gear that translate from a backcountry kit to the mission field. Be sure to check out Part Two as well.
#1 – The “Butt Pad”
It’s light, it’s compact and it comes in handy on those long road trips to a village in the back of a truck with 20 people in it. Make one yourself from a retired foam sleeping pad or check out the Therm-a-Rest Z-Seat Camp Chair.
#2 – Water Purification Tablets
Remember, water filtration is not the same as water purification. Do your homework and understand where you’re going, what the water quality is like, and the tools that you’ll need in order to safely treat water for consumption. Even if I’m prepared with filters, purifiers and the like, I always carry emergency water treatment tablets.
#3 & #4 – P-Cord (AKA: Parachute cord, paracord or 550 cord) and at least one Locking Carabineer
I recommend at least 50’ per person and a few hundred feet if you’re the gear guy/gal in the group. Multiple uses included stringing up mosquito nets, keeping packs and other gear off the ground and drying your laundry!
#5 – Multi-tool/Pocketknife
If you’ve ever used one of these you no doubt realized that it was useful for fixing something that you didn’t think could be fixed without the proper tool! (Remember, when in doubt, just bang harder!) A lot of people think that bigger is better, but my favorite, and most used, knife/tool is my Swiss Army SwissCard.
#6 – Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap
I carried a bottle of this stuff the entire 2,174 miles of the Appalachian Trail back in 2004. I have also taken a bottle of it on every outreach that I’ve been on. My favorite use is as shaving cream. It is especially invigorating when there’s no hot water! I recommend pairing it with a liberal application of Gold Bond Medicated Powder (#7 on my list) post bucket shower/sponge bath. *Warning! One time I had a leak in my bottle and it seeped into the foam of my backpack. For the better part of a day I thought I had a spinal cord injury due to the constant hot, tingling sensation in my back while I hiked. I always bag it in a Ziploc (#8 on my list) just in case!
#9 – All Purpose Cloth (APC) also known as a bandana
So many uses! Just remember to let the sun’s UV rays do their thing from time to time to kill all the nastiness on it.
#10 – Electrolyte Tablets
After a long day on the trail when I feel flat out fatigued this is my go-to recovery aid of choice. Same thing applies to the field. On those long, hot days ministering in the city or a village, sweat loss, exertion and stress/strain are sure to add up and drain you. Keep hydrated and keep those electrolyte levels up. Coconut water and ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution) are comparable alternatives. Coconut water can give you the runs so consume wisely. My favorite go-to tablets are the Hammer Endurolyte Fizz tabs.
The vision for the Endurance DTS outdoor ministry is to take students deeper into their own discipleship journey with Christ, and then give them the tools to reach out to others, particularly within the outdoor industry. We know that people on a trip, trek or great adventure are often seeking deeper spiritual revelation as they journey, and God has given us a desire to reach out and meet these individuals along the way. Endurance DTS aims to equip our students to engage with both the lost and trekker/adventurers, and to testify to Christ’s saving grace and faithfulness with credibility and confidence.