How can you make a multi day hiking trip great?
What’s the best preparation before you leave on your next bushwalking trip?
What are eight key ideas that will elevate your trip to “one of the best”?
Reducing risk on your next trek, some ideas.
We have put together our “Top 8″ list of ideas we always use whenever we head out into the bush on any length hiking trip.
Photo by Garrulus
Now the list, in no particular order……..
1) Good food
Spend some time to plan your meals so you have some great food to look forward to at the end of each day. There are many light weight options and our posts on the best lightweight hiking food may be helpful.
Nothing beats a yummy meal at the end of a great day’s hiking. A little preparation can produce great hiking meals you will remember for years.
Great food, great trip
2) Good companion(s)
Whether there are only two of you, or a larger group, we think who you hike with is vital.
Having a shared vision for the hike makes for reduced tension and great fun together as a couple or group.
For example, we have a mate who enjoys the physical challenge of hiking and loves covering huge distances in one day. He enjoys arriving at camp, stuffed. Others we walk with enjoy the stroll, stop and look at flowers, or the view, and take lots of photo’s. They both want to experience the environment in different ways.
Understand what each member of the party wants to get out of the trip before you leave and tailor it to keep everyone happy.
3) Know your route and expected hiking times
Research, research, research.
If you are heading out somewhere new, someone (or two) in the group must take the time to research the walk, purchase (and remember to bring) the maps and load the waypoints into a GPS if one is being used.
Remember, often distance is irrelevant compared with travel time. For example, there are sections in many Tasmanian walks that are shortish distances (say 10km) but it might take 5 hours or more to cover.
Make sure the walk is planned for the slowest member in the group to arrive at camp in daylight!
4) Light weight
We are mid weight hikers.Our gear is nowhere near light weight but we have pruned it to the bare essentials over the years. Make sure you do the same.
Every gram you remove in base gear (stuff you carry the whole trip) is a gram less on your back and hammering your feet as you walk.
Look at removing spare clothing, food packaging and fuel to save weight. Get rid of all the junk that looked so appealing in the Outdoors shop like disinfectant hand gel and a foldup washing up bowl.
Improvise, lose weight, go light and enjoy.
5) Comfortable footwear
Frank is on his third pair of boots in 5 years and still not happy but getting there.
Make sure your footwear is well broken in and comfortable before your head out. Just breaking them in on footpaths walking around your neighborhood is not good enough. Try them with a loaded pack a few times, on rough ground, before you go.
The pressure points and stresses are certainly different. It is time well spent.
Comfortable boots, comfortable trip
6) Let someone know where you are going and when you will be back
This suggestion may not improve your trip, but is sensible and could get you out of trouble if something goes wrong. Leave accurate information with a RELIABLE adult about where you plan to go, and when you plan to return.
Bushwalking Victoria have a good site with an excellent bushwalking safety tips document called Walksafe.
John Chapman also has some good additional information on hiking safety, which is well worth reading.
Letting someone know where you are going, might help you get back
7) Take shared gear
Take some time to organise sharing some gear before you leave.
Ask yourself the question, do we all need to carry sunscreen, bug repellent and a Swiss Army knife?
Rationalise your gear.
You only need one of each item for the whole party on most trips. Think weight saving and hence comfort, as you have to carry this additional weight the whole trip. Having a checklist of the usual gear you take is useful. Print out copies of the list and agree who takes what.
Lightweight trips are great trips, share your gear
8) Pick somewhere fantastic to hike
Location, location , location.
There are some spectacular hiking tracks near all of us. Research by looking on the Web, contacting the Parks Offices near you or joining a local hiking club.
Forums are also a terrific way to learn about wonderful trips that can be from one to 100 days.
Pick a great spot to hike, your spare time is worth you making the effort to find the best!
Please don’t hesitate to comment with your ideas. We are sure there will be MANY ideas that help make your hiking trip GREAT.