We bushwalk on mainly cross country terrain - not tracks. The bush is prickly and scratchy on arms, legs and faces. The grasses in far north Queensland are long and have penetrating seeds and rocks can be hard on the hands. Ticks, leeches and snakes are present in areas where we walk. Stinging tree is present in some areas. You will sweat a lot on many of the walks and your clothing needs to be able to "breathe" and wick the moisture away. Many modern synthetics available in bushwalking shops do this well and are lightweight and dry quickly.
Essentials on any walk
First Aid Kit
- Water/Windproof Matches - or lighter stored in a zip lock bag - wet ones don't work.
- Torch, space blanket and whistle - ( in the unforeseen event you need to bivvy out overnight)
- Lightweight warm jersey +/- raincoat - depending on time of year and weather.
- Map and Compass - ( & knowledge in their use )
- Water - amount varies according to where you are walking, hydration bladders are a convenient way to carry & dispense.
- Spare Food - i.e. extra muesli/energy bar, instant soup, biscuits, dried fruit.
- Change of Clothing to leave in the vehicle for the return journey.
- Cash to pay the club walk fee, a share of travel costs ($10.00 or more depending on distance, care engine size, numbers in car) and for ice cream and/or drinks at the end of the walk.
- Breakfast - Muesli, quick cooking oats or freeze-dried. Uncle Toby's Oat Temptations are yummy- but you will need 2 sachets, not 1.
- Lunch - dry biscuits with cheese, salami, tuna, peanut paste or jam; packet soup, or 2 minute noodles.
- Supper - Dehydrated or freeze-dried food- "Back Country" or "Backpackers Pantry" are 2 widely available freeze dried foods. Cous cous, polenta or freeze-dried rice cooked with a stock cube and freeze dried vegetables is another alternative. Or you can dehydrate your own food.
- Beverages - can purchase coffee or hot chocolate in satchels to which you just add boiling water. The purist can bring the separate ingredients needed to make a "cuppa".
- Snacks - chocolate, nuts, dried fruit, muesli bars.
- Alcohol - optional, to be enjoyed at camp.
It is important to measure out the exact requirements and bring 1 day's extra rations in case of delay. Whilst the freeze dried dinners give you the required amount of food, you will need to estimate how much food you will eat at lunch and breakfast and the amount of snacks you will consume and just bring that amount only. Portion it out. Remember, every gram counts!
- Gas stove - lightweight. The MSR "pocket rocket" is very popular. For longer walks white spirit stoves such as the MSR "whisperlite" are efficient.
- Billy - light weight aluminium or titanium. How big? Big enough to boil water for freeze-dried food and a cuppa.
- Cup, bowl and spork or fork and spoon - A Billy lid can sometimes double as a bowl.
- Sunscreen and insect repellent - depending on time of year and walk location.
- Torch - for use at night. Headlights work best. Bring spare batteries.
- Pocket knife - Lightweight and sharp.
- Camera - optional.
- Sleeping bag - This again is a personal choice as to whether you have a full zip or ½ zip, down or synthetic. Shop around; ask other members what they have and why they like that choice, before purchasing. The lightest, lightweight sleeping bag rated at 2 degrees is a mere 400g.
- Inner sheet - Keeps the sleeping bag clean. Silk is lightweight, keeps you warm and feels good.
- Sleeping mat - Insulation isn't important in the tropics (unlike in the southern climates) and the "Exped airmat provides the comfort of an air mattress and weighs approx 660g. If using an "Exped" make sure you bring a repair kit in case of puncture. Otherwise a "Thermorest" "Prolite" is lighter (but not as comfy) and will provide the insulation that is needed in colder climates.
- Tent - A 2 man tent shouldn't weigh any more that 2.2.kgs. An expensive tent isn't really necessary, as we don't have the climatic extremes that are present in the colder climates. A generous vestibule to store gear makes camping more comfortable. Have a look around, look at catalogues, camping shops and on the internet, before making a final purchase. Remember that using a "foot print" for the tent will help prevent damage to the floor.
The Essentials - and including the following:
- Clothing - Hat, long-sleeved lightweight shirt, shorts or trousers, comfortable socks and good walking boots/shoes with a stiff sole and plenty of tread. Gaiters are strongly recommended as many walks are cross country and gaiters protect the lower legs from scratches and stings, and from sticks, grasses and stones getting inside the boots. Long sleeve shirt and trousers will provide some protection from mother nature like the sun, scratchy bush, and stinging tree. Light colours absorb less heat than dark colours.
- Lunch - can consist of sandwiches and fruit, crackers and tuna, instant soups/noodles. Bring a stove and mug for tea/coffee, if you want to boil water for a "cuppa" - some cary a small thermos.
- Snacks - nuts, dried fruit, energy bar, fresh fruit, biscuits, etc. Enough for am and pm.
- Stove - Lightweight gas, e.g. MSR "Pocket Rocket", Jet Boil, and billy if boiling water.
- Swimming costume
- Towel - (lightweight/not bulky) optional. Some class a towel as a luxury item and use a large "chux" instead.
- Camera - optional, highly recommended. Compact tough camera is suitable.
- Sunscreen and Insect Repellent - highly recommended for all bushwalks.
The Essentials - and including the following:
- Back Pack - size and type is subjective and depends on what gear you carry. From 45 to 85 litre may be suitable depending on the walk and the individual. Lightweight is good !
- Pack liner - To keep the pack contents dry in case of rain or inadvertently falling in a stream. Can use a large plastic bag or purchase a lightweight commercial pack liner.
- Clothing - Will need clothes for walking during the day and clean/dry clothes to use at night. It is a personal choice as to how many, but remember, they need to be carried and every gram counts!
Suggested is the following:
- Same to wear whilst walking as recommended for "day walks" as above.
- The modern synthetics that are available in camping shops are best as they are breathable, wick away moisture, dry quickly and are lightweight. Socks should be well fitting and comfortable. Modern synthetic socks wick away moisture, are lightweight and dry quickly.
- At night a clean shirt and longs are needed to change into. Warm clothes are also often needed - it does get cold in the tropics on the ranges behind Townsville ! Recommended are the following; a "Polartec" jersey, a beanie and polypropylene long sleeved vest +/- long johns. A lightweight, waterproof jacket can be used as a wind barrier as well as a raincoat. "Gortex" or equivalent is recommended as it is also "breathable" and reduces sweating.
- Remember to bring a change of underwear and socks and shoes or thongs to wear around camp. "Crocs" or equivalent are lightweight and socks can be worn under these on cold nights.
- Swimming costume - we usually camp near a pool.
- Towel - Lightweight, synthetic ones dry quickly and are available at camping shops. Some consider this item a luxury and use a large chux.
- Toiletries - decant into tiny containers and only bring what will be used. Remember to bring regular medications. Soaps are harmful to our fragile environment and shouldn't be used in streams.
- Don't forget the toilet paper and lightweight spade.