If you’re limited by time, you’ll need to know how many kilometres you want to tackle each day...
The weather’s good and you’re itching to get out on your next adventure. So are you going for a day or a weekend, and which trail will you take?
Here are a few tips on how to plan hiking trip.
Selecting your trail
First you need to decide on your parameters to help narrow down your options
Time; How much time you have? If you’re limited by time, you’ll need to know how many kilometres you want to tackle each day and ensure that the route you choose is within your time constraints. Most people will plan to hike 3-10 kilometres per day, depending on what shape you’re in and how much elevation gain there is.
Distance; How far you want to go: If you’re choosing a destination with a fixed length, you’ll still have to decide how many kilometres you want to hike each day, but this will determine how many days you’ll be on the trail.
If you only have a weekend, something within a couple of hours from home will give you more time to enjoy on the trail. Try to pick something different each time you venture out, it’s fun to try different areas such as the forest one week and waterfalls the next.
How many in your group:
If you’re solo, you have more leeway on your hiking speed and where to stop for the night; if you’re with others you’ll need to accommodate the pace of the slowest member of your group.
TIP: Ensure the trail you select can accommodate a campsite before you go if you are staying overnight. Some areas might not be able to accommodate a group.
Some trails won’t be accessible in all weather conditions. Ensure you look at the long range forecast when planning, and before you head off the short term. Is the trail still achievable in wet conditions? Do you need a new route? You might need a whole new destination.
Be sure to grab a map of the trail you want to take and if it’s a new trail, cross-reference your choice with others who have more current knowledge of the trail—maps can become out of date quickly.
TIP: Speak to your local Rays store to get information on local trails and new ideas for different locations.
Ok, you’ve now selected your trail, now you need to make your day to day plan so there are no unpleasant surprises.
Campsites: Look into if there are established campsites along the trail. How far in are they and how many along the trail. If travelling in a group, be sure they can cater for multiple tents, or do you need swags or even an elevated tent?
Water sources: Bringing along a filter or purifying tablets is essential, but they’re useless if you don’t know where your water is coming from. Be sure to look into if there are streams, a lake or do you need to venture off track for a water source?
Terrain: Hopefully, you have a general idea of what you’re getting yourself into before you go, but your map will show you exactly where your elevation gains will happen, where you’ll get your rest breaks with views, etc.
Gear and Supplies
Permits and passes: Check with your local National Parks if you need a permit or pass to be hiking in the area and be sure to carry any permits with you. Most states in Australia also need a fishing permit if you intend to catch your dinner.
Insects: A sleeping net for a hammock, or anti-mos clothing to prevent mosquito bites might be a good investment. Once bitten, twice shy.
Food: Plan out your meals for each person, per day. But keep a check on the weight of any food you intend to pack, it can creep up on you. Always carry some extra food in case of emergency.
Need the morning coffee? If you can’t go without the morning caffeine hit, make sure you check out the options to help prepare this on the go. There is a great new range to ensure you don’t have to compromise on taste
Check gear condition: Always thoroughly test your equipment before you leave home making sure you have all the necessary attachments, accessories and equipment ready for your escape. Pro tip: Set up camp in the backyard a few nights before you go. Make sure all your equipment is in good shape with no holes or malfunctions. Make sure your shoes fit well and are comfortable. If you can, do an overnight trial run or refresher for a longer hiking trip.
Shared gear: Going with others? Decide who’s bringing what to avoid duplication or missing items. Common shared gear can include stoves, tent and water filters.
Checklist: Grab all the gear you think you need and lay it out on the floor at home ahead of time (good time to do a check on its condition). This makes it easier to see what’s missing and to cull items you don’t really need so you can save weight.
Ok, it’s time to go!
Right before you leave for your trip, here is your last minute preparation list:
- Pack your backpack
- Check the weather one last time
- Share your itinerary with someone you trust