Last updated 2Jul22
A lot of this is old hat stuff. A few current updates.
2010 New Year’s resolution was to lose 1kgm of overnight gear weight per year.
I didn’t have much of an idea about gear when I took up walking again, after a break of about 40 years. Some say minimal, others say high-tech. Get what suits you, after talking with the experts and, if you can, try before you buy. CBC has gear that you can hire and try.
AA/AAA Rechargeable Batteries and Chargers
9. Feb 17. Another 4 AA eneloops 2550mAh (min 2450mAh) from Jaycar Tuggeranong. $33.95.
8. Mar 15. Now using Panasonic eneloop pro batteries. The AAs are 2550mAh and AAAs 950mAh. They retain 85% capacity after 1 year. $26.95 each for a pack of 4 from Jaycar Fyshwick.
7. Sep 14. Bought 4 Panasonic eneloop pro batteries from Batteries Direct. Rated 2450mAh.
6. Another bundle from PROtog in Feb 13. A Powerex MH-C9000 charger with mutliple cycles, including battery forming and refresh and analyse – which supposedly allows you to test battery capacity and so match like-capacity batteries in the usual serial use. Plus 4 * Powerex NiMH 2700mAh and 4 * Powerex Imedion NiMH 2400mAh (which are supposed to hold up to 85% charge for 1 year). OK, so I did a break-in cycle on the 2700mAh batteries (as recommended). 2 ended up with a capacity of 2528mAh, 1 with 2515 and 1 with 2513. (I notice the batteries that came with the Garmin GPS are rated 2000 mAh TYP(ical), 1900 mAh MIN(imum).
5. Purchased more AAs (Powerex NiMH 2700mAh) in May 12. Now $26.35 posted to my door, that’s cheaper than 3 years ago.
4. Realising that chargers ain’t chargers, I purchased a Powerex MH-C800S 8 Cell Smart Charger from PROtog in Mar 11. It has a (long) conditioning cycle, which seems to be revitalising my many-cycled NiMH cells.
3. With more requirements for AAs, a pair of Energiser 2450mAh for $13.97 bought at short notice in Feb 10.
2. By May 2009 I’d cycled my various rechargeable cells too many times, so ordered 4 MAHA Powerex NiMH 2700mAh cells (arrived in a useful plastic holder) via the www.servaas.com.au site. $31 posted to the door in 48hrs. I’ll see how they go – and go they do. Lovely to have reliable batteries again which will run the GPS for at least 8 hours and still have plenty of puff!
1. I run my GPS all the time to record the track. When essential (eg. for a multiday walk) I’ll fork out $10 for a pair of Lithium single use AAs.
21. Feb17 With a trip coming up to Tasmania, I thought I should get a bit more tread on my boots. So out to Anaconda and found 20% off Hi-Tec Altitude VI WP boots for $179.99. Full leather uppers, so I’d best wear them in day and night before the trip.
20. Jan16 Thanks to the US Evans jr family (+ a few more $), new Kathmandu Strowan NGX walking shoes. Vibram soles.
19. Jan16 I’ll try a pair of Cederberg boots $120 from Anaconda. Style Adder Hiker. Vibram soles.
18. Mar 15 a pleasant shopping experience at Anaconda in Fyshwick. A pair of Hi Tec Trail Blazer boots for $74.99!
17. Jan 15 and my training for the Cbr100Challenge was giving me very sore feet, particularly on the ball of my left foot. So a visit to The Runners Shop and some advice resulted in a pair of Hoka One One shoes with a highly padded sole. $229. Add some Walkers’ Wool (thanks CC) and my feet are coping better.
16. Jun 14 and another pair of Hi-Tec Altitude boots from Seears Workwear. $208.05 when you flash your Seniors Card. Still love these boots!
15. Jul 13 and another Kathmandu sucker sale. I’m in. Richmond NGX boots now for $99.98.
14. Jul 12 another pair of Hi-Tec Altitude boots from Seears Workwear. I’ll wear them to bed to have them ready for 7-8 Jul 12 in 2 days time. These boots just fit my foot. Perhaps the new ones will keep my feet dry when walking through snow.
13. Kathmandu winter sucker sale. Jun 12 a pair of Kathmandu Richmond NGX mid-cut boots. $119.99. UK11 (no half sizes). 509gm/boot.
12. Trying to keep at it as old age encroaches, I’ll try walking shoes. In Jan 12 at the Kathmandu sale, a pair of Kathmandu Sandover NGX walking shoes, $108.00. Size – UK10, Euro 44.0, US 11 (I think I usually take 10½). Now that seems a reasonable price, even for day to day sneakers. I’ll try them 28 Jan 12 in preparation for 4 Feb 12. Hope thay don’t get cut to pieces on the Cotter Hut Road. Weight wise, not as much of an advantage as I was expecting (else my favourite Hi-Tecs are light-ish). One Hi-Tec boot = 644gm; one Kathmandu walking shoe = 507gm.
11. Another pair of Hi-Tec Altitude IV WP nubuck uppers boots from Seears Workwear in June 11. $219, then a $14 discount for this poor old pensioner. So less than a year out of the old pair (they’ll still have a bit of wear in them), but I guess they’ve done a few km. I just like the fit of these boots.
10. Hats off to Seears Workwear and the Hi-Tec rep. The upper started to separate from the left boot in July 10. I tried wrapping around with tape but, of course, lost half the sole area grip and it quickly wore through. Took them back with just a credit card payment record. Credit given, added $50 and a very comfortable pair of Hi-Tec Altitude IV WP in fashionable dark chocolate.
9. Some more Hi-Tec Natal (they don’t make Addos anymore, but these looked exactly the same) in Mar 10. $160 (incl seniors discount) from Seears Workwear.
8. With some water work coming up on 24 Jan 09, 27 Jan 09 and 3 Feb 09 I lashed out and purchased a pair of Dunlop Volleys. I now feel like an old hand – the living legends often wander around in the bush in Volleys. Seriously, they are light on the feet and very grippy for rock-hopping and wading in creeks and generally in wet conditions. I guess the disadvantage is that they don’t provide much ankle support.
7. Hi-Tecs just about on their last legs, so replaced them with exactly the same on 7 Jan 09. They are Hi-Tec Addos. This time I purchased from Seears Workwear for $169.00 (incl a Seniors discount); same boots in outdoor shops for $199.95. These are not overly technical boots, but the point is they are perfect for my foot. They do not need to be super-waterproof as I mainly day walk and get through the soles so quickly. So the lesson for me is – find something that is comfortable and works and stick to it.
6. I tried a different tack, shopping at Paddy Pallins on 26 May 08 for a pair of Hi-Tec boots at half the price. If they are reasonable, I can get two pairs of these for the price of one pair of the others!
5. With extra quick service from Jen, the MD store manager, by 11 May 2007 I handed over $18 and had a replacement pair of Raichle Scout black GTX boots. 1420gm a pair, so a test of the light(er) and robust. Thanks again to Mountain Designs. Maybe I’m hard on boots. By May 2008 the Raichles were nearing the end of their life.
4. From October 2006, it’s now Mountain Designs Tasman (full leather, Gore-Tex lined) with Nikwax Conditioner for Leather to maintain them. 1640gm a pair, but you can’t get robust and light! But by April 2007, these boots exhibited upper and sole separation at a toe and a side. So back to MD to have them examined for warranty replacement.
3. So back I went in January 2006 and found a pair of Raichle Mt Guide GoreTex boots, of the lighter variety requiring less walking in – so I could get back into the bush. Excellent boots. Use NikWax Nubuck & Suede Proof to maintain them. Within 9 months, one of the soles began to ‘onion peel’. Mountain Designs, the retail outlet, sent them to Queensland for assessment and organised replacement within 8 days. That’s great and Mountain Designs continues to win my business.
2. I took the opportunity to try both leather and the lighter weight offerings. Wild No 98 did a walking boot survey which helped. But I decided that my ageing ankles needed full support, so settled on Scarpa Trek Pros (full leather), which received a good rating in the review. A pair of blue gel heel inserts add some padding. I thought I’d walked them in, but they made a mess of my feet on a walk to Mt Kelly (my fault). 1670gm a pair. So I didn’t use them for a while – this particular style known for its narrow fitting. But with other boots starting to wear out in H1 2008, I used them for short walks. They certainly are robust and I understand that Scarpa are making wider fittings now.
1. A basic pair of Hi-Tec boots did great service till November 2005, particularly after I learned that you need to nourish the leather to keep it supple and water resistant (Sno-Seal is good). But worn heels, cracked uppers and paper thin soles led to replacement.
10. I currently use and iPhone Xs Max.
9. Sigh. I lost my camera on a trip to Dutchies Peak, Mt McKeahnie and beyond on 29-20 Sep 17. Lucky I’m with AAMI! Reported to Police Sunday midday, made the claim Sunday arvo, public holiday in Canberra on the Monday, had a replacement camera by midday Tuesday!!! But another claim within 3 years and a +$500 excess. Now a Sony Cybershot RX100 Mark 4 ($1145.12), SanDisk Extreme 64GB card ($80.00) and LowePro Newport 30 case ($25). So the lot was $1250.12. A pocket compact, so more manageable size and lighter. Spare battery ordered from Sony $69, but used a $50 voucher which came with the purchase.
8. I lost my camera on trip to Ginini Falls on 10 Dec 16. I’m insured with AAMI, rang them that Saturday night and by Wednesday I had a $500 order on Ted’s Camera Store to replace it. That’s pretty good service. Added a few more bob and came away with a Canon PowerShot G3X ($1099.95), 16GB SD card ($15.26), camera bag ($59.95). So the lot was $1175.16. A bit bigger, but it sure takes a god pic.
7. With a trip to Tasmania a photographic opportunity too good to waste, in Mar 15 a Canon Powershot S120 ($368.30), little case ($9.17), SanDisk 16GB Ultra SDHC card ($22.98) and Inca Canon NB6L spare battery ($49.55) all packaged up for $450.00 from Ted’s.
6. A newer model mophie extra battery with a ruggedised, waterproof casing now wraps my iPhone. Only downside is that it makes the mobile into a brick.
5. A 32GB iPhone 4S arriving in Nov 11 takes a good pic (only digital zoom available) and HD video. An excellent tool coupled with a mophie extra battery. But it’s not waterproof.
4. Continuing the theme of weight reduction (along with volume reduction and convenience), in Feb 10 a Canon Powershot SX120IS (10Mp and 10Xoptical zoom), an 8GB card and a little bag (all up $362). So now I’m equipped like Mike B and Karen C – only hope I can emulate their pics. Weighs in all up at 345gm, versus 1156gm for the 400D (less zoom lens) in a bag.
3. I must have been a good boy in 2006 because, in early December a pre-Christmas present of a Canon EOS 400D Twin Lens Kit digital SLR camera arrived. Now, to learn how to drive it!
2. I next used a 3.2 megapixel Canon PowerShot S1 IS camera with 10X optical zoom, usually set to take large resolution (2048*1536 pixels) and Superfine compression shots. I use a 1GB compact flash card in it, which allows plenty of room for a good number of photos (more than 500 at the above quality) and sound bite descriptions. It takes 4 AA rechargeable batteries, rated at 2500mAh.; (IrfanView freeware is used to reduce the pics to 800*600 and 80% jpeg quality, then Easy Gallery Generator freeware to organise them onto this web site. I’ve chosen not to publish photos which might easily identify people.) If anyone would like a copy of a picture in its original size and quality, please just email me.
1. I started with a Canon Ixus, 3.2 megapixels and 3X optical zoom. It was very compact, but I found the optical zoom a limitation and the battery (after a couple of years) needed a good pocket warm before performing in the cold.
I use the layered approach to clothing:
Thermals – Target brand thermal T-shirts are fine for me. When it’s cold (snow, night time), I put on thermal long-johns.
Mid-layer – I’m very pleased with an Icebeaker brand New Zealand superfine merino wool long-sleeved top. It was expensive, but I wear it to death. In addition, Kathmandu polypro tops are ok, especially at 3 for $29.85 in Jun14.
Top Layer – When necessary, I use a Mountain Designs 2nd layer thermal. Normal wear for cool day or weekend walks is a Target short sleeved ‘puffer jacket’.
When it’s not cold, any old shirt will do. A lighter colour will be cooler than a dark colour. Long sleeves may be useful, but I like short sleeves. But it’s always wise to carry an extra layer to pop on during breaks, particularly in the wind on top of a hill.
Down Jacket – having borrowed a mate’s down jacket on a couple of serious occasions, a trip to the USA in September 2007 provided the opportunity to obtain a Western Mountaineering Flight Jacket. A nice little piece of kit weighing a modest 350gm in a Sea to Summit Sn240 stuff sack. About an AUD/gm.
Shell – Spare no expense. An absolute must – get the best available, Gore-Tex. Another option seems to be lighter weight waterproof jackets (which need to be coupled with waterproof overpants). But I still (Oct 17, May 12) prefer the long, more robust jacket + shorts up under.
4. Bought a Mountain Designs Storm King 17 Goretex coat in Oct 17. Reduced from $549.95 to $329.97.
3. I think any serious walker would be mad not to use a Gore-Tex shell. My Stratus shell was returned from Mr Tex with a full technical inspection report. As I suspected “water pressure testing of the fabric in your garment revealed extensive puncture damage in the shoulders, back and down both sleeves. These pin-sized puncture holes are not a fabric flaw – they are mechanical damage to the fabric that has occurred during use.” – ie. wear and tear. However, the largest punctures were repaired, the jacket laundered and a fresh treatment of the Durable Water Repellency done, the jacket posted back with a care kit and an accompanying item. The technical report even told me that I’d sweated in the jacket – “A visual inspection found a build up of contamination in the seam tapes around the neck, chin and sleeve areas. Contaminants such as perspiration, body oils, suntan creams, moisturisers, etc can build up over a period of time and during use. If left in a garment for an extended period of time, and garments are not washed thoroughly or regularly enough for their level of use, contaminants can cause irreparable damage to adhesives of the seam tape and between laminated layers of the fabric.” Well, I don’t use suntan creams or moisturisers, but I sure am guilty of sweating in it. And, of course, it’s had some rough treatment in it’s life.
Huge congratulations to Mr Gore Tex. Hats off to you!! That’s above and beyond the call of duty/guarantee and, even though I didn’t need such service to remain a life-long customer, I’m sold. To top it off, the WL Gore Customer Service contact may come down to Canberra and Tuesday walk with us!
2. With Winter 2008 coming up, I bit the bullet and purchased a Paddy Pallin Vista shell. Love the long cut and it’s 60gm lighter that the previous.
1. In November 2004 I got a Mountain Designs Stratus shell (Goretex 3-layer XCR fabric) and Mountain Designs Cascade Goretex overpants which served me well for a few of years. Wet and snowy in Tasmania a couple of times and the occasional wet day-walk and snowy weekend in Namadgi. But by late 2007 it started to leak. I tried washing it and reproofing it with Granger’s XT – Spray Waterproofer, then sticking it in the tumble-dryer as instructed. No joy. I tried this twice. A couple of wet (inside and outside) walks! In May 2008 I had the thought of trying the Gore-Tex guarantee. I rang the Sydney number and got an excellent response – send it up and they’ll test it. I guess it will be ‘wear and tear’ v a fault. But Gore-Tex were certainly willing to have a look at it. Watch this space for the outcome.
Trousers – always young-at-heart shorts – with zips to add on legs when really necessary. In the rain, I sometimes wish my shorts were shorter (I have a friend who walks in very short ‘rugger’ shorts) or my shell top was longer to keep the exposed bottoms of the shorts from soaking up the rain. I do sometimes wear shorter shorts (which my daughter calls Kel shorts – will only have meaning if you’re a Kath and Kym fan).
5. Woo-hoo. I won a new pair of Sea to Summit Quagmire Event gaiters in a Paddy Pallin competition. Thank you Paddy!
4. I suppose 3 years for a pair of gaiters is reasonable. December 10 brought a pair of Sea to Summit, Quagmire model, Event gaiters, free post from Paddy Pallin. Same style as last pair, with the velcro top fastening which I like, rather than draw cord.
3. By December 07 my walking companions noticed my gaiters were sagging (a bit like the way I felt), so replaced with Sea to Summit Quagmire Gore-tex from my favourite MD store.
2. Also a pair of Sea to Summit 450D ripstop nylon gaiters, longer, which are excellent in Tasmania/colder climes.
1. An excellent pair of Kathmandu NGX gaiters which breathe from the upper area (500D Nylon with NGX lamination upper; 1000D Nylon bottom), coming to comfortably below my knees.
Hat – Just a disposal store Army type cloth hat (I could use a wider brim). A cheap acrylic beanie for cold (it’s more than adequate to arrest the head loss heat).
2. The MD Talon fleece gloves were very good, but finally wore out. Replaced by Berghaus windstopper gloves. $89.95, but 30% discount so $62.96.
1. Mountain Designs Talon fleece gloves for the cold, topped by Mountain Designs Trekker gloves for the wet. If you want to protect your hands pushing through scrub or grabbing onto bushes on steep slopes, try a pair of gardening gloves (= scrub gloves).
Here’s some researched home-made ones, thanks to Peter J:
Best Researched – Measure all ingredients precisely. Small variations can make the drink less effective or even harmful. Mix the following: 1 quart (950 mL) water, ½ teaspoon (2.5 g) baking soda, ½ teaspoon (2.5 g) table salt, ¼ teaspoon (1.25 g) salt substitute (potassium-based), such as Lite Salt or Morton Salt Substitute, 2 tablespoons (30 g) sugar.
From the BBC –
ISOTONIC DRINKS They are designed to quickly replace the fluids which are lost by sweating. They also provide a boost of carbohydrates. The body prefers to use glucose as its source of energy. Sometimes it is better to consume isotonic drinks where the carbohydrate source is a concentrated form of glucose. They are commonly drunk by athletes, especially middle and long distance runners, but all professional sportspeople use them in their daily training regimes. Drink one: Fruit Academy You will need: 200ml ordinary fruit squash 800ml water A pinch of salt Mix them all together in a jug and cool down in fridge. Drink two: Thirst Burst You will need: 500ml unsweetened fruit juice (orange, apple, pineapple) 500ml water Mix them all together in a jug and cool down in fridge. Drink Three: Feelin’ fruity You will need: 50-70g sugar One litre of warm water Pinch of salt 200ml of sugar free squash Mix, cool and drink.
HYPERTONIC DRINKS Hypertonic drinks are used to supplement your daily carbohydrate intake. They contain even higher levels of carbs than isotonic and hypotonic drinks. There are plenty of squash flavours available The best time to drink them is after exercise as they help your body to top up on muscle glycogen stores. These are your valuable energy stores. In very long distance events such as marathons, high levels of energy are required. Hypertonic drinks can also be taken during exercise to meet the energy requirements. However, it is advisable to only use them during exercise alongside isotonic drinks to replace fluids. Make your own – You will need: 400ml of squash One litre of water Pinch of salt Mix, cool and drink.
HYPOTONIC DRINKS Hypotonic are designed to quickly replaces fluids lost through sweating. Unlike isotonic and hypertonic drinks they are low in carbohydrates. They are very popular with athletes who need fluid without the boost of carbohydrate. Jockeys and gymnasts use them regularly. The best time to drink them is after a tough exercise work out as hypotonic drinks directly target the main cause of fatigue in sport – dehydration – by replacing water and energy fast. Make your own – You will need: 100ml of squash One litre of water Pinch of salt Mix, cool and drink.
From Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook – 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup hot water, 1/4 cup orange juice (not concentrate), plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 3 1/2 cups cold water In the bottom of a pitcher, dissolve the sugar and salt in the hot water. Add the juice and the remaining water; chill.
2. A fire lighter perhaps a waste of time. Too heavy. Take a couple of small squares of bike/car rubber tubing.
1. Ordered a FireSteel 2.0 army in Nov 11 from www.hiking.com.au and delivered 2 days later. $33.30 for the trouble. It includes an emergency whistle.
First Aid Kit
As well as a personal protection Equip first aid kit, I have:
Setopress PEC high compression bandage, 10cmX3.5m. For snakebite, excellent that it has green (for moderate compression) and brown (for high compression) rectangles printed on the bandage. When stretched to apply pressure, the rectangles become squares.
I had a go at drying food in the oven for my long trips in Tasmania, but for overnighters up until mid-2010 I used BackCountry freeze dried meals. Excellent flavours; ~$10 per meal. So in July 10 I purchased a Fowlers Vacola Ultimate 4000 Dehydrator, a couple of extra trays and some fruit leather and ‘clean-screen’ sheets. ~$250. Tested by drying some bananas. For 12-13 Jul 10 I dehydrated a very nice chicken mince and Cantonese stir-fry sauce, and 6 different stir-fry vegetables. Consumed with half a packet of 2 minute noodles. Can’t wait for the next overnighter to try something diferent!
8. From April 22 I use a Garmin MAP66i. See details here.
7. Upgraded GPSr maps to Oztopo V5 in Oct 13 for $149 on a 16GB µSD card. This now gives me room to have OZtopo, Garmin Topo Australia and New Zealand, BirdsEye imagery and some Custom Maps on the card, leaving the GPSr internal memory free to page maps.
6. A new Garmin Oregon 650 from Johnny Appleseed arrived in Aug 13 for $499 posted. With the battery pack field rechargable from the 15,600mAh Hyperjuice Plug (battery pack), I should be pretty independent.
5. Garmin WebUpdater works well. In Mar 13, updated Oregon GPS software to version 6.20.
4. Upgraded GPS maps to OZTopo V4 in Jun 12 for $107.
3. Interesting comment from a walking companion in Feb 10 that his (newer) GPS recorded 5 times the number of track points mine did – and hence an ever so slightly longer trip distance (thanks Stephen M for mentioning this to Mike B who passed it on). The final logic to cause an upgrade to my GPS. Other issues seem to be aligning with the majority of fellow walkers in going Garmin and having topographic maps available in the GPS. So a Garmin Oregon 550 Outdoor Adventure Pack was ordered from GPSOZ in Mar 10. $979 included the Oregon 550 GPS (which has a 3.2 megapixel camera with Geotagging), Oztopo maps loaded on a micro SD card (I up-ed this from 2GB to 4GB) and a few other bits and pieces delivered to my door less than 24hrs after ordering. Data exchange with Garmin equipped walkers will be facilitated. A little hiccup with the card and a missing bit of mapping, but fixed with a couple of phone calls.
2. In March 2007 the GPS stopped talking to my PC. Who was to blame – GPS, data cable, serial-to-USB converter, OziExplorer software or PC? I put an ad on this blog front page to borrow a data cable, but no response. From March to June, I had to load waypoints into the GPS by hand prior to a walk. On a walk, I’d set several waypoints. These I’d manually enter into OziExplorer so I could check/adjust my planned track to get an estimate of the actual. After a couple of walks, I got smart(er) and exported the track (and waypoints) onto the SD card in the GPS and then saved these to my PC for use after things got working again. They are in a different format to OziExplorer files. Sick of getting nowhere, I rang GPSOZ in Sydney and they were very happy to send me down a data cable to try – which fixed the problem. Once again, hats off to GPSOZ .
1. Don’t rely on it! Learn to use a map and compass! But it’s a good backup and lazy way out. I use a Magellan Meridian Platinum.; It’s a bit bulky (I’ve seen others with more compact GPSs, probably more suited for carrying in the bush), but does an excellent job. I’m still working out all its capabilities. Got it on ebay. I leave it on all the time, so it records the actual track covered. It takes 2 AA rechargeable batteries, rated at 2600mAh.
2. May 12 ordered a Black Diamond Storm from www.campingbug.com.au, $79.50 delivered free to my door in 60hrs. Weighs 113gm (including 4*AAA) (claimed 110gm).
1. Was using a Black Diamond Moonlight Pro headlight purchased in Jun 04 for $109. Weighs 217gm (including 4*AA).
After my first bladder sprung a leak, I reverted to what is often hailed as the perfect hydration system – a used PET bottle. It’s also said that you should take the time to stop and grab your bottle to have a drink. But I missed being able to suck on a tube without stopping and taking my pack off. I’d had a couple of Platypus collapsible bottles (handy for carrying port as well as water!) and was reminded that they make a tube to fit these bottles. So it’s back to the tube. From memory, the scrub pulled the mouthpiece out of the tube and it was lost, so now just the Platypus bottles in my pack.
Maps and Compass
Learn to use a map and compass! I enjoyed the CBC Navigation Course as a refresher – the last time I navigated was 30 years ago in the Army Reserve.
3. May 12 the current compass developed a bubble. So replaced it with a Silva Expedition with declination adjustment and clinometer. Ordered on the internet from wildfiresports.com.au in Brisbane. Delivered within 36 hours. Dropped from a small height, it came apart without ever being used in anger. It took a week for the retailer to get the ok, but posted back to Queensland for replacement under warranty. All good now.
2. In November 07 I lost my compass (the numbers on the dial were fading anyway, from all the twiddling), so replaced it with a Silva Ranger 3 model.
1. I use a Silva expedition 4 baseplate compass and the relevant NSW LPI 1:25000 2nd edition topographic/orthophoto maps. The AUSLIG 1:100000 Australian Capital Territory (Special) topographic map is also good for an overview.
Mobile Phone Navigation apps
1. As at 2022, there is continued and increasing use of smart phone navigation apps that can access a variety of maps, particularly OpenStreetMap. Apps include BackcountryNavigator, AllTrails, HandyGPS, Gaia GPS, Avenza Maps.
1. With a trip to Tasmania coming up in Apr 15, I bought a swag of duffle bags from Anaconda Fyshwick. Denali 140l $27.49; 100l $24.99; 60l $22.49. The large one will be great to contain my pack as airline luggage, so straps and things aren’t hanging about.
1.Another go at Cbr100Challenge in March 16. Last year’s mods not that successful, so now a Denali Hydro Ridge Hydration Pack 3l from Anaconda for $48. Has 18l of pack storage.
2. With the Cbr100Challenge in March 15 having a large mandatory gear list, an experiment with a hydration pack. In Feb 15 I bought a Source PRO Spinner 3 litre Hydration Backpack & 3L Widepac Bladder from WildEarth. A little clumsy to fill, but at $39.50 + $10.90 postage and delivered within 3 days, who can complain. My dear wife made some mods to the straps so that, if necessary, I can carry my Paddy Pallin shell, along with other odds and sods.
4. Barrie R had ordered the same GoLite, but the L size was too big for him. I bought it at a much more favourable price (due to currency fluctuations).
3. Continuing in the theme of 2010 NY resolution, I ordered a GoLite Pinnacle lightweight pack over the internet from Backcountry Gear in the US. Excellent service, 29/1/10 to 4/2/10, order to arrival. All up AUD254 v ~$312 from Aussie internet sites. Shaved 21gm off it by trimming unnecessarily long straps.
2. But the Easter 2007 sale at Mountain Designs was too good not to save money, so a WE by Sea to Summit Mountain Expedition pack came home.
1. Kathmandu Alpaca pack! But I got it for $90 from allclassifieds.com.au and I can very easily fill it (but less easily carry it). I use both a pack liner to keep the contents dry and a lightweight Kathmandu pack cover to keep the pack from absorbing moisture. Sold in Dec 09 to a good home.
6. Apr 17 – top zip went on the MD pack, so another Mountain Designs day pack. Escape 40. $189.95, but 30% discount so $132.97. Bright red.
5. Jun 14 – top zip started to go on the Kathmandu day pack (it’s done good service), so a Mountain Designs Stream T38 pack. Lime green and black matches the colour scheme on my WordPress blog!
4. December 10 – a cute little Sea to Summit Ultra-sil day pack, again Christmas free post from Paddy Pallin. 20l volume, weighs 68gm and packs down tiny in an attached little stuff sack.
3. With a sale on in October 2009 and the Berghaus starting to wear, I got a Kathmandu 40l Altai as a backup.
2. Berghaus Freeflow II 35+8 litre day pack. It’s a crazy shape, but it sits away from my back and lessens summer sweat. Has its own pack cover and I use an added garbage bag pack liner when necessary.
1. I sometimes carry a little packaway plastic pack for day trip/side trip use.
PC Software and Digital Maps
7. Dec 12 purchased the Budawang Sketch Map, 1960edn, 1971 edn and 1998 edn + back notes from the National Library of Australia for $45.
6. GPSOZ continue to provide great products and service. In Oct 12, $149 +$10 express postage for OZraster for OziExplorer PC. In the letterbox <24hrs!
5. In Jun12, upgraded OZTopo maps to V4 for $107. These run both from the microSD card in the GPS and can be installed on laptop, accessed via Garmin’s BaseCamp (currently at version 4.1.1) (the newer product copyright 2008-2013) or MapSource (currently at version 6.16.3) (the older product copyright 1999-2010) software.
4. In February 2011, I purchased NATMAP Digital Maps 100K 2010 from GPSOZ. $50 express posted to my door – excellent service. The product consists of seamless topographic maps in ECW raster format. Disc 1 contains a combined NT/SA mosaic, and a WA mosaic. Portions of the mosaic vary from 1:100K to 1:250K, as available. Disc 2 contains a combined NSW/Qld mosaic, with portions of the mosaic varying from 1:100K to 1:250K, as available; a combined ACT/Victoria mosaic at 1:100K scale; and a Tasmania mosaic at 1:25K scale. These maps are viewable with OziExplorer (as well as a free viewer from www.erdas.com). Get the OziExplorer .map files from http://www.gpsoz.com.au/OziExplorer_Users.htm#map by downloading natmap_100k.zip. Unzip them into wherever you store your .map files. For quicker access, copy the NATMAP 100K DVD Discs contents to your hard drive – it doesn’t matter where, even though the .map files are set up to expect the .ecw image in C:\OziExplorer\Maps\NATMAP 100K\. The first time you open a particular map (remember, you open the .map file!), OziExplorer tells you it can’t find the image file for the map, allows you to browse to wherever you put it, then you can Save (update) the .map file and things will be sweet forever more.
3. In March 2010, my Garmin GPS package came with a OZtopo V2.1b DVD and Trip and Waypoint Manager V5 CD. The latter installed MapSource 6.13.7 on my PC. However, MapSource 6.13.7 will not unlock the (purchased, legitimate) OZtopo maps – a little old hat now, with MapSOurce at V 6.16.3. There is a warning about this at www.oztopo.com/fac. Further in this fac a solution is offered to download the latest version of MapSource. When I looked, this was 6.16.2 – which will presumably still not unlock OzTopo. The final solution (whilst Garmin and OZtopo sort this out) is to downgrade MapSource to 6.15.7 from www.oztopo.com/updates/downgrading.
2. As at Q1 2007 one can purchase GDA94 (second edition), mainly 1:25000 map coverage of NSW, but at around $269. This is called LPI TopoView Raster 2006 and I succumbed in June 2007, purchasing from GPSOZ . Again they responded within 24 business hours by post. Excellent!
1. You can be an armchair walker (or be well prepared) using PC-based tools. The software I use is OziExplorer GPS Mapping Software with the 3D option. The data is NSW LPI Topoview CD#5, covering my part of the world (these are digitised 1:25000 maps, but only the first edition 1969-1991). To make the 3D work, you need GeoScience Australia’s 9 Second DEM data. I got all this through GPSOZ , who are very helpful. I also purchased from Maptrax a digitised Auslig 1:100,000 Topographic ACT (1997) – WGS84 Datum Corrected map. In August 2005, GPSOZ advertised a DVD of all NSW 1:25000 and 1:100000 map data – not map images like NSW LPI Topoview CD#5 – (now available free from maps.nsw.gov.au ), calibrated ready for use by OziExplorer, for $30 for their trouble. Too good not to purchase, I ordered and paid for it by telephone and it was in my letterbox within 24 hours. Great stuff!
3. MP3 player – Thomsom 4GB MP3 player with FM radio and voice recording. Mar 10 $39.98 from Dick Smith 48gm with AAA battery and earphones.
2. Toothpaste – cultivate your friendly dentist and ask for 20gm sample tubes!
1. Fly net – a must for spring and summer!
6. However, it blew up on charging. I sent it back and they replaced it with a 15,600mAh pack at no extra cost, apart from my return postage. It weighs 470gm.
5. In Jul 13 a 10,400mAh Hyperjuice Plug (battery pack) arrived. Bought it at http://www.hypermac.org/HyperJuice/Plug/P10-BLACK.html. It shipped from the USA within 5 or 6 days. Will recharge iPhone 7 times. Weighs in at 336gm, but I’ll now be able to do without the Mophie juice pack.
4. In Mar 13, I got a Mophie juice pack pro for the phone. This not only gives a larger battery backup (2500mAh), but provides ruggedisation.
3. From Dec 12, the iPhone is needed to work with the SPOT Connect (the only message button on the SPOT Connect is the SOS button) – I need the phone for every other function.
2. The smart phone has many uses. Not only camera; phone, email and web when coverage available in the bush, music, books and torch to name a few. I’ll also carry a downloaded image of the relevant map segment with the day’s proposed waypoints and route – saves getting out the full map sheet for a quick glance.
1. A 32GB iPhone 4S arrived in Nov11. It takes a good pic (only digital zoom available) and HD video. Initially coupled it with a mophie juice pack of 1500mAh capacity.
1. Greg lent me his canoe, so a PFD from BCF for $34.99.
If you are going to flout the cardinal rule of bushwalking – never walk alone – then at least carry an PLB. Perhaps it’s a good idea at other times, too.
4. A kti SA2G PLB from Fishing Tackle Shop in Apr 16. $259 incl postage, delivered to my door in less than 48 hours. Australian made, 140gm light, 10 year battery life.
3. Santa came early in Dec 12 with a SPOT Connect from GPSOZ, $259 delivered to my door in ~14hrs. Purchased annual service from findmeSPOT.com for USD115. Paired with my iPhone, gives 1-way emails and SMSs composed in the field.
2. I purchased a GME MT410 406MHz PLB (with a story attached, more later) which was mailed to me on 10 March 09. Within 24hrs it was on its way for its first outing to Stewart Island, NZ.
1. I originally used a GME MT310 made by Standard Communications.
Note that analogue 121.5Mhz EPIRBs will no longer be detected after February 2009. Only digital 406Mhz PLBs will be detected. For more information, see Australian Marine Safety Authority .
3. November 2016 saw the addition of a SOL Escape Bivvy. I’ll carry it on winter day trips as an emergency bag and try it on overnight trips to add warmth and waterproofing to my sleeping bag. $114.54 from Wild Earth with free and fast delivery.
2. My son and his wife arrived for Christmas in December 2006 with a Western Mountaineering Ultralite Super bag, rated at -7°C and weighing 800gm in its stuff sack (advertised 735gm with 395gm of fill). Thankfully, it didn’t cost the $/gm as in local Canberra stores and family were happy to hand it over for AUD500.
1. My Roman Palm Passport is fine for summer and very light and compact. But something more serious is needed for cold and snow. An Autumn walk to Mt Kelly was the perfect opportunity to try adding a Sea to Summit ‘Reactor’ sleeping bag liner . Recommended by Terence U at his lightweight gear talk, it advertises adding up to 8°C and weighs 265gm. We’ll see about the extra warmth and it weighs 280gm in its stuff sack.
2. But with advancing age and tossing and turning at night (to get comfortable and to try to prevent snoring), I wanted to try something else. So in June 15 along came an Exped Synmat Hyperlite M sleeping mat rated to -6°C (R 3.3), weighing in at 350gm. Packs down small too. $152.95 from Mont. Tried it for the first time on 27-28 Jun 15. Absolutely magic! Very comfortable and not too noisy. Great to have 7cm under me, rather than 2cm. Takes 25 big breaths to blow it up; Mac K showed me his little pump, so I ordered one from Snowys (postage free) for $24.95.
1. My first sleeping mat was a Therm-A-Rest Pro Lite 4 Short, purchased in 2004. It served me well.
9. Getting old and stupid and usually making about 10 trips from tent to cooking area to have all my gear with me, I thought a more compact kit would be better. I’d seen mates with ‘close-contact turbo boil’ stoves but, as I understood it, they were only for boiling water. 2016’s birthday/Christmas presso from the family was a Jetboil MiniMo personal cooking system from Snowys in Adelaide. $199.90 with free post, plus a Jetboil Grande coffee press at $24.50. A nice, compact, light piece of kit, except the piezo ignition needs tuning. I set the wire closer to the grill – no joy. Then Rowan P advised further away – did so and it works like a nose.
8. A Kovea KB-1109 Spider remote canister stove arrived in June 13. AUD79 from The Gear House in USA, as it wasn’t available in Australia yet. Great service from Chris P the owner. Disadvantage – weighs 182gm (+13gm for optional piezo igniter) in stuff sack V 111gm for MSR Pocket Rocket in plastic container. Advantages – can tip canister upside down to burn the butane (which has a higher boiling point (~-11°C) than propane (~-42°C)) in cold conditions. A great treatment of gas canisters in cold and at altitude here ; lower, hence more stable and able to more easily provide a wind guard.
7. After 8 months using my MSR Whisperlite Internationale (it is an excellent, fierce and fast stove, ideal for long, unsupported walks) and with a few more weekend trips coming up, I purchased an MSR Pocket Rocket and fuel mix canister. The ants pants for lightweight weekend stuff, performing excellently in the snow (I did sleep with it). A Canberra Bushwalking Club member (David L) kindly answered my ‘wanted’ ad in the club newsletter and provided me with a strip of aluminium builders flashing to use as a wind guard. It sits 23cm high. But heed MSR’s warning on this modification – they say don’t use a wind guard, as the gas canister could overheat and explode. So it’s only 60cm long to make a ½ circle to keep the wind out, not a full circle like the supplied wind guard with the Whisperlite. The gas burner’s heat is very localised, so be careful when you cook in steel utensils – your tucker can burn. Aluminium cookware is better, as it conducts heat more effectively. Same deal as above applies to carrying gas fuel canisters on an aircraft.
6. I understand that even if you fly into Melalucca in SW Tasmania the above applies and you have to buy your fuel from the air charter company down there!
5. You should be careful carrying a fuel stove on an aircraft. You certainly can’t carry the fuel (so check that you can buy it at your destination after arrival). The fuel stove is classed as a dangerous good and should be prepared as follows:
- drain the fuel tank and nullify any danger. To nullify any danger, it is suggested to drain the fuel tank/stove for 1 hour and leave any cap off for 6 hours. If this is not possible, drain the fuel tank/stove, then flush out with cooking oil to lower the flash point of any residual
- place the cap on the fuel tank
- wrap the fuel tank/stove in absorbent material (eg. paper towel)
- place it in a polythene bag and seal the opening ‘with an elastic band or twine’
- declare the fuel stove at check-in and complete a declaration form (advice was to allow sufficient time for examination of the stove and completion of paperwork).
4. Wild No 94 did a gear survey on fuel stoves and I was convinced, for long, higher altitude/cold walks, to buy a liquid-fuel stove, rather than alcohol or gas. Throw in the fuel availability issue and I chose an MSR Whisperlite Internationale, able to burn Shellite (white gas), kerosine and ULP. Twice now, a friend has purchased the wrong fuel for me. The first time it was methylated spirits (that cost a 30 minute trip back to Devonport) and the second time white spirits (that cost sooty cookware, a stove dismantle on the Overland Track and, luckily, the purchase of some correct Shellite at Pine Valley Hut from a generous fellow who was walking out).
3. I’d seen a mate with an MSR Pocket Rocket – simple and fast for one and two day walks
2. I began with a Trangia burner and a 500gm coffee tin to act as a windshield and chimney, the basis for the design being the HP03 DIY Stove (Mode A) as described by Rob H in the May 2003 it. I cut the bottom out of the tin, punched some air holes around the sides near the top, took the lid off, then inverted it. I found a small billy which would comfortably slide into the tin, ‘hanging’ by the lugs to which the handle attaches. The burner fitted in under, with the billy hanging clear. The point of keeping the lid for the tin was that, to pack it all up, pop the lid on, invert the tin, Trangia burner goes in, billy on top containing a small plastic bottle of methylated spirits (enough to boil some water for a cuppa on a day walk or cook tea and breakfast for an overnighter) and some matches. It makes a neat package. I call it my ‘modified H…field cooker’! As comparisons show, alcohol stoves are simple but slow (but they can be used in a tent vestibule when the weather’s not much chop).
1. I spent some time thinking about stoves.
3. I must be a good boy, because Santa again came early in 2009. He flew in from the USA a Tarptent Moment (866gm in stuffsack), Tyvek groundsheet (142gm – 48gm when cut to the footprint of the floor = 94gm; or a piece of plastic cut out to the footprint of the floor = 82gm) and extra crossing pole (192gm). With some seam sealer and express postage, the lot was AUD330.
2. Santa came early in December 2005 and brought a Mountains Design Positron 2 tent (even though the description is for a tunnel tent, it’s obviously a dome!). MD had a Christmas sale and my children gave me a birthday gift voucher and family will contribute for Christmas. Weighing in at 1.8kgm, it’ll allow me to carry an extra 1 litre of ‘personal comforts’ to share and still win. The Plateau went to a great person who, I hope, gets plenty of use out of it.
1. My Mountain Designs Plateau tent was excellent. Quick and easy to pitch (‘Triple pitch’ system), 2 poles crossing at the top of the dome, roomy 2-person tent that took my pack across my feet, large vestibules to cook in, 2 openings for cross flow ventilation and a very handy gear loft. Penalty – 2.9kgm. I looked for something lighter.
I asked a local guy at Fyshwick to make me a groundsheet out of good quality nylon to protect the tub (400gm) and I added some ‘elastic bands’ to the eyelets he sewed in.
With the Cbr100Challenge fast approaching, in Jan 15 I bought a pair of Komperdell C3 Carbon Power Lock Compact Hiking Poles from WildEarth, $134.55 delivered to my door in fast time (this is a great internet supplier, based in Queensland). Not yet sure if they are worth carrying and using, but they seem to help a bit on uphill bits. They sure were helpful, particularly on the last 20km of the Cbr100Challenge night shift from midnight to 6am. Assist in maintaining walking rhythm and, of course, taking a bit of weight off the knees.