1 April 2019
I purchased my first umbrella in 2016 and it proved its usefulness immediately when I was walking through Hungary in 38 degree heat on a bitumen road. The temperature dropped 7 degrees under the umbrella! It is wonderful in the rain because you don’t have to wear wet gear to stay dry, which makes you super-hot. This brilliant piece of gear saved my butt when walking into Northcliffe in a horrid thunderstorm being belted by hail; I escaped without bruises and stayed dry! The brand I use is called Swing Hands Free and it’s available online.
Snakes can be a problem and I always wear my Sea to Summit heavy duty gaiters in snake country, but I use debris gaiters to keep out sand, grit and gravel otherwise. There’s a plethora of official hiking brands of debris gaiters on the market, but I’ve discovered the Ultra Gam brand keeps 100% of all debris out. Designer style, come in super funky colours and they fix to the shoes with Velcro. You never have to pick stuff out of your socks or empty your shoes at the end of the day!
The Grab Bag by Osprey attaches to the shoulder strap adjustment on your pack and sits across the front of you. It’s an easy place to get at the things you need regularly; lip balm, knife, camera, phone, etc. when the side pockets of the pack seem way too far around the corner.
For carrying water I use the Source hydration system. You have the option of either a regular single hose or dual hose system. The dual system allows you to have both water and hydration salts ready loaded. The mouth piece has a cover so it stays clean outside the pack and the bladder can be refilled without taking it out of the pack, allowing you to top up water on the go without unpacking. A Sawyer filter can be attached directly to the system.
When you want to take a break in the bush there is often nowhere comfortable to sit down; fallen logs are often dirty, damp and moss covered. To alleviate this problem, Thermarest make two types of seat rests, also known as sit-pads or ass mats. (Ed: The latter term is used by Americans, who can't spell). Both function equally well and it’s a personal preference whether you prefer the fold-up type which is lightweight but bulky, or the blow-up type which is much smaller but heavier. Sources of this type of product include Wildearth and Military 1st.
A tent or not a tent? That is the question pondered by many walkers who are trying to reduce the weight of their packs. If you elect not to carry a tent, but still appreciate that you may not get access to a Track shelter for the night, the Z Pak tarp is the super lightweight answer.
Health is always a big concern for walkers, and looking after your body, both externally and internally when embarking on a strenuous trek is of paramount importance. These are a few suggestions that might help.
1. Rock Tape
Kinesio Taping gives support and stability to your joints and muscles without affecting circulation and range of motion. It is also used for Preventive Maintenance, Oedema, and to treat pain. There is an app for Android and Apple called Taping Guide that is a free download and works offline. You can buy Bibbulmun Track branded Rocktape here. Also check out www.rocktape.com/project/tapes-aint-tapes/
2. Cramp Stop
For cramps without chemical fix, Cramp Stop is a homeopathic remedy and is available online or in some health stores.
Traumeel is an anti-inflammatory which is homeopathic and not chemical based. Available from health stores in tablet and cream form.
4. Vital Greens
Vital Greens is a supplement for green veggies. A tablespoon a day in water gives you something different to drink and also supplies vital nutrients that you can’t get on the Track.