Our Top Hiking Essentials

There is nothing quite as healthy for both body and mind as going for a long hike. But to get the most out of the experience and not be distracted by discomfort or worry, it pays to follow the Scout’s motto and be prepared! The first thing to consider is the weather, and if you are hiking in a place like Tasmania, that can be a massive variable. Have a good look at the forecast for the area you plan to explore and the duration of your trip, and then pack accordingly- always being ready for conditions to be a bit worse than predicted. But hiking isn’t just about survival, it’s also about enjoyment, and below you will find a few items that may not be considered essential survival equipment but are things we reach for every trip.

Footwear

Consider the terrain you will be walking through and personal preferences. A good pair of lightweight waterproof hiking boots are a great all-rounder you can take almost anywhere, but sometimes trail runners can be a great choice too. Consider your socks as well; a set of merino or merino blend socks will go a long way in reducing your risk of developing blisters. If heading out on a multi-day hike, having a lightweight pair of sandals or sneakers to slip your feet into at the end of the day is always pleasant.

Hiking boots

Clothing

Natural layers are the best option. In cold wintery conditions, having a merino thermal layer against your skin goes a long way in raising your comfort level and hence morale. A long-sleeved shirt for sunny conditions can also be essential. Personally, we love a silk shirt in summer. A sunhat and comfy beanie for chilly conditions are also a must. When hiking in Tasmania, particularly in the colder months or in the mountains, having a synthetic pile jacket that will retain its thermal qualities when wet is a great idea – one usually gets most chilled when sitting around camp or stopping for snacks, and being able to throw a thick warm jacket on makes a big difference.

Rain Protection

It rains a lot in some parts of Tasmania. This means it is essential to be ready for wet conditions. Not only do you need to be able to keep yourself dry, you also need to be able to keep all your gear dry, including valuable and vulnerable electronics! Invest in a good quality Gore-Tex or similar rain jacket and lightweight overpants. If venturing into the mountains, considering also taking waterproof gloves or mittens. Have both a cover for you backpack and have everything inside it in lightweight dry bags. Make sure you can waterproof your camera, phone, and any other electronics you might have. Camping stores stock an array of creative options to achieve this.

Entertainment

There can be a lot of down time when hiking, particularly in bad weather on multi-day hikes. Come prepared for this and you’ll never be bored outdoors again! Books can be heavy but e-readers aren’t, and you can stock up on titles before heading out. We always take earphones and have some great music as well as some podcasts and audio books saved on our phones for engaging content on track. A pack of cards (and the rules of a few fun games!) can provide hours of entertainment with a small group.

Delicious Food

Take lots of snacks you know you’ll enjoy! Make sure you bring enough food for your hike. Nobody wants to carry unnecessary weight in their bag, but being hungry is far more miserable! Snacking often also keeps your energy levels up and makes your trip more enjoyable. Muesli bars, nuts and fruit are great snacking options… and it always pays off to have a stash of chocolate!

Other Essentials

Don’t forget to bring appropriate maps of the area you are exploring, plus a headtorch, first aid supplies and a pocket knife.

If this all seems a bit overwhelming, why not book onto a guided hike where the planning is taken care of and most of your gear is supplied? Heading out on a multi-day guided walk such as The Maria Island Walk can give you a taste of what is involved and lets you work out your own system and discover what works for you. We will also provide a gear list so that you know exactly what you need to bring. For more information, call 03 6234 2999 or email bookings@mariaislandwalk.com.au. Alternatively, book online.