Clothing and Food
What is carried will vary from person to person and according to the walking conditions. The following suggestions are in line with National Mountain Safety Guidelines.
Expect all kinds of weather and make adequate provision for emergencies that may keep you out for longer than expected.
Unpreparedness in terms of food, water, and clothing creates the risk that you become a liability that will affect the whole group.
Wear a pair of boots or sturdy walking shoes with a good tread and thick woollen or thermal socks. Spare shoes may be taken and left in a car to change into after walks. A plastic bag for wet or muddy walking boots is a good idea.
A comfortable day pack. A pack with a waist belt and sternum strap can be more stable. A large pack liner or a pack cover can keep gear dry in wet weather.
A plastic or foam mat sheet as a ground sheet (sit upon).
One or even two walking poles are useful in many situations.
A good waterproof parka or similar sound raingear.
Warm outer clothing as altitude can cause colder temperatures.
Merino wool or polyprop undergarments are light and provide good body temperature control.
Cotton (underwear, T shirts, etc) is a poor insulator, and can be a major contributor to hypothermia when wet. Cotton also chafes when wet, and is best avoided. Jeans are not acceptable.
Several layers of light clothing are better than one heavy layer at coping with varying temperatures during the day.
A woollen or thermal hat and gloves should be taken in cold conditions.
Some members prefer to walk in shorts, even in colder weather.
Longjohns can be worn under shorts. Zip-off pants cope well with changing conditions.
Gaiters are useful in muddy or hook-grass areas.
Waterproof overtrousers are useful in wet conditions.
A sunhat or cap is always advisable.
A small towel for drying feet after crossing streams may be useful, but wearing your footwear through water crossings is safest and less time consuming.
Fatigue during a walk of more than 2-3 hours will depend upon fitness level, age, general health, length of walk, and other related factors. Therefore the replacement of body salts and fluids, and the control of blood sugar levels are very important. Regular controlled intakes of both liquids and solids maintain energy, reduce the possibility of cramps, and look after general health.
Take morning tea and lunch, plus plenty of liquids and extra high-energy snacks. It is far better to have many small drinks than a few large drinks. Plain water is OK on shorter walks where fatigue is unlikely. Water with added sugar (e.g. cordial) is useful to give immediate energy.
Water with electrolyte is essential if there is a tendency towards cramps or heavy perspiration. On longer walks or tramps it is not sufficient to rely on the lunch break for solids input. A regular small intake of solids is essential, but a good lunch break is still needed. “Scroggin” is very good – made from a mixture of nuts (peanuts, almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds etc), raisins, sultanas, dried fruits, chocolate pieces. Chocolate has high energy.
Energy snack bars, available in great variety from supermarkets. You should always carry extra food in case an emergency causes delay. Consider an extra flask, etc to leave in the car as a reviver before heading home.