December 8, 1999

Ten vital items to take on an overnight bushwalk

1. Knowledge: Most vital lists are on items that you can touch and see, maps, clothes and food for example. But what good are they if you don't know how to use them! It is vital to your life, that you have researched thoughtly, the area you are going to walk.
Knowledge is the most vital item anyone can take on a hike. Questions that should be answered before setting out are: Do I have good information about the area? What equipment will I need? What plans do I have if something goes wrong? (it happens more the you may think) What are my physical and mental limitations? What is the skill level of the rest of the team?
2. Good shoes/boots: Your feet get all the knocks. If they are comfortable you will enjoy the walk. I find 9 out of 10 walks I do in Tassie my feet end up wet - it is unavoidable. Boots or shoes that are comfortable when wet are an advantage.
3. Clothes: Ensure they keep your warm when wet. You will freeze to death before you starve. Never! never! wear jeans.
4. Containers for water: Believe it or not, there are many areas in Tassie, where you don't see water for days. Always carry a adequet water supply.
5. Food: When a car runs out of fuel it stops. Food is the bodies fuel, without it you will stop functioning. Another, less drastic reason, good food makes for a more enjoyable walk.
6. Tent & Sleeping Bag: Storms can be foul. Walkers need to protect themselves from the elements. Tents make a walk more comfortable and a sleeping bag will save your life on a winters night.
7. A cooker: Warm food and drink in your belly make you feel a millon dollars after a long days walk.
8. Maps and compass: While important, if you have walked in Tasmania all your life, you know it like the back of your hand. do you take a map with you every time you go the the corner store?
9. First-aid kit: No good to you if you don't know how to use it. I recommend you take a short course in first-aid.
10. Backpack: What are you going to put all this stuff in?
11. Camera: Ok I said 10, but you need the memories.

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