A trekker’s perspective: simple tips for your next multi-day hiking trip

A trekker’s perspective: simple tips for your next multi-day hiking trip

Get some point­ers from Josh West, who recent­ly com­plet­ed a 2‑month adven­ture along the 1200-kilo­me­tre Hey­sen Trail.

Head­ing off on your first mul­ti-day hik­ing trip? You might have already read about how to pre­pare, what to bring and what to eat, but it nev­er hurts to hear it again first-hand.

Josh West from Trekking West recent­ly returned from a 2‑month adven­ture along South Australia’s icon­ic Hey­sen Trail.

It’s a 1200-kilo­me­tre jour­ney, so most trekkers would either choose a sec­tion to tack­le as a once-off, or maybe grad­u­al­ly com­plete the whole lot over time.

But not Josh. He decid­ed to do it all in one go, end to end. From the Parachilna Trail­head in South Australia’s mid-north, all the way through to Cape Jervis in the south.

Josh spent 2 months on the trail and came back with some valu­able lessons. While your next hik­ing trip might not be as exten­sive, his tips might still be use­ful. Here’s what Josh had to say:

What did you eat while you were on the trail?

Ugh, so much dehy­drat­ed food like noo­dles and dried veg­eta­bles with pow­dered flavour­ing, but most of it was rel­a­tive­ly palatable.

Break­fast was always por­ridge with pow­dered milk and dried apri­cots. Lunch would typ­i­cal­ly con­sist of tuna and/​or met­twurst on crackers.

And for din­ner, I’d rehy­drate pack­aged freeze-dried or home-made meals. One thing’s for sure: I won’t be mak­ing my taste­less lentil cur­ry again (that meal is still giv­ing me night­mares). Luck­i­ly, I gen­er­al­ly had some pro­tein left­over from lunch that I could add to the mix­ture to give it some flavour.

I’d also sup­ple­ment my meals through­out the day with deli­cious scrog­gin (trail mix) com­plete with nuts, seeds, choco­late and lollies.

As you can imag­ine, every time I made it into a town I would gorge on bak­ery or pub food.

A trekker’s perspective: simple tips for your next multi-day hiking trip

What did you pack to take on the trail?

My pack­ing list was rel­a­tive­ly straight­for­ward – oth­er than all the cum­ber­some cam­era and drone equip­ment I chose to carry.

I brought the main things, like all-weath­er clothes, a com­pact cook­ing set, tent, sleep­ing bag and a blow-up mattress.

But there are a few often-over­looked items I’d rec­om­mend every hik­er include on their checklist:

  • Per­son­al Loca­tion Bea­con (PLB)
    If you’re plan­ning to hike for mul­ti­ple days in remote regions, par­tic­u­lar­ly places with unre­li­able phone recep­tion, you should always car­ry a PLB. In the case of an emer­gency, these devices can alert emer­gency services.
  • Hik­ing poles
    I ini­tial­ly only packed poles because I was urged to by the retail camp­ing out­let sales­woman. In the end, I could­n’t have com­plet­ed the hike with­out them. They sup­port­ed my back when my 23-kilo­gram ruck­sack began to weigh me down, which did­n’t take long with my with­er­ing frame.
  • Head­lamp
    Hand­held torch­es and iPhone lights will only get you so far. A trusty head­lamp will free your hands to rum­mage through a clut­tered ruck­sack in the dark, while their eco­nom­i­cal bat­tery-life typ­i­cal­ly lasts the entire journey.

The con­tents of Josh’s bag for his 2‑month hik­ing jour­ney. Want to see more pics like this? Check out our blog: What to pack for your next vis­it to a nation­al park.

What did you learn along the way?

I dis­cov­ered some­thing new about myself each and every day along the trail. There is no short­age of time to reflect when you’re walk­ing by your­self for 20 kilo­me­tres daily.

One of my most sig­nif­i­cant epipha­nies, how­ev­er, was how immer­sion in nature can be good for your men­tal health. Hav­ing been lucky enough to spend a con­sid­er­able amount of time entrenched in South Aus­trali­a’s aston­ish­ing nat­ur­al play­ground, the last­ing effects of this envi­ron­ment still ener­gise me today.

A trekker’s perspective: simple tips for your next multi-day hiking trip

Read more about Josh’s trek in our sto­ry: A trekker’s per­spec­tive: nation­al parks you’ll vis­it along South Australia’s icon­ic Hey­sen Trail.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living