5 tips for overnight hikes in parks

5 tips for overnight hikes in parks

You can’t be too pre­pared for an overnight hike. Fol­low these tips for a safe and fun overnight hik­ing experience.

Once you’ve decid­ed on an overnight hike, there are a few things to take into account, like how far you can walk, how to stay safe, and what to take with you.

Here are five tips to make your trip an enjoy­able one.

1. How far can I walk in a day?

This will depend on how steep the ter­rain is and your lev­el of gen­er­al fit­ness and abil­i­ty. If you are a per­son with­out dis­abil­i­ty, with aver­age fit­ness and the trail is fair­ly lev­el, then you should be able to walk 15 kilo­me­tres in a day with­out too much trouble.

If things get steep or rocky, if you have chil­dren with you, or you have a low­er lev­el of fit­ness or abil­i­ty, then it’s a good idea to plan to cov­er a short­er distance.

2. Should I tell some­one where I’m going?

Always let some­one know where you are going and when you expect to be back. This is so impor­tant. If some­thing does go wrong, then some­one will know where to start look­ing for you. It’s rec­om­mend­ed that you hike with at least one oth­er per­son, both for safety’s sake and for the fun of shar­ing a great experience.

Plan your walk care­ful­ly and make sure you leave ear­ly enough to arrive in day­light. Night walks can be fun if you know the area well and there are no haz­ards near­by like unfenced cliffs or mine­shafts, but they can also be an easy way of get­ting lost or injured.

It’s also impor­tant to stick to the trail and fol­low mark­ers, and car­ry a map. Many South Aus­tralian parks have maps for down­load on Aven­za Maps, allow­ing you to down­load the appro­pri­ate map to your smart­phone before you go for use offline.

If you have a GPS sig­nal, you can even see your­self as a mov­ing dot on the trail and with some phones, this sig­nal works even when you’re out of mobile net­work range. A paper map is an impor­tant back up, though, as your phone bat­tery may not last your whole trip.

3. What should I bring?

The min­i­mum you’ll need for your first overnight hike is a tent, sleep­ing bag, sleep­ing mat, camp stove, food, water, some­thing warm for when the sun goes down, a head torch, a first-aid kit and a mobile phone.

Out­door stores sell light­weight tents and sleep­ing bags specif­i­cal­ly for hik­ers, so if you think you’ll be doing a lot of this sort of overnight walk­ing, it’s worth mak­ing the invest­ment to light­en your load.

4. How much water do I need?

Most parks don’t have drink­ing water avail­able, so always take plen­ty with you and remem­ber to drink reg­u­lar­ly. Water is heavy to car­ry, but you’ll be thank­ful you’ve brought it along.

The amount of water you’ll need will vary with the weath­er. The min­i­mum is 2 litres per per­son per day, with extra for cook­ing, but if it’s hot weath­er, you might need dou­ble that or even more. Don’t for­get to bring plen­ty of snacks for the trail, either – it’s easy to get hangry on a long hike, and nobody wants that.

5. What about toilets?

Take a lit­tle shov­el and a roll of loo paper with you, as you won’t see too many toi­lets on the way. Read up on bush toi­let eti­quette at the bot­tom of this page.

Won­der­ing where you can go on an overnight hik­ing trip in South Aus­tralia? Here’s alist of four parksthat you sim­ply have to visit.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living