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ultralight bushwalking

emergency shelters

emergency radio beacon

  • PLB
  • whistle
  • visual signalling device - eg. reflective foil


  • you never know when you get stuck there after the sun goes down - especially so for photographers seeking sunsets!
  • CREE LED head lamps with Red LED mode to avoid interfering with your night vision
    • NiteCore HC50
      • 145hr Red dual beam mode (presumably these are only around 3 lumen for close up work)
      • White beam mode: 1 to 565 lumens (1.25hr at 565 lumen, 32hr at 35 lumen); 130g w/o battery (single 18650 lithium-ion battery); 100° beam angle
      • ~$A85
    • Nitecore HC90:
      • red, green and blue LED mode
      • white beam mode: slider for brightness 0 to 900 lumens (then to R then G then B); 100° beam angle
      • micro-USB rechargeable 18650 battery
      • ~$A149
    • Ferei HL08 Red LED only:
      • 3W 220 lumen mode can run for 2.5hr (>100hr on low output); 148g w/o battery (single 18650 lithium-ion battery), near-infinite brightness control; battery at rear of head gear;
      • AC adapter recharge or power packs
  • CREE LED torch
    • Nitecore P25:
      • micro-USB rechargeable 18650 battery
      • 2 - 850 lumen (1.25hr at 850 lumen, 30hr at 50 lumen); 283m beam distance
      • 171g
      • $A120
      • optional red filter, red or white diffuser stick, remote pressure pad
    • Nitecore TM26 QuadRay:
      • essentially 4 x P25's in one torch ⇒ 4 x 18650 batteries; 3-3800 lumen; 445m range; 49,000 CD peak beam
      • OLED temperature, battery power, output power, battery life in hours display
      • 8 brightness levels; 1000hr at 3 lumen; 48hr at 150 lumen; 45min at 3800 lumen;
      • capable of using one 18650 or 2 x CR123 batteries in emergency situations
      • 142mm long x 57mm diam; 438g w/o batteries
      • $A440 incl. 4x Panasonic batteries
  • a good map (preferably inside a clear waterproof pouch so can read in the rain) and compass
  • smartphones are fantastic especially for short day trips
    • issues:
      • not waterproof or drop proof - may stop working when you most need it
      • short battery life, especially when using GPS apps - may need to carry power packs or solar chargers
      • GPS apps often do not display walking tracks or geographic features such as topography

toilet gear

  • always obey the rules of good toilet on hikes:
    • DIG a hole 6-8“ deep at least 50m (preferably much further than this) from a trail, camp site or water - Do NOT just find a hole under a rock and put the rock back
    • mix stool with soil and cover but do not bury toilet paper (TP) as this takes a long time to decompose - wrap a bit of clean TP around the used before putting it in some ziplock bags (freezer bags work well to keep it from smelling), then dispose bag in bins on the way home.
  • lightweight trowel to dig the hole
  • toilet paper or similar - although some use natural material such as leaves and leave the TP home
  • ziplock freezer bag for used TP
  • hand sanitiser

trekking / hiking poles

  • these are essential to reduce risk of damage to your knees when going up or down steep hill sides, or when crossing slippery or very uneven areas eg. creek beds
  • can also function as camera tripods (see below) and also as the support pole for small tents
  • check out the Black Diamond folding trekking poles
  • Helinox poles are generally regarded as a step up from the rest and the TL folding poles are around 152-180g per pole



  • AVOID denim and cotton - these take a long time to dry if it gets wet and will make you cold
  • wool is great and do not need to be washed as often as synthetics
  • synthetics are great - but these need washing each day!
  • consider Polartec NeoShell pants such as these Makers and Riders 3-Season Commuter Weatherproof Jean $US209
  • compact down-filled vest
  • usually shorts will suffice for leg wear for most walks but you will get cold when you stop walking
    • have the advantage they will dry out faster if get wet
  • if temperature will be 6-8degC or so, wear thermal pants and perhaps a thermal top
  • if temperature will drop below 4degC, add additional layer such as track suit pants or synthetic pants to wear under the rain over-pants
    • walking in snow at minus 4 to plus 4 deg C can be comfortable wearing:
      • thermal long pants + tracksuit pants + waterproof/windproof over-pants + waterproof boots +/- gaiters
      • torso: 1-2 under-layers + wool jumper+down-filled vest + waterproof/windproof jacket + beanie
      • hands: thin synthetic gloves to allow camera use are OK as long as they do not get wet or the wind picks up - in these scenarios, you must resort to full snow gloves
  • see also:

rain and wind proofing

  • ultra-light rain jacket and over-pants, or a Z Packs cuben fibre skirt/kilt (54g, 52” x 27“) to keep your shorts dry and butt warm
  • convertible poncho / tarp / groundsheet
    • Z Packs cuben fiber groundsheet poncho 144g and 28 to 42” wide x 84“ long as a groundsheet with 5” bathtub, $US175 (larger sizes available)
    • Sea to Summit Ultra-sil tarp/poncho for one person 230g 1.45 x 2.65m tarp $A135
    • Gatewood Cape Shelter ($A249) - can also be used with Six Moon mesh bug tent
  • waterproof shoes
  • for more durable wear in very cold conditions consider Goretex clothing but this is heavier, more bulky and more expensive

sun protection

  • broad-rim hat
  • sunglasses
  • UV lotion
  • lip balm
  • long sleeve shirt


  • take plenty of water even though it is heavy
  • 1 water bottle may be fine for a 2 hour walk but if it is hot, sunny or you get lost - you will be needing a lot more!
  • Gatorade type bottles are lighter than Nalgene type ones or water bladder systems but you should discard more frequently to avoid degradation of the plastic
  • drink a lot at each water source so you carry less


  • these are VERY handy
  • normally worn UNDER your long pants to ensure:
    • rain, snow and sand does not enter your shoes or boots
  • can be used OVER your potentially trauma-prone wet weather gear to reduce damage from sharp sticks, etc


  • you need protein!
  • reduce weight by aiming to for foods with > 100 calories per ounce such as protein bars, and you may not need to bring a stove!
  • if possible cache food in advance so you don't need to carry it

insect protection

  • ultrasonic devices do NOT work so don't waste money and weight carrying them
  • avoid wearing scented products such as perfumes as these tend to attract insects
  • avoid dark clothes and cover all skin if march flies are problematic
  • if walking in high risk areas, apply a repellent containing DEET
  • ensure tent has a full insect-proof mesh with tub floor and keep it zipped up when not entering/exiting tent

camera gear

camera and lenses


  • unless you are carrying a heavy camera and lens or really want the improved versatility and steadiness of a high quality carbon fibre tripod - leave it at home!
  • the Olympus cameras have fantastic image stabiliser
  • you can just bring a trekking pole tripod device such as:
    • Trail Pix - cheap, light, just requires a 3rd pole and a tripod head


more survival gear

  • starting a fire
    • compact wood stoves requiring twigs or chopped branches
  • knife
  • vaseline
    • prevents chaffing on hot/wet/humid hikes
    • consider also using with cotton balls or makeup removal pads as a fire starter
australia/bushwalk_ultralight.txt · Last modified: 2018/02/08 16:58 by gary1

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