gear in June

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gear in June

Postby jin0h » Wed 22 Apr, 2015 12:59 pm

Hi all,

Was wanting some advice. Walking with a friend in early June, 6 days. We are both physically fit (go to the gym 5 days a week, training for half marathon). Have done multi-day hikes, but with guides (so have never had to carry all our own gear). We have not done any hikes in snow.

I know the tas parks and wildlife service have an essential gear list, but I wanted to know how much of it was truly essential...

specific questions:
1) is a 3 season tent going to be ok? I suspect we will be able to find spots in the huts during the time we are there. Our tent has a tub base.
2) is a sleeping mat essential? I have one of those aircell types, but its not super light, and I'd prefer not to buy another one if its not essential...
3) are gaiters essential? If so, would lightweight ones be enough? I have proper vasque hiking boots, plus waterproof goretex pants
4) do I need waterproof gloves? e.g. goretex
5) why do we need a toilet trowel? I thought there were toilets along the way...
6) Given our lack of experience in hiking in snow, would you saw that a gps unit and plb would be essential?

thanks in advance for your advice!
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Re: gear in June

Postby DanShell » Wed 22 Apr, 2015 1:14 pm

jin0h wrote:Hi all,

Was wanting some advice. Walking with a friend in early June, 6 days. We are both physically fit (go to the gym 5 days a week, training for half marathon). Have done multi-day hikes, but with guides (so have never had to carry all our own gear). We have not done any hikes in snow.

I know the tas parks and wildlife service have an essential gear list, but I wanted to know how much of it was truly essential...

I am not the most experienced person but Ill do my best to give my opinion.

specific questions:
1) is a 3 season tent going to be ok? I suspect we will be able to find spots in the huts during the time we are there. Our tent has a tub base.

At that time of year it would be a double edged sword. Yes you should get spots in huts but its all fun and games when the weather cuts up rough and you need to use your tent in an emergency.

2) is a sleeping mat essential? I have one of those aircell types, but its not super light, and I'd prefer not to buy another one if its not essential...

Hmm it is for me! I couldn't imagine sleeping on the freezing ground or hard wooded beds with no warmth or comfort.

3) are gaiters essential? If so, would lightweight ones be enough? I have proper vasque hiking boots, plus waterproof goretex pants

Wont be any snakes I wouldn't imagine but it is muddy so the choice is yours. Light ones are better than none.

4) do I need waterproof gloves? e.g. goretex

I would during June. In fact I carry them all year round but plenty don't.

5) why do we need a toilet trowel? I thought there were toilets along the way...

What if you need to go in-between the toilets? You need to bury your waste.

6) Given our lack of experience in hiking in snow, would you saw that a gps unit and plb would be essential?

Depending on the weather of course but if its a heavy cover of snow it can be easier to lose the track. And likewise there won't be as many people around so a PLB is sensible but not essential.

thanks in advance for your advice!
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Re: gear in June

Postby Azza » Wed 22 Apr, 2015 1:27 pm

1. Probably fine. None of the sites are that exposed and you are probably right in that you'll be able to get space in the hut.
2. Yes. The sleeping platforms in the huts have a timber base, and you'll need insulation if you sleep in the tent. I'd be taking one.
3. I would recommend you take gaiters. The mud isn't that bad.. but that depends on what your used to.
4. You will need something to keep your hands warm. It gets down to below zero in June and there can be ice and snow.
5. Yes. You'll need it if you get gastro or need to go in a hurry.. because leaving faeces and toilet paper all over the bush is poor form.
6. Navigation is not hard, but.... You should have a PLB, map and compass.. GPS - probably a good idea.. bad thing to solely rely on if you don't know how to use it and batteries can fail quickly in cold conditions.

You'd probably be unlikely to get deep snow in June. More likely on a few of the sections along the higher parts of the track.. often it'll melt quickly during the day.
On account of that it would be wise to prepare for extra days just in case you get held up.

Worth doing some overnight hikes with all your gear in preparation. i.e. test out your self sufficiency, especially if you've only ever done guided trips.
In June things will be a bit quieter, there probably won't be any hut wardens or ranges to assist you.
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Re: gear in June

Postby FootTrack » Wed 22 Apr, 2015 1:45 pm

G'day jin0h,

I am no snow camping expert (I've only been out on one trip previously) but I will try to answer some of your questions.

Travelling the OT in winter will not only be physically challenging, but your skills will also be tested a lot more than what they would be during summer, spring or autumn. Navigation will not be as self-explanatory like during other times of the year (tracks don't stand out when everything has a coating of snow over it), and the weather (being winter) could be anything, for which you will need to be prepared. In regards to your six questions:

1. It may be okay. But it also may not. It depends on what weather you experience which is hard to know until you get out there. Taking a 3 season tent would be a big gamble in my opinion and I wouldn't risk it. It is a major source of protection for you if something goes wrong, and you need to be protected against any foreseeable weather. To take an inadequate tent would be risking your life.
2. Definitely - heat loss through the ground is significant in snow and is often underlooked. You would need an R-value of at least 5 between your pad(s). Taking a closed cell foam pad and an air cell mattress is the way to go (I believe) as you still have some insulation if you have issues with your inflatable mat.
3. I would take gaiters to prevent snow falling into my boots and to protect my legs and waterproof pants when necessary. Others may have different opinions.
4. Again, definitely. Waterproof gloves will give your hands protection against the cold/wet.
5. In case you need to go to the toilet between huts. If you utilise the toilets whilst you're at the huts you shouldn't probably need it but I guess this is just insurance!
6. Definitely should be taking a PLB! A gps unit could be very helpful/reassuring if your navigation experience is limited.

I'm not sure how experienced you are, but I would think this is a reasonable undertaking for someone who is yet to carry a full load of gear and who hasn't snow camped before. At very least you need to get a few good 4-5 day walks in, where you carry all your gear before you go. Also doing several nights snow camping in "safe-easy-to-pull-out" locations would be very wise. I found snow-camping a lot more challenging than what I thought it would be. I would evaluate your environment+skills+gear+experience very carefully and honestly before committing to something like this. Underprepared bushwalkers have previously died on the OT even during summer...Sorry to sound a bit dooms-day there but I just wanted to give you some fore-warning. Others who have previously walked the OT in winter may have different opinions to me though and may think this is achievable - I'm just going off what I experienced and what I have read previously.

Cheers.

Edit: spelling and grammar.
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Re: gear in June

Postby Scottyk » Wed 22 Apr, 2015 3:00 pm

Everyone's advice so far is spot on
Not the best time of year to do your first unsupported multi day walk.
Be prepared to delay your departure if the forecast is for cold front. People have died on their first day on the OLT around Cradle Mountain. If your not confident in your tent and your ability to pitch it in a snow storm then you really don't want to be caught out in the terrain the first day presents.
After the first day the altitude isn't as high and you have more shelter from the wind etc so it's easier to ride out a cold front without getting in trouble
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Re: gear in June

Postby whynotwalk » Wed 22 Apr, 2015 3:46 pm

I agree with much of the advice so far. I would add that you WILL get cold. At night; while walking; when stopping: so throw all you can at fending off the cold. I would add that there is very likely to be frost/ice on the boardwalks, even if it doesn't snow. And that ice makes it VERY slippery, and may slow your progress quite a bit.

All of that said, if you're well prepared for cold and ice (and rain), the chances are you'll have an amazing time. Enjoy!

cheers

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Re: gear in June

Postby GPSGuided » Wed 22 Apr, 2015 4:08 pm

Ummm... The cold of winter leaves even less latitude for error. Short changing those key gears is just asking for trouble, especially for the inexperienced. As for '3 seasons' tent, there are some variability in that rating. Some may be ok for the snow while others are definite no no. Invariably winter will require more heavier gears. If weight is not what you like, then it may be better to wait for the warmer season.
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Re: gear in June

Postby jin0h » Mon 27 Apr, 2015 3:06 pm

Thanks everyone for the responses - really helpful!

A few more opinions please:
7) I have my 7 year old macpac backpack, which is 75L (model is called Zambesi). I haven’t weighed it yet, but I’m guessing its around 3.5kg. Should I buy a newer lighter pack and save 1-1.5kg?
8) Hut booties – recommended? If so, what brands? I can only find the sea to summit ones which seem a bit pricey for what they are…
9) We are going to rent a 4 season tent. Anyone know of a company that will hire this sort of thing in Sydney? Or one in Tas that will drop off at Lake St Clair?
10) what to wear on my lower half. I spoke to a couple of people and one recommended I wear soft shell pants, whilst the other (who seemed to have more experience with trekking in winter) said that he would just wear long thermal pants plus quick drying light weight shorts plus gaiters. I tend to get very hot when I'm walking (e.g. walking in the blue mountains in winter 5 degrees C I wear shorts and a t shirt). I'm thinking that I will go with option (b) (i.e. light weight quick drying trekking pants that zip off to become shorts + midweight icebreaker long johns + gaiters. I will also be carrying my goretex pants for rain/snow/heavy wind). Opinions?
(upper half I will be wearing short sleeve icebreaker inner/long sleeve icebreaker inner, fleece jumper, down jacket, goretex outer)

I'm borrowing a plb from a friend, and being flexible with how many days we take (i.e. we wont try to walk if there is a snowstorm). I think I have a healthy fear of what could happen (thanks to all the reading and advice I've received).

cheers!
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Re: gear in June

Postby philm » Mon 27 Apr, 2015 3:53 pm

A few comments for you:

7) Macpac pack - will be fine it just depends on whether you want the extra weight - but some of the old packs are tough so if you are going off track you maty be better with a strong canvas pack rather than light weight - if you are staying on the OLT itself either pack will be fine as there is no thick scrub to negotiate.

8) hut boots - I just use Crocs - they are light and fine - only issue is they are not water proof so if you use them in snow or rain - your feet will get wet! (but most other camp booties are not water proof either

9) Most bus transport companies either have tents to hire or will pick them up for you and drop them off at stores if you are using them. Most of the bushwalking stores have hire gear.

10) If you get hot then I think the shorts and merino long jobs will be a good option for you. Waterproof pants get too hot - best with light quick dry unless the weather is really bad (snow etc.) then I would just wear quick dry long pants.
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Re: gear in June

Postby icefest » Mon 27 Apr, 2015 4:30 pm

You will get a lot more mud in your shoes without gaiters.

If you get a good seal with them you'll only get water in your shoes.

Are you planning on doing any side trips? That's the real killer re gear choices.
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Re: gear in June

Postby DanShell » Tue 28 Apr, 2015 11:03 am

jin0h wrote:Thanks everyone for the responses - really helpful!

A few more opinions please:
7) I have my 7 year old macpac backpack, which is 75L (model is called Zambesi). I haven’t weighed it yet, but I’m guessing its around 3.5kg. Should I buy a newer lighter pack and save 1-1.5kg?

Thats up to you really. Less weight is obviously better but another pack thats decent enough to carry a weight is still going to be around 2kg's and is an extra $200-300. Personally I wouldn't use a 3.5kg pack.

8) Hut booties – recommended? If so, what brands? I can only find the sea to summit ones which seem a bit pricey for what they are…

I use S2S hut booties! But I am going back to my crocks. Well it depends where I'm walking. Crocks are easy to slip on and off but will allow water to get into the sides in very shallow wet ground (tassie wet spongy grass for instance). The hut booties are bit of a pain getting them on and I find them a bit hard to walk around in but they do have a highish sole so you can get away with a bit of wet ground before they let water in.

9) We are going to rent a 4 season tent. Anyone know of a company that will hire this sort of thing in Sydney? Or one in Tas that will drop off at Lake St Clair?

Give Paddy Pailin in Launceston a call and then speak to your transport company in regards to grabbing it for you, or even PP will have an idea.

10) what to wear on my lower half. I spoke to a couple of people and one recommended I wear soft shell pants, whilst the other (who seemed to have more experience with trekking in winter) said that he would just wear long thermal pants plus quick drying light weight shorts plus gaiters. I tend to get very hot when I'm walking (e.g. walking in the blue mountains in winter 5 degrees C I wear shorts and a t shirt). I'm thinking that I will go with option (b) (i.e. light weight quick drying trekking pants that zip off to become shorts + midweight icebreaker long johns + gaiters. I will also be carrying my goretex pants for rain/snow/heavy wind). Opinions?
(upper half I will be wearing short sleeve icebreaker inner/long sleeve icebreaker inner, fleece jumper, down jacket, goretex outer)

Again I'm not very experienced in winter walking but I have walked around Tassie highlands in the snow and in a white out and I just wear my thermals and polyester shorts and gaiters. In fact thats my all year round walking attire now unless its really hot then I drop the thermals of course. I do carry wet weather pants though and long pants but Im seriously considering dropping the long pants from my kit

I'm borrowing a plb from a friend, and being flexible with how many days we take (i.e. we wont try to walk if there is a snowstorm). I think I have a healthy fear of what could happen (thanks to all the reading and advice I've received).

You shouldn't need the PLB on the OLT but it will be winter and it can get pretty rough so its nice insurance.

cheers!
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