Overland Track With a Toddler?

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Overland Track With a Toddler?

Postby mabs » Sat 29 Jun, 2019 9:46 pm

I'm asking for advice, and I do note a similar question has been asked in the past.

I am about to pull the trigger and buy tickets to hike the Overland Track, with my wife and toddler; around late December or early January. Yes, you are allowed to talk me out of it, that's part of the reason for asking. If we don't do the OT, we probably won't look at travelling to Tassie, this time at least.

We have done the OT before in late 2015, we took 24kg packs (will only do that once) and took 9 days with side trips and a walk around the lake. I also completed the OT solo in late 2017 with a 9kg pack + water, nearly got hypothermia on Mt Ossa on 22nd December and completed in 4 days, with the help of the ferry. As a side note, when I did the track in 2017 my wife was 6 months pregnant and walked to Leven Canyon including the Forest Stairs track, so we are both a little crazy :D.

My plan is to camp outside the huts, and likely skip one (eg. start off at dawn from a cabin near Ronnie Creek and skip Waterfall Valley - I did this in 2017); that makes it 5 days. I believe I can get our combined carry weight down to 20 kg + child, so we'd have about 16kg to carry each. We would use reusable nappies and hand wash as often as possible, and maybe use special liners designed for composting or simply take them with us (with extra hygiene & odur considerations). And yes, our child does enjoy outdoors and is social, we have done a few hikes with her so far. I also understand toddlers are not always agreeable and quiet, and at least with some huts there are places I can set up away from others. I've been planning this in my head for about 6 months, but now it's crunch time with tickets on sale Monday. Finally, I have no issues pulling the pin if weather is anything but relatively ideal, both of the other trips have been awesome weather.

Am I missing anything obvious for a long multi-day hike with a very young child? What extra precautions could I take (eg. will rent an EPIRB)?
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Re: Overland Track With a Toddler?

Postby mabs » Mon 01 Jul, 2019 2:55 pm

Well, pulled the trigger, tickets bought. Also spoke to Parks Tassie, although it took a while to get onto the right person today with the phones running hot.
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Re: Overland Track With a Toddler?

Postby CBee » Mon 01 Jul, 2019 4:16 pm

Is the toddler willing to walk the OT (or to be carried)? That is the first question I'd like to ask.
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Re: Overland Track With a Toddler?

Postby north-north-west » Mon 01 Jul, 2019 5:23 pm

I'd like to know more about the planned laundering of nappies.

First, there's no guarantee the weather will co-operate in allowing them to dry out in between uses.
Second, what happens with the grey water? Given the mix of faecal matter, detergent and possibly antiseptic/bleach, there is a massive potential environmental impact there.

It's a big undertaking with a small child, the main issue for you being that if things go pear-shaped, there's no easy way out.
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Re: Overland Track With a Toddler?

Postby mabs » Mon 01 Jul, 2019 5:23 pm

CBee wrote:Is the toddler willing to walk the OT (or to be carried)? That is the first question I'd like to ask.


We have the Macpac Vamoose V2, used it a few time already.

https://www.macpac.com.au/packs/child-carriers-baby-backpacks/macpac-vamoose-child-carrier-v2/114438.html?cgid=packs-child_carriers_baby_backpacks.
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Re: Overland Track With a Toddler?

Postby mabs » Mon 01 Jul, 2019 5:58 pm

north-north-west wrote:I'd like to know more about the planned laundering of nappies.


Yep, we want to do a couple more real life test runs, but he have found some great nappy covers (that don't have a liner) that are completely waterproof with "double gusset" to prevent leaks and it has been very effective.

We will use liners and inserts in the nappies. Inserts are the usual inserts for modern disposable nappies, liners are a "disposable" cloth that goes over that. Liners to collect solids to be disposed of at toilets, and if we aren't 100% sure it is good for composting, we will "best effort" clean and take out (without making ourselves sick). The inserts (for soaking up liquids) are the harder one, and creates a grey water situation. We generally don't use extreme cleaners anyway, we will have fresh liners and we will have extra inserts, they will need to be hand cleaned at the end of the day in a bucket (clean & rinse); then hand sanitiser, which I have seen used a lot at the huts.

For the drying, I am becoming more of a fan of staying a day at Pelion, and if the weather is so bad that we can't get stuff dry there, we probably wouldn't have left.

north-north-west wrote:It's a big undertaking with a small child, the main issue for you being that if things go pear-shaped, there's no easy way out.


100% agree, that's why it basically needs to be an ideal weather forecast, which I can get updates on a small radio, or I know a few spots where I can get enough phone reception all the way up to Pelion Gap.
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Re: Overland Track With a Toddler?

Postby Nuts » Mon 01 Jul, 2019 6:02 pm

north-north-west wrote:It's a big undertaking with a small child, the main issue for you being that if things go pear-shaped, there's no easy way out.


Chopper's easy enough?.. but even in perfect weather may not be quick enough. I've seen Rotavirus in action (out there) and it quickly produced a life-threatening situation, even for a 40kg 8yo. Despite good weather and not to mention the disruption to our group, the other walkers, the park staff and the emergency services (given the avoidable circumstances)
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Re: Overland Track With a Toddler?

Postby north-north-west » Mon 01 Jul, 2019 6:16 pm

Nuts wrote:
north-north-west wrote:It's a big undertaking with a small child, the main issue for you being that if things go pear-shaped, there's no easy way out.

Chopper's easy enough?..

Provided weather permits its use. Bad weather is more likely to impact a toddler, and sufficiently bad weather will ground the helicopters.
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Re: Overland Track With a Toddler?

Postby crollsurf » Mon 01 Jul, 2019 6:53 pm

Sounds like you're the prepared type so I'd say you should be right. Personally I'd go for a 3 day shakedown somewhere first.

I'd also add at least an extra day or 2 just so there is no pressure to meet deadlines. You don't want to make a bad decision because you're running out of time.

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Re: Overland Track With a Toddler?

Postby Overlandman » Mon 01 Jul, 2019 8:17 pm

Hi mabs
Keep in mind the extreme UV on the OLT
All the best.
Regards OLM
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Re: Overland Track With a Toddler?

Postby wildwanderer » Tue 02 Jul, 2019 7:43 am

If it were me I would buy a inreach mini.

- up to date weather forecasts.

- works anywhere (with view of sky) satellite messenger. So if your toddler develops a issue on the trail you can consult with others (medical specialists, your GP, experienced friends etc) about what the cause/trail manageability options are. With a EPIRB (PLB) you have a evacuation or nothing option. With the inreach you can reach out and ask for advice before you get to that stage.

- acts a EPIRB/PLB.

crollsurf wrote:Personally I'd go for a 3 day shakedown somewhere first.


Definitely this.
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Re: Overland Track With a Toddler?

Postby Amahb » Tue 02 Jul, 2019 9:23 am

We didn’t start overnight hikes with the kids until they were 6. But we had done a lot of isolated camping via 4WD before then from a few weeks old.

However, I think you will be fine. We went on the OT in April with all 3 and had a great time.

As for the nappies I think you are mad trying to wash them. If I was in your situation I would use disposable nappies and carry them out. Buy Opsaks from Injinij performance shop on the net. They are amazing and will not let out any of the smell. Buy one for each day that way you don’t have to open up once sealed after each day. Try at home!!

We also own and carry a PLB and a Sat phone. Hire both. A sat phone will be very comforting if something does go wrong.

Cheap ponchos from Kathmandu are also fantastic as an extra layer from the rain and snow for the kids. Regardless of how waterproof your jacket and pants are, and ours are, having another layer over the kids in the cold and wet is in my opinion essential for multi day hikes. They just stay dryer and happier. They work even in crazy winds as the kids put their hands inside and hold them down. This is the weather we had on the OT, and you could make it work with the child carrier I think.

Have fun.
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