Meandering Mouse wrote:
Johan the one thing I worry about is the backpack. I am not the world's biggest person and it seems a lot to carry.
I am starting lifting weights
doing push ups.. and.. and .. and.. actually, I am starting pilates, because good core muscles should help. I am serious about doing this sometime.
I see you are se-ri-haas
And you have the principle right: the lighter the load the happier the trip. So, being reasonably fit for trailing is important, but equally important is to backpack smart
! For a four-day, three-night trail you can get away with a fully laden backpack, inclusive of your minimum 3l of water, of under 10 kg. If you can do 10km in a day with that burden, you'll be OK!
With you starting out afresh, I would think that you need to still obtain most of your equipment. For a first trip I suggest that you buy only that which you cannot borrow from friends / family… until you really get serious about backpacking. It is natural to get all excited about a trip and then you purchase way too much stuff which you are unhappy with and have to replace later. When you are ready to buy, there are three things that will cost you significant money, but these items would be “lifetime” investments. Do lots of research on equipment and shops and visit a few before you start shopping, because you want to deal with a well stocked, professional merchant. The items are:A sleeping bag
Choose a bag rated for the coldest temperature you expect to encounter. Kruger in summer may not turn out be your only hiking venue! You want to keep weight low without jeopardizing comfort or safety. Be aware that bags are made specifically for women shapes! A bag for a large man will weigh significantly more than one for a small woman.A backpack
The duration of your trip decides the size of your backpack. For a typical 3-night wilderness trail, 50l of packing space will be more than adequate. Nothing is more important than choosing a pack according to your torso length... your pack must fit your frame comfortably and snugly grip your hips.A tent
Will you share your shelter? Generally it's a good idea to go plus-1 with your capacity choice. For a place like Kruger, a tent with a canopy of mesh that can be covered with a rainfly is great. It gives you a wonderful view of the stars while the little breeze there may be is fully utilised to keep you cool.
Weight is added to your backpack by the stuff you pack. This is where smart packing contributes to your enjoyment of the trip. Consider taking just enough to last the duration of the trip. Get the smallest toothpaste tube, sunscreen holder, insect repellent. Take a soap / shampoo in-one. Take dry food requiring rehydration (tin foods are a no-no!) or even go no-cook, dry rations (candy bars, breakfast bars, nuts, raisins, dry wors, thin biltong sticks). Wear the same clothing item (pants for the whole trip and shirt on alternate days).
One item where you cannot skimp is on the amount of water you carry. Three litres in Kruger in summer is an absolute must have!
Here is a list of items that also need to go along:
gas stove and one spare gas canister
tiny (head) light
a small lighter
toilet paper (half a roll)
toothbrush and travel size paste (will give you ten brushes!)
insect repellant, sunscreen, lip balm (again make a plan to take the littlest possible)
a spoon for stirring / eating (I always take my Leatherman with, but has never had to use it!!)
good hiking socks (consider re-use after a rinse and airing)
a small amount of fuel in a squirt bottle (for burning your toilet paper after a wipe, before closing it up in the hole dug for the body business)
A light-weight jacket that will serve to keep you warm and dry in case the weather turns
A light-weight, super-absorbent towel
Water purification chemical
Some additive in powder form to mask the taste of "Pond". Coffee / tea / hot chocolate is great at the end / start of a day
Sunglasses and a hat
1l pot or kettle to boil water in
Heavy duty garbage bag
Small 1st aid kit