Adventure Kokoda

Camping Equipment

  1. TREKKING BOOTS
  2. CAMP BOOTIES
  3. GAITERS
  4. CAMP SANDALS
  5. TREKKING POLES
  6. SLEEPING BAG
  7. CAMP MATTRESS
  8. HEADTORCH
  9. BACKPACKS
  10. DAYPACKS
  11. HYDRATION BLADDERS
  12. TRIPOD STOOL
  13. Z SEAT
  14. AIR PILLOWS
  15. CHAMOIS
  16. KITCHEN SINK
  17. CAMPSITE SYSTEM
  18. LOST LUGGAGE LOCATOR

HIRE OF CAMPING GEAR

The following gear is available for hire from Adventure Kokoda in PNG:

  1. Backpack (75 litre): $35
  2. Sleeping Bag: $25
  3. Sleeping Mat (thick ribbed foam): $15
  4. Trekking Poles: $25


TREKKING BOOTS

The trekking boots you select should be lightweight, fit well and have a good tread. We recommend boots withBoots Aku Taiga a synthetic upper in preference to leather. Synthetic uppers are usually made from cordura and suede, are lighter, more breathable and some have waterproof membranes like Gore-Tex. You will not be able to keep your feet dry as they will be wet from your own sweat during the trek so the way you care for them is more important than the boots you wear – it is therefore more important for them to have a mesh upper.

Synthetic boots do not need to be ‘broken-in’ like leather boots – you can trek in them the day you buy them as long as they fit properly. To test the fit first, with the boot unlaced, you should be able to get two fingers easily down behind your heel, then you should lace up the boot you intend to buy and kick the ground with your toe. If your toe hits the end of the boot it is too short – this means your piggies will not be happy on the downhill sections of the track! The boot needs to support your foot without compressing it. Some brands fit narrow feet better than wide ones; other brands do the opposite. Don’t be conned by a brand name – buy the boots that fit your feet.

The boots you choose should have good ankle support to assist with stability. You should also make sure the sole of the boot flexes at the ball of the foot and not in the middle. Check the under-foot cushioning to ensure it is firm and supportive. Handy hint: make sure you buy the socks you are going to trek in before you buy your boots - then use these socks to try with the boots you buy.

Click here for some interesting hints from a Bushwalking Australia forum regarding trekking boots.

Click here to check a YouTube review of trekking boots.

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CAMP BOOTIESKokoda Camp Booties

A pair of 'camp booties' are a good idea for Kokoda. 'Sea to Summit' booties are made of soft polatec fleece which provides warmth without weight, excellent breathability and quick drying time. They have a waterproof sole and are therefore ideal to wear as socks in your tent - and handy if you have to take a pit-stop during the night.

You can check them out by clicking here.

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GAITERSDrizabone Gaiters

A pair of short gaiters such as the drizabone ‘overboots’ or ‘sock protectors’ are highly recommended. They are good to tuck the top of your trousers into and assist in keeping water out of your boots during shallow creek crossings. They are available from most camping stores or you can buy them online by clicking on the Drizabone Online Store here.

I believe these are the most appropriate gaiter for the Kokoda Trail and have been wearing them for a number of years.

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CAMP SANDALS

These are essential for water crossings where you want to remove your Shimano Marine sandals for Kokodaboots and socks to keep the dry. You also need to wear them when you bathe in rivers and creeks and also for walking around the campsite at the end of the day's trekking. We do no recommend crocs as they have no grip and are too slippery.

The best brand are Shimano Evair marine fishing sandals which you can purchase from BCF stores or you can buy them online by clicking here. They have a non-slip sole, are light, durable and fasten easily with a velcro strap.

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TREKKING POLESLeki Trekking Poles

When we first started trekking more than 20 years ago our PNG guides would cut us a few sticks and these acted as a prop for the steep climbs and descents, creek crossings and slippery sections. Trekkers then began to bring their own trekking poles with them so I thought I should give them a try. For the first couple of treks I used a single pole but after awhile I brought another one to use. I now wouldn't trek without them.

Good quality trekking poles such as Leki are light, strong and easy to adjust. I shorten my poles for the steep climbs to allow me to leverage off my arms and ease some of the weight off my legs. I lengthen them on the steep descents and use them as a break to ease the pressure of my knees which give me a bit of curry from time to time. I adjust them to just above waist height for flat sections and I find they provide good leverage and allows me to use my upper body to share the workload.

But most importantly, trekking poles are grear for balance. The trail can be muddy and the rocks can be very slippery. After awhile your trekking poles, because they are so light, become virtual extensions of your arms to be used instinctively to correct your balance if you take a wrong step.

They can also be used to dry your socks and jocks over the fire at night, hang your hat and sweat rag on when you take a break, etc, etc.

I simply wouldn't trek without my Leki's.

You can check a YouTube video on Leki Trekking Poles by clicking here.

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SLEEPING BAGThermarest Sleeping Bag

Selecting the right sleeping bag can be a bit daunting because there are so many to choose from and they all look so snug hanging in the racks of camping stores. The main considerations for Kokoda are weight, size, warmth and price. Ideally your sleeping bag shouldn't weigh more than 750 grams and iIt should be compact when packed into its stuff bag. On Kokoda you will sleep on top of your sleeping bag for about 6 nights and sleep inside it for the other 3 nights where our campsites are around 2000 metres above sea level - the temperature drops to around zero degrees centigrade at this height and it can be a bit pickadilly.

The following links will help with your research:

. Buying advice

. Price-Value comparisons

. Australian Bushwalkers Forum on Sleeping Bags

. Australian Bushcraft Advice

. Thermarest Sleeping Bag

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CAMPING MATTRESS

Over the years I find that the 'grumpiness index' i.e. the look on a Neo Air Mattressperson's face when they first poke their head out of the tent in the morning is related to the quality of the sleep they have had during the night. Most are happy, cheerful and full of beans - but there are always a few who look like they missed out on lotto by a single digit. This condition seems to be directly related to the quality of the mattress they have been resting on, or wrestling with, for the previous eight hours or so.

I have used everything from a groundsheet in the early days (in an attempt to lighten my backpack), to thin rubber, thicker foam and therm-a-rest self-inflating mats (more comfortable but heavier).

In recent years I have been using a Therm-a-Rest Neo Air Mattress. The mattress weighs just 350 grams and rolls up to the size of a small waterbottle. You have to blow it up each night - it takes 36 good puffs - but the effort is well worth it. It's a bit pricey at around $250 but there are less expensive versions now advertised in camping stores. You can check out current prices and specifications at Kellys Basecamp or Hiking.com.au

Neo Air Mattress Review

Check the Youtube video here to learn how to care for your therm-a-rest mattress.

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HEADTORCHHead Torch

A good reliable, emphasis on reliable, headtorch is an essential item for trekking the Kokoda Trail. I therefore recommend that you stick with known reliable brands such as Petzl, Black Diamond or Princeton Tec because I have lost count of the number of times I have been asked to try and fix and/or replace a cheaper headlamp during a trek.  Fortunately we always carry a couple of spares but sometimes this is not enough.

The other advantage of purchasing a quality head torch is the opportunity to use it after you return – hands free reading at night, working on tricky items, walking/jogging at night, etc.

Click here to find out more about headtorch lighing.

You can do some research on the quality brands and check their prices online so you know what you are looking for before you walk into your camping store.

Petzl Tikka XP2

Petzl Tikka Plus

Black Diamond Storm Headlamp

Princeton Tec EOS

Princeton Tec Remix

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BACKPACKS

The wide range of backpacks/rucksacks available can be a bit daunting for inexperienced trekkers.  The best Deuter back packadvice I can give is do some research online before you step into a camping shop otherwise you will be at the mercy of the sales staff who might want to push a particular brand – and probably an expensive one at that – rather than satisfy your needs for a trek across the rugged and remote Owen Stanley Ranges in Papua New Guinea.

My first backpack for Kokoda had an external frame – I still have welts in my back to prove it.  Never again!

If you intend to continue your adventures off the beaten track after Kokoda you should outlaying a bit of extra money and look at brands such as Osprey, One Planet, Deuter, Macpac or Wilderness Equipment. You can check them out by clicking on each link. You need to be prepared to spend $250 plus on these top of the range backpacks.

I have been using an Osprey pack for the past few years and cannot think how it can be improved. It is light, strong and well-balanced. I believe the other brands are of equal quality but I can only report on what I carry.
Caribee 80 litre backpack
If you are looking for a good quality reliable backpack I would recommend a Caribee 65 or 80 litre. These range in price from $130 upwards and you won’t get better value than that for the price. We purchased a few hundred of an earlier model around four years ago and they have been used by our PNG guides and carriers on a continuous basis ever since.  They have lasted at least a year more than I expected so I have no hesitation in recommending them.

You might like to keep the following hints in mind when you venture into your nearest camping store to purchase your backpack:

Fit

This is a very important consideration. Most backpacks have adjustable hip belts, shoulder harness, and stabilizer straps but even then, the basic shape of the hip belt and shoulder harness might not be compatible with your body. In particular, women might want to look for backpacks that are developed for the female body.

Frame Comfort

The Frame comfort category determines how well the frame transfers the load from the pack into the waist belt and to a lesser extent onto your shoulder straps. You should also ensure your pack has good quality adjustment buckles.  There is nothing more frustration than cheap buckles that allow pack adjustments to ‘slip’.  This will inevitably result in your shoulders carrying the bulk of your load and can result in a great deal of discomfort for the neck muscles. That’s my experience anyway.

Weight

The weight of your backpack is an important consideration for a trek across Kokoda.  Higher end backpacks are usually more expensive because they use lighter and stronger material in their construction. 

Adjustablity

The higher end backpacks usually offer more flexibility in catering to your body size. You can therefore swap the shoulder harness  and waist belts to ensure you have a good fit before you leave the store. However I have found that even most basic packs now provide the ability to fit well by allowing adjustments for the height of your body frame and then allowing you to personalise your adjustments.  I always tighten my waist strap to the max, then bend forward slightly to pull my shoulder harness in until it is snug. I then straighten up and adjust my two shoulder straps then connect my chest strap.

If the plastic buckles are good quality it will retain the adjustment however the cheaper ones don’t and you therefore need to constantly adjust them. This can lead to bad thoughts about what you are going to say/do to the sales assistant who gave you an assurance they would not slip as he asked you whether you would like to enter a Pin number or sign!

I often had to adjust my Caribee but I have never had to adjust my Osprey.  I guess it reflect the old adage about getting what you pay for!

The following links might help with your research:

1. Backpack Features

2. Caribee Backpack Review

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DAYPACKS

If you intend to carry your own backpack across the Kokoda Trail you will need to be in top physical Deuter day packcondition. The terrain is rugged and remote, the humidity is high and some of the mountain ranges could be classified as razorback.

In the past many trekkers wanted to do it ‘as the diggers did it’.  They were therefore advised they would not need a tent, a sleeping bag, spare clothes, toiletries or food.  They would also have to go to a disposal store and buy some hard leather hob-nailed boots.

Some persisted and made an unrealistic attempt to carry their own backpack regardless. Unfortunately we then had to try and recruit local villagers to help them complete their journey. This placed an unfair burden on the guides and carriers we had recruited as they then had to share their food and shelter as there was no prospect of a resupply.

The trek itself is hard enough without the unnecessary burden of an extra 12-15 kg.

For those who engage a Personal Carrier we recommend they purchase a small daypack – between 10 and 35 litres – to carry your water and snacks.

It is wise to do some research to ensure you get one that meets your needs for the trek – and for years to come.  Please don’t borrow or bring a cheapy – it might not last the distance and it will certainly not fit well. If it doesn’t fit properly you will curse your decision from about day 2.

It should have a good suspension system, a hydration sleeve, an outside pocket and a rain-cover.

Some of the links below will assist in your research:

Osprey Sirrus 24 Women’s Daypack Osprey Daypack
Osprey Stratos 24 Daypack Osprey Manta 24 Daypack
Osprey Talon 22 Daypack Wilderness Equipment Daypacks
One Planet Daypacks Blackwolf Daypacks
Caribee Daypacks Macpac Daypacks

REVIEWS:
Outdoor Gear Lab Review

Adventure Journal Review
http://www.adventure-journal.com/2012/04/gear-review-four-perfect-day-packs/

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Packing your Backpack

BackpackThe best way to plan your backpack load is to lay out all of your gear to get it organized. This is a great way to make sure you have everything you need and organize it by weight.

It is then a good idea is to cluster similar small items, such as eating utensils, toiletries, 1st Aid items, clothing, sleeping gear, etc and pack them in zip lock or stuff bags. I use different coloured bags for these items.

I pack the things I am likely to need during the day in the zipper compartment on the top of my pack i.e. head-torch, mosquito repellent, snacks, spare torch batteries and lighter.

I pack my cup, eating utensils and a small chamois in the side compartments.

When loading my pack I obviously place the gear I do not need during the day at the bottom of the pack i.e. sleeping bag (which is packed in a waterproof stuff-sack); sleeping gear and clothing.  I then pack my 1st Aid Kit, rain jacket, plastic plates and toiletries at the top of the pack for easy access during the day.  As a guide you should place your items so that 80 percent of the weight is sitting on your hips.

If you have a foam or therm-a-rest sleeping mat you can strap this to the outside of your backpack – if the ground is wet when you take a break you can easily unstrap it and use it as a mat.  I also hang my sandals on the outside of my pack for easy access for creek crossings.

After your bag is packed, tighten all compression straps to limit load-shifting while trekking.

Click here to watch a vidio on how to pack your backpack


HYDRATION BLADDERS

Osprey Hydration Bladder

A hydration bladder is a sealed plastic bag connected to a rubber hose to be used as a system for drinking water during when trekking, cycling, endurance running, etc. The size and features of the hydration bladder will vary according to manufacturer – the most common range 1.5 to 3.0 litres. Bladders are designed to fit inside a specially designed backpack with a hole to allow the hose to run from the inside of the back to the outside for easy access. The end of the hose will feature a bite valve that will prevent water from leaking out when not in use. Some of the latest developments include hydration packs that have pressurized hydration bladders which will force water through an in-line-filter allowing the user access to clean water on-the-go.

Hydration bladders are a much more effective aid in avoiding dehydration because of ease of use. All you have to do to have drink on the move is put the bite valve, which hangs beside your cheek, into your mouth and suck on it. Waterbottles placed in a pocket of your backpack or hanging from a clip can be a bit more fiddly to use and therefore some prefer to wait for a restbreak before they have a good swig from them.  This is not a good approach to avoiding the perils of dehydration in a hot, humid, tropical environment.

Quality and convenience are two of the most important factors in choosing a hydration bladder.  If the bite valve just fits on the tube there is a chance it could slip off – if you don’t have a spare valve (and companies like Camelback charge like a wounded bull for spares) then you are beggared.

I have used most of the brands over the years and I believe the Osprey is the best – by a long shot. It has a rigid spine which helps maintain its shape and prevent the reservoir from folding on top of itself, and the AquaGuard anti-microbial formula makes sure you don't taste anything but pure, clean water. It has 180 degree on/off pivot bite valve with magnet which clips onto the strap of an Osprey pack for convenience.

Following are some useful links to allow you to do your own research:

Hydration Systems Review: Camelback Vs Osprey
Video: How to choose a hydratiion system Video: Hiking 101: Hydrations Systems
Osprey Hydration Bladder Camelback
Platypus Preventing mould in a hydration system

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NON-ESSENTIAL ITEMS - BUT HANDY TO HAVE . . .


Tripod StoolTripod Stool

A small folding tripod stool is a very handy item to have on the Kokoda Trail. If the ground is wet, as it often is, a camp stool is a comfortable way to keep your bum dry. It is also a handy item at our campsites. You can use it to sit around the campfire while you are drying your clothes, outside your tent when lacing your boots, or just to gaze at the stars. They C0ghlan's Tripod Stool is made of lightweight aluminium with a cordura nylon seat and 40 centimetres high.

Click here for more information

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Z-SeatZ Seat

The Therm-a-Rest Z Seat is a closed-cell foam sitting pad based on the similarly designed sleeping pad offered by Cascade Designs. It has an accordian style design and only weighs 60 grams. You can easily strap it onto you backpack and use it as a seat for sitting on wet logs or wet ground. You can also use it as a back-rest for sitting against a tree - and it makes a good mat for entry/exit from your tent.

Click here for a Z-Seat Review

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Neo-Air PillowNeo Air Pillow

One of the lightest inflatable pillows available, the NeoAir™ Pillow provides full-size support for side and back sleepers without the weight and bulk of a conventional pillow. When deflated, it takes up minimal space in your pack, so you can travel light and still bring along a comfortable place to rest your head instead of using a rolled-up jacket for a pillow. You can also combine the NeoAir™ Pillow with the Therm-a-rest® Down Pillow for the ultimate in comfort and warmth. Stuff sack included.

Click here for more info on camping pillows

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ChamoisChamois

A small chamois is a very handy item to keep your tent clean on Kokoda. If it is wet it can be difficult to get in and out of your tent without a bit of mud from your clothes, boots or camping sandals. For those who like a clean tent a small chamois is the best way of 'mopping up' and keeping it that way.

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and . . . a kitchen sink!Kitchen Sink for Kokoda

The small 5-litre capacity Sea to Summit Kitchen Sink is a very handy item to bring along. It weighs next to nothing and fold up to the size of a pair of socks. I use it to pour a cup of hot water into and, together with half-a-cup of cold water I have enough for a warm shave and wash in the morning. You can also use it to carry water up from the creek to wash your gear or to store clean water near your tent.

Click here for a kitchen Sink Review

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OUR CAMPSITE SYSTEM ON THE TRAIL

We provide a mosquito proof tent with sewn in Adventure Kokodafloor for each trekker together with all of the cookng gear, communicaions equipment, ropes, tarps, group 1st Aid kit and emergency gear. We have a specialised campsite preparation party that treks ahead of our group each day and sets up our tents, prepares our dining hut, cleans the camp toilets, gathers firewood and prepares a fresh hot meal with tea/coffee hot chocolate ready for our arrival. You therefore do not have to carry a tent which enables you to keep the weight of your backpack to around 10-12 kilograms.

You will receive a detailed list of recommended gear to bring after we receive your booking however however the main items to budget for are:

  • A backpack
  • A day pack if you engage a personal carrier
  • Two lightweight trekking poles - essential for stability and easing the pressure pff your knees - invest in good quality poles.
  • A light sleeping bag (0 to +5 rating)
  • A sleeping mat (foam or thermorest)
  • Inflatable or thermorest camping pillow
  • One head-torch with spare batteries
  • Spare flashlight with batteries
  • A multi-purpose pocketknife (pack in your unaccompanied baggage)
  • One 3-litre water hydration bag (recommend Camelback quality)
  • 1-litre waterbottle (to mix staminade/gatorade rehydration mix separately)
  • Plate, bowl and mug (plastic or enamel)
  • Knife, fork and spoon
  • Steel wool pads to clean your eating utensils
  • Antiseptic Soap/toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Toilet paper - packed in waterproof plastic bag
  • Waterproof dry sacks (to keep your clothing and other items dry within your backpack)
  • Camera

Backpack Weight

You should be able to keep the weight of your backpack to approximately 10-12 kg. It should only contain your spare clothing, light sleeping bag, sleeping mat, personal items (camera, torch, eating utensils, etc) and snacks for the trek.

Group Carriers

Group carriers are engaged to carry our tents. fresh food for our main meals (the envy of those who have to endure dehydrated rations); cooking gear for the group; communications equipment, ropes, shovels, machetes and emergency gear.

Our group carriers will erect and dismantle your tent each day.

Personal Carriers

If you do not wish to carry all of your gear you can engage your own personal carrier to carry your backpack for the duration of the trek. If you choose this option you will only have to carry a small daypack with your water hydration bladder, trek snacks for the day and your personal first-aid items as recommended.

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LOST LUGGAGE LOCATER

Click here for details about a gadget that allows you to use your mobile phone to find lost luggage:

http://www.greatwalks.com.au/news/new-gadget-makes-lost-luggage-a-thing-of-the-past

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Adventure Kokoda

Adventure Kokoda

Adventure Kokoda