Other useful items to carry on. – Outtheresouthernadventures

Other useful items to carry on.

As you progress in your new found hobby, it could be tramping or hunting, whatever, you will find there are items you will need or you will see other trampers or hunters on your trips that have a certain item you will think 'that's useful'. Here are a few things you might need to carry.

Walking poles can be a really useful item, especially if you are a bit unsteady. They do give balance, help when climbing up or down giving some degree of stability and when crossing uneven ground or stream/rivers. A light weight pair of walking poles, depending on manufacturer and composition  could set you back anywhere from $150-$500. I have been using some light weight carbon fibre walking poles by Black Diamond, they pack down quite small and  weigh about 140grams per pole. Using walking poles, I read they can reduce energy lose by about 15% so could be well worth carrying.

Myself using walking poles on a recent 4 day hike. Very useful. 

A PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) There are a few on the market and sell from anywhere around $400 mark and above. You might think, really, do I need a PLB, perhaps not if you're in a group and someone in your group has one. Then you probably don't need one. But it's when you're on your own or it's just you and you're mate and something goes wrong, What's a PLB worth, every cent and more. They are the difference between life and death.

I have two friends that are alive today because they were activated but their hunting companions. A PLB activation is knowing that within perhaps a hour or less a helicopter with a medic and SAR personal will be with you as opposed to you knowing no-one is going to come looking for you for a long time and by the time they do, you are going to die. Seems a bit harsh but that is fact.

Numerous people would be alive now had they carried a PLB with them, it's that simple. So are they worth it, HELL YES.

A couple of different types of PLB. Money well spent and piece of mind. 

Knife. A good sharp fold-out knife is always very useful. I use the German made Mercator which is a really good knife, but really there are lots of knives on the market, shop around. Don't buy a cheap knife from the warehouse, go to a Hunting & Fishing store or similar and buy a good quality sharp knife that will hold its edge. As a 'tramper' a lightweight fold up knife is all you need. You don't need a sheath knife. Look at buying a bright coloured one also, bright red/orange/yellow/blue are good colours as if you put it down in the grass it is easier to find/see.

Do not buy a camouflage knife. You might also look at attaching a piece of string to it at act as a lanyard which can then be attached to your pants, that way if you use it and walk away it's still attached to you. You can't lose it.

A sheath knife is still a very useful item, it's just it's a bit heavier. It does have the added advantage of being able to be used to, perhaps split small logs or used by hitting the back of the knife with a rock or another heavy piece of wood could cut down a small tree. But this is about saving weight so I'd still go for a lightweight folding knife. The Gerber titanium weighs near on nothing and is a good knife.


My knife sharpener, main knife and back up knife. 

A good quality headlight is super useful. Infact you should never go anywhere without a headlight or torch being on you. A headlight allows hands free cooking, eating, reading, getting cloths on or off etc so very useful. Look at LedLenser, Black Diamond or Fenix, there are probably others that are fine. You don't have to go crazy and buy a massive powerful headlight or torch, really something that gives off around 200-400 lumens is ample. Look at how they charge, some need to charge using USB so make sure your light is fully charged before you head off. Some just use batteries, make sure there new ones and carry a couple of spares, just in case. You might find the hut your going too has a USB charger, some do. 

You might find as you walk in on your tramp your headlight turns itself on inside your pack and you get to the hut and you have no batteries, no worries if you are carrying some spares. Best thing is remove the batteries before your walk and have your headlight in the top of your bag with the batteries. Just before it gets too dark put your batteries in. Some lights have a lock feature so that they can't turn on in your bag. Also some have different power settings. On low setting your batteries might last 200 hours, on med power they might last 80 hours, used on high power they might last 10 hours. So if you use your batteries wisely they will last a long time. If you buy a headlight that only has one power setting you will only get X amount of hours use then its flat and different types of batteries will last different times. Good quality batteries may last longer than cheap ones.

I'm using the  LedLenser MH10, in my opinion one of the best headlights around. It has three power settings and lock out so it can't accidentally turn on in your pack. It has great light with about 600m lumens, adjustable focus so you get great power close up if needed but can see out to about 150m also.  You might also have a small penlight hand held torch in your survival bag as a 'just incase' light.

My MH10 LedLenser, A really good, easy to use headlight with great features. 

Some people carry a fold out saw like the 'Silky' saws. they are small, lightweight and incredibly sharp. They are ideal if you get to a camp or hut and need to cut some wood for the fire. I have a F180 Silky saw and I use it for all sorts of things. But very handy. Is it needed? probably not. However when you get to the hut or your campsite and need to cut some firewood, another one of those 'better to have it and not need it than not have one and need it'.

A hand held saw can be very useful. 

GPS. Most modern smart phones have a GPS on them and using pre-downloaded apps with mapping software on them means you can  find out where you are easily enough. GPS works by using satellites to triangulate your position. Modern GPS are pretty good and are great for finding your way into tough country and following your trail back using a tracking/trail mode. They are really a bit of specialty gear, does the average person need one, No they don't. Unless you're really getting into serious off the trail walks, have gained a lot of backcountry travel experience then it is not something the new hiker/tramper/hunter needs. Stick to easy areas where you don't need one. If you're getting into off the trail stuff, get a good map of the area and study it up. take it with you on your trip. If you are going into just a specific area just photo copy that area from your Topo map and get it laminated so if it gets wet it won't turn into a soggy mess or keep your map in a zip lock. Know where you're going and try to get good situational awareness. Do things like remember where the sun comes up (that's East) where the sun goes down (that's West) the opposite two must be North and South so you can orientate your map. Try to remember features you see that are on your map. I take a photo copied part of the map I'm going into in colour Topo then on the other side of the map reprint it but with the same area but in satellite image. This allows to different views of that same area. 


Take a map with you. Tracking on TOPO50S shows where you have walked and lots of other very useful features. GPG can be very useful. 

Currently I use, on my phone NZ TOPO 50S which costs about $5 to download. Once downloaded it can show you where all the DOC hunting areas are and can be used off line. It is a really useful App. It has a lot of useful features and one I use all the time is to record my track so I can see exactly where I am in relation to the DOC hunting area. It is well worth downloading.

Cooking  gear, A gas cooking with auto ignition is good as you don't have to light it with your lighter. But in your survival bag make sure you have a lighter just incase. The all in one cooker like the Jetboil types are really good but a simple auto gas cooker and a small billy is all you really need and will work perfectly fine at a fraction of the cost of a Jetboil system. A lightweight plate, bowl and a plastic spork is really all you need.

Some cooking options. But a $5 billy and cooker will do. 

Again you can spend big bucks on the latest and greatest lightweight gear but it still all does the same thing. However if you lose your $2.50 spork no big deal, as opposed to your $29.99 titanium spork, mmmm.  A plastic or double insulated cup is good to take as opposed to the older style metal cup as once you've put really hot water in a metal cup you can't drink from it for 20min until the cup cools down. A nice hot cup of sweet tea, coffee, hot chocolate is a real good pick-me-up when your cold. 

Hydration. Yip you need to drink and the hotter it is the more you need and especially if doing exercise. Whether you just carry a 1L bottle on you or you use a hydration system like the platypus, well that's up to you. The bonus of the hydration system with a drinking tube means you don't have to stop and take your pack off to get your water bottle out (if it's in your pack)

My hydration system and some different drink options. 

I use energy drinking tabs that replace lost salts and minerals and give you a boost. There are lots of energy type powders you can add to water to give you that replacements. My current ones I'm using are called Thorzt which mixed with 600ml of water replace lost minerals/salts from sweat. I find them really good.

A camera is always a useful item, how much you are going to spend on a camera depends on you and what your into. Good quality cameras could set you back a few thousand dollars but if that's what you like, then why not. I have a Panasonic dz70 that has some good features and reasonably good optical zoom. Modern phones are getting pretty awesome with quality and what they can do so I use both giving me a range options for photos.

Remember a good waterproof bag that you can carry either your phone or camera in is useful if the weather turns wet. If you are going to spend alot of money on good optics, like a camera or even your phone, then it's worth spending a few extra dollars on a good waterproof bag.

My camera, is lightweight and takes great photos with awesome zoom. 

You will find as time goes by there are items you will find that are more important than others and you will add things to your gear/equipment, stuff you find useful. Sun screen, and old pair of sun glasses, bug spray, if there are lots of Sandflys where you are going a fine head net is a mighty handy item. Thinsulate type gloves are really useful (again if there are lots of Sandflys or it gets abit cold). A small blow up pillow is good.  

 And you will take stuff out and look at it as, I never use this, so why carry it. Some carry a diary/pen or a small book to read. But remember you're the one carrying it. And just like all the gear in your pack it should be that you should be able to carry that pack for a few hours without too much trouble. Some backcountry hut walks can be anything from a couple of hours walk to 8-10hrs walk.

One of my last walks was up the Dart valley then down the Rees valley, pack weight with gear and food was around about 14kg, this was for a four day hike. Average days where around 3-6 hour walks. The only good side to having a multiday hike is that as you eat your food your pack gets lighter.  Hunters on the other side go as light as possible but if successful and shoot a deer suddenly add 20 or more kgs to their pack. So what went in as say 12kg can come out as 45kgs maybe more.