I’m happy with that. I lightened my load by evaluating every single thing that I had in my pack. I did this by taking a series of overnight training hikes, known as Shakedown hikes.
Each with several goals of testing myself and my gear.
Shakedown Hike in the Blue Mountains
My first shakedown hike was on the 6 Foot Track. An easy 3 day , 44km hike, plus another 6km (for me) of walking to get to the trailhead. I’d hiked this trail before and knew it to be a great trail to use as a Shakedown Trail.
Navigation was not an issue so it made a good training hike.
I planned to walk the track twice, a total of 100km in 3 days. On day 2 I hiked 50km. The most I have ever walked in one day, and all this with my backpack. My base weight on this hike was just under 10kg.
After the hike I re-assessed everything I was carrying. I found ways to lighten my load, and learned the value of Ibuprofen, the hard way. A good place to get good gear in Australia is Snowys.com.
When the hiker finally makes it onto the long distance trail the idea is to start slowly and allow the body to adapt to it’s new job of hiking everyday. It is a process that takes many weeks. Don’t be the hiker that hikes too fast or too many miles at the start. Injury forces many hikers off the trail every year.
2nd Shakedown Hike
After research and learning more about lightweight hiking I set of into the Blue Mountains west of Sydney for another shakedown hike. This time my backpack was down to 9kg. Again I learned things.
My blister tape was crap (leukotape is the best), the rain gear had holes in it from a recent cycling crash and my Kindle was dead weight. So I ordered new (lighter) rain gear, will try new strapping tape (leukotape) and I’ve ditched the Kindle in favour of the Audible Audio Books for my phone.
I also noted there was some gear I hadn’t used on both hikes. If I went on 2 hikes and had gear with me that I never used, then it was time to get rid if it.
Now my pack is under 8kg. I suspect within the first month of my hike it will be even lighter. Not that I am obsessed with it.
I learned to embrace technology and trust my phone. I have set it up so everything I need can be used offline. It has my offline navigation maps from Guthookand Halfmile, my offline kindle (reading app), PDF maps, PDF trail info, PDF water reports, PDF town info and files of all the other info I need.
My phone has a wifi app to transfer my photos from my phone to my BikeHikeSafari Facebook site or to this blog, all offline and while out on the trail. I can then write my blog while on the trail, uploading it either when I have reception or WiFi.
When there is reception or wifi I am able to dictate rather than type on the small keyboard, I tried this out while on the trail. It worked great, however, I don’t think I’ll talk to my phone when other people are watching!
This works on apps for Facebook, WordPress (my blog), texts, notes and more. To keep my phone charged I carry a USB battery which will charge the phone about 8 times while on trail. I learned to embrace the new technology.
Almost time to leave
Now, it is only days away from flying to USA to start the hike of the PCT. Soon, I’ll be camping somewhere in the California desert on the Pacific crest trail. Time to start packing!
A big thanks to my sister and family for hosting me for the last couple of weeks in Sydney and GT from Charter North for my trip through the outback on route from Darwin to Sydney.
Below are some photos from the ‘outback’ and my recent training hikes and shakedown hikes.