What to Bring
by Ashley Burke
This equipment list is suitable for the navigation weekend that is normally run in the months of March-October.This list is specific for this particular weekend. For a more general list intended for most other bushwalking trips that I lead in the Blue Mountains, please see the Bushwalking Gear List.
Equipment List - Navigation Weekend
|Sleeping bag||The sleeping bag should be 3-4 season rated, or temperature rated to zero degrees Celsius.|
|Pack/Rucksack||Minimum volume 60L, or 55L at a pinch. Try to pack everything inside. Avoid loose items strapped to outside of pack. Foam mats can get scratched or torn if strapped on outside of pack.||Can be borrowed for a small fee.|
|Lightweight tent or tent fly with ground sheet.||
The campsite is in a sheltered location but may be occupied by other campers. A tent or shelter is therefore needed that offers protection from the elements. Minimal shelter would be a groundsheet plus tarp, however most people bring a lightweight 1 or 2 person tent.
Rent a Big Agnes 1-person tent: $30
You may borrow a lightweight 1-person tent for $30.
Brands: Big Agnes or Nemo 1-person tent
Weight: Between 1.0 and 1.3kg
|Foam mat or thermarest||
A foam mat can be purchased inexpensively from camping stores.
Other options are Thermarest or Sea to Summit sleeping pads. There are many different models in the Thermarest range. The Thermarest NeoAir is the lightest for the amount of warmth, insulation, comfort and compactness.
|Can be borrowed: Thermarest Z-lite foam hiking mat.|
|Waterproof rain coat||Can be lightweight.|
Enough capacity to hold 3-4 litres is required, although you will only need to start out with 1-2 litres of water.
Good water will be available near where we camp and you can fill bottles upon arrival in the late afternoon and the following morning when we leave. You need enough water holding capacity for your dinner, camp, and breakfast. Access to the running water will only be during daylight.
Nalgene bottles are recommended. Alternatively just take old soft drink bottles or used wine cask bladders.
|Torch||A small head torch is ideal|
|Fleece or warm jumper|
|Thermal underwear||Top and bottom|
|Walking shoes||For further advice on walking shoes, contact me directly|
Cooking and eating utensils:
Campfires will not be used in total fire bans, park fire bans, or if conditions are in any way unsuited to campfires.
A "billy" is a small blackened aluminium pot which is used to cook over the fire. A cookset is a set of vessels for boiling water or cooking on a camping stove.
|Small camping stove (optional)||We adopt a minimal impact approach to bushwalking so stoves are preferred over campfires and we will always adhere to park fire bans or total fire bans. Stoves may be shared, one between two. If you do not have, or don't bring a stove, you may either share mine or have me boil water for you. There are many types of camping stove. For this type of trip, a gas stove such as MSR pocket rocket or similar is the lightest, most compact, and easiest to use.|
Bring enough food for yourself for the duration of the trip. Normally everyone brings their own food unless specific arrangements to share food are made.
You need to bring:
See food suggestions below for help on what sort of food to bring.
Shirt and shorts or long pants for walking in during the day
|Shorts or long pants? This depends on personal preference, and time of year or expected temperatures. Bear in mind that you will be walking through scrub which may be dense in places and therefore long pants are recommended. In the summer months or in hot weather, shorts are ok, though gaiters are highly recommended if hiking in shorts.|
|Gaiters (optional)||Gaiters for the lower legs provide protection against the low scrub and also from snakebite. Optional.|
Additional warm clothes (depending on time of year):
Check the weather forecast prior to the trip. The weather in May-September can be variable and cold weather is likely, especially at night. Ensure you have sufficient warm clothes for chilly evenings and mornings. Most likely not needed on trips in March, April and October.
|A cheap and very light pair of sandals/thongs/crocs/flip flops for the river crossings. Optional.||
We will be crossing a running stream on both days. The stream is a few metres wide and less than knee deep. I recommend just wading through with your shoes on but if you want to keep your hiking shoes and socks dry, you may change into a lightweight pair of footwear suitable for walking through water. These should be cheap and light as you will need to carry them the rest of the time.
Please note that walking barefoot across the river is permissible, but not recommended due to the risk of hurting your feet or slipping.
Keep to minimum. Do not use soap or anything that will pollute waterways. Hand sanitizer gel (that doesn't require water) is a good alternative to soap.
First aid kit must include as a minimum:
For COVID-19 hygiene it is a requirement to wash or sanitise your hands frequently on the hike, and always before touching food or any group gear.
|Toilet kit, in case we need to carry out our poo. This is not as bad as it sounds.||
Detailed information about toileting is provided in your information packs and will also be explained during the trip. The below items in your toilet kit will enable you to carry out your poo, thereby maintaining leave no trace etiquette and being kind to our environment. MountainSphere strongly recommends you make this small contribution to protecting our wild camping environment for future generations.
A toilet kit comprises the following:
Each person should bring a compass for this weekend in order to gain the most benefit from what we will be learning. I can supply you with a compass at the same price that it costs me, or you may rent one for the weekend for $15. Compasses can also be purchased from camping and outdoor stores or online.
For information on what is the best compass to buy, see Section 7.2 of my navigation tutorial.
Here is a price list for different models of compasses that I can supply for you:
Rent a Silva Ranger for the weekend: $15
Buy a Suunto A-30: $50
Buy a Silva Ranger: $55
Buy a Silva Ranger S with mirror: $85
Buy a Suunto M-3 Global: $100
Buy a Suunto MC-2 Global with mirror: $140
|Topographic Map of the area we will be walking in.||You will need a topographic map of the area that we will be walking in. Your map can be ordered when you complete your application at a price of $25 per map. Maps supplied by MountainSphere are laminated and folded, will withstand the elements, and can be drawn on in pencil. Maps can be shared one between two if you are attending the trip with a friend or partner or as part of a group. The maps are about 1.1m x 0.6m in size.|
|Pencil||Useful for drawing bearings and marking the route on your map.|
For your personal expenses travelling to and from the start point.
Payment for the navigation weekend is required in advance, however you may purchase maps, compasses and other gear on the day.
A whistle is an important safety item for attracting attention in an emergency or in the unlikely event that you become separated from the group.
Some backpacks come with a whistle built in or attached. These are often too small and feeble for a genuine emergency. Bring a separate pealess whistle if you have one. If you don't have one, MountainSphere can supply one for you for the trip.
|Recommended brand: Fox 40 Sharx Pealess Whistle|
|Course Notes (Not required - optional)||
I have written an online navigation course and on the weekend you will be putting these course notes into practise.
A printable PDF version of this online material is also available. Please be advised that this document is more than 55 pages long and it is not necessary for you to print and bring these notes with you on the weekend as it is a hiking trip focused on applying these skills in a practical way.
You do, however, have the option to print selected pages to serve as a set of "cheat sheets" to help you remember the techniques you will be putting into practise on the weekend. The best pages to print are pages 34-41 (8 pages in total). You may also wish to print "The Back Page" (pages 54 and 55).
... and remember to just print pages 34-41 and 54-55 from the PDF.
Printing these pages and bringing them with you is optional.
Proof of COVID vaccination
(Mandatory until at least 1 Dec 2021)
(No longer required as of 1 Jan 2023)
It was mandatory until at least 1st December 2021 that all clients and staff attending any MountainSphere trip be fully vaccinated with at least 2 doses of a TGA approved COVID vaccine. You will need to provide proof of vaccination before attending the trip. This requirement was abolished on 1 Jan 2023.
Your vaccination should be considered part of your safety gear, brought with you along with your first aid kit, protective clothing, and everything else that you carry to keep yourself and others safe.
The NSW Government health orders and rules concerning COVID vaccination will be adhered to, and if those rules mandate vaccination then those rules will apply to everyone attending this trip.
Where government health orders do not mandate vaccination, MountainSphere Adventures nevertheless strongly encourages everyone attending to be fully vaccinated.
For more information about COVID and how to provide proof of vaccination, please refer to the NSW Government website.
|Avenza Maps mobile phone app||
The Avenza Maps mobile phone app can be downloaded from your app store. This is a GPS app that is useful for navigation. This is optional.
Keen to join a navigation weekend? Click below:
It is normal practise for everyone to bring their own food for the trip. That way, each person can eat according to their own preferences and diet, and less time is spent organising communal food.
Due to COVID-19 social distancing requirements, sharing of food between people who do not normally live together should be avoided.
Below are some suggestions on the sorts of food that are suitable to bring on the 2 day navigation weekend. These are suggestions only, based on what I normally take on a weekend walk. Everyone's tastes and diet are different, so feel free to make any changes to the list below based on your preferences. Also feel free to contact me if you have any other questions about what sorts of food to bring.
You will need to bring:
Things to avoid:
On the other hand, food can be fun and easy to cook when camping, and it is possible to have good variety, including fresh foods, especially on shorter trips.
Freeze dried meals are a popular choice and are easy to prepare, though more expensive and lacking in fresh ingredients. If you bring a freeze dried meal, I can provide you with boiling water to rehydrate your meal.
If you like to snack between meals then you can bring anything such as chocolate, nuts, biscuits, snack bars or other snack food.
All content on this web page is Copyright © Ashley Burke. No duplication of any text or image without permission.
This page created 17 Apr 2008, last updated 01 May 2023.