Packing Details

The Larapinta Trail is a long hike and can be tackled in a number of different ways:

  • Completely self contained, where you carry all equipment and food for the full length of the trail.
  • With minimal aid – Using food drop locations to leave essentials along the way (in secured or hidden locations) leaving you to carry all equipment and only enough food/consumables to last until the next food drop.
  • With major aid – Someone meeting you at various points along the way who carries most of your equipment, food and consumables with them via vehicle.

The minimal option fitted in with our hiking plans.  This would still mean we’d be carrying between 20kg and 30kg packs each dependant on the length between food drops and extra water requirements – if our evening camping location did not have a water supply.

We split each day into three parts: Hiking (mornings), exploring (afternoons), sleep (evenings). With each part having different needs, we packed accordingly but tried to go lightweight to ensure we wouldn’t be carrying too excessive weights. It was tricky, but careful planning needed to be done.

Hike (mornings):

Daytime temperatures along the Larapinta Trail in early September tend to average 25-26 degrees Celsius and can reach as high as 32 degrees. We decided to begin hiking in the dark before dawn and only walking in the cooler morning hours up to about 11:30am and even then it will be hot.

Since it wouldn’t take long to be drenched in sweat, we packed quick drying synthetic clothing designed for hiking. This clothing is manufactured purposefully with zip off legged pants, collars for sun protection, lightweight sun protective fabrics and with cooling vents. Suitable hats, sunscreen, lip balm and sweat towels are requirements. For the occasional day of rain (approximately 1 in 10) waterproof clothing is required.

Exploring (afternoons):

On arriving at each campsite, the intention is to strip off sweaty clothing, wash and hang them out to dry in the sun.  Many hikes don’t avail you the ability to wash clothes.  We took full advantage of being able to on this one.  While drying, we decided to carry light clothing for the afternoon activities – meditating, writing, exploring, relaxing… Most sunburn occurs at this stage of a hike, so sunscreen is essential. Only one set of clothing is planned for this portion of the day so washing procedures would have to also be determined else we would be pretty stinky after 17 days. But since we are our only company most of the way, it shouldn’t matter.

Sleeping (evenings):

Temperatures in the late afternoon and evening can plummet to 2-3 degrees Celsius and with no fires allowed on the trail, warm tents, sleeping bags, thermal wear and fleeced jackets are a must. As sleep time is aimed at approximately 8pm, much of the time will be spent in the tent, but toilet requirements and cooking will mean being subject to the cold.

Essentials:

Cooking, water carrying, safety equipment also need to be carried, as does a sat phone, emergency beacon, flight docs, itinerary and money need to be taken into account. Food!

Everything adds to the weight of the pack, so difficult decisions needed to be made, going smelly, carrying light etc…

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