My Bibbulmun Track Journey

My Solo Journey – Post #3 – The List

by | Feb 24, 2018 | 36 comments

 

Months until I start walking: 8

Amount saved: $0

Things I have bought so far:

  • 2-man hiking tent: $150

 

Since I have made the decision that I am definitely going to be walking the entire 1000 km Bibbulmun Track this year (only something like broken bones will stop me from achieving this!), I have realised just how expensive it is to set yourself up for a hike like this. Good quality hiking gear is bloody expensive!!! BUT I know that this is not a fad I am going through and that it is worth spending a lot of money on good quality key items rather than do it cheaply and it affecting how much I enjoy the experience.

A little bit about me. I am a list girl. If it is not written down, it is unlikely it will get done. I have the worst memory and LOVE to be organised, not a good combination! So that is why lists are my best friend and literally help me sleep at night. I wasn’t even sure where to start with writing my list of gear needed for my Bibbulmun Track hike, so I started googling and reading HEAPS of reviews. There is so much information out there that it is quite overwhelming really, and everyone has a different opinion.

Me at work on a Gold MIne near Wiluna, in the Goldfields of Western Australia. I love my job as an enviro & can save as much money as possible for my 8 week hike and trip to America in May

I decided that the first thing I wanted to buy was a hiking tent. When I told my mum last night that I bought a tent she reacted with ‘but I bought you a really good tent for Christmas?!’. Yes mum, you did buy me a really good tent, but it weighs 14kg and is 1.1 m long! Haha. I don’t think that will fit in my pack (it is a 4 man Coleman ‘Instantup’ Tent). All hiking gear is so specialized and the lighter the better and more expensive. I bought what would be considered a cheap 2-man tent which only cost me $150. Some of the best 2-man tents can cost up to $700!! I am very happy with my purchase considering how light it is (only 1.3kg). I will put all the info with the photo. Researching hiking gear has become a bit of an obsession for me. I was up till 11pm the night I bought the tent, which might not sound too late for normal people but it is for me when I work on site and have to get up at 4.45am the next morning (ohh the joys of FIFO).

This is the tent I bought. I got it from aliexpres.com 2-person, free standing, 4 season, weighs 1.3kg and I paid $119US which ended up being $140 AU. Pretty good I think! Link here for anyone interested

Since I have started researching I have decided that the big ticket items that are worth forking out for are:

  • A good pack (I really want an Osprey pack, I have been told these are the best). This will set me back around $300.
  • A good sleeping bag (I want one that is a ‘quilt’ style not ‘mummy’ style and rated to at least -10 degrees, yes I know that seems crazy but I get freezing even in summer).
  • A good sleeping mat (having a good night sleep is important to me, I am a very fussy sleeper and grumpy when I am tired, I am hoping this experience will help me be a better sleeper).

Sooo many packs to choose from! This is at Paddy Pallin a really good hiking store in Perth. I got properly fitted which is really important. I want to get an Osprey pack, I am thinking 60 to 70 L.. hmmm

 

Just to give a little idea of the range of sleeping mats. It is a little overwhelming when there is so much choice. There are hundreds of different types! I stole this image from google, I don’t own all these mats lol – I wish!

This is the exact sleeping bag I want. It is from Enlightened Equipment in America. The price might seem crazy but I get really cold and I know if I buy a really good one I will keep it forever and use it heaps. I really want a ‘quilt’ style not ‘mummy style’ so that I can open it out like a blanket. Man I wish I wasn’t such a fussy sleeper!! Link here for anyone interested..

Other items that won’t be cheap, but I won’t be buying tip of the range:

  • Lightweight stove
  • A good headlight
  • Lightweight power pack to charge my phone

Things I already have (thank god):

  • Hiking shoes: I have Solomon shoes, they are not boots which I have been advised I should definitely get to support my ankles. I have decided to stick with my shoes, they are really comfy, good quality, and honestly I can’t justify or afford to buy another pair of boots when I already have these ones.
  • Assorted hiking clothing (all from Katmandu): I have some really fashionable (not!! haha) hiking pants which have a zipper and can also be shorts. A couple of marino wool long sleeve shirts, a couple of short sleeve shirts, 2x pairs of good socks.
  • Some of the maps and guidebooks for the Bibbulmun Track (there are 8 of each and they cost $11.95 a piece which adds up).

I have been wearing my Solomon hiking shoes as much as I can to wear them in. Probably the #1 tip I have been given so far. Really fashionable hey?!

There are heaps of other things on my list, most of them in my head right now. One of the websites that has helped me so much is wildwomenhikes.com, so much practical info about what to pack and general tips for overnight or multi-day hikes.

Something that is pretty cool is that I pass through 9 towns from Kalamunda to Albany along the track, and in each of these towns I will head to the post office and pick up my prepacked, pre-posted boxes which will contain dehydrated meals and snacks for the next leg of the journey (until I get to the next post office) and also things like mini shampoo and conditioner so I can wash my hair (I know this will be like absolute heaven for me, I am a bit of a clean freak!). I will plan all my rest days in towns so I can do my washing and maybe even sleep in a real bed…

My 5-week trip to America and Belize (a tiny country next to Mexico) is not too far away so I thought I could buy lots of things while I am there, they have a much bigger range and it’s a lot cheaper to buy hiking gear in the US. I even specifically booked the hostel I am staying at in Venice Beach because it is walking distance to REI which is a major outdoor store chain over there. Oh how my priorities have changed over the years, and even just in the last month!

It has been so good to have this goal to work towards and give me something to aim for, plan for and look forward to. Something is changing within me, and it is definitely for the better. Don’t get me wrong, I still have my little freak outs and get overly emotional or overthink silly things, but I am feeling a lot happier in general and more at ease with myself. I think that this whole experience will be a life changing one for me, I can feel it already. There is such a great community of people out there that have done similar hikes or want to do something like this, it is really inspiring reading about other peoples’ journeys and taking on any advice I have been given so far.  I was so caught up in my own little world I didn’t realise just how many awesome people are out there and adventures to be had that are all so achievable if you put your mind to it.

Once I have the basic gear I can’t wait to start testing it all out and going on little hikes. One of the training hikes I want to do is the Cape to Cape track in the south-west of Western Australia. It is 135kms and takes up to 6 days but I will probably just do a little section to start. Hopefully my parents can do it with me, they love walking (but maybe not sleeping in a tent, I will look into accommodation for them along the track, might help with convincing my mum!).

I have a few questions for anyone reading this that has more experience than me, please let know what you think in the comments:

  • Should I get myself some hiking poles?? Do they really help??
  • What is something you learnt after doing your first overnight hike that you wish you knew before??
  • Should I take my kindle, or try and go a couple of months without it (to really live in the moment)??

I hope you enjoy my journey so far and thanks for reading. I am loving this whole process ?

Lauren

I wanted to add this photo because I love it. I spent a couple of days camping at Lane Poole Reserve near Dwellingup last week. It was so beautiful. Me having my ‘shower’ for the day

36 Comments

  1. Olivia

    Hiking Poles are a necessity! They look ridiculous but help a lot on the hills and inclines, even the declines.
    Bring your kindle, gives you some down time and something to keep you busy if you are stuck awake 🙂

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      Thanks Olivia ! I am thinking maybe poles will be a big help, but another thing to buy ?

      Reply
      • Olivia

        It really is a one off purchase though ! I bought all my hiking stuff about six months ago and really do use it every weekend…
        if you wanted to follow my cape to cape training/trip I have an instagram @hikingforhealthy where i post a lot of my prep on there 🙂

        Reply
        • Lauren Wallman

          Awesome thanks Olivia I will follow you for sure 🙂

          Reply
  2. Kim Wallman

    Great blog, if that’s what it was, it will be interesting to see what feedback you get. Poles probably not necessary but they are good for the defending yourself against bears.
    You will need a good hat but wouldn’t worry about bringing binoculars.
    What about a money belt. Don’t forget your sunglasses.

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      Haha dad you make me laugh!! Sooooo glad we don’t have bears in Australia!! 🙂 ox

      Reply
  3. Julie

    Kindle is good to have

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      Seems to be the consensus 🙂

      Reply
  4. Gordo

    1. Poles not worth the bother
    2. A thicker sleeping mat.
    3. Small radio is better. SW/AM.

    Reply
  5. Pauline

    Poles are just about essential if you have a pack on. They steady you if you become unbalanced, so easy to trip when you get tired. Also good for clearing cobwebs that appear overnight. You can use grass tree spears if you don’t want to spend more cash, they are smooth and light weight, I used them for years.
    Good luck with your trip.

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      Haha awesome idea! Or find a good stick ?

      Reply
  6. Sam

    REI store in the US is much cheaper – I have been to the Santa Monica store and it is huge! As for keeping clean, I can recommend using a ‘Scrubba bag’ and soap berries to clean clothing on the go and subsequently pack less. 70L seems so big?!

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      Thanks Sam! I am so excited to check out REI 🙂 yep I know the scrubba bags you speak of I had one on my trip around Australia. Yeah I am thinking 70L might be too big!

      Reply
  7. Steven bell

    Good luck Lauren.. what an adventure.. hope all goes well.will be looking forward to seeing future posts

    Reply
  8. Simon

    A big yes to hiking poles. I was against them when I started my 1046km walk but took a pair on the advice of others. Took them out halfway through the first day and never put them away again

    Reply
  9. Joy

    I bought really good lightweight fold up hiking poles, Australian made, the brand is Helionox They fold up to very tiny and are super lightweight. Look them up.

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      Thanks Joy!!

      Reply
  10. Jason

    You do a good job girl at blogging this, you should be proud of yourself. Can’t wait to set off on my trip, will be walking this track too.

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      Aw thanks Jason that made me smile ☺️

      Reply
  11. Chris

    Have a look at an Aarn Balance Pack, something a little different but I found it feels lighter than a normal pack and it assists your posture as well. https://www.aarnpacks.com
    My first serious hike was the overland track in Tassie which I did the the Balance pack and couldn’t think of hiking with anything else again, having previously hiked shorter hikes with a conventional pack.

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      Thanks for the tip chris!!

      Reply
  12. Terry Seymour

    Hi Lauren, I have over four legs completed the track in 09, 10.
    Being warm is a must, you are taking your phone so no need for your kindle. Down load Book Bub supported via Amazon Australia.
    I wore my quality Mack work boots you need ankle support no if but or maybe’s I didn’t get to 70 by taking short cuts. ,make sure you are off the track before night fall and no walking at night even with a full moon.
    On the subject of walking poles one good stout stick leaves one hand free.
    Enjoy your walk and looking forward to see your trip.
    Regards Terry

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      Thanks terry!! You are always full of good advice

      Reply
  13. Lisa

    My hubby loves the Helinox ‘chair zero’ 500grams of seating luxury after a long days hike ?

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      Having a chair would be so awesome, I have been told a ‘sitting matt’ is also great and takes up hardly any room, basically just a square piece of rubber but very useful

      Reply
  14. Lari

    Defo hiking poles. No 3 on the list after shoes and pack. Defo Kindle. Worth the weight and fab for days you get in early and to chill at night especially when by yourself. I also take my iPod (a nano so super light) and earplugs. Fab to over power snorers!

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      Sweet thanks Lari 🙂 I am thinking either hiking poles or find some good sticks haha. And my phone has all my music so that is a win 🙂

      Reply
  15. Rochelle

    Yes to poles and a blister kit.

    Keep checking your feet for red hot spots (pre-blister) and cover them up.

    Google ‘how to protect your feet from blisters?’ There is a heap of info on the Oxfam trail walker website.

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      Thanks Rochelle, I have heard (and read) that blisters can really ruin your walk so take the slightest feeling very seriously

      Reply
  16. Lee

    Hi Lauren, have just returned from a hike in NZ and they have this stuff over there called foot fluff … it’s wool that you stick in your socks anywhere you feel rubbing. The cushioning and lanolin in it stops the formation of blisters. Winds it’s way into your socks so it doesn’t move. Haven’t seen it here but I’m sure it exists somewhere. Weighs nothing and isn’t expensive. Loving your posts!!

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      Thanks so much Lee! I will google it and see if I can get it online 🙂

      Reply
  17. Rosie

    Hi Lauren,

    Love your blog – it is AWESOME and you are inspiring 🙂 I left a message on your first Blog tonight – first chance that I have had to read them all. You are a very good writer!!

    Exciting times ahead for you. You are going to love America. I look forward to following your adventures.

    Keep safe and ENJOY xoxoxox

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      Yes I read your message on my first Bibbulmun Track post, THANK YOU so much for your kind words 🙂 I am going on my first ever solo overnight hike in just a few days so I will be doing a full write up of it and make some videos 🙂 Lauren ox

      Reply
  18. Kim

    Lauren – as an alternative to a battery bank for your phone, have a look at the Anker PowerPort 21W, it is a lightweight solar charger, and the Anker PowerCore+ 26800 can charge your phone for upto 10 days, with out recharging.

    Reply
    • Lauren Wallman

      Ooo sounds interesting, but I assume you need to have a lot of sun for this to work??

      Reply

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