Updated: Jun 3, 2021
As you know I run a variety of guided walks and adventures in Kosciusczo National Park, trying out different equipment in the Australian Alps in many different seasons.
In the summer and autumn I run lodge based day and overnight hikes and camping to the Highest Peaks in the mountains and also other locations in the park.
In the Winter my speciality is snowshoeing and snow camping adventures. I run trips varying from 3-4 days snowshoeing to the top of Mt Kosciusczo and overnight snowcamping, visiting some of the iconic survival and stockmans huts in the park.
At other times of the year you will find me guiding and training our women for adventures in and around the Northern Beaches of Sydney and surrounds as well as partnering with World Expeditions and Tasmanian Walking Co for some more extended domestic and overseas adventures.
Sharing my passion for outdoor adventures and nature is a great privilege.
I am always looking out for ways to reduce weight without limiting safety and the ability to reuse items. The constantly changing weather conditions in the mountains enable me to constantly change the variety of gear whilst maintaining safety of my groups and caring for this pristine environment.
Here are the top items I take on my multi-day alpine walks.
Top Layers - depending on the weather forecast, I remove or add clothing to my pack before the walk to suit the conditions. We can have four seasons in a day in this diverse environment so its important to do this at any time of the year.
Waterproof Breathable Outer Layer - I have found the Arc'teryx Sentinal AR Jacket as a warm and breathable outer layer that will keep you dry on the most challenging days. I have used this jacket on Snow camping, snowshoeing and Mountain Touring expeditions as well as backcountry skiing and heli skiing. For full protection I like the durable and tough Arc'teryx Womens Sentinal Lightweight pant. In the warmer weather I like the Macpac Alpine Series Traverse Perterx Jacket
Puffy Jacket - Arc'teryx Atom Jacket. Warm lightweight and windproof. This versatile jacket will take you anywhere and packs down to a small tube (less than 300gms)
Fleece jacket - I use the Macpac Womens Tui Polartec Micro Fleece 3/4 zip. In wet alpine conditions I have found that a fleece under the waterproof jacket works a lot better than down or primaloft and stays warmer and dryer longer.
So on these trips I remover the atom jacket and add a second fleece jacket.
Vest - A lightweight windproof vest adds a bit of warmth to your core whilst blocking the wind and allowing your arms to move freely. I use the Macpac Womens Accelerate Primaloft Fleece Vest. It also has large pockets which are ideal for drying gloves or socks and keeping your mobile phone warm.
Thermals - I love the feel of Merino on my skin! whilst Icebreaker are very popular, I cant go past the Macpac New Zealand merino wool thermal base layers. I use a merino t-shirt and mid weight 3/4 zip skivvy. Wool feels warm against your skin and is the perfect insulation and doesn't retain body odours as much as other fabrics. Air yours overnight to reduce washing as they will wear out with constant washing.
Bottom Layers - Again I love the Arc'teryx RHO thermal as a bottom layer. These go underneath my Arc'teryx Beta AR Pant which are perfect for all seasons as a wet weather layer. On warmer trips I replace the Beta pant with my Macpac Womens Hike Pertyex softshell pants and for those chilly campsite evenings I cant fault my Macpac Merino Blend Trackpants.
BACKPACK - this is always a personal preference and for many years I used the traditional top loading packs. These are great and if you are a fan then I would recommend the Osprey 75 or 88 litre backpacks. Alternatively the Lowe Alpine pack 75 litre will be prefect. My personal preference is the Aarn Balance Pack My pack is the Featherlite Freedom with the Sports Balance Pockets. The perfect Balance Pack for those embracing the light = fast philosophy, with the volume to carry ultralight gear for up to a week Fusing the biomechanics of comfort, balance and agility into a lightweight performance package, Featherlite Freedom has proven itself on longer trips and the world's longest trails. The most popular pack on the 3000km Te Aroroa trail in NZ.
Sleeping Mats - For the lightest and warmest sleeping mat around you cant go past the Term-a -rest NeoAir XTherm Vapour mat. (spleean.com.au) with an R warmth rating of 6.9 and 6.4cm of thickness for comfort. Its lightweight (430gm) and fits. into a bag the size of a 1litre Nalgene bottle. in winter on snow I also use a lightweight Them-a -rest Z Lite SOL foam underlay which can be used in the camp kitchen and as an insulated seat on the snow. In the summer I use a Them-a-rest Neoair uberlight mat or the Sea to Summit comfortlite insulated mat. ( With 5cm depth and insulation to keep you comfy in the most challenging conditions. It weighs in at 450gms so comparable to the Them-a-rest product.
Tents - Never get caught out in an alpine area above the treeline in bad weather in a 3 season tent that cost less than $400! Good quality 4 season tents are designed to handle the winds better and are more waterproof and warmer. A good quality tent and gear will potentially save your life. For a roomy lightweight 2 person 4 season tent, I love the Mont Dragonfly at 2.65kg. i always take an emergency tent on day trips away from base camp and this one I use the Black Diamond mega light in conjunction with trekking poles as the centre pole. A lightweight tyvek groundsheet doubles as a lightweight waterproof and breathable bivvy bag/sleeping bag booster on colder nights.
Stove - you cant go past the Jetboil Flash with 1litre capacity with its insulated pre fitted pot. Less than 2min boiling time will have you melting snow and having that cuppa in no time. An alternate is the MSR Reactor 1.7l insulated pot (used for larger groups) both of these use the Jetboil fuel cell 230gm canisters. One canister will last a person up to 4 days (summer) and 3 days (winter) these canisters can be safely recycled and I use a Jetboil crunchit to pierce the empty canister so as to recycle them.
Water bottles - i use Nalgene water bottle over bladders as they dont leak or freeze and can take boiling water The wide mouthed 1 litre is a favourite and the 500ml ideal for hot drinks or your electrolyte. You can use them as a hot water bottle inside your sleeping bags; by covering them with socks you get pre-warmed bed socks for the night. The socks also prevent scalding and can help dry damp socks or gloves. To treat the water we use puritabs or Aquatabs or just run a short rolling boil if we want hot water or have enough fuel.
Poo Tube - think of the environment and take out all solids in a Poo Tube. O suggest recycled 1litre scree lid plastic containers for 1-2.nights with a plastic bag liner and a two lites for 3-5 nights. Commercial groups carry out their solids with other environmentally interested hikers following suit. The council in Jindabyne allows the solid wastes to be deposited with household rubbish like nappies are. I use greaseproof paper sheets on the ground to squat over then place toilet paper on before placing the bundle inside your plastic lined container. Tips include storing containers in the shade in warmer weather, placing rocks or snow in the corners of paper in windy weather, using hand sanitiser after use. Use a secondary plastic bag on the outside of your container so it can go in your pack. And steralise and reuse the plastic containers after every use.
For info on BU Adventures Summer and Winter guided Alpine walks visit: buadventures.com.au