Written by Coastrek supporters Paddy Pallin
When you sign up for Coastrek, you may think you've got ages to get organised. But very soon it will be the week before Event Day and you'll have a to-do list as long as your arm.
There's an easy way to avoid that pre-event panic, and that's making sure you're prepared with your fundraising, your training and your gear.
Paddy Pallin are the experts when it comes to hiking gear. They're sharing a list of all the pieces of hiking gear you need for Coastrek, so you're confident and ready before you set off on the trail.
Check these off your list and you're on the path to success before you've even started.
Start with the feet. They're supporting your body and doing most of the hard work. Your five-year-old runners that are sitting at the back of your closet might seem like a good option, but don’t risk it. They might be fine for a jog every now and then, but when you're trekking 30km or 60km, your feet need love, more support and grip.
Look for a shoe with a mesh upper that allows moisture to escape. You should also look for a shoe that's easy to take on and off for sandy sections. The Salomon XA Elevate is a great option. They're lightweight, supportive, and have quick laces so you won’t have to stop to tie up your shoes. Additionally, you might want to get a pair of sandals like the Teva Universals, which are super lightweight and easily tucked into your daypack.
Choosing the right socks is just as important as choosing the right shoe. While cotton socks can be good for your everyday wear, they aren’t the best for walking long distances. Cotton gets wet and stays wet, and when your skin is damp and soft, you're more susceptible to nasty blisters.
A sock made from a breathable material like wool will help to wick away moisture and avoid that wet foot feeling. Technical socks like the Icebreaker Hike+ Lite Minis are made for trekking. They have thinner ventilation panels on the top and feature thicker material on the bottom for extra cushioning. Paddy Pallin’s sock guide can help you find the perfect pair of socks, you can check it out here.
When you've got your shoes and socks sorted, you need to make sure you're prepared for blisters and hot spots. If you start to feel any rubbing, act as quickly as possible - even if that means your group has to take a break. It's better to stop straight away for a few minutes than wait and deal with the pain of a blister later. A blister kit like Adventure Medical Kits Blister Medic Kit is a great option to pop in your pack. It's got a range of different pads made from moleskin and ointments for prevention and treatment of blisters.
It's called Coastrek for a reason. There's going to be sand - and lots of it. Sand and hiking boots don't mix nicely. Sand can get into your boots, rub on your skin and cause blisters. And even if it doesn't cause blisters, it's very uncomfortable. Try to keep the sand out with some gaiters. Dirty Girl Gaiters are stretchy, lightweight and fit on most shoes easily.
You need to think about what you'll be wearing. You have a fair way to walk, so make sure you are comfy. Choosing clothes made from moisture-wicking fabrics will allow the sweat to be drawn away from your skin and this will then provide a cooling effect as the moisture evaporates. Look for materials that are odour resistant, such as wool and a range of technical fabrics. Try to avoid cotton, as it absorbs and retains a lot of moisture so when that cool breeze hits you will become cold very quickly. Icebreaker make a range of technical trekking shirts that are comfy and breathable.
As you're going to be in the sun all day, you may want to think about a long sleeve shirt or at least some sunscreen. For your lower body, stretchy is always a great choice. Look for something that moves with you and won’t ride down. There are heaps of great outdoor clothing options, so you'll be able to find what works best for you.
The next item to consider is a day pack. You need somewhere to put your necessities, accessories and snacks. Look for a day pack that has a hydration bladder because it allows you to drink regularly without having to stop and take out your bottle.
The Osprey Tempest 9 litre daypack has hip straps to help distribute weight off your shoulders, a section for a bladder, and enough room for everything else. Camelbak also has a great range of options.
Walking for hours will eventually become tiring and walking poles help take the load off your feet. Using poles could be the difference between reaching the end or having to pull out.
Black Diamond Distance FLZ women’s trekking poles are great as they're lightweight and compact.
First Aid Kit
This is a very important piece of gear. As a team, you should be carrying at least one kit between the four of you, so have a chat to your team and work out who is going to be carrying it. To share the load, you can move it between teammates’ bags at each checkpoint or the team mates that aren’t carrying the first aid kit carry something else like sunscreen, chafing balm or extra snacks.
It’s going to be windy and you don’t want those lips drying out and becoming chapped for hours. Pack in a lip balm which has sunscreen in it too for extra protection.
Headlamps are a necessity in your gear as every 60km trekker is required to carry one, and every 30km trekker is encouraged to pack one. A little lightweight head lamp such as the Black Diamond ReVolt 300 Lumen Headlamp is great as it's USB rechargeable and very bright.
LEDLenser also have some great, bright headlamps that are longlasting.
Scratch what we said before about shoes being the most important thing to consider - it’s definitely snacks. With all that trekking, you'll be working up an appetite and you need to keep those energy levels high. Snacks such as Clif bars and Gu Energy Gels are delicious and provide long-lasting energy so you don’t feel burnt out. Make sure your snacks are easy to reach so you don’t have to stop walking get them, meaning you can keep the pace while munching.
If you're walking for hours, the smallest irritation or rubbing can easily grow into a blister or chafing, especially in the salty and humid coastal air. Prevention is key. Applying a product such as Body Glide Anti-Chafe Balm to common chafe areas (between your thighs, under your boobs, bra straps, armpits) will help to prevent friction and rubbing. Also, keeping the area as dry as possible will help to reduce irritations.
This one is pretty obvious but we know it can be easily forgotten. Make a note right now to remember your sunscreen. Don’t just think someone else in your team will remember it, because chances are they are thinking the same thing. You don’t want to be dealing with any burn while you’re walking - or potentially even worse, the next day.
Got more questions about gear? Come and join us in one of our Coastrek Facebook groups, where you can connect with other Coastrekkers and ask all your questions.