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.
We'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 a really long way, 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. Any trail running shoe is a great option. They're lightweight, supportive, and have quick laces so you won’t have to stop to tie up your shoes.
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 from Icebreaker are made for trekking. They have thinner ventilation panels on the top and feature thicker material on the bottom for extra cushioning.
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.
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. Groovy Gaitors 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.
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.
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.
Camelbak has a great range of options, and if you're a registered Coastrekker, you can access 20% off in your Goodie Bag! We love backpacks with hip straps to help distribute weight off your shoulders, a section for a bladder, and enough room for everything else.
Trekking, walking or hiking poles - whatever you call them, we recommend getting yourself a pair and testing them out in training. Walking for hours will eventually become tiring and hiking poles help take the load off your feet and joints. Using poles could be the difference between reaching the end or having to pull out.
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.
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.
Headtorches are an essential piece of equipment for Coastrek. Even if you’re not planning to hike at night, you need a head torch. It can get dark fast in the bush, and if you get lost or just distracted enjoying the sunset somewhere, you may need a torch to get home. We’ve got a few fave headtorch brands. Led Lenser, Petzl and Black Diamond are popular, high-quality options.
When it comes to head torches, you really do pay for what you get, so we recommend getting a good one that will last a while and give you strong, consistent light when you need it most.
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. 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.
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.