Lightweight Hiking Tips

Hoadley Hide is a four day hiking event with competitive activities held each Easter in Victoria. It is important that you take the correct gear so you are adequately prepared for the challenges of the terrain and weather conditions. When preparing for a hike, every gram of unnecessary weight must be eliminated – each piece of equipment and food has to be carried on your back. The decision of what is essential to take and what can be left behind is critical to ensure that you have a comfortable, enjoyable and healthy hike.

Ground Rules

  • No thongs
  • Keep to the tracks where possible and follow your patrol leader – keep together, no stragglers
  • Take out your own rubbish, do not litter the bush; you take it in – you take it out.
  • Always carry a second change of clothes at the car for your journey home (this can be your Uniform stored at our Uniform Bank at check-in)
  • Bury toilet waste and tell your team leader if you need a nature stop – you may get left behind!
  • Place your sleeping bag in a plastic bag before packing it in your rucksack – there’s nothing worse than a wet, soppy sleeping bag
  • Use a large thick, plastic garbage bag to line the inside of your rucksack and then place all your clothes in the bag to prevent them from getting wet
  • Packs should ideally be 10 – 17 Kg (total weight)

Sleeping Bag

This can be the most expensive item to purchase. Remember that you are not sleeping in a caravan or scout hall which most of the lower price bags are designed for. An extra blanket takes up a lot of room and is extra weight for you to carry. Sleep in thermals or tracksuit pants. Down mix or synthetic bags seem to be the most popular. Check the temperature rating of the bag for the conditions that you expect to encounter. Remember, there’s nothing worst than being cold at night in the great outdoors! Speak to your Leaders if you need more advice in selecting a sleeping bag.

Sleeping Mat

Sleeping mats provide extra insulation between you and the ground to help keep you warm while you sleep. The prices and variety vary enormously. A closed cell, high density foam type is the better of the cheaper ones, or you can go with a more expensive self-inflating style for extra comfort. Don’t bring a lilo – it’s heavy and won’t insulate you nearly as well!

Ground Sheet

Placing a ground sheet underneath your tent floor will add an extra layer of protection from dampness and coldness. This is up to the individual to consider for style and price range when purchasing. Remember that if it’s a two person tent, you will have to carry it for half of the time. Consider the weatherproof design, ease of putting it up and the weight before you buy.

Cooking Things

Trangia style stoves are ideal as all your stove and cooking gear is in one packaged set. A strong plastic mug for hot drinks is best as enamel is heavy and aluminium can burn the lips. Don’t forget your knife, fork and spoon and also a pot scrubber. Leave your cast iron dixie at home !

Jet Boil or Furno Style stoves are great, but make sure the fuel will last all weekend and you factor in the size of the pots and how much food you need to cook in them.

First Aid Kit

A small personal one should be carried by each person. Make up your own, it’s cheaper. Include plaster strips to treat any blisters, or even sports tape. If you are taking any mediation, remember to take it with you and make sure it’s listed on your Operoo profile or PIR form.

Washing Kit

It is necessary to keep clean, so take along a small piece of soap, a toothbrush, toothpaste, comb – all contained in a plastic bag with a washcloth.
Showers will not be available to participants so don’t bother bringing shampoo…


A headtorch is best, you will need to see on your night activity.
Lendlenser and Black diamond are good brands for general camping torches. Energiser is okay if you are looking for a budget option.
Remember to bring spare batteries or a battery bank if it’s rechargeable.


Ensure that they are comfortable and sturdy enough to make the distance – don’t take footwear that is too small, wearing out or liable to let in water. In summer and spring, good solid sneakers should be OK, but in cold or wet weather, comfortable, waterproof hike boots are a must. Never wear new shoes or hike boots without first wearing them around at home to allow them to mould to the shape of your feet and to prevent blisters. Please don’t wear steel cap work boots, they are very heavy and your legs will feel like they are falling off by the end of the weekend!!


Depending on the time of the year, the hike terrain and the weather forecast – this will govern what you wear. The weather at Easter can be a mixed bag, so you must be prepared for both hot, cold, wet and dry weather conditions and have appropriate clothing. If cooler conditions are expected, an extra fleece jumper or down jacket is needed. A lightweight waterproof jacket is a must. In mountain areas, days can be warm and nights extremely cold; two thin woollen or wool mix jumpers are better than one thick one. A woollen flannelette shirt can be used instead of a jumper. Wool absorbs perspiration and remains warm even when wet. Windcheaters are not recommended unless you have a woollen jumper.

Similarly, jeans allow body heat to escape, especially when they are wet and are no good for hiking in wet or cold conditions; wear long pants that will be quicker to dry, eg. tracksuit pants, cargo pants, etc.

Two pairs of socks should be worn, a thinner pair on the inside and a thicker pair (woollen or “Explorer” socks) on the outside. Hike in shorts, especially when it’s raining, and change into long pants when you make camp. Designer clothes for evening wear are out! Keep the weight of your spare clothes to an absolute minimum.

Avoid Cotton, when it is wet it stays wet and you will get cold. scouting shirts are a great option as they are lightweight, dry fast and are very fashionable.

Other Essentials

Remember to take at least three compasses for your team and a waterproof plastic cover for your map.  Each member of the team should also be carrying 2 x 5m lashing ropes each, as several stunts may require you to use ropes and will expect you to have your own.

Your Sample Packing List

Measure the weight of all items that you intend to take and keep them as light as possible.

Refer to Equipment List for a full equipment list


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