Coffs Hikers has insurance through Bushwalking Australia, but you need to arrange your own Ambulance Cover.
Please complete the Emergency Medical Information form and store it with your first aid kit. Consider updating the Medical Id on your smartphone. Medical Id can be accessed by first responders in an emergency without needing to unlock your phone.
The Bushwalking Manual has good information on first aid, but there is no substitute for first aid training! Smartphone apps like the Australian Red Cross first aid app and the Australian Bites and Stings app are helpful reminders in the field.
Each walker should be self reliant and bring their own first aid kit. Your kit is personal to you, and the type of walking you do. These are some items you might consider for inclusion in your first aid and survival kit, with a few extra things that are useful for repairs,
- Dressings, bandaids, antiseptic, tape.
- Bandages: compression (snake), crepe, triangular.
- Feet: blister treatment, tape, hikers wool, pawpaw ointment.
- Medications: pain relief, anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine, personal medications.
- Tick treatment (freeze don’t squeeze, dab don’t jab).
- Tweezers, splinter probes, small scissors or pen knife, safety pins.
- Hand sanitiser, disposable gloves.
- Electrolytes, water purification tablets or device.
- Space blanket, pencil, notebook, whistle, lighter or matches.
- Duct tape, cable ties, hair tie, shoelace, spare batteries for your head torch.
Pack it all in a dry sack for protection, and stash it in an easily accessible place in your pack.
A personal locator beacon or device such as a Garmin InReach is also useful.
For an ordinary day walk you will need suitable closed shoes, comfortable walking clothes, a daypack with water (at least 1-2 litres, and more on hot days), lunch and snacks, sun protection, a warm layer and raingear. Optional extras include walking poles and scrub gloves (gardening gloves).
The Bushwalking Manual has great information to help you choose good bushwalking clothing, footwear, stoves, packs, sleeping bags, tents, walking poles and more.
Lotsafreshair has a good videos on what to pack, and how to pack. If you struggle to remember everything that should go in your bag, Australian Hiker has a good checklist – and wryly notes the most important thing to pack is a sense of humour! Don’t understand why your bag is so heavy and want to get your packing weight down? Try an app such as LighterPack.
For overnight walks, a number of commercial suppliers offer light weight dehydrated or freeze dried food in a bag, including Backcountry, Strive, Campers Pantry. Check the portion size, because you will need to carry out whatever you can’t eat. But special hiking food is not necessary – walk through your supermarket and see what you can find there too. Once again, the Bushwalking Manual has lots of suggestions for food on a hike.
Maybe you like to keep it simple and just eat the same thing each day, but if you want to be bold and experiment, here are some recipes and resources
- Trail Recipes, an app, menu planner and online course on dehydrating
- a free Australian Outdoor Ed Cookbook with lots of tips and recipes
- Lotsafreshair Easy Hiking Food for Overnight Hikes, has a menu with quick supermarket options, and a video of basic hiking food. Lotsafreshair also includes recipes on her site (dehydrated dips, tiramisu) and 8 Tips to Using a Dehydrator to make tasty hiking food
- Extreme Gourmet, a book with great recipes and dehydrator hints
- Food to Go, an eBook with menu ideas and recipes
You will also need a small stove, cup, bowl, and cutlery (try a long spoon and a small sharp knife).