It should not be surprising that Jack and Jude love bush walking and trekking as much as we love sailing the seas. From our earliest times together we would “get lost” in the woods and mountains. In Africa, we climbed Mount Kenya and took many an extended walk in the wonderfully diverse countryside of South Africa. And when our sons were babies, we’d load them up in rucksacks and take them on overnight jaunts in some of the open forests of NSW.
But it was when we took Banyandah out the water in 1989 that we turned to wilderness walking as a way of getting our Nature fix and practise our navigational skills. The wet forests cladding the great dividing range of northern NSW were quite a challenging area to learn wild walking, off track for days, even weeks. Just the two of us found the same serenity, tranquillity, and contentment found upon the open sea.
Mann River – Gibraltar Range NP – Washpool NP
2002 Guy Fawkes National Park – OFFTRACK 5 Days in fairly open riverbank walking to Sara River
2003 Birthday walk to Demons Fault – OFFTRACK – Washpool NP from Boundary Creek Campground
2003 Mann River and Barool River – OFFTRACK – 7 day trek from same as above Raspberry Lookout.
2005 Expedition to Cherry Tree Creek – OFFTRACK – walk to an abandoned gold mine
2009 When a Notion Becomes an Obsession – PART OFFTRACK 6 day walk Boundary Campground to Pheasant Creek
2010 When a notion turns forty-two – OFFTRACK 8 Day Trek back to the Cherry Tree Gold mine
2012 Boot Camp – OFFTRACK 8 day walk from Gibraltar NP to escarpment.
2012 Duffer Falls, Haystacks, Duffer Creek – Part OFFTRACK 5 day walk from Boundary Creek Campground, NSW
2012 The Valley of Tranquility – OFFTRACK – 5 Days Cooradooral Valley, Gibraltar NP from Boundary Creek Campground
2014 Four days of Dhyana – OFFTRACK – near Jackadgery, NSW – Pleasant camp – access to Mann River
This is by no means a comprehensive guide to gear – just a few notes on our more successful equipment to use as a guide.
Tents: Being two of us we prefer a double entry – double vestibule, and because we’re often off-track in the thick stuff we prefer a tent with a stout tube floor, which, alas, means carrying a bit more weight. The two tents we’ve used with great success are:
1/ Macpac Celeste: weight 3.2 kg. Great floor, everything stout and lasting. (discontinued) We’ve two of these, each lasting 10 years.
2/ MSR Elexir 2: weight 2.8 kg. Separate footprint, same layout, slightly roomier, more headroom, lighter materials. We have two – the fly seam seal on one just let go, replaced on warranty.
Backpacks: We have used mostly Macpac bags, which are a bit heavy, but stand-up to the rugged territory we trek.
1/ Macpac Torre 80 litre was Jack’s main bag for yonks – easily carries 20 kg of gear, upwards of twice that – it weighs 3 kgs -The harness has plastic sliders which on older ones can perish, but easily replaced with stout Velcro.
2/ Macpac Canyon 60 is Jude’s favorite – wider, squatter, and easier to access her larder.
3/ Osprey Volt 60 is Jack’s latest – lighter and smaller – A bit too small for multi-day treks.
Sleeping Bags: We both use down bags rated below zero, usually – 7C.
In sub-zero camping, Jack now wears merino long johns and top – magic when getting up middle of night 🙂
Mont 700 is a good bag, but there are many – just look for high loft and about 700 grams of fill.