By Kokoda Gear

Do Hiking Backpacks Count as Carry On? Flying Tips For Hikers

Are you prepping for a hike through the bush, a mountain trek, or a backpacking trip far away? You’re probably packing and unpacking your bag, trying to figure out the best way to fit all your gear into the hiking backpacks you’re considering bringing.

Hiking Backpacks on a Plane?

What happens if you’re travelling by plane? Can you take your gear with you, and what’s the best way to transport it to keep things safe?

It’s completely possible to fly to your destination when backpacking, but there are a few considerations to keep in mind. Here are some air travel-friendly hiking tips to help you on your next international excursion.

waterproof hiking backpacks

Research Your Remote Destination Early

The very first thing you should do before heading out on any hiking trip, no matter how far away, is some thorough research on your destination.

Take a good look at the factors that might influence the gear you bring. What kind of landscape will you be trekking through? Which hiking backpacks will you need? If it’s hot, dry, and sunny, long sleeves and breathable material are a must. If it’s humid and tropical, make sure you pack that mosquito netting.

Also, make sure you’re familiar with the landscape you’ll be hiking through. Will you be walking or climbing across rough terrain? Will you spend a lot of time in or along the water?

The answers to these questions will tell you not only what to pack, but also how to train your body to handle the trip.

Pack Only the Essentials

Once you have a good idea of the types of clothing and gear you’ll need on your trip, it’s time to whittle your packing list down to the essentials.

Because space matters so much in air travel, every item you bring should have a specific purpose. Try to choose things that are collapsible to make space in your hiking backpacks and ensure they are lightweight and multi-functional. Don’t bring the outfits you might wear for a night on the town or fancy shoes you can’t wear on the trail.

Plan for the Culture, Not Just the Weather

One final caveat: if you’re flying to a destination that’s conservative or holds different religious beliefs, make sure the clothing you pack is respectful of their culture. You can do this without taking up too much extra space in your bag by choosing multi-use items.

For example, zip-off shorts can be worn on the trail and converted into full-length pants when you reach the town. A cheap pashmina scarf can serve as a head covering, shade from the sun, and an impromptu rucksack.

Take Note of the Available Resources

The final thing to research is the availability of sporting goods shops at your destination. Even if you forget something at home, you might be able to buy it once you arrive (though don’t leave hiking backpacks behind, these can be pricey to replace!)

Mark the location of outdoors shops on your phone or map so you can find them after you land. The locals who work there could also be a great resource to answer questions you have about the area.

Protect Your Gear: Carry it with You

A good rule of thumb when flying is this: if you don’t want to lose it, carry it with you.

Lost luggage and confiscations are a fact of life for many unlucky travelers. Even though airline workers try their best to make sure your bags end up at the right destination, accidents do happen and it would be a nightmare to lose hiking backpacks and other equipment. If your suitcase does get lost in transit, unless it’s labelled very clearly, there’s a good chance you’ll never see it again.

That’s why it’s best to keep all your essential gear packed in a carry-on. Choosing one of the smaller hiking backpacks with a small, lightweight internal frame gives you the best chance of being able to take it on the plane with you.

Carry on backpack

Buy this bag

Wear Your Bulky Clothes on the Plane

It’s easy to run out of space in your backpack if you’re packing for a long hiking trip to a remote destination. The bulkiest thing you’re likely to pack is your clothing.

If you can, try to wear your bulkiest clothing to the airport, layering if possible. That saves you from trying to stuff your heavy boots and jackets into the bag, and you can always take them off during your flight.

Use a Cheap Duffel Bag as Cover

If you want to protect your backpack from rips and tears during the flight, it’s best to stick it inside a cheap duffel bag for protection. This also eliminates the risk of getting the straps stuck in conveyor belts if you end up having to check your backpack.

Check Carry-On Requirements Ahead of Time

There’s nothing worse than arriving at the airport only to be told your carry-on bag is too large and has to be checked. You’ll have to pay the baggage fee, risk getting separated from your luggage, and possibly even have to pay an extra “gate check” fee on top of it.

Don’t let yourself be blindsided by carry-on requirements. The allowed bag size differs from airline to airline, so make sure you check up on them ahead of time.

International flights may have different regulations between your stops, so be thorough and pack your bag according to the smallest requirements on your trip. Also, pay close attention to units of measurement when you’re seeing if your bag will fit. If you’re flying out of the states, you’ll have to convert your measurements from standard to metric.

Bring a Personal Item

Some airlines will also let you bring a “personal item” on the plane in addition to your carry on. It’s best to choose a small, light bag for this that can be packed away once you arrive to maximize space.

Keep everything you’ll need to access during the flight in your “personal item” bag. This could include your passport, phone and charger, in-flight snacks, and money. And if there’s anything that won’t quite fit in your carry-on bag, you can always try to fit it into your personal item.

Pack Security-Friendly Gear

Many of the items that hikers use are too dangerous to take on a plane. Something you wouldn’t think twice about taking on a car trip could get confiscated as you pass through security.

If you want to make your baggage inspection go smoothly, check out the list of allowed and prohibited items for carry-on luggage ahead of time. Follow these security-conscious tips to make your packing easier.

Bring Solid Toiletries

Most countries have regulations in place that limit the number and size of liquids you can fly with.

To stay compliant, leave the liquid hand soap and aerosol bug spray at home. When you’re packing for a flight, solid toiletries are the way to go. Some of the liquid items you can replace with solids include:

  • Shampoo
  • Hand soap
  • Insect Repellent
  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste and mouthwash
  • Lotion
  • Sunscreen

As an added bonus, these tend to weigh less than their liquid versions. When you’re backpacking, every ounce matters!

Leave Knives and Fuel Behind

Machetes, hunting knives, axes, and propane are a definite “no” for carry-on luggage. Even small pocket knives, fingernail clippers with files, and multitools might be confiscated.

When in doubt, leave it behind. You might be able to get away with bringing a small multitool that doesn’t have a knife blade, but be prepared to give it up at the discretion of your security agent.

Be Careful with Stoves and Trekking Poles

Portable stoves and hiking or walking poles aren’t expressly prohibited. Even so, security agents have the right to take away anything they feel could be used as a weapon.

Pointed trekking poles and stoves with propane residue may not be allowed. Any other sharp metallic objects, like tent stakes, are also suspect. You might have to buy items like these after you land.

trekking pole benefits

What to Do with the Stuff You Can’t Carry On

If you’re planning an especially long trip or travelling through harsh terrain, you may not be able to fit all of your luggage in a carry-on. If that’s the case, you still have a few options to ensure you’re prepared upon arrival.

First, you can always check your luggage with the airline. If you go this route, make sure your bag is clearly labelled with your contact information, both on the outside and inside.

If you’re bringing something along that’s too large to take on the plane, or if you won’t have a way to transport it through the airport, you may be able to ship it ahead. Some countries will hold an item for you at the postal office until you arrive to pick it up.

But if it looks like you won’t be able to send your items ahead or bring them along, you’ll probably have to buy them there. Or, if you’re staying at a hostel or campground, you can ask your neighbours if they’d be willing to leave their extra supplies behind for you to use.

recommended hiking pole

Follow These Plane-Friendly Hiking Tips for Worry-Free Air Travel

Are you ready to head out on your next international backpacking adventure? Before you get on the plane, follow these gear-protecting steps to make sure you’re prepared upon arrival.

Looking for more great hiking tips? Check out our list of the top dos and don’ts of hiking in Australia.

red hiking backpack
By Kokoda Gear

Ute Tents and SUV Tents for Outdoor Camping in Australia

Australians love camping, outdoors and utes. Ute tents are the future of camping. Increasingly Aussies find that they can camp without having to sleep unprotected on the uncomfortable and sometimes hazardous ground, with SUV, rooftop, truck and ute tents that allow them to turn their vehicles into comfortable and protected sleeping space.

Ute Tents for Camping

Invented in Canada in 1990 by Napier Enterprises founder Roman Napieraj, the Truck tent is designed to be set up n the bed of a Ute (pickup truck), providing the experience of outdoors camping with the added protection and comfort of sleeping off the ground as well as being better equipped to keep campers warm and dry in wet weather.

Setup is easy and generally only takes a few minutes to hook or strap onto several points on the ute, truck tents being designed to attach to the bed of the ute which should have drop or lift gates, some models being designed for specific vehicles. Tents can be used with short or long bed vehicles and those designed to hold a camper top.

Most truck tents comfortably sleep two to three people, the size will also depend on the make and model of the ute vehicle. Many campers use a mattress for added comfort and some are specifically made for sleeping in ute beds.

Napier, Offroading Gear and Rightline Gear are popular makes of Truck tents, with the Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent being noted for high quality but somewhat expensive.

Drawbacks of a truck tent are the limitation of the size of the ute body and campsites being restricted to where the vehicle can access, though having a tent in the back of the ute can mean less time spent in looking for a suitable campsite.

Napier Backroadz Truck Ute Tents

Napier Backroadz ute tent
  • Napier offers the only truck tent on the market with a full floor, keeping you clean from your truck and dry from the elements
  • Designed to fit most pick-up trucks  even trucks equipped with a toolbox or bed liner
  • Full rain fly provides ultimate weather protection
  • Color-coded pole and sleeve assembly, makes setup a breeze
  • Large interior area with over 5.6 of headroom

Get Yours Today

Off Roading Gear Truck Bed Ute Tents, 6.5′ Box Length (Without Front Awning)

  • FITS NEARLY ANY 6.5’ BED TRUCK – This Granville II truck tent fits nearly any short-bed pickup truck with a 6.5’ box and comfortably sleeps 2 adults.
  • INTEGRATED FLOOR – Features an integrated waterproof floor to keep you dry and clean when resting soundly in your truck
  • THREE PRIVACY WINDOWS WITH BUG-BE-GONE MESH WINDOWS– Every window can be zipped up for ultimate privacy even without the rainfly on. Each window also features BUG-BE-GONE mesh windows.
  • REAR ACCESS WINDOW – Rear access window unzips completely to allow access to your truck cabin. Great for grabbing items from your truck cabin or running cords into your tent!
  • SETS UP IN MINUTES – The Granville II is the easiest to setup truck tent in the world with color coded poles, elasticized straps, scratch-free clips, and more.

Rightline Gear Truck Tents

Rightline Ute tent
  • UNIQUE FLOORLESS DESIGN: Cut down on set up time; the Truck Tent’s floorless design allows for set up without removing gear from the bed.
  • 1 YEAR MANUFACTURER’S WARRANTY: Shop confidently; our service team is based in the USA & skillfully trained to help you with any questions or concerns.
  • QUALITY WEATHERPROOF CONSTRUCTION: Water resistant fabric with tape sealed seams (PU 2000mm) keeps you dry, while the Tent’s heavy duty straps and nylon buckles won’t damage your truck’s finish.
  • SLEEP UNDER THE STARS: Sky view vent allows for more light, better views and ventilation.
  • ROOM FOR TWO: All truck tents comfortably sleep (2) adults; turn any spot into a comfortable campsite!
  • EASY TO INSTALL: Truck Tent includes color coded poles and pole pockets for quick and easy set up, rainfly, and stuff sack with sewn-in set up guide.

Get one Here

Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent

Kodiak ute tent

Made with Hydrashield 100% cotton duck canvas that is durable, watertight and breathable. Compatible models include the Ford F Series, Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra, Dodge Ram, Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan.

Tunnel shaped design maximizes interior space tall 5ft ceiling height. Tailgate down design expands useable space.

Large D-shaped door with top of the line YKK zippers. Covered entry. Two convenient gear pockets.

Sturdy ¾-inch steel tube frame connect to the clamp-on rails that easily mount on truck bed for secure fit. All-season use year round, but not designed for heavy snow.

Get Yours Now

SUV and Minivan Tents

Inspired by the popularity of Ute (Truck) bed  and vehicle rooftop tents, SUV and minivan tents offer the same experience to owners of sports utility vehicles and minivan owners, with the added advantage of ground level space allowing larger dimensions to provide space for the whole family, awnings and canopies being options to further increase shade and shelter. Since SUV tents are freestanding, while seamlessly attached to the rear of the SUV, there are no issues of excessive weight being placed on axles or suspension.

Spacious interiors affording sleeping space for as many as 6 persons, and fully waterproof polyester and polyethylene fabrics add to the comfort of the outdoor camping experience.

Most SUV tent models can be detached from the vehicle, allowing independent use of the vehicle without disturbing the base camp. While connected, the vehicle can be positioned so as to afford additional protection from wind and rain, and can provide additional storage space so that camp setup can proceed without having to unpack everything from the vehicle.

Napier Outdoors Sportz 5 Person SUV Tent with Screen Room

Napier Outdoors SUV tent
  • Roomy 10- by 10-foot tent sleeps 5-6 people with over 7 feet of headroom; 7- by 6-foot floorless screen room
  • Sleeve attach to your vehicle to convert cargo space into sleeping space
  • Transform the vehicle tent into a ground tent by fully removing the vehicle sleeve
  • Features new steel and fiberglass pole structure for one-person set-up
  • Includes an expandable carrying bag for storage

Get One Here

Rightline Gear SUV Tent

Rightline SUV tent
  • SLEEP OFF THE GROUND: Nothing beats the comfort of your vehicle; plus the SUV Tent is free standing when you go about the day’s adventures.
  • 1 YEAR MANUFACTURER’S WARRANTY: Shop confidently; our service team is based in the USA & skillfully trained to help you with any questions or concerns.
  • FAMILY SIZED: Tent comfortably sleeps (4) adults and vehicle cargo area sleeps (2) adults.
  • QUALITY WEATHERPROOF CONSTRUCTION: Water resistant fabric with tape sealed seams (PU 2000mm) protects you from the elements.
  • UNIVERSAL FIT: The Tent’s vehicle sleeve attaches to any size SUV, minivan, Jeep Wrangler hard top, wagon, or pick-up truck with cap.
  • SEWN-IN BATHTUB FLOOR: PE bathtub floor keeps water and critters out. Best of all, no ground tarp is required.
  • EASY TO INSTALL: Vehicle sleeve quickly attaches to the rear of your vehicle! Includes tent, rainfly, and carry bag with sewn-in set up guide.

Get One Today

Napier Backroadz SUV Tent

Napier SUV tent
  • Spacious 10’ x 10’ tent providing over 7’ of headroom and sleeps 5 adults
  • he universal vehicle sleeve fits all CUV’s, SUV’s, and Minivans. The easily adjustable sleeve straps ensure a bug free and watertight fit
  • Full rainfly with taped seams and built-in storm flaps in the windows and door provide privacy and ultimate weather protection
  • Seamlessly connects to the cargo area of your vehicle, creating additional sleeping or storage space and a connection to power outlets to keep your devices charged
  • 1 large door and 3 mesh windows offer optimal ventilation
  • Keep your gear organized and off the ground with a gear pocket and lantern holder
  • 2 shock corded fiberglass tent poles make the 10 minute set-up a breeze

Buy One Here

Check out some of our other camping guides today.

By Kokoda Gear

The Kokoda Track and ANZAC Day

The Kokoda Track is a particularly important and famous campaign fought by Australian soldiers of the second world war. The Kokoda Track is known these days as the Kokoda Trail. Without victory here Japan would have undoubtedly created a staging site to prepare for an Australian invasion. Along with the Gallipoli landings, it is clearly and importantly regarded as one of the defining campaigns of Australia at war and stands in infamy as a testament to the Australian fighting spirit.

The landing at Gallipoli

At dawn on 25 April, 1915 the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps forces landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula. This was part of an expedition intended to open up the Dardanelles to Allied navies. Fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders quickly turned what had been planned as a bold stroke to knock Turkey out of the war into a stalemate. The campaign saw great hardships and heavy losses on both sides. More than 8,000 Australian solders were killed by the end of 1915 when the allied forces were evacuated. Gallipoli had a profound impact on Australians at home, and 25 April soon became the day on which Australians remembered the sacrifice of those who died in the war.

ANZAC Sailor remembering Kokoda Track and Gallipoli

The first Anzac Day commemorations were held on 25 April,1916. In London more than 2,000 Australian and New Zealand troops marched through the streets; a London newspaper headline dubbed them “the knights of Gallipoli”. Marches were held all over Australia; in Sydney convoys of cars carried soldiers wounded on Gallipoli and their nurses. In addition a sports day was held in the Australian camp in Egypt.

Whitehall in WW1 celebrating the bravery of Gallipoli, a precursor to the Kokoda Track campaign of WW2

During the 1920s Anzac Day became established as a national day of commemoration for the more than 60,000 Australians who had died during the war. Subsequently in 1927 for the first time, every state observed some form of public holiday on Anzac Day. By the mid-1930s all the rituals we now associate with the day – dawn vigils, marches, memorial services, reunions, two-up games – were firmly established as part of Anzac Day culture.

Later, Anzac Day also served to commemorate the lives of Australians who died in the Second World War, and in subsequent years the meaning of the day has been further broadened to include those who lost their lives in all the military and peacekeeping operations in which Australia has been involved.

Kokoda Track Campaign

Just as the landing at Gallipoli serves as an icon for Australian participation in the First World War, the Kokoda Track Campaign of 1942 has a similar significance as regards Australian involvement in the Second World War. The Australian Territories of Papua and New Guinea were invaded by Japan in 1942 in an attempt to capture Port Moresby via the Kokoda track. From Port Moresby the Japanese could, if they desired, launch an invasion of the east coast of mainland Australia. Without it they could not.

Soldiers of the Australian 39th Battalion preparing for the Kokoda Track advance

Japanese Strategy for Australia

After the fall of Singapore the Australian government and many Australians feared that Japan would invade the Australian mainland. Australia was ill-prepared to counter such an attack. Japan considered invading Australia in early 1942 but judged it to be beyond the Japanese capabilities; instead, in March 1942 the Japanese military adopted a strategy of isolating Australia from the United States and preventing Allied offensive operations by the capture of Port Moresby, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Samoa and New Caledonia. An attempt to capture Port Moresby by an amphibious assault, Operation Mo, was thwarted by the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942. A month later, most of the Japanese aircraft carrier fleet was destroyed in the Battle of Midway, further reducing the possibility of major amphibious operations in the South Pacific.

The Advance from Kokoda Track to Port Moresby

After Coral Sea, the Japanese began to consider an overland advance on Port Moresby, based on pre-war intelligence that a road existed linking it with Kokoda. Initial aerial reconnaissance was inconclusive but plans were made for a reconnaissance in force and to exploit the possibility of an advance along such a route. Major General Tomitarō Horii, assigned to these tasks and considering the logistical difficulties that would be faced, was not optimistic as to the possibility of success but did not press his objection.

An advance party, including engineers, infantry and artillery regiments as well as 500 Korean and Formosan labourers and 2,000 native labourers from Rabaul landed at Buna at the same time as a naval force landed and commenced construction of an airfield at Buna. Japanese planning proceeded on the premise that an overland assault would occur.

The Japanese Objective

The Japanese forces whose objective was to seize Port Moresby by an overland advance from the north coast, following the Kokoda Track over the mountains of the Owen Stanley Range, landed and established beachheads near Gona and Buna on 21 July 1942. Opposed by Maroubra Force, then consisting of four platoons of the Australian 39th Battalion and elements of the Papuan Infantry Battalion, they quickly advanced and captured Kokoda and its strategically vital airfield on 29 July. Despite reinforcement, the Australian forces were continually pushed back. The veteran Second Australian Imperial Force (AIF) 21st Brigade narrowly avoided capture in the Battle of Mission Ridge – Brigade Hill from 6 to 8 September. In the Battle of Ioribaiwa from 13 to 16 September, the 25th Brigade fought the Japanese to a halt but then withdrew back to Imita Ridge. For their action in the battle of Ioribaiwa, battle honours were awared to the 3rd Infantry Battalion, 14th Infantry Battalion, 16 Infantry Battalion, 25 Infantry Battalion, 31 Infantry Battalion and 33 Infantry Battalion.

The Japanese Advance

The Japanese advanced to within sight of Port Moresby but withdrew on 26 September. They had outrun their supply line and had been ordered to withdraw in consequence of reverses suffered at Guadalcanal. Because of this the Australian pursuit encountered strong opposition from well-prepared positions. They especially came into opposition around Templeton’s Crossing and Eora Village from 11 to 28 October. Following the unopposed recapture of Kokoda, a major battle was fought around Oivi and Gorari from 4 to 11 November. This resulted in a victory for the Australians. By 16 November, two brigades of the Australian 7th Division had crossed the Kumusi River at Wairopi, and advanced on the Japanese beachheads in a joint Australian and United States operation. The Japanese forces at Buna–Gona held out until 22 January 1943. Australian reinforcement was hampered by the logistical problems of supporting a force in isolated, mountainous, jungle terrain.

Australian Disadvantage at Kokoda

There were few planes available for aerial resupply, and techniques for it were still primitive. Nevertheless Australian command considered that the Vickers machine gun and medium mortars were too heavy to carry and would be ineffective in the jungle terrain. Furthermore without artillery, mortars or medium machine guns, the Australians faced an opponent equipped with mountain guns and light howitzers that had been carried into the mountains and proved to be a decisive advantage.

Mules and Pack Horses in Kokoda

Australian forces were unprepared to conduct a campaign in the jungle environment of New Guinea. The lessons learned during the course of this campaign and the subsequent battle of Buna–Gona led to widespread changes in doctrine, training, equipment and structure, with a legacy that remains until the present day.

Japanese Numbers at Kokoda

13,500 Japanese troops were landed in Papua for the fighting during the campaign. Of these, about 6,000 or two regiments, were directly involved in the forward areas along the Track. Against this, the Allies assembled approximately 30,000 troops in New Guinea, although at any one time no more than one infantry brigade, or approximately 3,500 troops, were involved in the fighting for most of the campaign. 

Casualties amongst the Australians between 22 July and 16 November 1942 were a total of 625 killed and 1,055 wounded. Notably, three battalion commanders were killed or captured in the first month of fighting. Non-battle, or sickness, casualties are not accurately recorded but are stated to have been about two to three times the battle casualty figure. The exact number of Japanese casualties is not known, although estimated battle casualties of 2,000 were increased by non-battle casualties. It is estimated that of the 6,000 troops (or five infantry battalions) that were committed to the fighting, up to 75% became casualties being either killed, wounded or becoming ill.

Bomana War Cemetery

Kokoda’s Legacy in Australia

The Gallipoli Campaign of World War I was Australia’s first military test as a new nation; the fighting during the Kokoda campaign represents the first time in the nation’s history that its security was directly threatened. The 1942 newsreel documentary, Kokoda Front Line! documented the Australian fighting during the campaign and brought the war home for many Australians. The documentary won an Oscar for the documentary category – the first time an Australian film/documentary was awarded an Oscar. The iconic newsreel contains some of the most recognised images of Australian troops in the Second World War. These images have contributed to the collective visual memory of the events at Kokoda.

Within the Australian Army a major restructure followed the Kokoda campaign. For instance the formation of Jungle divisions that addressed manpower issues and were more suited to operations in jungle environments. There was a significant reduction in the scale of motor transport also. Jeeps, with their greater cross-country mobility, were employed rather than trucks. At battalion level changes included increasing the number of mortars to eight. The addition of a machine gun platoon with four Vickers guns to enhance organic fire support. But also a removal of the carrier platoon. The Land Warfare Centre as it is now known, was established at Canungra, Queensland, with an emphasis on training for jungle warfare.

The Kokoda Trail Now

Each year more than five thousand Australians take up the mentally and physically challenging task of walking the Kokoda track. All are forever changed by the experience. The Australian interest in the Kokoda track also significantly impacts the lives and livelihoods of those who live there. The track passes through Oro Province and Central Province, the two main communities there being the Orokaiva in the north and the Koiari people to the south. The first tourists to arrive encountered a local population wholly dependent on subsistence farming, raising animals and growing produce; an important part of their income is now generated by tourism. Fees are paid to them for camping and some are employed as tour guides.

Thinking of visiting the Kokoda Trail? Check out our useful guide to the benefits of Walking Poles or Hiking Sticks for your trip!

By Kokoda Gear

Hiking Sticks And Walking Poles and their Benefits for Hiking and Trekking

So you’re interested in hiking sticks and walking poles? Every day all around the world people go hiking, whether it’s over a short distance or days on end for sport or for leisure. Mary Shelley in her novel Frankenstein would allude to the renewing power of nature, which was a central theme throughout, but when heading out hiking into the wilderness one needs to be careful, there are plenty of prevent hazards a risk to general safety. Hiking is usually a long and vigorous walk, which is usually done on trails or footpaths around the countryside. ‘Going for a walk’, on the other hand is a more easy-going stroll around an urban environment or pleasant meadow. Irrespective, whether one is walking, trekking or hiking, a utility that a lot of enthusiasts take with them is a nice set of hiking sticks or walking poles for the trip. Why hiking sticks? Well you’ve seen them, and you’ve seen people using them on TV. There are lots of benefits to hiking sticks and that’s exactly what this article is going to be about. We’ll cover all you ever wanted to know about hiking and trekking, and the benefits of hiking sticks and walking poles for said hiking and trekking.

Hiking and Trekking Hazards and Health

You’ve seen the research the exercise is good for your mental and physical health. Hiking and trekking are beneficial for precisely those reasons. In fact, some people complete several days of trekking and report a dampening of mood as a result of completing an epic journey, that their regular day to day lives aren’t nearly as fulfilling or interesting as the feeling of accomplishment having taken a walking trip.

Hiking is a very popular activity, as there are a lot of hiking organizations all over the world, all forms of walking contribute to the health and are beneficial to the general health and longevity of your body, making you stronger and helping with blood flow and circulation.

But Hiking is not all rainbows and butterflies. It’s not totally safe either. There are hazards that you might encounter during a hike. You might experience adverse or extreme weather, and this can be dangerous if you have not planned appropriately. You might come across damaged or blocked trails, get lost, run out of water, experience sliding terrain and so on. As such it is important to keep in mind the do’s and don’ts while hiking, especially if you’re off on a trip in Australia!

You need to keep in mind potential risks and remedies for sunburn, dehydration, broken bones, sprains, pulled muscles, chafing and so on. There may also be animal threats particularly in Australia from reptiles like snakes, kangaroos in heat who are being protective, or of course insects and territorial birds. Especially in Australia, you can come in to contact with harmful plants that may cause rashes and skin discoloration or worse.

Walking Poles

Hiking Sticks and Walking Poles

Hiking sticks are awesome, they let you take some weight off and give you some grip while traversing uneven terrain. They allow you to push on further than you otherwise could in a day, and they reduce the risk of ankle rolling and help protect your ankles while on a long hike. They’re used as a comfort and an aid for avid hikers and trekkers.

Benefits of Hiking Sticks and Walking Poles

There are so many reasons why hiking sticks and poles are very good for to hike with. Here are but a few of them:

  • They make it easier to hike at a uniform pace: As a hiker, you are probably aware that having a uniform pace while hiking is important as it helps you cover a lot of distance in a predictable period of time so you can better adhere to planned routes and times for logistical reasons. Using hiking sticks or walking poles will help to give you more support as you will get into a rhythm that will help your distance and allow you to push uniformly on no matter the variance in the terrain you are trekking or hiking.
  • They make hiking less stressful: Apart from the fact that hiking poles and walking poles give you balance; they help to make hiking less stressful. You can achieve greater balance on slippery terrain or uneven surfaces, and this reduces the risk of ankle rolling or slipping to ensure better peace of mind that comes with superior grip in this way, you won’t stumble, fall and hurt yourself.
  • Helps you advance uphill faster: While hiking, going uphill can be a bit difficult especially if you don’t have the experience. With hiking poles and walking sticks, you’ll be able to advance and go uphill faster, since you’re able to lean into the stick to drive from the legs. This gives a better feeling of ease when trudging up hill.
  • Prevents knee pain: It is true that knees and sometimes ankles hurt when one walks for a long distance. By taking some of your weight off your joints you’re able to reduce the risk of knee and ankle injury. Hiking sticks and walking poles help to reduce the impact of hiking on your knees.
  • Helps you test terrain before stepping: When travelling across new terrain a hiking stick gives you a chance to prod new and unfamiliar terrain in order to gauge whether it can hold your weight, or if it’s safe to step into. So, you can avoid muddy areas, soft ground, hey even quicksand if you come across it. Hazardous areas may be covered by dead leaves, tree branches, and decayed flowers. You wouldn’t want to step in and then hurt yourself or fall into a hole. Hiking sticks and walking poles come in handy here as you can conveniently test the terrain before stepping.
  • Getting bush and vegetation out of your way: You can use hiking sticks and walking poles to whack bushes, shrubs, and vegetation out of your way to aid better movement. We’d recommend you leave vegetation alone where possible – keep the natural world clean and untouched when you can please! Using your hands is not advisable as you may hurt yourself with certain plants that are poisonous and the ones that have scratchy leaves.
  • Warding off animals: Okay so this is a less popular benefit, but it’s also a reality, our hiking sticks and walking poles come in handy if you want to scare off rodents and small animals you may encounter while hiking. Or not so small animals that may be aggressive.
Hiking sticks

Considerations in Choosing Hiking Sticks and Walking Poles

You need to consider certain things before choosing your hiking sticks and walking poles.

For starters you should decide if you need one or two hiking sticks or poles. A lot of people prefer two hiking poles, but some like to only have one to lean on as they walk – and swap them from time to time to each arm. This lets them free up a hand for the walk, as well as not making it as easy as with two poles. If you are going on easy terrain, then one is okay but if you’re going uphill, two is far better for example. Go for adjustable poles as they are much better than the cheap ones you can’t adjust. You should also keep in mind that aluminium walking poles are generally more durable, affordable and work very well.

In all, choose hiking poles that work for the terrain you prefer and that you’re comfortable with.

Safety Rules for Hiking and Trekking

Before setting out for hiking or trekking, there are certain things you need to do and keep in mind. First off, you need to be aware of the hazards involved (and check the list of do’s and don’ts!). Next, you should know the weather condition of your hiking area – they say you should dress for the season not for the current weather. That way you won’t be caught off guard. The trails that are available for hiking usually have tour guides as well as online details and maps, so all you need to do is to get the weather information from them and plan accordingly. We also strongly recommend telling people where you are going and your route!

Hiking Poles

But especially important for a long hike across uneven terrain, is the need to invest in a good set of hiking sticks or walking poles.

By Kokoda Gear

Hiking Do’s and Don’ts for Walking in Australia

Australia, the land down under has some straight forward hiking Do’s and Don’ts. A mystical, magical place that is filled with rugged terrain and is as beautiful as it is…dangerous. Yeah, this place could potentially kill you if you’re careless.

Each year thousands and thousands of people trek Australia’s outback, this amazing land and do so safely and without any incident. But every year, there are plenty of stories of tourists and even locals who get hurt. A few are even killed as they tackle this intense terrain, usually due to exposure. The difference between staying safe and succumbing to the dangers of the wild Australian outback lie in hiking do’s and don’ts. If you plan on hiking in Australia’s vast outback, then pay attention to this list and you can emerge unscathed with some amazing stories to tell!

Hiking Do’s

DO bring lots of water

Bring LOTS of water. It is recommended when hiking in Australia that you should bring a minimum of 3 liters of water per day. If you plan on staying out overnight, you will want to double that amount. One of the main reasons people succumb to hot climates is lack of water. When in doubt, bring a little more. This is probably the most important one of the hiking do’s and don’ts.

hiking do's and don'ts - Uluru at Sunset

DO bring a satellite phone

If you are hiking in Australia, keep your iPhone at home…it won’t work once you’ve left the big cities. Cell phones are so named as they utilize waves beamed from cell towers, mobile phones are not as mobile as the name might imply. You won’t find such towers where you are going. Instead, you will want to have a satellite phone or SAT phone which can utilise signals as beamed from other phones or directly from orbiting satellites. If you get lost or get injured, a sat phone may be your only lifeline for safety. This can be very crucial as you go further out especially if you need to signal for help in an emergency, or if you come across similarly stranded people in need of assistance.

Satellite Phone

DO plan out your path

Sure, wandering around and discovering while hiking can be fun, but in Australia, it can be incredibly easy to lose your bearings and get lost before you know it. So if you’re going trekking or just walking in Australia, make sure to take some time before you leave to plan a solid hiking map and follow it closely. Know where you started, plot out some landmarks, and don’t stray from the route. Temperatures can be harsh, the animals unforgiving, and your water supply can dwindle quickly if you are wandering around aimlessly.

Australian route planning

DO bring a first aid kit with you

Snake bites, spider bites, insect stings, cuts and abrasions…those are just of few of the reasons why you DO need to bring a first aid kit with you when hiking in Australia. I’m not talking about a small box of band-aids and some Neosporin, but a serious first-aid kit that can be used to treat serious injury. If something does happen in the Outback to you or a friend you are with, the person injured may not be able to be moved and help could be HOURS away. Making sure to bring the necessary tools for survival can sometimes make the difference between life or death.

Outback first aid kit

DO tell other people exactly where you are going to be and when you should be back

If you are planning a hike in Australia, don’t keep it a secret. On the contrary, tell several people where you are going, where your car will be parked, and when you should be back, even listing your intended route can be essential in returning you safe and sound to civilisation should alarm be raised and the authorities have to come and rescue you. If you don’t check in with those you tell, they can establish a search party quickly. If someone is hurt or becomes lost while hiking in the Australian Outback, every minute can count.

Now that we have gone over a few of the things you should do, let’s now visit the thinks you should NOT do as we continue our list of hiking do’s and don’ts in Australia.

Hiking Don’ts

DON’T pick up or try to touch anything that moves

While you may truly be a lover of nature and all things creepy-crawly, it is NOT recommended to try to pick up or touch pretty much any creatures you come across while hiking in Australia. There are nearly 50 types of poisonous spiders in Australia that can cause sickness or even death if one is bitten. There are almost 100 venomous snakes here as well. Add to this list scorpions, ants, hornets…well, you get the idea. There are a LOT of things that can bite, sting, and otherwise harm you. Even if you think something is non-lethal, it is better to be safe than sorry. Leave the creatures be and go on about your hike. If you’re in Queensland or Darwin, watch out for crocodiles too! Seriously the creeks and the logs within them, can be cause for serious surprise.

DON’T try to take selfies with a ROO

Kangaroos, or roos as Aussies call them, can be encountered when hiking in Australia and if they are, it is advised to keep your distance. Unlike the cute cartoon kangaroos featured in books and cartoons such as Winnie the Pooh, kangaroos can often have a temper. And that temper comes with an incredible ability to do some serious damage if a person gets to close. They have claws that can disembowel a human and their powerful kicks can be lethal. In most cases, a roo will keep their distance but if you get too close, and they feel threatened, then you may be in some serious trouble. Back away slowly and head in the other direction. Yes, they are cute, and yes, they can be deadly. If you’d like a selfie with a kangaroo – there are an abundance of zoos and parks in major cities (or even golf courses near sundown) where kangaroos are used to humans and will be far more pleasant and familiar with selfies and getting close. You can even feed them in certain zoos with recommended and provided pellets.

hiking in Australia kangaroo selfie

DON’T try to tread lightly

Some hikers feel the need to try to be quiet when in the wild so as not to disturb the wildlife. This, however, can be a lethal mistake. You see, most animals and creatures want to avoid us as much as we want to avoid them and if they hear you or sense your presence, they will take off to a safer location. So, if you are making enough noise while hiking, you are actually safer. BUT, if you are too quiet and end up sneaking up on a creature that didn’t hear you coming, they may fear for their safety and strike, or bite, or sting, or kick, or…well, you get it.

DON’T continue hiking after dark

Just as being quiet while hiking in Australia is a big no-no, so is hiking after dark. If you DO become disoriented or lose track of time and night falls, you are often better off simply trying to find a safe spot in the open to stay put for the night. If you are hiking in the dark, you won’t be able to see if you are coming up on an animal or creature that could cause you harm, not to mention simply tripping and falling over a stick, rock, or uneven path that is hidden by the shadows. Use your sat phone to call for help and stay put.

DON’T wear low-cut tennis shoes

Sure, tennis or other low-cut shoes can be comfy, but you are in the OUTBACK. Your best bet is NOT to wear that type of footwear, but instead, wear some serious hiking boots that can withstand the terrain and protect your feet and ankles from sticks and potential snakebites. In addition, hiking boots with high ankle protection can help you avoid twisting your ankle while hiking through uneven terrain. You won’t get very far with the wrong footwear, so remember this as another one of the fundamental hiking do’s and don’ts.

EVEN THOUGH hiking in Australia presents some dangers, the fact is that even with all the scary creepy-crawlies this Southern Land holds, deaths in the Outback are actually quite rare. Armed with this list of hiking do’s and don’ts, your chances of returning from your journey unscathed can be even higher. Use common sense and the tips above as your guide and enjoy yourself on your hike down under!

By Kokoda Gear

Bondi to Coogee Walk

A cliff top coastal stroll and arguably the most famous walk in Sydney or perhaps New South Wales, the path from Bondi to Coogee stretches in the southern parts of Sydney for 6 km. The trek has amazing views, beaches, parks, cliffs, bays and pools of rock. In one of the cafes, hotels, shops or takeaways, the beaches and parks provide a fantastic route to relax, walk or eat.

Most of the beaches have free electric barbecues offering picnic facilities, play places, kiosks, bathrooms and changing rooms, Tamarama, Bronte, Coogee and Maroubra. The coastal trek from Bondi to Coogee is an urban path and considered of medium difficulty, it would otherwise be easy except that along the path there are some steep gradient routes and several steps. There are relaxing stops along the shoreline with excellent opinions and seating. Completing the Bondi to Coogee Beach segment of the trek requires about two hours and another hour and a half if you decide to travel to Maroubra.

Although accessible and a pleasant stroll the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk, do make sure you carry comfortable clothes, take a jacket, lenses, sunscreen, water and carry suitable clothes in colder weather because the breeze from the ocean in colder temperatures may not be so pleasant. On particularly hot days a bit of shade might help you avoid sunstroke also – make sure you’re getting plenty of fluids and reapplying sunscreen when you rest.

How far is Bondi to Bronte walk? The Bondi to Bronte walk is 2.5 km, or 1.5 miles. How long is the Bondi to Bronte walk? It’ll take about 1 hour to 1.5 hours for a comfortable walk. If you’re not tired from your walk when you get to Bronte, most people move on to Clovelly and even then on to Coogee. The Bondi to Coogee walk distance is 6km, or 3.5 miles. But plenty still prefer to complete the Bondi to Bronte walk only.

Bondi to Coogee Walk Map

Highlights of the Bondi Coogee Walk

Featuring fantastic ocean views, sandstone cliffs and the crashing waves across the entire panorama, Bondi Beach to Coogee offers a stunning view of Australian coastline and beach culture. Be sure to keep an eye out for the surfers, kite sailors and boats across the horizon! There’s also Wedding Cake Island which is about 1 km east of Coogie, worth a look for on a clear day.

Bondi to Coogee Walk Distance

The route from Coogie to Bondi is 6km long or 3.5 miles.

Bondi to Coogee Walk Time

It’ll take you approximately 2.5 hours to 3 hours to comfortably walk the Bondi to Coogee route.

Bondi to Bronte Walk Distance

If you’d prefer to stop after Bondi to Bronte then note the distance is only 2.5km one way or 1.5 miles. That’s a 5km round trip or just over 3.1 miles.

Bondi to Bronte Walk Time

The walk time for the shorter Bondi to Bronte route is 1 hour or 1.5 hours to complete it comfortably.

Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk

How Hard is the Walk from Bondi to Coogee?

Difficulty and Track Conditions

Bondi to Coogee is a considered a Grade 2 track and is suitable for pretty much all ages and fitness levels. It is an urban walk and the walkway is paved with some sections of stairs. Do note however that despite it being a paved and boardwalk route the stairs which can be steep may disqualify anyone with a pram who is not prepared to pick that pram up and traverse the steps that are peppered around the route.

Disability Access

Much like the advice with prams, please keep in mind that there are no disabled walking tracks on this route. However Bronte and Bondi are booth wheelchair accessible. The walk between them for the disabled is not recommended, with similar issues regarding prams due to stairs.

How to Get to Bondi Beach?

It can be hard to access parking at Bondi Beach, plus beginning at Bondi and ending at Coogee can trigger issues. Not to mention the cost of parking in Bondi is quite unpleasant.

You are better off taking public transportation to Bondi as the bus connectivity is excellent. Then you can walk to Coogee and take the public transport back (unless you really fancy a long walk back to Bondi again).

The simplest route to get to Bondi Beach from the city is to take the train to Bondi junction (from Central, Town Hall, Martin Place) and then find the buses to Bondi Junction. These are the 380, 381, 382 or 333 buses and take 15 minutes to the beach.

Is it better to go from Bondi to Coogee or from Coogee to Bondi?

Even though the Bondi to Coogee route is the standard and more famous route to take, we would actually recommend going in the other direction, from Coogee to Bondi. Seeing Bondi Beach appear on the horizon at the end of your walk is a far more spectacular view with the rocks and natural landscape and then the happening around it.

Aside from that there are way more places to eat at the end of your walk, so you’ll have lots of choice to replenish post walk which a lot of people don’t really consider.

However if you’re actually planning to do the Great Coastal Walk where you go from Palm Beach to Coogee, then you’ll obviously have started at Palm Beach, gone to Manly, then Manly to Bondi and then finally Bondi to Coogee. But that’s a long day!

Coogee Beach

Parking at Bondi Beach and Coogee

We really don’t recommend parking at Bondi, you really would be better taking a bus. At Bondi it’ll cost you $8 per hour if you do, that is if you can even find a space, especially in Summer. There’s also a private parking facility operated by Wilson Parking on Campbell Parade with an entry via Curlewis Street.

However for that you’re talking about a $58 fee for the day. There is an Early Bird Parking price which only costs $9 if you arrive between 6:00am – 9:30am and leave between 4:00pm – 7:00pm.

There’s also a Wilson Parking but it is a bit further back in Hall Street (entry via O’Brien St) which will cost you $36 for a full day. There are also free parking spots if you can ever find them around Bondi’s streets but they are marked for 1-2 hours and the parking inspectors are deadly accurate and on time.

If you’re parking at Coogee instead there’s a car park in front of Coogee Pavilion at the northern end of Coogee Beach which is free. There is a paid parking stations at the Crown Plaza Hotel but it’s $25 for a full day so you’re better off trying for a free space a few minutes from Coogee and you can walk there in about 10-15 minutes from the free parking if it’s not too busy and there are spaces.

Bondi beach at sunrise

Swimming breaks in and around the Bondi to Coogee Walk

The trek includes five swimming pools: Coogee Beach (there is also a women’s sea pool), Clovelly Beach, Bronte Beach (there is also a rock pond), Tamarama Beach and Bondi Beach. Swimming and snorkeling can also be done at Gordons Bay.

With the exception of Gordons Bay, there is a lifeguard service for all islands along the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk. In fact, they even created the Bondi lifesavers a reality television series: Bondi Rescue. The purple lifesavers are paid experts, while the more commonly used red and yellow lifesavers are volunteers.

Great Places to Eat along the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk

Coogee has a lot of shops, especially along Coogee Bay Road, which runs parallel to the beach. Check out the Coogee Pavilion for cool vibes with nice opinions over the beach’s southern part.

Clovelly Beach has a kiosk that you can get takeaway food from or eat in for sit-down snacks. Which isn’t nearly as full of options as the other places but it’s better than nothing in a pinch anyway. Besides there are some nice spots to sit if you bring a picnic along.

Bronte has a food strip up the back of the grassed region, and Tamarama Beach also has a kiosk. Which is one of the reasons why we recommend doing the route backwards because Bondi has better selection.

There are also many shops and restaurants in Bondi Beach. As a generalisation, Campbell Parade and restaurants opposite Bondi Pavilion are catering for tourists so can be a bit pricey. So drive up Hall Street, which operates parallel to Campbell Parade for better meals that are a bit more cheap and cheerful. Le Paris Go Cafe, Bills Cafe, Gelato Messina, with its world-renowned ricotta hotcakes – plenty of nice options

Another local Bondi Beach hangout is up the beach’s southern edge. Try take away from Speedos Cafe or give Sean’s a go for something with a fancier feel to it.

Bondi Beach’s best views don’t have to be costly: Bondi RSL on the north end and Bondi Icebergs on the south end offer bistro restaurants and fairly priced beverages (fairly priced for Bondi that is). Just note that the very swanky Icebergs Dining Room and Bar is upstairs at Icebergs, and downstairs the much cheaper bistro. Though if we’re honest as unusual and fun as the Icebergs are, it’s always overcrowded and there’s a cost to get into the grounds anyway. At least the view of the rocks crashing against it is great – though you may go to the pool and look out at the beach and question why it is you’re paying to be in a pool when you have all that ocean to swim in.

Bondi icebergs

Check out some of our other Australian Walking Routes and other guides for walks around Australia.