black diamond trekking poles
By Kokoda Gear

Go Far and Go Fast: The Best Black Diamond Trekking Poles Reviewed

Trekking poles are just for people hiking Everest or Kilimanjaro right? Nope. No matter if you’re walking through the Himalayas or going on a nice stroll in the local hills, trekking poles can transform your expedition. 

In this article, we’re going to be looking at the best Black Diamond trekking poles. When you’re out on the trail, you’ll need poles you can rely on and Black Diamond is one of the biggest names in the business. 

Plus, you’ll look super pro. 

Read on to see what all the fuss is about and see our trekking pole reviews.

What Are Trekking Poles Exactly?

Otherwise known as hiking poles, they’re hand-held sticks with a nice spike on the end. Swish. But actually, they’re much more than that. 

Trekking poles allow you to distribute weight through the poles as you place them and give you extra balance on tricky terrain. If you’ve ever tried to wade across a river or up a rubble-strewn trail, you’ll know how hard it is to balance!

Using trekking poles also lessens the impact on your joints when you’re on descents. We’ve all longed for the downhill only to start and complain about its effect on our knees. Because poles stabilise and support your weight (and your pack weight!), the force through your legs is less. 

No more aching knees, phew!

Pole technology has changed a lot in recent years and is more practical than ever. Often with ergonomic, comfortable handles and ultra-lightweight, once you start walking with poles, you’ll never look back. 

Who Would Benefit from Using Trekking Poles?

You might think that trekking poles are reserved for serious, long-distance hikers. But just like hiking shoes, there’s a trekking pole for everyone. 

Tackling tough terrain?

Flat or steep, tough terrain might include slippery sections, loose stones, difficult inclines or even snow and ice. Trekking poles really come into their own in these environments and are essential. 

When all of the force travels through your feet, it’s easy to slip and slide. That’s (probably) why mountain goats have four feet. With trekking poles, you can plant them securely and distribute that downward force across your feet and the poles. Be the mountain goat.  

Loose stones are a pretty major hazard on many trails, especially when you don’t know which are unstable. Trekking poles allow you to have a good prod around and quickly discover patches of unstable ground.

All in all, they’ll stop you going head over heels. If that’s not a good thing we don’t know what is. 

Prone to Injury?

From twisted ankles to dodgy knees, hiking can be a risky pursuit. But just as trekking poles take some of the weight off your feet to prevent slipping, they also take some of the weight off your joints. 

Hiking poles are perfect for the older generations too. There’s no reason you can’t be hiking the Kokoda Trail at 90 as long as you look after your joints. Using poles gives you a better wight distribution throughout your arms and legs and provides stability in the body.

Like to Feel the Rhythm?

Trekking poles are even ideal for easier terrain and flat trails. When we walk, getting into a rhythm helps pace the trail, maintain constant effort and stops us from walking too fast only to need a break a mile in. 

When you use trekking poles, you swing them out in front, plant them and push yourself forward. This motion helps build up a rhythm so you can maintain your steady pace and admire the scenery. 

Mother Tell You to Always Stand Straight?

When you’re carrying a backpack there’s a temptation to slump forward. This puts an enormous amount of strain on your spine (which is why your mother always told you to stand straight up). There are lots of benefits of standing up straight including higher energy levels, pretty important while hiking!

Walking with trekking poles keeps you upright and your spine in a good position. Because you’ve got extra balance and stability through the poles, you won’t be tempted to lean forward and give yourself back pain. 

Types of Black Diamond Trekking Poles

Black Diamond is a big name in outdoor pursuits for a good reason. They produce high-quality clothing and equipment that’s built to last. If you opt for budget trekking poles, you’ll be put off by the weight and feel of them and they’ll hang out in your closet instead of going on adventures.

In contrast, Black Diamond is at the forefront of trekking pole technology and there’s a lot more to their poles than meets the eye. 

Shaft Material

Black Diamond hiking poles have shafts made from aluminium or carbon. The type you choose depends on what features you need to prioritise. 

Aluminium

Cheaper and stronger than carbon, aluminium is the most common shaft material for trekking poles. If you’re going to be hiking on seriously tough terrain and put the poles through their paces, aluminium is a solid, resilient option. 

Grab a Black Diamond aluminium trekking pole here

Carbon

Black Diamond Trekking Pole Carbon
Carbon

If you’re all about saving weight, carbon is the lighter of the two. This is ideal for long-distance trails where you’ll notice the weight-saving benefits. Carbon is still strong, but more care is required to prevent them from bending. 

Get the black diamond carbon fibre trekking pole here

Grip Types

When you’re walking for hours, the last thing you want is sore hands from holding your trekking poles. 

Cork

Cork is the dream material for pole grips as it’s breathable. In hot weather, you won’t get that sticky sweat feeling on your palms and it stays insulated in the cold. Cork also moulds to your hands over time and with an ergonomic shape, it’ll be as comfortable as a glove. 

Foam

Foam grips are comfortable to hold as well and absorb sweat from your palms. For long-distance though, you might be at risk of friction blisters. 

Rubber

If you’re planning on hiking a lot in the cold, rubber is an ideal option. It’s well-insulated and reduces vibration through your hand. 

Adjustable Height and Storage

All of Black Diamond‘s trekking poles reduce in size for easy storage. They do this through telescoping or folding into thirds. 

Reducing the size of your trekking poles is useful for when you don’t need them as strapping full-length poles to your pack isn’t ideal. 

Many Black Diamond poles also have adjustable heights using the same locking feature as the collapsible mechanism. This allows you to adjust the height to suit you perfectly and lock them into place. 

Black Diamond Trekking Pole Reviews

Enough about the cool features and benefits of trekking poles in general, let’s take a look at two of the best Black Diamond poles.

Alpine Carbon Z Trekking Poles

These ultra-light carbon poles are impressively resilient and packed with Black Diamond’s coolest features. Their added durability comes from the aluminium rings and protective sleeve to give the best of carbon’s lightweight features and aluminium’s strength. 

Alpine Carbon Z Trekking Poles

Buy an Alpine Carbon Z trekking pole here

What do you get?

  • Dual-density natural cork grip – this keeps your palms comfortable and dry and has a breathable strap. 
  • EVA foam grip extension – when you need to adjust your grip down, there’s a non-slip foam extension.
  • Z- Configuration – these poles collapse into a three-section Z-configuration rather than telescopic. They’re super fast to deploy and pack up small.
  • Length choice – These poles aren’t height adjustable but are available in different lengths so it’s easy to choose the right height for you.
  • Tip and basket choice – You can buy separate tips and baskets that are compatible with the Carbon Z making them poles for multi-terrain use.

These ultra-light hiking poles range from 405g (14.3oz) and 465g (16oz) depending on the length you choose. Because they’re so light and fold up to around a third of their overall length, they’re ideal for long-distance treks and multi-adventure trips. 

The cork grips are something to really cherish as they’re comfortable and only get more comfortable with use. In short, Black Diamond have excelled with these poles and they won’t be out of place on a hike up Mt Kosciuszko.

Trail Back Trekking Poles

If you’re looking for a solid pair of standard trekking poles, Black Diamond’s Trail Back poles might be just the thing. Aluminium and telescopic, these poles store easily and won’t let you down on difficult terrain. 

Buy a Trail Back trekking pole here

What do you get?

  • Rubber grip – the grips might not be breathable but they are comfortable and have a rib pattern to lessen any vibration that comes through. A woven webbing strap keeps your poles secure on your hands.
  • EVA foam grip extension – just like the Carbon Z poles, the Trail Back pair have a foam grip extension.
  • Length choice – these are telescopic poles which allow for adjustable length. They reduce down to under half their full length and have three sections. 
  • FlickLock – The FlickLock mechanism secures the poles at the length you want and keeps them from extending while stored. 

Sturdy and telescopic, the Trail Back trekking poles are great for hikes where weight-saving and size isn’t a priority. At 610g (21.52oz), they’re around a third heavier than the Carbon Z poles but for day hikes they still do a great job. 

The height adjustment on these is a brilliant feature as you can find the most comfortable length for the terrain you’re dealing with. If you’re out trekking in the cold, rubber grips provide more insulation than the Carbon Z’s cork grips too. 

Get Your Trek On

Hiking poles are quickly becoming an essential bit of gear for walkers of all kinds. Their weight distribution and balance functions give you stability on every terrain type, transforming your exertion. 

Black Diamond trekking poles come in a wide range but the Carbon Z and the Trail Back are perfect examples of their dedication to quality and functionality. No matter which poles you choose, remember that comfort and quality are must-haves. You’ll need poles you can rely on when you’re out in the wilds.

Check out our Walking in Australia guides for adventure inspiration and we look forward to seeing you out on the trail with your new trekking poles!

suv tent
By Kokoda Gear

Convenience in a Bag: An Ultimate Review of the Best in the Napier SUV Tent Range

As camping enthusiasts, we love the rugged outdoors. But we also enjoy convenience and practicality.

SUV tents mix camping in the rugged outdoors with the convenience of your vehicle. Unless you’re backpacking in the mountains, you’ll probably have your vehicle with you. And why not optimize on that convenience?

The biggest convenience you’ll find with an SUV tent is you don’t need to unpack all your gear. You can leave most gear in your SUV or truck which allows you more space in your tent.

The SUV tent is versatile. When you’re road-tripping across Australia, pop up your SUV tent at a nearby campsite. You’ll save time and money on your trip by staying in your spacious tent.

Napier is the first company to produce a truck tent back in 1990. Today, they offer a wide variety of SUV and Truck tents to fit any camper’s needs and budget. They’re a long-standing company with years of experience in the SUV tent industry.

If you’re looking for a convenient new tent, check out these Napier SUV tents. You’ll be glad you do!

What to Look for in an SUV Tent

When shopping for any outdoor goods, you’re always looking for quality and features that meet your needs. Napier makes several SUV tents with different features to meet each camper’s unique needs.

Tent Size & Space

The size of your tent is probably at the top of your list. Are you looking for an SUV tent that fits you and your furry four-legged hiking partner? Or do you need something the whole family or friend group can sleep in?

Napier offers tents that sleep anywhere from 2 or 3 people to parties of 5 or more. Some tents can be as tall as 7 feet and almost 10 feet wide giving you a lot of room to move around.

Even if you have a mountain of gear with you, you’re sure to find a Napier SUV tent with the space you need. To be on the safe side, select a tent that can fit one more person than you need.

The other important aspect of size is finding a tent that fits your SUV. Most tent sleeves can fit a variety of SUV vehicles. But always check sleeve sizes just in case.

Tent Use

What are you planning to use your SUV tent for? Where are planning to camp?

These are questions you should ask yourself no matter what type of tent you’re looking to purchase. How and where you use your tent will help determine the materials and features you’ll need.

For example, if you’re planning to camp in wet rainy areas, you’ll need a tent with a quality rainfly and water-resistant materials.

Materials

You’ll want to look for durable materials when shopping for an SUV tent. These tents are typically larger and need to be water and weather resistant. However, the stronger the material, the heavier your tent will be.

Many large tents consist of cotton with a PVC (polyvinyl chloride) coating for extra water resistance. These heavy tents are durable, long-lasting, and weather resistant.

Polyester is the most common tent material because it’s durable and breathable. Polyester is durable and doesn’t damage from the rain or sun. A polyester SUV tent will be lightweight, long-lasting, and comfortable.

Smaller tents typically consist of lightweight and water-resistant nylon. Most nylon will have an acrylic or silicone coating which will help determine the tent’s cost.

Features

A few common features every SUV tent should have are stable poles, a rain fly, and instructions. If you’re new to SUV tents, they can be tricky to put up the first few times. With a little practice, they’re quick and easy to pop up.

Other important features you may want are extra windows for breathability and a bag to store your tent in for safety and convenience. Some will have colored poles to make setting up the tent easy.

Higher-end tents may have a screened-in area, durable waterproof flooring, and hybrid options that don’t always need an SUV. Always check the tent’s extra features to ensure you’re getting a reliable tent that fits your SUV and meets your expectations.

If there’s a particular feature you’re looking for but can’t find, such as a floor cover, you can purchase it separately.

Napier Sportz SUV #8400 5-Person Tent

The Napier Sportz SUV 5-person is a spacious tent everyone in your camping group will enjoy. The tent is complete with a large screen room and a separate sleeping area.

If it’s buggy or raining out, you’ll be able to enjoy the extra space in the screen room. Or you can set up an outdoor kitchen or sitting area.

The tent is 10×10 feet and is about 7 feet tall. The screen room adds an extra 42 square feet of space. You’ll feel like you’re in a small cabin rather than a tent.

This large tent consists of durable weather-proof materials. You’ll find the poles to be reliable and sturdy as they’re made with fiberglass and steel parts. The tent can be set up by one person with ease.

The tent comes with several windows and 2 main doors. Each one has a storm flap for extra privacy and protection. Throughout the inside of the tent, you’ll find strong hooks to hang your delicate or lightweight gear.

The Napier 5-person tent can convert into a standalone tent. There’s no need to worry about whether or not you can pitch your SUV tent with this versatile option.

The only downside is the price. With these many features and quality materials, this tent is going to cost more than other SUV tents.

The Sports series includes 4-person and 2-person options as well.

However, it will last you for years. The freestanding option makes this a 2 in 1 tent.

Napier Backroadz SUV Tent

The Napier Backroadz tent series comes in both SUV and truck models. The main difference between them is the truck tent has the convenience sitting in the bed of the truck rather than on the ground. Both come in earthy gray and green tones.

The Backroadz SUV Tent is another spacious option that can fit 5 adults. It’s a 10×10 foot dome style tent that sits about 7 feet. It offers plenty of space in the sleeping area like the Sportz #8400 model.

It has 1 door and 3 large windows for plenty of ventilation. All 4 have storm flaps for extra privacy and protection during the rain.

Inside the tent, you’ll find a lantern holder and a large gear pouch for extra storage. The vehicle sleeve fits on all SUV, cross-over, and minivan cargo areas.

Setting up this tent is a breeze as it only needs 2 durable fiberglass poles. A large waterproof rainfly comes standard.

This Napier SUV tent is perfect for the minimalist camper looking focusing on utility over frills. It’s an affordable, easy-to-use, and long-lasting tent for the everyday camper.

Napier Sportz Cove Tent

This is the compact SUV tent for the no-frills camper. The cove slides right on the back of your SUV or minivan to offer more shade an easy-access door to your van or SUV.

Unlike the other Sportz series tents, this one is mainly an awning and a door. You’ll have to make sure your camping party is small enough to fit everyone inside the SUV.

The 2-foot awning adds plenty of extra shade. The sleeve is universal meaning it will fit on just about every SUV and minivan out there regardless of the year.

The screened main door allows ventilation but comes with storm flaps for privacy and keeping the elements out. It’s a lightweight and durable polyester SUV tent.

If you’re looking for the most efficient SUV tent, this is the one for you. It’s easy to set-up, minimalist, and is available at an affordable cost.

Sportz Dome-To-Go SUV Tent

The Sportz Dome-To-Go SUV tent is a compact tent with a standalone option. It’s 8.5×8.5 feet and comfortably fits 3-4 people.

Like the Backroadz version, the Sports Dome-To-Go has 3 large windows but 2 doors instead of 1. It also comes with a front awning for extra shade or protection from light rain.

Inside this dome-style tent, there are several storage pockets along the walls and an overhead gear storage area. It’s lightweight and is easy for one person to put together.

Like all Napier SUV tents, this tent comes with a rainfly. The tent sock will get most SUV and minivan cargo areas. Plus, the standalone options means you’re not restricted to your car.

Just a heads up, this tent is not pre-waterproofed, so you will need to do that on your own. The tent’s instructions explain how to do this and allow you the option of selecting a high-grade coating.

You’re Ready to Go Camping

Whether you’re camping in remote areas or road-tripping across Australia, Napier’s series of SUV tents are what you need. You can find tent options to fit your every need and budget.

Now that you have the proper gear, go visit Australia’s best camping spots and unique walking trails.

By Kokoda Gear

Convenient, Hygienic and Colourful! The Ultimate Shewee Review from a Woman’s Point of View

Hold the phone, what’s a Shewee? Does it even work? Read on for a Shewee review that may change your view of the strange device!

Picture this, you’re out trekking and need to go for a wee, and there’s no toilet in sight!

What do you do? Either pull down your pants and squat somewhere, hoping nobody will see you. Or hold on for dear might until you find somewhere to relieve yourself.

Fortunately for you, someone invented a handy device that may change your life forever. You guessed it. It’s a Shewee!

What Is a Shewee?

So, what is a Shewee anyway? A Shewee is a device that allows women to urinate standing up. Not only can you stand, but you also don’t have to remove any clothes.

The device shape is similar to a thin open funnel. You hold the large end of the funnel under your urethra and the thin end funnels outward into the toilet.

There’s an extension pipe which gives extra length to the funnel. This makes it easier to aim if you’re wearing bulky clothing or have to urinate into a jug.

A Shewee comes in a variety of colours. And a Shewee Extreme comes with its own carrying case.

You might wonder if you can use any old funnel from the shop. But unless you want to find yourself in a puddle of pee and chafed thighs, don’t try it. A Shewee’s designed especially for the female anatomy and it fits perfectly.

Buy a Shewee Here

Why Though?

Shewee review

You might think a Shewee sounds comical or just plain weird. But think about it for a second…

Public toilets are gross and that’s if you can even find one. What if you’re camping somewhere rural or on a road trip somewhere off the beaten track? Or waiting in line for the portaloo at a festival and your favourite band is about to play?

With no clean toilet seat to sit on or no toilets to be seen, what can you do? Unlike a man who can discreetly pee standing up, a woman has to expose herself all the way to her ankles in order to relieve herself!

Sure, squatting is good for the thighs. But having to strip down to your birthday suit to go for a pee isn’t fun for any woman.

A Shewee solves all these issues in one handy little device. But how does it work and who can use it?

Want a Shewee?

Who Can Use a Shewee?

shewee

Any woman or girl on any occasion can use a Shewee. Whether you’re camping in the middle of Australia, dancing the night away at a festival, or if you find it hard to hover over grim public toilets, a Shewee is for you.

Some pregnant women or those who have had surgery find it more comfortable to use a Shewee than to hover over a toilet seat. Some who are mobility impaired and others who have sports injuries also benefit from using a Shewee.

Women working in the Armed Forces also use them; they’re even available in Nato Green to make them more discreet. In the UK, certain police forces give Shewees to their female police officers to use when they’re on duty. Vanessa O’Brien even used a Shewee when she climbed Mount Everest. How’s that for a Shewee review?

It really is a device all women can enjoy!

How Does a Sheewee Work?

If you’re not convinced yet, you need to know how a Shewee actually works. When you buy a Shewee review the instructions on the packaging or follow this step-by-step guide:

  1. Undo your trousers and push your underwear to one side.
  2. Place the Shewee under your urethra.
  3. Press the device firmly against your skin (but not too hard or you may bruise yourself).
  4. Aim the Shewee funnel away from your feet and towards the ground or toilet.
  5. Relax and urinate!
  6. When finished, give the device a little shake.
  7. Place the Shewee Extreme into the case. Or have a resealable bag ready if you don’t have a case.

The design of the device has been carefully refined over the years to create the perfect fit. Even if you’re doubtful in the beginning, try to trust it; it works.

Get a Shewee today!

What if you tested it out and it wasn’t successful?

Issues and Tissues

As with anything new, it can take time to get used to using a Shewee. The instructions clearly tell you to practice in the shower first to help you get the hang of the device. Because if you don’t feel comfortable enough to do it in your own home, there’s no way you can pee behind a bush somewhere!

Here are some common issues you may face.

Can’t Pee, Won’t Pee

What if you’re desperate for the loo, whip out your Shewee and just can’t go?

You need to relax and give yourself some time. Remember that you’ve spent your whole life either sitting or squatting to urinate. Your body needs time to see that you CAN stand, pee, and be fully clothed at the same time.

Practice makes perfect. So before you take it out for a spin, practice at home.

Oh No! Overflow!

If you’re using a Shewee and find it’s overflowing, there are two things you can do. Firstly, try to control your flow. Constricting your flow to a steady pace gives the funnel the chance to work its magic.

If that still doesn’t work, buy a Shewee Flexi instead. It’s exactly the same as a Shewee, but wider. And as the name suggests, is more flexible.

Splish Splash

If you’re splashing your shoes or your clothing, you may need to angle the device closer to your body. Controlling the speed of your urine can also help to control splashing. Keep a wide stance to protect your shoes from the flow if you keep sprinkling on them.

Again, you can solve this issue with a bit of practice!

Is It Clean?

You don’t have to sit on a nasty toilet. And obviously, if you get it right, you won’t splash all over your clothes. In that sense, it’s clean.

But what do you do with the funnel after you’ve used it? You can’t just shove it back into your bag covered in pee, right?

Actually, the Shewee’s made from Polypropylene, which repels water.

Simply shake it off after use and pop it back into the case. When you get home, you can give it a wash with a little soap and water. If you’re uncertain, give it a quick wipe with a wet wipe before you put it in its case.

To Pee or Not to Pee? A Shewee Review

According to Sheewee, they sell one every 3 minutes! So it’s popular, but does it actually work?

Delphine Chui, a writer for Marie Claire said: “Urinating standing up was enough to make me feel powerful, free, and liberated. And I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was”.

On the Shewee testimonial page, there are many positive reviews. One woman said she used a Shewee in Vietnam would’ve been utterly lost without it. Another happy customer said: “This device is genius. It’s already come in handy for a motorbikes trip and whilst an all-day fishing charter and camping”.

As you can see from these experiences, a Shewee is definitely recommended. Some may scoff or laugh at the idea, but at the end of the day, it’s an impressive invention. It’s discreet, hygienic, and super convenient.

Not only is it convenient for festival-goers and hikers, but it’s also a handy device for those with health issues or even for certain job roles.

So forget the haters and try it out. You’ll never look back!

Where to Buy a Shewee

You can purchase Sheewee products from their website or Amazon.

There are several other brands that create urinating devices. They all have different handy features to make them stand out from the crowd. But the original, starting way back in 1999, is the Sheewee.

Some other brands create the device with hard materials, which can make it uncomfortable to use. We wrote a Shewee review because we believe the original is best. Others use overly soft materials that can be hard to handle and cause spills. So if you’re going to buy one, it really needs to be from the pros.

Prices start from around $20, which you might think is a bit pricey. But can you really put a price tag on comfort? You could buy a cheaper one elsewhere, but might find yourself getting pee everywhere.

The Shewee company has nearly 20 years of experience. You’re guaranteed quality. It’s worth the extra dollars.

Relief at Last!

After reading this Shewee review, are you convinced? If you try one out, all your toilet dilemmas will be a thing of the past. You really will have relief at last!

Pick up a Shewee today and never look back!

Of course, if you’re heading on a camping trip somewhere off the beaten track, you’ll need a lot more equipment. Find out more about the essentials you’ll need on your adventure right here.

By Kokoda Gear

Which Hiking Boots Reign Supreme: Ranking These Essential Trekking Needs

Did you know that hiking is one of the best forms of exercise that you can do for your health? It’s a great way to get a full-body workout, and improve your cardio. But you’ll need the right pair of hiking boots while enjoying the beauty that mother nature has to offer.

Without the proper hiking equipment, a hike through the woods can be an absolute pain. Without question, one of the most important pieces of hiking equipment that you need to have is a good pair of hiking boots.

Hiking boots, unlike normal performance shoes, are built with a different goal in mind. Slip prevention, maximum ankle support, and overall traction are why going with a traditional gym shoe while hiking is a big no-no.

So if you’re curious to know what things you need to be on the lookout for when shopping for boots, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll tell you about a few different key elements to a good pair of hiking boots. We’ll also look at the various benefits to each kind of boot.

The Two Different Types of Hiking Boots

If you’re in the market for some new hiking boots, you’re going to want to make sure to get the perfect pair for you and your feet. Regardless of what make or brand you decide to go with, it’s important to know what exactly makes a good hiking boot just that: a good hiking boot.

First, we have to address the fact that there are two different boot options to choose from: a day hiking boot and a backpacking hiking boot.

Day hiking boots are perfect if you’re just starting out hiking, or have never purchased a hiking boot before. With day hiking boots, you’re going to have good ankle support, and excellent traction, but in a lighter boot.

Day Hiking Boots
Day Hiking Boot – note the lower cut

These boots are a bit more flexible because of the materials used, which is also what makes them lighter. They don’t offer the same kind of support as backpacking hiking boots. As long as you’re not going too far, you’re still going to have a positive experience while wearing them.

Backpacking hiking boots on the other hand, are the top-of-the-line option. They are the better choice if you plan on doing some serious off-trail hiking. These boots are a bit heavier, offer more support (and less give), and are designed with multi-day, off-trail hikes in mind.

backpack hiking boots
Backpack Hiking Boot – much taller cut

Foot and ankle support is absolutely fantastic due to the structure of the shoe. But this can also make them a little less comfortable to wear than day hiking boots, which is worth noting. With that being said, once you’ve broken them in a bit, you won’t even notice you have them on when hiking even the hardest of trails.

Hiking Shoes

If you’re more of a casual hiker or don’t plan on doing any trails that are too strenuous, hiking shoes might be a good option for you. Of course, these are shoes and not boots. So you won’t be getting the same level of foot and ankle support. If you plan on staying on somewhat level ground, that might not be as important to you as a lighter, more comfortable shoe is.

hiking shoes
Hiking Shoes – much lower cut, very similar to trainers

As we touched on a second ago, where hiking shoes get the nod over hiking boots is weight. They’re much lighter, and as a result, don’t slow you down as much as hiking boots might. But if you’re doing some serious hiking with a backpack and gear, lighter shoes aren’t all that important.

If you do decide to go with this option, pay close attention to the grip of the shoes and the way that the bottoms are constructed. Understanding what you need, and what you should avoid, is absolutely key, even if you plan on only hiking gentler trails.

Getting a Grip

Now that you have an understanding of the different shoe and boot options available, it’s time to talk a bit about lug patterns. Lug patterns are the various patterns that are printed on the bottom of your footwear. Essentially, they’re what gives your boot or shoe a good grip…or the opposite.

Hiking boots and hiking shoes offer specialized lug patterns designed with the various terrains of hiking trails in mind. But more specifically, you’ll want to keep an eye out for a shoe that has deep, thick lugs that are widely spaced apart from one another. This will allow you to have a better grip when hiking, and thus, hold traction and prevent slipping or falling.

The wide-spaced lug pattern helps prevent you from trapping too much dirt and mud in your shoes, causing them to not work as designed. This is why athletic shoes, which often have a closer-spaced lug pattern, are a bad idea when hiking.

A heel brake is an indented space between the heel and forefront of your footwear. You’re going to want to pick a shoe or boot with a bigger heel break and large heel to help prevent you from sliding while climbing up a trail.

It’s worth mentioning that proper footwear can go a long way in preventing you from getting injured while hiking, but you should always follow the recommended hiking safety tips. It’s also a good idea to pack the proper medical supplies for a hike and be careful when exploring the trails.

The Various Materials

Of course, like with any other footwear, you can find hiking boots and shoes made from a wide variety of materials. Most of which are designed with durability in mind, as well as the ability to get a bit wet, as trails often have streams or other running water throughout them. Not to mention tree cover will obviously slow down puddles drying after a rain.

Various types of leather are often found on backpacking boots, as the material is durable and friendlier to water than others, but you’ll also see shoes and boots made from polyester. Materials like polyester make a boot or shoe lighter but typically aren’t as durable or water-friendly.

Some boots come even packed with synthetic insulation to help keep your feet warmer when hiking in colder climates. Most boots have a built-in insole designed for comfort as well, but purchasing your own additionally isn’t a bad idea, either.

If leather isn’t your style, or you’re someone who’s interested in hiking boots or shoes made from vegan-friendly materials, you’ll find lots of other options available.

Finding the Proper Fit

When it comes to any kind of performance shoe, a proper fit is an absolute must. Nothing can ruin your hike faster than a hiking boot or shoe that doesn’t fit properly.

That’s why it’s a good idea to go out of your way to try on multiple pairs of boots or shoes. Don’t be afraid to walk around the store for a bit in them before deciding. Also, be sure to wear proper hiking socks when trying them on and bring any insoles you plan to use to get a true fit.

And if you’re ordering hiking boots online, make sure that the seller has a good return policy, in case you get them and aren’t happy with the fit.

Last, but not least, you’re going to want to break in your boots or shoes before adventuring out into the wild with them. So, if you can, wear them around the house or to the grocery store, so you can make them a bit more comfortable before using them on a long hike.

What to Look out for When Buying Hiking Boots

Well, there you have it! Those are a few different things you should be on the lookout for when shopping for hiking boots or shoes. As long as you keep these details in mind, you should be good to go!

Remember: if you’re serious about hiking and plan on exploring some more advanced trails, you’ll need a good boot. Be on the lookout for optimal ankle support, proper lugs, and a boot that fits well.

If you think a hiking shoe is all you need, be sure to pay close attention to the lugs, so you don’t get a shoe that increases your chances of falling or slipping while hiking.

Once you’ve got your boots or shoes, break them in if you can before going on a long hike. And don’t forget to wear the right kind of socks, so you can avoid any blisters, which can also ruin a perfectly good hike.

Planning on going hiking soon? Check out our blog post on why you need a good pair of hiking sticks to go with those boots or shoes!

By Kokoda Gear

Great Tips And Tricks For Building Your Camping Kitchen During Your Next Trip

The great Australian outdoors is calling you, and you’re ready to begin your adventure. Thinking about how to assemble a camping kitchen? Although roasting marshmallows over a bonfire is one of the ultimate camping experiences, you’re not just relegated to cooking over an open flame and eating smoke-flavored food!

Just as hiking sticks and comfortable, sturdy shoes are necessary for hiking, so is your camping kitchen gear. In fact, with the proper gear, you can comfortably prepare food as if you were in your own kitchen. Read on to learn some tips and tricks on how to build your own camping kitchen!

1. Getting Organised

Organization is one of the most important tenets of camping kitchens. Although it seems like a lot of work upfront, you’ll be saving yourself from a lot of stress later on.

Since you don’t have cabinets, drawers, and shelves, you need to come up with a system that helps you account for all your gear and avoid forgetting things at home. You also want to avoid your kitchen tools and utensils resting on dirty surfaces.

Here are some ideas to keep things organized:

  • Transparent plastic bins – Not only can you see inside and keep track of what tools are where, but they also stack comfortably in the back of cars.
  • Reusable bags – This is another option if you don’t have room for plastic bins. One idea is to organize each bag by meal.
  • Portable cutlery organizers – It can be hard to keep track of your dinnerware; these organizers give you a place for everything.
  • Foldable table – You may not have a picnic bench near your campsite, and cooking on a clean, flat surface is considerably easier than hunched on the ground.
  • Portable camp kitchens – These are a step up from foldable tables. They have dedicated spaces for your cooking supplies and utensils, though they can be considerably more expensive than a simple table.
  • Plastic egg holder – These are a must-have if you’re planning on bringing eggs along on your trip. Eggs can easily jostle and break in their regular cartons.

2. Camp Sink

kitchen sink for camping kitchen

Besides cooking, keeping your dishes clean can be a hassle. Even if you don’t have access to running water, you still have options.

Here are the items you need to set up a camping dishwashing station:

  1. Three sinks – These can be collapsible sinks, plastic bins, or regular buckets. All that matters is that they can hold water and your dishes fit inside.
  2. Sponge – You need an abrasive surface to help scrub off food particles on your dishes.
  3. Biodegradable soap – Dish detergent is harsh on the environment. Make sure to keep the soap at least 200 feet away from any natural water source, and you’ll be doing the environment a favor.
  4. Sanitiser – An alternative to bleach is Steramine. It’s gentle on your skin and more effective than bleach against viruses.
  5. Metal strainer – This removes solid food particles from your gray water.
  6. Chamois cloth – Chamois is a great material because it’s super absorbent, making dish drying faster. You don’t want to leave the dishes out and wet because they can easily accumulate dirt.
chamois cloth for camping kitchen

Once you have all these items together, washing dishes will be a breeze. To make things easier on yourself, make sure everyone is given proportions of food they’ll actually finish!

After you clean off as much food residue from your plates as possible, warm up some water and fill up your sinks. The next steps are simple:

  1. Wash sink – Mix a few drops of your biodegradable soap into this sink. Starting with the cleanest dishes, scrub them until they’re entirely clean.
  2. Rinse sink – You’ll dunk your plates into the plain warm water here till all the soap suds are gone.
  3. Sanitize sink – Mix your sanitizing agent into the water here. You’ll use either two teaspoons of bleach or one Steramine tablet per gallon of water. This ensures that your dishes are completely disinfected, especially if they’ve been in contact with raw meat.
  4. Towel dry and dispose of – Towel dries all your dishes, then consolidate your gray water into one sink. Strain out the food scraps with your metal strainer, and dispose of the gray water at your campground’s facilities. If your campground doesn’t have any drain water basins, broadcast or spray the water out over a large area, so that it absorbs into the soil quickly and reduces the environmental impact on the area.

4. Cookware, Tools, and Accessories

Now that you know how to clean your dishes, what will you be cooking with? Many of the most useful pieces of cookware are made from cast iron, as they can be used over a stove or an open fire. Cast iron also has great heat retention so that your meals stay warm after they leave the stove or fire.

  • Cast Iron Dutch Oven – This is one of the most versatile pieces of camp cookware. Its short legs and rimmed lid allow you to place coals above and below for even heat distribution, allowing you to prepare anything from stews to braised chicken.
  • Cast Iron Skillet – This pairs well with your cast iron Dutch oven. It can toast, sear, and bake.
  • Cast Iron Griddle – This gives you more space if you’re cooking for large groups.
camping kitchen kit

Purchasing dedicated camp utensils and storing them in one place is far easier than hunting around your kitchen for all the different pieces. These include:

  • Tongs
  • Can Opener
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Spatula
  • Metal Skewers
  • Collapsible Measuring Cups
  • Heat Resistant Gloves
  • Beer/Wine Bottle Opener

5. Tableware and Drinkware

Ceramic plates are too fragile, while plastic utensils are wasteful and in the long run not as cost-effective if you camp often. For plates, bowls, and silverware go with enamel, a far more durable material than ceramic.

Your drinkware depends on what you’re planning to drink! If you like coffee or tea in the morning then some insulated mugs or tumblers will keep your drink the same temperature. There are shatterproof wine glasses if you’d like a glass of wine in front of a roaring fire, and Nalgene bottles are perfect for water and juice.

camping bowls

6. Knives

Knives deserve their own section because a good set of knives will save you a lot of frustration, and are also important for your safety. For instance, you don’t want to chop an onion with a pocket knife, and dull knives make you more prone to slipping and cutting yourself.

Chef’s Knife

If you only have a budget for one knife, invest in a good chef’s knife. This is because they’re multipurpose and can do everything from peeling an apple to chopping raw meat.

Knife Set

Knife sets can be an inexpensive option if you want more versatility in your camp kitchen. Opt for knives that come with their own protective sheathes, so they don’t get dulled or hurt anyone while they’re being transported.

7. Camp Stoves

Camp stoves are necessary if you want to have easy cooking experience in the outdoors! There are many different kinds of camp stoves available, and what you choose depends on the kind of mobility you need.

Since you and your camping buddies or family will be at a campsite, a standard propane campground stove is perfect for your needs. These are durable, reliable stoves, and many of them come with two burners or even a grill.

If you’re worried about space in your car, there are also semi-portable campground stoves available. While they work just as well, they lack some of the features of standard-sized stoves.

Extra Tips

Here are some tips that are learned from experience:

  • Plan your meals – It’s easier to plan your meals and store the correct amount of ingredients rather than pack too much or too little.
  • Bring aluminum foil – Aluminum foil is a must-have. You can wrap food within it to cook over an open fire, cover your plates to avoid dirt and bugs, or simply to keep your food warm.
  • Test your camp stove – You don’t want to arrive at your campsite with no way to cook your food!
  • Chop meat and vegetables before you leave – It’s far easier to prep in your kitchen rather than the campsite.

The Best Camping Kitchen

As you can see, investing in a few pieces of equipment can make your cooking experience a pleasurable one. Without organization, simple storage solutions, an efficient way to clean your dishes, and the proper equipment, you’ll be spending more time trying to get your camping kitchen together and less time enjoying the great outdoors!

If you’re planning on camping often, putting together your camping kitchen kit will save you a lot of time in the future.

Want to read more informative articles on the best gear for camping? Check out our camping and hiking gear guides!

Euroka Campground
By Kokoda Gear

Camping Tents and Supplies: Here Are The Top 10 Items You Need For Your Next Camping Trip

Are you tired of city life and ready for adventure? Or do you simply want to de-stress and breathe in some fresh air? Looking through a catalogue for camping tents all prepared to head into the great outdoors?

As fun and relaxing as camping can be, preparing your camping supplies can be just the opposite. Even the sheer amount of camping tents, one of the main but not only pieces of necessary camping gear, can be overwhelming.

We’re here to offer some guidance. Read on for the 10 essential camping supplies for your next camping trip!

1. Camping Tents

Protection from the elements is a must, especially if you’re adventuring around Australia, and tents give you that true camping experience. Once you start searching, It’s easy to get hung up on which tent you should buy.

Here are the common tent shapes you’ll find in stores and online, and a brief description of each:

  • Ridge/A-frame – These are great at dealing with rain and bad weather, and generally simple to set-up. They can be heavy, and don’t give you a lot of headroom.
ridge camping tents
  • Dome – These are inexpensive tents that are easy to put up and take down. They also offer more headroom than A-frame tents. However, they’re unstable in the wind or bad weather.
dome camping tents
  • Tunnel (or Swag tent) – These are great for larger groups because they give you a good amount of headroom and livable space. They’re heavy, and while they can hold up to wind, heavy rain is prone to pool on top.
swag camping tents
  • Geodesic – This is much like a dome tent with added poles and much greater stability. They give you a good amount of headroom and are lightweight. They can be expensive and aren’t great for large groups.
geodesic camping tents
  • Cabin – These tents are perfect for camping with your family because you can stand up in them and even divide them into rooms with internal dividers. They’re also fairly inexpensive. However, they’re heavy and complicated to set up.
cabin camping tents
  • Pyramid – These are probably the simplest tents. They typically have a single central pole with the corners and edges staked down. If pitched well, they’re very stable in bad weather and are easy to set up. Since there are no vertical walls, your space is limited, and they don’t usually have groundsheets.
pyramid camping tents

Take into account how many people are camping with you, your location, the predicted weather, and what type of camper you are. This will greatly narrow down your options!

2. Sleeping Bags

Much like camping tents, you need to take into account all the specifics of your trip to find a sleeping bag that’s both comfortable and functional.

Temperature Rating

One of the most important features to pay attention to is the sleeping bag temperature rating. You want to choose one that has a lower temperature rating than the lowest nighttime temperature you expect when you camp.

Summer season bag types are -1 degrees Celsius (30 degrees Fahrenheit) and higher. Three-season bags are -10 to -1 Celsius (15 to 30 Fahrenheit). Lastly, winter bags are rated -10 degrees (15 Fahrenheit) and lower.

Sleeping Bag Shapes

You want a sleeping bag that will give you enough room to stretch and move around. There are three main shapes:

  1. Rectangular – These give your arms and legs room to stretch out, and can even be unzipped all the way to use as a comforter.
  2. Semi-rectangular – This is a broad term for a variety of shapes that differ from the rectangular shape. They’re also called “modified mummy” and “barrel” shape. These make a compromise between added warmth and less space.
  3. Mummy – These bags have a very snug fit in order to keep yourself as warm as possible.

There are additional features, accessories, and insulation types to take into account, but once you narrow down your choice of sleeping bag shape, the rest of your decisions should be fairly simple!

3. Firewood

You can’t have an authentic camping trip without a cozy evening campfire. The easiest way to obtain firewood is to buy it at your location, but if this isn’t possible you’ll need to forage. Here are some rules of thumb to keep your fire burning long and bright:

  1. Look for dry wood with as little bark as possible
  2. Collect a mixture of hard and softwoods
  3. Give yourself enough time before sundown to search
  4. An armful of wood is about 45 minutes of fire – make sure you get enough!
  5. Don’t burn anything larger than an adult’s wrist

4. Water Jug

Besides bringing along a refillable canteen, it’s important that you also take some emergency precautions. Make sure you have some sturdy emergency water storage containers stowed away in case of emergencies.

Calculate how much water you think you’ll need for cooking, cleaning, and drinking. Ensure that it’s made out of sturdy material, and if you’re short on space you can purchase collapsible containers.

5. Cooler

Now that water is taken care of, you need a cooler to keep your food cold. Note that coolers are also multipurpose – they can be used as a prep station or temporary bench as well! The best coolers will be long-lasting, highly insulated to keep food cold for the duration of your trip, and easy to clean.

6. Portable Stove

You’re probably not going to cook above a campfire every night, and camping stoves make it easy to prepare meals. You can also opt to use a grill on top of your fire pit with a cast-iron pan to cook in, but you don’t want to stand over a hot campfire for your entire camping trip.

There are many different options you can choose from; here’s a brief description of each:

  • Standard Propane Stove – These are durable, reliable stoves and are a great choice if you plan on feeding a lot of people. Although there are “semi-portable” versions, they’re still too bulky to backpack with.
  • Canister Backpacking Stove – Unlike standard propane stoves, these are extremely light and very portable. This makes them perfect for backpacking, kayaking, and other activities that have you moving from location to location.
  • BioLite Camp Stoves – To use these stoves, you pack them with twigs and leaves, then light them from the bottom. They also produce electricity.
  • Wood/Charcoal Ovens – Like the standard propane stove, these are great options if you need to feed a lot of people and don’t plan on changing locations. These stoves run off wood or charcoal.

7. Hot Water Heater

There are many options available, from pots of water over a camping stove to a percolator over your campfire. It’s a great way to make sure your dishes are clean, and it gives you more beverage and dining options, for instance, if you want to make coffee or oatmeal.

8. Games

Remember that camping is about disconnecting from modern life, and that means keeping your device use to a minimum. Cards and board games are a great way to keep you occupied, and help you create fun, lasting memories with loved ones.

9. Lantern

It’s important that you take flashlights along, but lanterns are even more important. Stumbling in the dark without a hiking stick is less prone to happen when your path is well lit!

From reading in your tent to lighting a dark trail, the best lanterns will give you hours of reliable light. Here are some important features to take into account:

  • Brightness – You need around 100 to 200 lumens per lantern. Larger groups will need 200 to 400.
  • Fuel Type – Electric lanterns are safe, fuel-efficient, and weigh less than fuel-burning lanterns. Solar lanterns are also a great option.
  • Durability – Your lantern needs to be rugged and durable. Waterproofing is also another important feature, especially if you’re kayaking or spending a lot of time near water.

10. Camping Chairs

Yes, you’re out in the middle of nature and away from modern life, but that doesn’t mean you have to be uncomfortable! Camping chairs are an absolute necessity to trade tales around the fire to relaxing by a nearby lake or river to fish.

The best camping chairs will fold up easily, but will also be able to withstand rough weather while still remaining comfortable. Of course, the camp chairs you choose also depends on whether you’re camping or backpacking.

Preparation is Key

From camping tents to camping chairs, now you know the top 10 essential items for camping. By taking into account your location, the weather, and the number of people you’re traveling with, you can make your first camping experience fun and stress-free.

Ready to read more articles to be as informed and prepared as possible before your camping trip? Continue reading our camping and hiking gear guides for informative articles.

black gum camping showers
By Kokoda Gear

The Importance Of Camping Showers: Best Ways To Maintain Cleanliness On Your Outdoor Trip

Camping showers are a tremendous invention. Over the past two years, over 11.84 million people went camping in Australia.

From spending time in a caravan to shacking up in tents, camping is a popular activity and accounts for over $7 billion in revenue each year—and that number is only increasing!

But what about proper hygiene when you’re on the road?

Although you can have great personal hygiene with simple tricks like packing multiple outfits, bringing extra water to hand wash, and using natural water for bathing, that sometimes doesn’t do the trick. Camping showers—whether at your location or self-created—are the best way to maintain cleanliness on your next camping trip.

And whether you’ve gone camping plenty of times or are just heading out on your first outdoor excursion, here’s everything you need to know about showering and staying clean while traveling.

black gum camping showers

Camping Hygiene: The Basics

Camping is all about minimalism. Although you might be tempted to pack all of your hygiene essentials—from bath soap to body lotion—it’s not feasible (or smart) when you’re on the road. You might not have space, for one. It’s also hard to find shower facilities sometimes. Which is why you need to plan ahead.

However, that doesn’t mean you should abandon personal hygiene altogether! The first step is to create a straightforward hygiene routine that relies solely on the essentials.

Create a Basic Hygiene Kit

Beyond the camping essentials—like water, map/compass, and a first aid kit—you’ll want to have your hygiene necessities, too. Here are your must-haves: toothbrush and toothpaste, soap, shampoo, clapstick, sunscreen, towels, toilet supplies and toilet paper, and any feminine hygiene products (if applicable).

Change Your Shower Habits to Be More Camping-Friendly

You might not have a shower on your camping trip. If this is the case, you’ll have to create another solution. Rather than trying to find full-on camping showers (which may or may not be available), opt for a daily rinse. This can be as simple as splashing water on your face or body with biodegradable soap, or even using camping wipes.

Bring Hand Sanitizer

For anything related to your hands, opt for hand sanitizer. Since you probably won’t find a sink anywhere and you won’t want to waste all your body/face wipes washing your hands, sanitizer is a great alternative. It’s also smart to have on hand for when you need to go to the bathroom in the woods!

Pack Extra Clothing and Undergarments

Extra clothes and undergarments are a must. If you’re really trying to be a minimalist while camping, be sure you opt for extra undergarments. But if space isn’t a serious issue, make sure you have a few changes of clothes.

After a long day in the woods, or especially if you’re going to be hiking or walking, having a new set of clothing to change into is invaluable. Even if you simply change your clothes rather than have a full shower, the new clothing will make you feel clean and refreshed.

It’s best not to bring or wear cotton since this type of fabric tends to soak up sweat the quickest. Cotton is also a type of fabric that gets dirty quickly and can cause chafing.

A tip is to opt for synthetic clothing, which is moisture-wicking and lightweight. This helps to limit bacteria and remove excess sweat, leaving you feeling refreshed (even after a grueling hike).

Other Cleanliness Tips

If you’re really trying to be conservative with packing and space, you can also use products like dry shampoo to substitute bringing shampoo, conditioner, and other hair-washing products.

Some campers recommend bringing a strong deodorant to mask any odors and eliminate the need for showers. But if you’re camping in an area that may have bears, a precaution is to actually not bring deodorant as it may attract bears and other wildlife to your campsite.

Camping Showers: The Basics

Learning tips and tricks for camping hygiene is great, but sometimes a change of clothes, a splash rinse, or even a wipe down won’t do the trick. If you’re feeling sticky and sweaty from sunscreen, bug spray, and hours in the water/sun, you’ll probably need a shower.

Sometimes you’ll get lucky and stay at a campground that offers showers. And sometimes you won’t. If you’re faced with the latter—don’t stress—you can create your own.

Here are the options and how to get started:

Option #1: The Solar Shower

solar camping showers

A solar camp shower (like it sounds) relies on the sun for warmth. To create this type of shower, all you need is a large bag that you can hang from a tree or higher post. You’ll use the sun to warm the water. And gravity will help the water flow.

Option #2: The Bucket Shower

bucket camping showers

Similar to a sponge bath in nature, a bucket shower is just that: a shower in a bucket. All you need to do is simply fill the bucket with water (warm or cold) and add biodegradable, eco-friendly soap.

Toss a washcloth in the bucket and use that to sponge off different parts of your body and rinse. You can also use the bucket to pour water over your head or other parts of your body if it’s not too heavy.

A tip with these sorts of camping showers is to be sure you have access to water or pack enough of your own. If you’re only packing cold water, keep the bucket in the sun so it can warm up before use.

Option #3: The Portable Shower

Another option for camping showers is to invest in a portable shower. This is something that you can simply purchase online or from a camping store. Similar to the solar shower that hangs, a portable shower can hang from anywhere and is heated naturally by the sun.

As opposed to a DIY bag, the portable shower has an easy-to-use, refillable interior bag that can be easily rinsed and used again and again. It also has proper spouts that allow you to change the amount of water that comes out, or even close the spout when it’s not in use.

Other Shower Tips for Camping

When it comes to showering in nature, remember that you can always rely on natural options to help you. If you’re by a waterfall, for example, take advantage of the fresh running water! As long as you invest in biodegradable, safe soap that won’t hurt the environment, you can easily use your surroundings to have a totally natural, and totally refreshing shower.

When it comes to drying off, towels can be bulky. Rather than bringing traditional towels (which are fluffy, get dirty easily and take ages to dry) or beach towels (which are bulky), use a microfiber towel.

Microfiber towels can roll or fold up to be super small, thus saving you space. They also come in different sizes for flexibility. There are various size options for use on your face, hands, or body. Compared to other towels, microfiber is one of the quickest-drying materials – a huge plus for your outdoor adventures.

Now You’re Ready to Go Camping

Camping is a load of fun. But before you head out it’s important to think about your personal hygiene. Having poor hygiene can create a miserable outdoor experience for both you and your camping partners, especially if you’re going to be in nature for more than a couple of days. Yuck!

Beyond a simple change of clothes or a wipe-down, you have to think about other hygiene methods—anything from packing a hygiene kit to creating a camping shower can help create a more pleasant experience for everyone.

And it’s infinitely better to do this before you head out! Stores to buy eco-friendly soap or microfiber towels will be scarce once you leave the city limits.

Whether you’ve been camping all your life and are browsing for some new tips, or are just starting to plan your first excursion, we hope reading this guide has given you some great ideas about personal cleanliness, camping showers, and hygiene must-haves.

If you have any other camping or hygiene-related questions, or you want to read about other awesome camping spots, trails, and hikes in Australia, feel free to browse our website or reach out to us directly. Happy camping!

By Kokoda Gear

3 Reasons Why You Should Have Hiking Poles

Hiking poles have a history of being either praised or shunned. Some people believe they are incredibly helpful while others think they are cumbersome and unnecessary. We have found that the benefits far outweigh the issues some may have with them. We are going to go over the reasons why you should take trekking poles on your next hike.

Whether they are called hiking poles, walking poles, trekking poles, Nordic walking poles, or hiking sticks, they all serve the same basic purpose. They make it easier for you to hike. Hiking can sometimes be a challenging and grueling feat, although it does not have to be that way. Here are the reasons you should get a pair of poles to make your outdoor adventures more enjoyable.

hiking poles

Check out some awesome hiking poles here.

Less Strain on Your Knees

The older you get, the more your knees hurt, especially when you are applying plenty of pressure on them. Using trekking poles allows you to redistribute your weight away from your legs and into the poles. Hiking poles and walking sticks can shift anywhere from two pounds to 10% of your weight each time you take a step. If you are going to be going up steep hills and mountains or going down large declines, you will be thanking yourself for getting walking poles.

Less Fatigue

Since you will be redistributing your weight into the walking sticks, you will be able to preserve more of your energy and reduce fatigue. You are giving your muscles and joints more rest than they would have if you decided to go on a hike without them. Going downhill is when you would really notice a difference. You will be able to put your poles out in front of you as you descend down a hill and take some of the pressure off your quads and knees. You can essentially avoid stumbling from fatigue thanks to trekking poles.

More Stability and Balance

Imagine yourself on a bike with two wheels. You have to work harder at maintaining stability and balance. This is why children learn how to ride a bike by first riding a tricycle, which has four wheels. Having four points of contact with the ground, you are able to stay more balanced. This becomes very evident whenever you are attempting to cross running water, especially where there are slippery rocks. When you are wearing a hiking pack, your center of gravity shifts from what it usually is. Having a pair of walking poles will help you stay more balanced.

Read more about the benefits of hiking poles.

Types of Hiking Poles and Walking Sticks

There are different kinds of hiking poles and walking sticks to choose from. Depending on which type you get, you will have specific kinds of features which will help you with your hike, as well as setting up your camp. All of the hiking poles you can get today are going to make your hikes easier and more enjoyable. Here are some of the most common types of poles you will find.

Adjustable Poles

There are trekking poles which can telescope out into longer poles. Depending on how tall you are and what you will be using the poles for, you can adjust your poles with a simple lever lock. When it comes to the telescoping mechanism, there are a few varieties to choose from. Some poles have two sections whereas others have three. There are also foldi wanglking sticks. These are a newcomer onto the trekking pole scene, being some of the lightest and compact hiking poles you can get.

Aluminum and Carbon Fiber

You will find hiking poles made with one of two kinds of material: aluminum or carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is light and stiffer. The downside is that they are more prone to snapping if they get dented or hit really hard. Aluminum is heavier, but not by much. They can get dented and be fixed by bending them back into place. Poles made out of aluminum are more affordable than their carbon fiber cousins.

Basket Size

A basket on a trekking pole is the circular disc, usually sporting holes. The basket size will differ depending on what type of terrain and climate the hiking poles are designed to be used in. Baskets with larger diameters are generally used in snowy environments. If you try to use these out in the bush, you will get them caught on roots and bushes. There are also poles with removable baskets, so if you are planning to go hiking in different types of terrain, these would be a good type of pole to get.

Grip Material and Ergonomic Shape

There is a wide array of grip types out there when it comes to trekking poles. These grip handles are made out of either cork, rubber, or foam. Cork grips are the most favored because of how well they mold to your hands. They also stay cooler than others, which is nice when you are working up a sweat while hiking. Rubber grips are waterproof, which makes them great for wet climates and weather. For drier environments, cork and foam are the best. Foam grips are the softest of all three kinds of grips. They also keep your hands cool, so this is a great choice for hot climates. They are also the lightest material. Cork also works well in hot environments, so it makes for a nice, more natural, alternative to foam.

5 of the Best Hiking Poles and Walking Sticks

There are many hiking poles to choose from. Depending on what materials they are made of and what your intended use for them is, you will find different styles of trekking poles. Here are the best hiking poles and walking sticks you can get right now.

Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork

Black Diamond Alpine Carbine Cork Hiking Pole

This pair of trekking poles uses premium cork with dual-density tops. There is even a foam extension for additional non-slip support. The poles themselves are made using carbon fiber, being comprised of three sections. They also feature dual flick locks, ensuring you can easily telescope the hiking poles. These telescope anywhere from 25″ up to 51″ in length and weigh 17 ounces. The best uses for these poles are backpacking, thru-hiking, and everyday use.

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Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock

Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock

These walking poles have dual-density foam grips. They also have foam extensions for extra anti-slip support. An interesting feature of these is the included shock absorbers. These can help you have a less bumpy walk when you are out in the bush. The locks on these poles are dual flick locks as well. The pole tips are interchangeable, meaning you can sport either rubber or carbide tips depending on what type of terrain you are hiking through. These aluminum poles extend anywhere from 27″ up to 55″ in length and weight 20 ounces. These are best used for backpacking, thru-hiking, and everyday use.

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Montem Ultra Strong

Montem Strong Hiking Stick

These poles are made from 7075 aluminum, like the kind airplanes are made out of. For those on a budget, yet still seeking out good quality trekking poles, these are a great choice. The flick lock mechanisms make for an easy adjustment to your preferred pole length. These poles extend from 24″ to 53″ and weigh 19.2 ounces. The foam grips ensure you will avoid tensing up your hands. These are best used for day hikes and backpacking.

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High Stream Gear Foldable Hiking & Trekking Poles

high stream gear

If you are looking for an affordable set of folding trekking poles, then these are ones which you will want to look into getting. These are made out of airplane-quality aluminum, making them lightweight and strong. The poles fold down to 14.5″ which makes them especially compact. The trekking poles have tungsten carbide tips, although they are not interchangeable with softer ones. These are best when used for day hikes and everyday use.

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Hiker Hunger Collapsible Trekking Poles

hiker hunger

For a good quality set of carbon fiber trekking poles, take a look at Hiker Hunger’s poles. Since carbon fiber acts as a natural shock absorber, you can minimize the roughness of your hikes with these hiking poles. These only weigh 15.2 ounces altogether, making for some really light trekking poles. The poles can extend from 24″ up to 54″ and each section can separate into 21″ sections. Their default tips are tungsten carbide, but these poles also come with interchangeable rubber tips as well. These trekking poles are best used for day hikes, backpacking, and thru-hikes.

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Wrapping Up

Depending on what type of terrain and climate you will be hiking on, you will find trekking poles to fit your needs. There are many great options available, so you can be sure to find the style and type that will be a help and support for years to come. No matter what your budget and which poles you choose, you will be doing yourself a service by getting a pair. Save your knees and make your hikes as enjoyable as possible with a pair of hiking poles. You will be glad you did.

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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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Check out some of our other camping guides today.