Pack 20-40 litres carrying capacity. The pack must be large enough to contain clothes and equipment to cover all weather conditions that may be encountered on the walk. Line it with a strong plastic bag or Dry Sack to keep contents dry. A pack rain cover is useful for extra protection in wet weather. Ensure the pack fits your body size and shape and is comfortable to carry for long periods. Women's packs are cut specifically for the female figure.
Water bottle or hydration pack Use aluminium or heavy duty BPA-free plastic water bottles, sufficient for 1-2 litres of water in summer or 1 litre in winter. Alternatively, a hydration pack fits inside the back pack and is accessed by sipping water through a tube.
Topographical map Maps should be laminated or protected in a map case.
Compass Purchase a compass specifically made for bushwalking. A small magnifier in the base plate is helpful for seeing the fine detail in a map. Learn and regularly practice how to use a map and compass.
GPS A GPS is optional, however it is unwise to rely on GPS alone. ALWAYS carry a map and compass.
Torch A compact LED torch gives the brightest light. Torch brightness is measured in lumens. More lumens means more light. A head torch is preferable to a hand held torch, making it easier to handle a map or clamber over rocks.
Whistle can be used to summon help in an emergency
Survival sack This is a large orange plastic bag used for emergency shelter.
Additional food Carry some muesli bars or other food in case of a delayed return
Rain jacket and trousers Pack rain protection even if the weather is sunny, as conditions can change without warning.
Spare clothing A fleece jacket, hat and gloves are useful for an unexpected change of weather conditions.
Trekking poles These are optional. Using two trekking poles enhances stability on rough terrain and eases the strain on joints. They fold or collapse to fit into a backpack, or attach by straps to the pack exterior.
Mobile phone Note that a mobile phone may not have reception in many areas, including urban national parks, and you should not rely on a phone as the sole means of summoning help in an emergency. Also note that your phone expends more energy seeking/changing between mobile phone towers, so when walking in bush and remote area your phone will typically discharge its battery more quickly as a result.
Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) At least one person in the group should carry a PLB. In life threatening situations the PLB can be used to summon emergency services. A PLB with GPS can locate a lost or injured bushwalker to within 10m. Beacons without GPS have an accuracy of 5km.
Trip plan Always leave a copy with a responsible person who can summon help if you don't return at the expected time.
Waterproof matches or a fire steel You may need to light a campfire in an emergency situation.
Sunscreen Water resistant SPF 30+.
Insect repellent Repellents should contain the ingredients DEET or Picardin if walking in areas known for ticks, or mosquitoes that could carry Ross River or Barmah Forest viruses.
First Aid Kit (see below)
Watch A watch is essential for monitoring the progress of the walk.
Sunglasses Wearing sunglasses is just as important as applying sunscreen to your skin for protection from UV radiation.
Duct tape A small quantity of duct tape can be used for emergency repairs of backpack straps, loose boot soles and tents.
Trowel A compact trowel or an old spoon are useful for burying toilet paper and human waste.