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Why Bushwalking is Good for You!

It's Throwback Thursday today, and we're re-sharing this blog that was posted a few years ago. We often need to be reminded why we do certain things and why they're good for us. So here's our blog about why bushwalking is good for you! We all live in a hectic world with lots of pressures placed upon us.  We barely have time to take a walk to de-stress and end up overweight, stressed and quite often depressed. This is where Bushwalking Victoria comes in. We are advocates of Bushwalking and have a membership of 64 clubs as well as 4000 individual members and looking for more, but first – why do we love to bushwalk?

2017 11 9 Blog image

  1. Adventure is good for the soul

No matter when or where you go, or the difficulty of the trek, there is something wildly beautiful about hiking and being in the wilderness. Climbing a summit, scaling a ridge, seeing animals in the wild and trekking over new landscapes gives an unspeakable adrenalin rush and a sense of well-being.

  1. Hiking is great for fitness

Pilates with friends and running along the beach is a lot of fun, but sometimes you need to mix it up a little! So go hiking. It’s the perfect way to lift your fitness whilst exploring nature.

  1. It’s affordable

Hiking is cheaper than the gym or a Pilates class.  Depending on where you go, most hiking trails are free although some national parks charge camping fees, but it’s well worth it!

  1. It’s perfect for stress relief

After a hectic and stressful week, the first thing we should do is switch off from technology, get amongst nature and go hiking. Adventure can have some seriously positive effects on stress levels and when combined with the other great aspects of hiking, including overall fitness, you start feeling great immediately.

  1. Nature - Beautiful

The main reason why we love hiking is nature and the company of our fellow hikers. No matter the hike, no matter the location – nothing beats fresh air, wide open spaces and nature. It might be a cloudless sunset, the view on top of a mountain or swimming in a creek - ultimate relaxation.

  1. You’ll never travel the same again

Once you start hiking, your holidays will start looking a little different. You’ll start looking for adventure and more hiking trails, your luggage will consist of hiking boots, poles and the daypack.  You can eat and drink to your hearts’ content without picking up the weight……

  1. In short

Walking is an inexpensive, low risk and accessible form of exercise and it turns out that combined with nature and group settings, it may be a very powerful, under-utilised stress buster. 

Findings suggest that something as simple as joining a Bushwalking Club may not only improve your daily positive emotions but may also contribute a non-pharmacological approach to serious conditions like depression.  Check out our website (link below) to find a club that suits you or give our office a call for some advice on which Bushwalking Club to join.

http://www.bushwalkingvictoria.org.au/club-directory/index.html

Below are a couple of links that confirm why walking is healthy and a favourite past time.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/23/walk-nature-depression_n_5870134.html

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jun/05/best-foot-forward-why-walking-good-for-you

Source: Mr Weekender

How to efficiently pack your backpack

With the long weekend fast approaching, we’re sure (if you’re not interested in the races) that you have many walks planned. If this is the case, we’ve got some handy advice for you regarding packing your backpack!

Packed efficiently, a backpack can swallow an amazing array of gear. But what goes where? There’s no one right way to pack. Lay out all your gear at home and try out different loading routines until you’ve found what works best for you. Use a backpacking checklist to ensure you have everything and make notes on your list about what worked well (or poorly) after each trip.

2017 11 2 Backpack

Packing can be broken down into four zones, plus peripheral storage:

  • Bottom Zone: Good for bulky gear and items not needed until camp e.g. Sleeping bags, coats.
  • Lighter Gear: Perfect for storing towels and lightweight clothing.
  • Heaviest Gear: This is where you store the heaviest items e.g. Tent, camping supplies and electronics. It’s safer for these items to be against your back to help with support.
  • Medium Gear: Good for essentials you’ll need urgently or often.

Fill nooks and crannies until you have a solid, stable load—and be sure weight is equally balanced on each side. Tighten compression straps to streamline your load and prevent it from shifting as you hike.

Bottom of Pack items

2017 11 2 Bottom pack

Bulky items you won’t need before making camp include:

  • Sleeping bag (many packs have a bottom compartment sized for one)
  • Sleeping pad (especially if it rolls into a tiny shape)
  • Any layers, like long underwear, that you plan to sleep in
  • Camp shoes

Packing this kind of soft, squishy gear at the bottom also creates a kind of internal shock-absorption system for your back and your pack.

Core pack items

2017 11 2 Core pack

Heavy, dense gear you won't need to access during your hike includes:

  • Food stash (entrees, not snacks)
  • Cooking kit
  • Stove
  • Water reservoir (unless you prefer bottles for hydration)

Packing heavy items here helps create a stable center of gravity and directs the load downward rather than backward. Placed too low, heavy gear causes a pack to sag; placed too high, it makes a pack feel tippy.

Carrying liquid fuel? Make sure your fuel-bottle cap is tight. Pack the bottle upright and place it below (separated from) your food in case of a spill.

Consider wrapping soft items around bulky gear to prevent shifting. Use these soft items to fill in gaps and create a buffer between bulky items and a water reservoir:

  • Tent body
  • Tent footprint
  • Extra clothing

Tip: Trying to slip a full reservoir into a full pack won’t be easy. Even if it has a separate compartment, it’s best to fill the reservoir and put it in your pack first.

Top-of-pack Items

2017 11 2 Top pack

Bulky trail essentials work well here:

  • Insulated jacket
  • Fleece jacket and pants
  • Rain jacket
  • First-aid kit
  • Water filter or purifier
  • Toilet supplies 

Some people also like to stash their tent at the top of the pack for fast access if stormy weather moves in before they've set up camp.

 Accessory Pockets

2017 11 2 Accessories

Packs differ in what they provide—lid pockets, front pockets, side pockets and hipbelt pockets. Some pockets even have a lot of smaller pockets inside. These options help you organize smaller essentials:

  • Map
  • Compass
  • GPS
  • Sunglasses 
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Headlamp
  • Mortein fly spray  
  • Snacks
  • Water bottles
  • Raincover
  • Car keys (look for a clip inside one of the pockets)
  • ID and cash stash

We hope these tips gave you an insight into efficiently packing your backpack for your next walk. We will leave you with one last suggestion, our most recommended bushwalking backpack Brands, Macpac and Osprey. These brands come in a range of sizes and styles to suit everyone’s preferences. 

2017 11 2 Macpac2017 11 2 Osprey

Lastly, It's important to note that the general rule of thumb is to carry no more than a third of your body weight. That should be your max, so the answer is to carry less than that. Make your bag as light as you can and please be sure to speak with a hiking specialist to ensure your backpack is fitted perfectly to your body. 

Happy Walking!

Source: Rei.com

Tips to avoid the Prickly plants and Slithering Snakes

With Summer on our doorstep, and with the majority of us moving from inside to outside, it’s important to be knowledgeable on what could potentially be lurking outside. Whether it be a poisonous plant or a snapping snake, we’ve got some tips for you.

There are over one thousand species of plants in Australia known to be toxic to humans and animals, according to Australian Geographic, and plenty more that cause irritation and discomfort when interacted with. It would be impossible for you to learn all of them in one sitting, so once you pick your hiking destination, familiarize yourself and your children with the harmful plants native to that area. Below are listed several of the most common dangerous plants to watch out for.

(From left to right: Deadly nightshade, Milk mangrove, (Second row) Angels trumpets, Oleander, (Third Row) Spurge, The Nettle family (Bottom Row) Asthma/Stickweed)

Screen Shot 2017 10 18 at 2.18.42 pm

             

Now that you can put a face to the name, you can ensure that you steer clear of them. Although Bushwalking can seem dangerous, once you have the knowledge of what could potentially cause danger, you can prepare accordingly for any potential situations and you can focus on the fun and healthy aspect that Bushwalking provides.

Snakes

Now, let’s talk about Snakes. A snakebite is more a fear than a reality. Whilst estimates of the incidence of snakebite throughout Australia is several thousand a year, of these only about 300 require antivenom treatment and on average 1-2 cases, a year result in death. Bushwalkers are not identified in the statistics as a high-risk group. Here’s a list of ones to keep an eye on.

1: Copperhead (lowland) 
2: Small-eyed Snake 
3: White-lipped Snake 
4: Eastern Tiger Snake 
5: Red-bellied Black Snake 
6: Eastern Brown Snake 
7: Little Whip Snake 

Prevention

Unprovoked, snakes rarely attack humans. Therefore, do not disturb a snake in your pathway, simply alert the other members of your party to give it a wide berth. Always wear stout footwear and be observant. Take particular care in warm weather, long grass, hollow logs, near water or rocks in sunny positions.

In areas where snakes are prevalent, it is wise to wear long trousers and/or gaiters. Although snakes cannot hear they can detect vibrations in the ground, so walk heavily to encourage them to instinctively flee from your path. When camping, use a tent with an integral floor and always zip up the doors. Use a torch at night.

Recognition

Victims usually know they have been bitten. Symptoms may appear 15 minutes to 2 hours after the bite and may be mild or severe, depending on the species and the bite. Symptoms include double vision, headache, nausea, and vomiting, sweating, faintness, diarrhea, chest pain, difficulty swallowing or breathing, swollen lymph glands in groin or armpit, drowsiness.

Treatment

The principle of the treatment of snake bite is to reduce the amount of venom that reaches the bloodstream by applying firm pressure over the bitten area and minimizing movement by the victim. The lower leg is the most vulnerable to snakebite when bushwalking. If a member of the party is bitten:

  1. Immediately apply firm pressure over the bite site.
  2. Lay the victim down and keep them calm and at complete rest.
  3. Apply a broad firm bandage to the bitten area and around as much of the limb as possible, without removing clothing if this means moving the limb. Bandage as tightly as for a sprain and work up the limb to include the joint above the bite site.
  4. Immobilize the limb with a makeshift splint.
  5. Constantly observe the patient for shock and respiratory failure. Dispatch other member/s of the party with knowledge of your location to bring outside help to transport the patient.
  6. If external help is unavailable, the best option is probably to rest for a day or two, and then proceed to the nearest civilization taking care to minimize stress to the patient.

DO NOT deliberately disturb a snake.
DO NOT walk in sandals or thongs.
DO NOT cut or wash a bite - venom on bandages can be used to identify the snake, which is required to ensure the correct anti-venom is used.
DO NOT apply an arterial tourniquet.

If you yourself, or a fellow bushwalker encounter a snake bite, we highly recommend the use of ‘Setopress’ bandages. The link to this product is here. As always, please ensure you have the Emergency app easily accessible on your mobile device. If you don’t already have it, you can download it here.

Happy walking!

Source:  Compare the Market - a parent’s guide to safe Australian bushwalks, Bushwalking Victoria.

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Current Campaigns

Bushwalking Victoria's advocacy efforts aim to proactively influence decisions that impact on bushwalking and bushwalkers in Victoria, by engaging with key decision makers and land managers such as Parks Victoria and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP)to ensure that bushwalking issues and opportunities are understood and considered when policies and decisions are made that impact on the bushwalking community in Victoria.

Below is a list of campaigns that we encourage you to join:

 


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