1. Foot care, foot care, foot care! (great shoes with crappy socks is money well wasted!) Put foot powder in a ziplock bag that you take with you, stick your feet in there before you put your socks on. Repeat this exercise during your lunch break, in order to keep your feet dry and hopefully blister free.
  2. Sleep warm! Rather too hot in summer than too cold in winter. Spend the money and get a down sleeping bag. It will last you much longer than a hollow fibre one, you’ll make up the price difference in four years.
  3. Use your sleeping bag’s stuff bag as a pillow, stuffing your fleece or jacket in there.
  4. Rent a tent – if you’re only going on a long hike once every few years, rent a light weight, good quality tent for that time, rather than buying a cheap one for Christmas.
  5. Use two hiking poles. This is much better for weight distribution and helps a lot to take the pressure off your knees and legs.
  6. Every time you rest for 5min or more, take off your boots and put your socks in the sun. Dry feet and dry socks prevent blisters.
  7. Take a needle, thread and spirits. If you get blisters, sterilize a needle and thread in the spirit and pull a short piece of thread through the blister and leave it there. It drains the blister and prevents it from forming again.
  8. Take tasty but light and easy-to-make food, eg mince and mash. Cook lean mince at home with salt and pepper. Dry overnight in oven at low heat (like rusks). Before preparing it soak in water, then cook it and add a packet of Royco or Knor mince powder. Eat with instant mash.
  9. Take a 5L collapsible water container. When putting up camp collect water, add purifying tablets so you don’t have to run for water all the time.
  10. Plan and pack for long hikes in groups of 3. That way you share a stove, medical kit, meals etc. This reduces pack weight.
  11. There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes, wear the right stuff!
  12. Blisters aren’t good for misters or sisters, wearing 2 pairs of socks will help prevent blistering
  13. Bring a compass, make sure you know where you going and how to get there and that someone at home knows where you going and how to get there.
  14. Put a heavy duty plastic bag in your backpack before packing, you don’t want anything to get wet.
  15. Thermal First Ascent underwear – super light, super warm! I never leave my First Ascent thermal sleeping bag liner.
  16. Proper first aid kit, good communication amongst everyone hiking with you and a proper emergency plan!
  17. Learn how different lacing methods affect the feel of your boot. For example when coming back down the mountain, if your boots are a bit small and your toes start to touch in front, try to tighten the front loops.
  18. Adjust your pack exactly to your requirements at the time. Even during the day a strap might slip or you might walk with a different posture as you get tired. Towards the end of the trip if my hips are sore, I put some weight on the shoulder straps (which officially you should not do!).
  19. If you have a liquid fuel stove (MSR etc) take a syringe and a small plastic bottle of meths for priming. This works especially well in cold weather.
  20. Get plastic screwtop bottles from the chemist – they are useful for whisky or whatever you drink; and meths to prime the stove.
  21. Always carry a beanie/balaclava and enough warm and waterproof clothes. The weather changes suddenly in the mountains. Don’t forget the sunblock too…
  22. Take a husband, if you haven’t got one – borrow one. Never steal one. They are great for carrying the extra load, making fires and packing away sleeping bags.
  23. Make sure someone at home knows your route and expected timings.
  24. Take a small first aid kit with the basics.
  25. Ensure you have more batteries than you expect to need.
  26. Programme the emergency numbers into your cell phone.
  27. Essential – Sunscreen for the outside and plenty hydration for the inside!
  28. Add matches & two striking strips from matchbox, a small bic lighter to an empty film tube and ensure the lid is on tightly, an easy, waterproof and lightweight source of fire to carry with.
  29. Take some brandy/whisky. A great disinfectant for wounds, works for toothache. A tissue or cloth dipped in it takes a spark easily in wet conditions and a perfect nightcap for cold nights in the berg!
  30. Buy a Buff! The most amazing micro-fibre cloth you’ll ever own! Can be worn in more than 20 different ways on and around the head. It also works as a washing clothfor hot pans, mugs etc.
  31. Make sure you have cable ties and duct-tape packed. They can be used to fix backpacks, torn clothing/material, tent pegs and anything that needs a quick, yet effective fix on the trail!
  32. Buy decent products that will make life so much easier and convenient on the trail! Decent footwear, First Ascent w/p clothing and an awesome sleeping bag like the First Ascent Ice Breaker.
  33. Do a warm up routine before starting the days hike.
  34. Increase your magnesium intake before setting out on the hiking adventure. This helps with leg cramps.
  35. Don’t only drink water, rather drink a good isotonic solutiion to balance salt intake.
  36. Carry a tube of an anti-inflammatory rub for the end of the day’s hike. It helps with those aching limbs.
  37. Peanuts are good energy boosters.
  38. Pack a couple of clothes pegs.
  39. Dont forget map and sunglasses!
  40. Put your toiletpaper in a empty aqueous cream container and use from the inside.
  41. Pack a couple of clothes pegs.
  42. Dont forget map and sunglasses!
  43. Put your toiletpaper in a empty aqueous cream container and use from the inside.
  44. Always carry a high carb snack like a banana.
  45. Pack some trail mix (nuts, smarties, jelly tots etc).
  46. Wear long tight fitting socks or gaters to avoid having bushes scratch you.
  47. Soya mince with cous cous for dinner as it is light to carry and will make you feel full.
  48. Insect repellent.
  49. Swiss army knife.
  50. Washing powder for clothing
  51.  A headlamp works much better than a normal flashlight.
  52. A walking stick is a must.
  53. A headlamp works much better than a normal flashlight.
  54. A walking stick is a must.
  55. Plan – read up on the area you want to hike, know what possible dangers and interesting things you may encounter to be able to be prepared for them.
  56. You may not have cell phone signal in case of emergency so take a flashlight, even if you are hiking during the day, so that you can send out SOS signals when it gets dark and you do get into trouble.
  57. Check the weather forecast and if you’re hiking along a river, check the weather upriver too so that you are not caught out by flash floods.
  58. Warm clothes – Regardless of what the weather man says, always be prepared. Hyperthermia is a killer!
  59. Ziplock bag anything that you do not want to get wet and then take extra ziplock bags with you – a few of each size. You never know when they will become useful.
  60. Tablets to purify water. The ‘Silver’ ones taste so much better than the cheap ones.
  61. Instead of cap, make sure you have a big floppy round hat, the sun gets everywhere. Also remember to always bring lip balm.
  62. Make sure you have a fitted rain cover for your bag.
  63. Wear new shoes in before a long hike.
  64. Always carry a whistle and charged cell phone in case you need help.
  65. Always take your local rescue number programmed in it. For Cape Town that would be tel 021-937-0300.
  66. Layered clothing is best
  67. Remember to leave some dry, clean clothes in the car for when you get back after your hike.

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