The Kosciuszko Hut Tour seems so long ago now but as a taster it seems to have had an effect: we decided that the longer AAWT is worth doing now rather than later It was a great walk though: camping on Kosciuszko and having breakfast at dawn on the summit was particularly nice… I may still blog, but here are some photos.
So, we've came home and dived into planning (booking holidays, etc), itinerising (getting the walk into days), gear purchasing (trying to lighten our packs as much as possible and allow for wider extremes of weather)... whilst trying not to get too excited.
We've bought and are using John Chapman's excellent book, as well as Karen Cody's generous GPS Tracks and Notes, and putting the 659km into a relaxing walk over 2 months. That makes it sound easy, but the planning is taking a significant amount of resources (enjoyable as that may be).
Planning so far…
One of the things we've realised from the outset, is that the AAWT is not like any walk we've done before (read the Bibbulmun): more wilderness, less towns, more ascents/descents, greater weather extremes… this has driven some changes and additions to our planning / gear. We'll also walk the Great North Walk in August for a final trimming of new gear / food / etc (hopefully it'll still be cold).
Food / Menu
We've spent a considerable amount of time on Brenda L Braaten's site on Thru-Hiker, using her expertise to adjust our menu. What we realised was that our menu didn't contain enough kilojoules, which only became apparent after longer walks: the shocking revelation was that most of our walks were basically 4-5 day walks grouped together — except for the Bibbulmun where I especially lost too much weight.
Her method, in three words, is EAT MORE FAT (but only when you're on long distance hikes), and snack consistently. Currently our percentage split of calories is:
This means we're carrying more food, but on the AAWT the ability to duck off-track to pick up a steak is not possible; on the Bibbulmun we passed through so many towns that the town food was a significant portion of our menu: Eating on the Bibbulmun Track.
We felt that we needed to lighten our gear as much as possible as well as making it more versatile to weather extremes. Currently both our packs are under 10kg (without food or water). Some of this has been achieved by buying lighter alternatives, or combining multiple items into a single new item (for example, our new Mont wet weather pants replace our existing wet weather pants and our track pants; which may be used in conjunction with the new thermals).
- New Thermals: Icebreaker
- New Wet Weather Pants (which replace both our old ones and our track pants): Mont Lattitude
- New JetBoil: We think we can make do with a Ti, which saves us a considerable number of grams
- New Hat (Perry): Tilley
- New Jersey (Perry): Mont Reactor Polo
- New Socks: BridgeDale
It's actually scary the amount of money this is taking We're also going through and thoroughly cleaning and re-treating our existing gear (sleeping bags, tents, etc).
AND... we're testing the new Packa by Aarn Packs!! I can't tell you how exciting this is… Since getting our Packa's we've really fallen in love with them, and then the Aarn Packs didn't quite work perfectly (we managed down at Kosciuszko, but it wasn't perfect)… and anyway, it's turned out that we've got a couple of Water Wizards (Aarn's version) to trial on the long walks! We've just re-treated the DWR, so we're just about ready to head out with them
Our Walk (so far)
Currently the 659km of the AAWT has developed into:
- 750 km (includes some side trips)
- 40 walk days
- 7 food drops
- 5 of which incorporates an extra rest day
- 340 hrs walking
- >30 km ascent / descent
- 81.7 kg of food
- 5 days dropping off food-drops and picking up rubbish-dumps
Note: The days' difficulty rating, although calculated consistent with our other walks, only colours within this walk.
Comment from: Bill Shaw [Visitor]
I’m interested in your views on the Packa by Aarn. I’m walking the Bibbulmun for the second time later this year and I’ve a new Aarn pack.
I realise that Aarn are still developing this Packa and am yet to contact them.
Comment from: scribbly [Member]
The Packa (or Water Wizard as Aarn likes to call them, we called them Aarnorak) is the best thing since sliced bread! We were very lucky to be able to test them over our Alpine Walk late last year in everything from rain -> storm -> hail -> snow.
Get in contact with Aarn to see where he’s up to with his development.
Comment from: scribbly [Member]
Get into contact with Aarn to see where he’s up to with the product: they are highly recommended!
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