South Coast Track Fiordland NZ: Waitutu to Westies:

I can’t believe it is two years ago we were there. Time for another trip. We have not seen Long Point, the Slaughter Burn, Big River…I was reminded of this by our jet boat pilot (Roffy) posting this on Facebook yesterday. The trip out to Westies is the journey of a lifetime. Do not be …

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Tick removal: Spot’s First Tick:

This is the very first tick either myself or one of my animals has acquired in Southern Victoria – even though I hunted with hounds here for over thirty years and have owned as many as a dozen and a half dogs at a time. I used to see tiny ticks infecting the ears of …

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In Australia (and elsewhere) it is quite common to encounter these beasties in wetter areas. They avoid sunny patches. They do you no harm, though many (like me) have an allergic reaction to their ‘bites’, so it is good to avoid them as much as you can.  I have already recommended this antihistamine Anthisan ointment …

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Tyvek Solo Fire Shelter

It weighs less than 600 grams. Here is my plan for an excellent one person shelter which will keep you safe from just about everything and can be warmed by a cheery fire out the front. You can cut it in one piece (as shown) from a single sheet of 3 metre wide Tyvek ‘Homewrap’ …

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A taut string will act as a tripod or a gun rest!

Believe it or not: A 4 Gram String Tripod: A taut string will act as a tripod! You can tie an approx 6’ (1.8m) length of string to a small bolt the size which fits in the tripod socket of your camera then screw it in to the camera. If you stand on the string …

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I felt quite rich when I found my knife, flint and steel in my shot pouch:

Hugh Glass (‘The Revenant’, ‘Man in the Wilderness’):  ‘Although I had lost my rifle and all my plunder I felt quite rich when I found my knife, flint and steel in my shot pouch. These little fixens make a man feel righ peart when he is three or four hundred miles from any body or …

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If you could only carry two things in the bush, what would they be?

Now I mean: if you suddenly found yourself there, having fallen out of a boat, after a plane crash which you miraculously survived – or if you were just magically transported there from your living room in just your shorts. Hauroko Burn Dusky Track Fiordland NZ. I think they should be things which you could …

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Inflatable Insulated Clothing:

 I am surprised this idea has not taken off more given that it is (trapped) air which is the insulator in all warm clothing, the more air trapped per unit weight being the yardstick for cross comparison. A product known as Aerovest (http://www.survivalmetrics.com/store/Item/id_aerovest_emergency_survival_vest) was available a few years ago. This provided a waterproof inflatable mylar …

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Rain Skirt:

If you are like me and find rain pants too hot and restrictive to walk in you may find a rain skirt or kilt will keep your lower body from the knees up much drier and more comfortable. You can buy one from various suppliers such as I did (http://www.theultralighthiker.com/rain-kilt/) or you can make your …

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Thrilling tales: Erin McKittrick:

This young lady (accompanied by her husband, Hig) is amongst the greatest living explorers. Their 4,000 mile trek along the US Pacific Coast related in her book ‘A Long Trek Home’ is astonishing – but it proved to be only the beginning of her adventures. Connect with her here: http://www.groundtruthtrekking.org/blog/

Camping With Cats:

We have all seen the pics of folks camping with their dogs. Time our feline friends got into the act: http://www.boredpanda.com/camping-with-cats-ryan-carter/ See also: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/most-travelled-cat/

Tight Shoes:

With age, gravity tends to give us a larger foot size. Our feet expand under our weight. Solid, well-made leather shoes can be stretched between a half-size to a whole size.  Poor quality shoes can not take the stress of stretching – either the leather itself, or the stitching, will break. Things to try: Shoe …

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101 Uses For SnapLock Bags:

[From: Fifty ways to Make Survival Tools from Trash and Household Items, by Ken Youngquist (Available here: http://survivaltek.com/?page_id=4386)] ‘Sealable plastic bags go way beyond keeping sandwiches fresh. They are a transparent water tight container that comes in various sizes and thicknesses. I prefer freezer bags because they come in a thicker material and are much …

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Boot Chains:

If you don’t need a permanent traction solution (like this: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/4wd-boots/), you can carry some boot traction aids such as these. The Yaktrax Pro pictured above weighs 4.7 oz (145 grams). Those steel coils should bite into ice and snow and get you across a glacier or two without weighing you down in the meantime. …

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Camera Glassing:

Pocket cameras have come to have much better resolution than expensive binoculars. As an example my Nikon Coolpix S7000 with 20X optical zoom and superb anti-shake technology will bring very distant objects into sharp resolution. You can also make use of its additional digital zoom. I had been having trouble reading the eartag numbers on …

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The Wood for the Trees:

A Long View of Nature from a Small Wood: This looks like such an enchanting book: https://www.amazon.com/Wood-Trees-Long-Nature-Small-ebook/dp/B016PK9VOY#reader_B016PK9VOY  Reviews here: http://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/books/the-wood-for-the-trees-the-long-view-of-nature-from-a-small-wood-by-richard-fortey-review-a3246291.html & https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/may/25/the-wood-for-the-trees-by-richard-fortey-review

Google Earth gets a facelift.

The company has just introduced an updated version of Google Earth that taps sharp new imagery from Landsat 8 satellite to give the planet’s surface an impressive makeover. These new images bring structures and features on the Earth’s surface into considerably sharper focus. Here is their image of the Waitutu Hut on the South Coast …

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Wintulichs Beer Sticks: On the trail animal protein is a must

But without refrigeration you may have concerns about food safety. One of the chief virtues of salamis and hard cheeses such as cheddars is also their energy density at @ 7 calories per gram – and lots of fat! There are some salamis which are labelled as needing no refrigeration. Some are rather large eg …

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4WD Boots:

These tungsten carbide tipped studs provide huge levels of confidence in all slippery conditions underfoot whether that is due to ice, grass slopes, moss, seaweed or wet timber. Once installed they become part of the boot and the enhanced grip is available at all times. http://www.gripstuds.com/Boots.php & http://www.supatracks.com/best-grip-boot-studs-buy-online-uk.html See also: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/keen-shoes/  http://www.theultralighthiker.com/foot-care/ http://www.theultralighthiker.com/boot-chains/ https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2017/05/12/vargo-titanium-pocket-cleats/ A …

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The Ideal Camp Shoe:

A recent entry to this tough competition are Skinners Socks http://www.gizmag.com/skinners-sock-shoes/43742/ They look interesting, but a Skinners sock weighs 80 grams ea. For comparison a Croc Thong weighs 131ea, a standard Croc weighs 160ea and Sealskin Socks weigh 88 per pair! For years these had been my choice for dry feet at trail’s end (as …

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