8 things to take on a hike in South Australia’s national parks

Spending more time in national parks than ever before? Here’s some of the equipment you should consider buying.

Gone on a few hikes and keen to start taking in some longer national park trails?

You don’t need a mountain of gear to set out for the day, but here’s what we think you should consider taking with you:

1. Backpack or hydration pack

It’s important to consider investing in a lightweight backpack or hydration pack once you’re starting to go for longer hikes or rides.

Look for something that can hold at least 2 litres of water, plus a snack or two and a jumper or jacket.

Just remember that more is less, and whatever you pack, you also have to carry the whole way. So, consider the weight of the bag and what you pack inside!

2. Waterproof jacket

It’s important to prepare for the elements, and the possibility of colder weather or unexpected rain, so it’s advisable to pack a waterproof jacket if you’re going on a walk.

Choose a jacket that’s waterproof rather than shower resistant - just in case you get caught in a downpour!

3. Good hiking boots

If you’re going for longer walks more often, investing in a pair of quality, well-fitted hiking boots can often help you to prevent injuries such as blisters or rolled ankles.

The extra grip and waterproof-capabilities will also keep you on the trail and having fun, rather than sitting nursing blisters or a bruised bum from falling over on a tricky track or slippery descent.

4. Gaiters

Gaiters are worn over your shoe and the lower half of your leg and can help to protect and prevent scratches or cuts as well as dirt, mud and water entering your shoes or the bottom half of your pants. They come in a range of different materials.

5. First-aid kit

We don’t often consider it, but accidents can happen to the most experienced of walkers.

So, if you’re heading off on a half-day or longer trek always consider packing a first aid kit.

As part of your first-aid kit you should also consider including a fully charged portable charging device, just in case you need to call for help and your phone goes flat.

While you’re at it, make sure your phone is fully charged before you set off.

6. Sun protection

Being in South Australia, it’s important to consider packing your 50+ sunscreen and a hat in your backpack year-round.

No one likes coming home with a red face, so slathering up will ensure you continue to have fun even once you leave the park.

7. Food/Snacks

It’s important to consider what snacks and food you add to your backpack or hydration pack at the start of your trek. 

Consider what you’re packing and if it’s going to be a hot day, perhaps steer clear of foodstuffs that may need to be kept cold. Instead look for high-energy foods such as nuts, seeds, trail mix or muesli bars to keep your energy up throughout your journey.

8. Maps

Finally, don’t forget to take a map of the trail with you! Download the Avenza Maps app onto your smartphone and download the georeferenced parks maps, which will work with the GPS on your phone to pinpoint your location directly onto the map. You can also download maps from the National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia and print them off at home. It’s also important to make sure you let someone know where you are going.

Most importantly, remember to have fun! SA’s national parks are fantastic places to be outside and enjoy all of the beautiful parks and landscapes that our state has to offer.

Want some extra ideas about where to go and what to do in SA’s amazing national parks? Check out our library for more ideas to See and Do or visit the National Parks and Wildlife SA website for more inspiration.

This story was originally posted in June 2020.

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