First timers - Mum and 12yo. Advice, tips!

Discussion specifically about the Overland Track should be posted in this subforum, including side trips and the Cradle Mountain day walk area. Alternative access routes and connecting routes belong in the parent forum.

First timers - Mum and 12yo. Advice, tips!

Postby SarahR » Thu 27 Sep, 2018 3:11 pm

Hey brains trust,
I'm booked with my 12 year old daughter in January and have no idea what to expect! Although I've done loads of camping and a fair bit of hiking, I've never done any multi - day hikes and my daughter has done almost no hiking at all (due to change very soon!)
I'm after tips, advice on all sorts of things.
What would be a good time frame to plan for? I was thinking 8-9 days to allow for side trips or a rest day if needed.
I'm trying to keep costs down, so was planning on using my old 60 + 10 packs, but after reading a few posts am worried these will be too big.
I have a 2 person tent weighing 2kg,so feel pretty happy about that.
I plan to dehydrate our meals.
Although she's 12, she's 170cm and 63kg, and getting quite fit and strong through rowing. I'm 43, 169cm and 75kg, hoping to be down to 70kg by January. I fully expect to carry a little more weight than she will. What should I aim for as a guide?
What is the sleeping bag recommendation regarding temperature rating? Is there a group or page where I might get a couple of good ones at a reasonable price? Or maybe hire?
As far as clothing goes, I was thinking one set of thermals each, 1 shorts, 1 convertible pants, 2 tshirts, a polar fleece, puffer jacket, rain coat, beanie, 3 pairs of socks, 3 knickers. Sound reasonable?
And what are the must do side trips?
Anything else you can think of that would be helpful is very welcome!
Thanks!
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Re: First timers - Mum and 12yo. Advice, tips!

Postby pazzar » Thu 27 Sep, 2018 3:30 pm

Even taking it easy, I think you would have no problems getting through in 6 or 7 days. Taking your time allows for lots of side trips. I highly recommend Mt Oakleigh. It isn't the biggest mountain, but it has a grandstand view of all the bigger mountains around it, plus some amazing forest on the way up. It will take anywhere between 3 and 6 hours from Pelion Hut - good for a rest day.

In regards to how much weight to carry, I'd try to keep it under 17kgs. I usually try to keep my pack weight under a third of my weight - others may say keep it under a quarter.

It can still get pretty cold at night in January, so I'd be looking at a comfort rating between -5 and 0 for your sleeping bag. Sleeping bag liners can help too. Of course everyone sleeps at different temperatures, so if you know you are a warm sleeper, you may get away with less.

Clothing wise, your list looks pretty good, just make sure you have dry stuff to put on at the end of the day. You can get away with one or two sets of walking clothes, just have a few extra socks.

I'd suggest trying a few smaller overnight walks before you go, just to get used to walking with a full pack. Frenchmans Cap, Shadow Lake, Pine Valley are just a few suggestions for 1-2 night options.
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Re: First timers - Mum and 12yo. Advice, tips!

Postby wildwanderer » Thu 27 Sep, 2018 3:40 pm

Hi Sarah,

For gear to bring


There was a recent thread you may find of interest. viewtopic.php?f=15&t=28083
In it a lady named Emma was asking similar questions on gear. Lots of advice was given and pros and cons debated.

She is currently examining a light weight gear list - https://www.lighterpack.com/r/6qpuiu
and a very light weight gear list. https://www.lighterpack.com/r/bpa21i

Her total time on track may be a bit different to yours, so I would keep that mind for food.

Should provide some good reading/info
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Re: First timers - Mum and 12yo. Advice, tips!

Postby GPSGuided » Thu 27 Sep, 2018 10:49 pm

The longer the trip, the more food needed and weight. So there needs to be some balance there here, especially given your lack of experience with multi-day long walks.
Just move it!
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Re: First timers - Mum and 12yo. Advice, tips!

Postby Lizzy » Fri 28 Sep, 2018 6:50 am

I would think those packs would be fine- especially for a week or more. Try putting a few things in and unless you have lightweight gear it will soon fill up.
I would start walking your local tracks or streets with them on and loaded to get in some training & see how they feel.
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Re: First timers - Mum and 12yo. Advice, tips!

Postby Warin » Fri 28 Sep, 2018 8:19 am

You can hire gear specifically for the overland. Some of the transport people will do it as part of their service.

So, yes, to hiring sleeping bags. But I'd bring my own sleeping sheets. And I'd take 2 sets of thermals - one exclusively for sleep ware.

A dehydrator for 8 days worth of food is not worth it. But I by stuff on special and dehydrate that for home use - mangos, kiwi fruit etc.
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Re: First timers - Mum and 12yo. Advice, tips!

Postby bobcrusader » Sun 30 Sep, 2018 10:59 am

January can be an interesting month. January 2018 had 1 week with snow, then the next week with 28+ temps all week, followed by another week with snow. We walked with a Mum and her 2 young kids 14 and 8 and they were awesome and had a blast.
I would aim for 6-7 days - you can always go back another year. Pack sizes should be fine and the 1/3 body weight is a good guide.
Make sure the t-shirts are not cotton, unless they are just for changing into at the end of the day. Probably don't need the puffer jacket in January - if you are wearing the thermals, t-shirt, polar fleece and rain coat, you will be warm enough in January.
Food: Are you looking to cook the dehydrated meals? You'll need a small stove and fuel (which has to be purchased in Tas). Make sure to bring a bag you can use to hang your food in the huts, or you will learn to hate possums. Avoid scented wipes and hand cleaner too.
Have you investigated how to use the tent with the tent platforms?
Side trips: Lake Will, the waterfalls and Mt Ossa are all great.
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Re: First timers - Mum and 12yo. Advice, tips!

Postby bigwallclimber » Wed 03 Oct, 2018 2:51 pm

Hi there,

I took my partner over the Overland Track in January this year and she loved it and your daughter will love it.

I can comment first hand on a first timer doing the track, we took 7 days all up, this included the side trips and the walk around the lake on the 2nd last day and the last day. My suggestion is if you are going to walk around the lake overnight at Echo Point it will be an easier last day for your daughter.

In relation to weather, it was a funny year this year we started on the 15th of January (Monday) and three days prior to us starting it rained cats and dogs and then the week following from reports it was very wet but we had perfect weather, no rain and it was magic. The weather can be fickle and we planned for the worst.

In relation to weights, as someone else posted I aimed to have both packs under 17kg. On the day we stepped off my partners pack weighed 13kg and mine weighed 16kg. Pack wise I had a slightly larger pack in case I had to take anything out of her pack if she struggled. I only had to do this on the LAST day but paid off.

Sleeping bag recommendations, my partner sleeps cold so I had to go with a heavier cold weather bag instead of planned lighter weight one. I think hers went down to a comfortable -5 which she was happy with.

In relation to food, I just bought backpackers pantry dehydrated food from the USA and shipped it here. For me a dehydrator was no worth it and far less effort required lol.

Clothing wise, that all sounds great but my partner found the hardest decision was the bra, we bought a new one and worked out it was not the best. After washing it took far too long to dry. Look at this as she said she would be going with an under Armour style one next year. In relation to socks, we just use Mund socks and carry two pairs and wash them on days 3 and 5.

Don't forget the little screws hooks for the tent platform, they are worth a fortune when setting up the tent.

We found that a Sea to Summit Summer inflatable sleeping mat sufficed and worked a treat.

Food wise we found that having an afternoon snack worked a treat for my partner as she is not a big eater, having a small afternoon side dish worked and gave her enough energy for the next day after having dinner.

Feel free to ask anything else on what my partner took.
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