Tasmania’s West Coast – Gear List

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“No, Ma’am, as a matter-of-fact I wasn’t mauled by a tiger. I just finished hiking down Tasmania’s west coast.”

  • Terrain: A combination of rocky, gulch laden coastline, open beaches, buttongrass plains and extremely dense scrub.
  • Weather: South West Tasmania is an area of high precipitation (it rains an average of 250 days per year), strong winds (i.e. The Roaring Forties) and extreme temperature variations. From a hiking perspective, some of the most challenging conditions you are likely to encounter.

In more than twenty-five years of doing these sort of trips all around the world, I’ve never done a hike in which my gear took more of a beating than the west coast section of the Southwest Tasmania Traverse.

That being said, if I had my time over, would I do anything differently in regards to gear choices? In a word…….yes. The changes I would make are as follows:

  • Hiking Shirt: I’d take a more durable long sleeve synthetic shirt (e.g. REI Sahara Tech shirt) instead of a midweight Merino baselayer.
  • Hiking Pants: Shorts are fine for the rocky coast and inland plains sections, however for the bushwhacks through thick/cutting scrub, it’s preferable to have full leg protection. Rain gear simply doesn’t cut it; next time I’d take sturdier pants such as the REI Saharas or the Colombia Fishing trousers I’ve had in my cupboard for the last fifteen years.
  • Innernet for Shelter: The mosquitos were ferocious at times. If I was to do this hike again, I’d leave the bivy at home and take an innernet instead. A little heavier, but well worth it.

Other notes:

  • Paddling: Before the trip I knew that I’d have a couple of sizable watercourses to cross, including the very cold and deep 150 metre wide Davey River. I weighed up whether or not I should take a packraft, but ultimately decided against it. I knew my Neoair/floating pack system would work, I don’t mind the cold water and I simply couldn’t justify the extra weight for what would probably only be 10 to 15 minutes total of paddling.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest Pack28.6Due to the heavy food carry, I went with an internal frame over a frameless model / Very impressed by the HMG pack / Good load distribution, extremely durable / Double thumbs up.
Pack Liner (Trash Compactor Bag) x 24More important than usual for this trip / Before river crossings that needed to be swam or paddled, I'd tie them off sealing the air inside. This made the pack uber-buoyant. I'd then attach the pack to my leg with six feet of guyline and was ready to go.
MLD Solomid XL11.5Very quick set up / Holds up well in a storm / Ideal amount of space for 6'1" guy.
Guylines - Kelty Triptease 3mm13mm -Little heavier, but easier to handle than thinner cords
Stakes - Titan.(2); Y & Long - Alumin.(6)2.7Mix of sizes & styles | Mostly longer models for mud & harsh conditions
Tyvek Groundsheet1.5
Pad - Thermarest NeoAir XLite (Sm)8Very comfy / Doubled as makeshift framesheet for pack and paddling device for river crossings.
Pad - Gossamer Gear Thinlite 1/82.4
Quilt - Katabatic Palisade 18.4Conservatively rated 30°F / Best quilts/bags I have used.
MLD Superlight Bivy7In hindsight, should have gone with an Innernet over the bivy for the coastal section of the traverse. The mosquitos were maddening at times.
LokSak 20x12 (Food Bag) (2)2.4Holds 5 to 6 days food per bag / Carried an extra couple of days food in separate Ziplocs.
Toaks Spork0.4For the first time ever I carried a Titanium spork. Nice knowing it wasn't going to snap. I put some orange tape on the handle so I wouldn't lose it.
Gatorade 20 oz Bottles (2)2Fit well in side pockets / Easy access
Platypus (2 Lt)1.3Only used a couple of times / Lots of water.
Toaks Titanium Alcohol Stove0.7Double thumbs up / Primes quickly, burns efficiently / Definite upgrade over homemade Pepsi can model.
Wire Frame / Windscreen / Fuel Bottle (8 oz/Plasic)2
Anti Gravity Aluminium pot + Pot Cozy5Same pot since 2006.
Sunscreen (repackaged in tiny btle.)
Hand Sanitizer (repackaged in dropper btle.)
Aquamira (repackaged in tiny dropper bottles)Never used / Water was fine to drink as is.
Mini Toothbrush
Toothpaste (mini tube)
Dental Floss Doubles as sewing thread
Antiseptic Wipes (2)Clean cuts / wounds
Triple Antibiotic Cream (tiny tube)
3M Micropore Medical TapeBreathable, paper tape / Adheres well
Broad Pressure BandageCarried in case of snake bite. Almost had to use it when I came within centimetres of stepping on a Tiger Snake on Day 4.
Ibuprofun (8)Vitamin "I"
Toilet Paper
Sewing Needle I am arguably the worst sewer in history
Duct Tape - 2 ft Multi-purpose; compensates for lack of sewing skills
Emergency Fire Starter (2)Cotton wool balls in Vaseline
Montbell Versalite Pants3.6Wrong choice for the West Coast / Ripped to shreds / For this sort of bushwhacking needed something sturdier.
Patagonia Capilene 2 Thermal Bottoms5.8Long johns of choice since the 90's.
Montbell Peak Shell9I like this jacket a lot, in fact I prefer it over Montbell's Gore-tex model, the Torrent Flier.
Montbell Thermawrap Jacket9Long-time favourite synthetic insulation layer / Preferable over down in high precipitation areas such as SW Tassie.
Extra Socks - REI Merino Wool Liners 1.6
Extra Socks - Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew 2.6
MLD LightSnow gaiters1.3
Bandana (1)0.5Towel, neck/face protection, condensation wipe.
Montbell Merino Wool Inner Gloves1Very handy for bushwhacking.
MLD eVent Rain Mitts1
Warm Hat - Montbell Chameece Beanie1.3Excellent / Very stretchy and not too warm.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini3.8Trip notes / Decent photos & video
Stuff sacks - Cuben Fiber/Silnylon (3)0.5
Extra Ziploc bags1
Headlamp - Black Diamond Spot3.1Died at trip's end after 4 years of heavy use / Solid headlamp.
Wallet/Credit Cards/Drivers License0.7Used thin plastic card holder as Wallet
Swiss Army Classic Knife1.3All you need for backpacking purposes
Suunto M-2D1.2Adjustable Declination | Compass of choice for years (Note: No longer made; when needed I will replace with Suunto M-3G Global
Panasonic Lumix ZS256.9Great zoom, HD Video / Decent battery life
Extra Camera Battery0.7
Small pen0.3
Small LokSaks for Valuables (2)1Protection for phone, charger, wallet, camera, battery
BASE WEIGHTTOTAL10.3 lbs4.7 kg
Macpac Cross Terrain Shorts6Shorts of choice since early 2000's / Unfortunately, Macpac have "done a Montrail", and no longer make this model. / Shame, because they were the best hiking shorts I've used.
Montbell Super Merino Wool Zip Neck Long Sleeve (Lge)7.4Big fan of Merino wool, but for Tassie's west coast I needed something more durable / By the 6th day of the hike, it looked like I had gone 12 rounds with a Bengal Tiger.
Socks - REI Merino Wool Liners1.6
Hat - Baseball cap 2
Merrell Moab Ventilators30Good choice for this trip / A bit heavier than trail runners, but needed the extra durability / Standard trail runners wouldn't have held up.
Fizan Compact - Hiking Pole (2)11.2Brought 2 for insurance in case one broke or was damaged. Good decision, as that's exactly what happened.
Timex Ironman Watch1.5Cheap, durable, light, multiple alarms
Sunglasses2Polarized lenses / 100% UV Protection / Wrap around
TOTAL WEIGHT14.2 lbs 6.45 kg


Tasmania’s West Coast – Gear List — 5 Comments

  1. Hi Cam, that’s an impressively light gear list for such a hike. For any hike. I see that you carry a dedicated camera in addition to your smartphone. What are your thoughts on carrying a dedicated camera in addition to a smartphone, especially now that smartphone cameras are starting to get quite good. Thanks for sharing from your experiences in hiking, travelling and gear.

    • Hi Stein,

      Thank you for the kind words.

      When it comes to cameras & phones, I’m definitely no expert. Over the last few years I have carried both (i.e. Panasonic Lumix & Samsung Galaxy mini S4) on most of my longer trips.

      I tend to use the dedicated camera for most of the landscape shots, and save the phone for journalling, videos and the occasional photo. I’ve recently noticed that both items are beginning to show their age (i.e. three years), so it may be time to upgrade in the near future.



  2. Hi Cam,

    Thanks for sharing mate. You have taught me so much by this article. I’m really wanting to look at my gear and try to reduce the weight but make it practical.

    Thanks for a top website as well.


  3. Question Cam, I have the Hyperlite 3400 SW that I currently use. What shoulder pockets do you use on your HMG 2400?

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