The Hiking Gear Di Westaway Won't Leave Home Without
By Sophia Hatzis | Digital Content Producer
Whether you're new to walking or you're a hard-core hiker, deciding what gear to buy and pack can be a challenge. If you underpack, you might not be prepared for a sudden change in weather, and you end up finishing your hike with soggy socks, soaked to the bone.
But if you overpack, you're lugging dead weight that you don't need. Carrying a heavier pack is more physically challenging, but those extra bits and pieces, those 'just-in-case' items, probably aren't going to add to your adventure.
So what does Wild Women On Top's Founding Director Di Westaway take in her pack? There are six pieces of hiking gear she won't leave the house without.
What hiking gear are you loving most right now?
I’m loving my amazing new Hoka One One 'Arkali' hiking boots because they have incredible grip on rocks. The Arkali’s have the same sole as a rock climbing approach shoe which means it grips in all directions, so when I’m scrambling around the sea cliffs of Sydney Harbour or along river beds in the Blue Mountains, I feel like spiderwoman with sticky feet. They also have a shock absorbing underfoot, customised ankle support, and a pocket to store your laces so you don’t get them caught on bushes and twigs. And, on top of that, they look like Lara Croft shoes so I feel invincible in them. The only downside is that they’re not waterproof, so I can't take them on epic adventures. But for Trek Training around Australia, I love them.
What’s the key to an epic adventure?
The key to an epic adventure is choosing a big, hairy, audacious goal, having a great team, and being prepared. These three ingredients absolutely guarantee you’ll love your adventure.
By choosing something really challenging, you’re excited and motivated to train, which makes you feel great for the six to 2 months prior to your adventure. By having a great team, not only do you have fun preparing with gorgeous friends on regular training hikes, but you’re also guaranteed to have a great laugh. Being prepared means doing the hard yards at Trek Training as well as shopping for the right gear so you’re prepared for all weather and conditions.
What are five things you always have in your backpack when hiking?
I never leave home without my head torch, my raincoat, my gaiters, my trekking poles, and my bliss bars. A head torch gets you out of trouble if you get lost and run out of light. A raincoat is a survival tool. Gaiters are great for keeping twigs and pebbles out of your shoes, as well as for snake protection. You can also use your gaiters for a seat if you’re stuck in a prickle patch. Trekking poles are great for supporting knees when you get tired, flicking spider webs away, and if your tent breaks. And, of course, bliss bars are a complete food that can sustain you for days if you’re holed up in a snow cave or stuck on the wrong side of a river in a flood. I also love my hiking coffee plunger which gives me fresh, delicious coffee any time I fancy it.
What’s the most common hiking mistake you see?
The most common hiking mistake I see is when you forget your coffee mug. This is truly a tragedy as it forces your buddy to share her cuppa which means you each only get half a cup of refreshing, revitalising tea. I recommend you carry two mugs in case your friend forgets hers and then everybody wins.
What’s your best hiking tip?
My best hiking tip is to start before sunrise so you get the best of the day and have lots of time to enjoy all the astonishing secrets that nature has in store for you when you’re prepared to hike into places that no other form of transport can take you. This is truly one of the most awe-inspiring aspects of hiking and it's taken me to the most breathtaking locations on the planet. The light at sunrise is usually the most magical, the forest is fresh, and you’ve got lots of time to explore.
Are you ready to join us in the wild? Find your next adventure now.