Kokoda Survival Tips

How to organise your Trekking Gear – Australian Guide Tips

I use a personal porter, so I have a backpack and a day pack. I have separated the all the items I take into three categories. The Backpack that my porter carries, the daypack that I carry; and what I personally wear on the trek.

65 – 70 Litre Backpack:

  • Three pairs of shorts. (light weight and quick dry) One pair to wear each day, one pair to wear each night. One pair for trek end.
  • Three shirts. (light weight and quick dry) One to wear each day, one to wear each night. One for trek end.
  • Mosquito Net (If you plan to use tents entire trek then no need for this item)
  • Blow up sleeping mat (Optional – You may choose to have a foam mat).
  • Light ground sheet to put my sleeping mat on.
  • One light sleeping bag (5 degrees)
  • One blow up pillow.
  • One pair of water shoes (for walking through rivers and creeks and bathing at night in the rivers)
  • One pair of outdoor sandals or thongs (for day’s end)
  • One towel (the chamois sports towels you can buy from camping stores are ideal)
  • toilet paper (One Roll)Pack Cover for when it rains. (remember your day pack needs one as well if you are using a personal porter)
  • Pair of socks for each day of the trek. (I hate putting on wet socks and nothing dries on the Kokoda Trail)
  • Two sets of underwear
  • Zip-lock plastic bags for packing wet or dry clothes, camera, etc.
  • Plastic black tough garbage bags to separate your clothing. (I separate all clothing into wet, socks, towel, clothes, end clothes)
  • Medicine Kit

Day Pack if required (Only required if you are using a personal porter. Otherwise items will go in Backpack)

  • Camel pack (at least 2 litre capacity for water)
  • 1 smaller water bottle to mix an energy drink or oral electrolyte
  • Pack covers for when it rains.
  • Head light & spare batteries or small torch
  • Camera
  • Toothbrush/paste
  • Toilet paper (One Roll)
  • Spoon/cup/bowl/utensils
  • Small towel for wiping feet after river crossings etc
  • A packet of snake, or jelly beans.
  • Any medicine that is required in an emergency. i.e. Asthma Inhaler, sugar for diabetics etc.

Wear each day

  • One pair of bush walking boots or shoes (with good grip).
  • One pair of socks.
  • One pair of lawn mowing gators from Bunning’s.
  • One Pair of shorts.
  • One Shirt.
  • One pair of lycra gym shorts. (Optional)
  • One cap for the few sunny areas and to keep the sweat running down my face.

Extra Bag (To leave in Port Moresby)

You can leave a bag in Port Moresby that is given back to you when you arrive back from Kokoda. You can leave anything in this bag instead of carrying it to Kokoda with you.


Tips from Trevor:

Any clothing can be worn but it is required to wear clothing that has been worn before and not new clothing. The same rule applies to shoes.

Salt is the bad boy when you sweat it gathers in your clothing and dries the clothing hard that is the main cause of chafes between the legs once it starts you are in trouble. Change and wash clothing and to carry sorbelene or vaseline.

Sticky plaster must be carried that is that stuff it comes off rolls and hard to come off that is needed to be placed over the inside of your legs if getting worse and also other areas that might rub like lower back, heels and toes as soon as you feel something is wrong. Most do not pay attention to their problems and bash on.

Wear well fitting and worn shoes. Going down hill feet are pushing forward so toes suffer and heels going up but what makes it all worse is when they are wet and that changes everything.

The key to it all is look at any area that is starting to feel a bit sore attend to it promptly. Like socks if they are falling down in your footwear stop and pull them up, it all helps.

The question on what to wear foot wise is up to the individual, sports shoes or boots well worn and comfortable slightly oversize as feet swell. Take care of any problem that may arise promptly. Use the same shoes for training.

When wet it changes everything. – Trevor


Tips from Lenny & Linda Hammond:

A first aid kit with basic plasters, panadol, itch relief, antiseptic etc is essential. Everyone should have their own and not rely on others as they might need their own down the track.

The better prepared you are the more enjoyable it will be. Train on hills as much as possible. Don’t underestimate it – it’s very difficult, but not unachievable with some good preparation and planning.

For women: having a period while trekking as far as hygiene, disposal, privacy etc would be very difficult- it’s bad enough just going to the toilet in the bush or using a pit toilet if you’re not used to it. So I guess a visit to their local GP some time before to discuss these issues would be a good idea.


How to avoid dehydration – Tips from Dr. Matt and Dr. Anna Malpas-Sands:

Drinking water alone is not enough when you are dehydrated. In order to replenish your body fluid, you need to take water with a bit of salt and one teaspoon of sugar mixed in the water. You can prepare this solution in a cup / glass. This solution is also applicable if you have diarrhea.


Tips about Clothes:

To lighten your pack, you might want to consider taking two pairs of clothes. The trick is to use one pair as the “dirty clothes” that you wear during the day while walking, and another pair as the “nice clothes” at night when you’re relaxing.

Doing it this way, you don’t need to carry lots of clothes.