7 Tips for Multi-day Hiking in South Africa
You are all packed and ready for your next adventure in sunny South Africa. The car is loaded, your petrol tank is full and you grapevine behind your friend’s cars. The more this lifestyle becomes familiar - the more you get to opportunity to see how everyone hikes differently, and how each new trail poses challenges that can be solved creatively.
Hiking allows the unique opportunity to be enjoyed - not endured. Of course, there will be moments where endurance is needed, but overall you want to be coming back from your trip with a full camera, a dirty body and a content soul.
Here are some tips to make your hiking experience in glorious South Africa slightly more enjoyable, cheaper and safe.
Instead of investing in one thick jacket to keep you warm - consider multiple layers. South Africa offers unique variations of temperatures throughout the year, making it essential to be able to adapt. By carrying multiple layers in the form of a skin layer, fleece top, down jacket and raincoat - you control the heat.
You also have extra assurance that should one of those layers get wet, you have extra to keep you warm.
It’s cheap, waterproof, resealable and reusable. All great qualities for hiking South African trails. Zip-loc bags not only keep your essentials dry, but it creates a sorting system. By having your clothes in separate bags from your gear, you ensure a more compatible and accessible hiking backpack. Make sure to leave no trace!
Compartmental Zip-Loc Bags
Let’s face it - your sleeping bag is probably your most expensive piece of hiking equipment and one you generally don’t want to skimp on (nobody likes sleeping cold). But thankfully South Africa presents non-arctic weather conditions - making it acceptable to purchase a sleeping liner for cooler conditions. A sleeping bag liner is bought separately, and provides a few extra degrees of warmth as well as keeping your sleeping bag cleaner for longer.
Sleeping Liners over Arctic Sleeping bags
1l = 1kg
Staying hydrated is essential. We all know that. So it is important to know your body and know your terrain. Nobody needs to carry 5kg of water for a full day. But it is important to moderate your water consumption throughout the day. The general water average on a multi-day hike is anything between 2l-3l of water.
You do not need an endless list of cutlery - it increases your weight and creates unnecessary dishes. Use your cooking pot as your plate and bowl. A spork is also a great way to save on dishes and extra cutlery.
A spork will do the work
Ditch the stove and cold soak your meals. Cold-soaking means adding cold water to your meal and letting it sit for a period of time to soften foods instead of applying heat. This is a great way to save on extra weight - it does however mean a cold cup of coffee in the morning.
South Africa’s vast landscape of mountains, sea, veld and bush offers a unique setup for each hiking trail. Make sure you’re kited well for expected weather conditions and enjoy the unique conditions of each trail!