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Activity Teacher Notes 2.9

2.9 Pack it up - weighing up what to take

Levels: P, S, SS
Focus curriculum areas: Health and well-being
Supporting curriculum area: Mathematics/numeracy
Key concepts: Self sufficiency, creating and pursuing goals

Bushwalkers on the beach

Understanding goals

Students will identify essential overnight bushwalking equipment.


1. Bushwalkers setting out on an overnight walk face the problem of having to carry enough gear to be self-sufficient in the bush. Some gear is essential, some is not.

  1. List items (including clothing) that you think are essential to be self sufficient.
  2. Why are they essential?

Have a look at our Background Note 2c - Bushwalking equipment list and Background Note 2b - Planning for a safe trip in the outdoors for ideas on what you should take.

2. In the PDF [68 KB] or using the boxes below, enter the weight in kilograms of the items you would take on a two day bushwalk (the typical weight ranges of these are listed to the right to help you select whether you would take the lighter or the heavier model).

Item Enter weight Typical weight range
weight of backpack itself (1.5kg for small, light pack to 4 kg for large, solid pack)
waterproof pack liner (about 0.1 kg)
binoculars (0.2kg for lightweight to 2.5kg for powerful pair)
dry change of clothes (1.5kg - 3kg)
waterproof jacket (0.6kg to 1kg)
waterproof overtrousers (0.5kg)
woollen or thermal underwear (0.2kg to 0.5kg)
warm hat or beanie (0.2kg)
first aid kit (0.2 - 0.6 kg)
sleeping bag (from 1kg for a light summer bag to 4 kg for 4 season)
tent (from 2kg for light 1 person shelter to 5kg for 5 person winter tent)
toothbrush/toothpaste 0.1 kg
fuel stove and fuel (0.6 kg without pots to 1.6 kg including pots)
radio/cassette/CD player 0.3kg for personal stereo to 4kg for boom box)
compass 0.1 kg
books for reading (0.2kg for light paperback to 1kg for heavy novel)
electronic game (0.2kg )
laptop computer (2-3kg)
torch and batteries (0.1kg for light LCD to 0.7 for tungsten bulb)
water (1.2kg per 1 litre bottle)
sleeping mat (0.6kg for 3/4 length to 1.0kg for a full length)
food (1kg for small, dehydrated to 4kg for large, filling meals)
hand trowel/toilet paper (0.1kg to 0.2kg)
camera (0.3kg for small compact to 3kg for an SLR and tripod)
TOTAL kg  

3. How much weight will you be carrying? What non-essential items did you include? Did you trade off a warm sleeping bag for a heavy book? Was your choice of backpack too small to fit everything inside? Did you have enough food?

Remember that it is recommended that a person carry no more than a third of their bodyweight. For long, extended walks in the hard conditions found in Tasmania, good quality sleeping bags rated down to -5 degrees at least are recommended. Tents must be able to withstand strong winds. The clothing you take must be sufficient to keep you warm in cold, wet windy conditions, even if you head off in summer.Bushwalking in Tasmania is very different to walking in warmer areas. Much of the weight of your gear will be needed to keep you warm.

What is your goal?

4. Where would you like to walk to? Discuss with a partner possible locations.

5. How far would you like to walk? What distance or location would be a real achievement for you?

6. What else would you need to do before setting off on a walk? List your actions. See Background Note 2b - Planning for a safe trip in the outdoors.

7. Go on a 1 hour walk to practice carrying your full backback.

Going further

Find out more about Leave No Trace - a set of guiding principles that help minimise our impact on the places we visit.