05 February 2009

Hiking Gear

The hiking gear vary depending on the terrain, climate and the difficulty level. Sri Lanka being a tropical country you have to be ready for heavy rain at any time. The main items would be a strong big enough backpack, Tent with fly sheets, Good boots or shoes that cover above the ankle, easy to carry small made cooking utensils and of course enough clothes depending on the climate. Navigational items like compass, GPS, maps will be very helpful. Never forget torches or emergency lights. You might need additional items like ropes depending on the terrain.

Some basic but important suggestions are given below.

Backback - The golden rule is you should take just enough items, not too much nor too little. Good strong backpacks can take upto 15 kgs but all depend on how much you can carry at a stretch on difficult terrain. It should be one big pack and not number of smaller bags. It is always advisable to have two free hands while hiking. Always pack your bag in such away that you can easily take frequently used items. Always remember where you have packed every single item inside your bag. Good to pack your dry clothes in a seperate polythene bag in case of rain. But remember to bring those polythene bags back! Generally if you pack heavier items at the top it is easier to carry. In that way the centre of gravity of the bag will lie closer to your shoulders and you will find a remarkable difference. Never allow items to hang or portrude from your bag.

Tent - Always take medium or small scale tents. (1-2 or 3-5 people) Bigger tents will be heavy and difficult to carry. Make sure you can fold it and put it in one backpack. Even if you travel as a team make sure one member can carry the tent. A fly sheet (Additional sheet that covers the tent from the top) is absolutely necessary due to unpredicatable and heavy rain. Read this post for more information on tents.

Boots or shoes - Never wear new shoes for hikes. Believe me you will prefer walking barefoot in the middle of the hike :) Try to wear your used but good enough shoes that fits you best. It is always good to cover upto ankles especially if you are hiking in low country. Remember 90% of snake bites are recorded below ankle!

Cooking utensil - This is a tricky thing. It depends on whether you going to cook while hiking or you try to take pre-cooked items. It is very satsifying to have a cooked meal while camping. There are smaller gas cookers that fix to small gas cylinders. Only problem is that, it is difficult to find such small gas cylinders nowadays. Two small alluminium cooking pots are more than enough. Take a few lighters and a few box of matches. Remember that lighting fires in the wild should be done with utmost safety precautions.

Clothes - If you are camping in high peaks or places like horton you must take appropriate clothing to keep you warm. In general lighter cotton fabrics will be ideal for Sri Lankan climates. Good to take a long sleeve shirt as most of the Sri Lankan jungles have thick undergrowth.

I will bring more details about individual items later.


Butterfly Blogs said...

Grate site you have


Kirigalpoththa said...

Thanks very much for dropping by and for your comments!
Saw your excellent website - www.birdnestforum.info
Keep it up!

Nadia said...

"It is always good to cover upto ankles especially if you are hiking in low country. Remember 90% of snake bites are recorded below ankle!" I will forever remember this tip :)

Oh, and I love North Face backpacks.

Kirigalpoththa said...

Did you ever face any experience with a vicious snake?
Believe me, shoes that cover up to your ankles will give you excellent protection from snakes. Also when you walk, take heavy footsteps. Then any snake or creatures on your path will move out.
The North Face is my favourite too! I love their stuff!!
Thanks a lot for your comments.

Nadia said...

Snakes, yes, but not the vicious ones (or so I was told since I can't differentiate one from the other anyway). But I would feel a thousand times better if my ankles are protected. And I'll remember to take heavy footsteps too.

Kirigalpoththa said...

Yes, shoes upto ankles and heavy footsteps will definitely give you excellent protection while hiking! :)

nalinda said...

wow. what a nice blog spot.

Kirigalpoththa said...

Thanks :)

dude said...

Hey Kirigalpoththa, nice blog, but I do have to point out that your equipment section is terribly oversimplified. Please take that observation in the most constructive way possible.
There is something I thought you may be able to help me with, though, if you know. What do you need to input into regular Garmin GPS devices, in terms of datum, output format etc, to get it to match with grid printed onto the Survey Department 1/50000 maps? I couldn't figure this out for the life of me, but I did run into some Army SF guy somewhere, whose Garmin GPS tallied perfectly with the Survey Dept. map grids. Tried messing around with his GPS, but the options he had on his Garmin GPS were not available on mine. Wonder why that is - maybe some local supplier to the Army configures the units specially because the Sri Lanka survey dept. grid is not covered by Garmin? Let me know if you know about this. Cheers

Kirigalpoththa said...


I have not used GPS in any of my hikes so can't say much about Garmin GPS. That is the reason for oversimplified equipment section :)

But I have done some mapping with Google Earth and Survey Department digital maps. Both synchronized perfectly.

Survey Department digital maps are compatible with global datum WGS84. So GPS and survey maps should be accurate now.

More info below on map projections/grid system and GPS compatibilty.

1. GPS compatibility

2. National Grid

Anyway, I shall check more on this and get back to you.

Thanks for the comments mate.


dude said...

Hi K,

Thanks. So the Datum used is WGS84 - that's easy enough, seeing as pretty much all commercial gps units have this option. The issue then is getting hold of a gps unit that allows users to get readings in the Sri Lanka National Grid format, which can then be matched to survey dept. maps.

Let me know if you can help me out with this :)

By the way, if you want, I could help you out with the equipment section of your blog, to supplement the information you already have up. Let me know if you'd like that.


Unknown said...