Gear from head to toe!

Underwear
Your first layers can be some of your most important. As they rest on your skin for the duration of your endeavour, comfort is the top priority when choosing these garments.
ExOfficio underwear is designed with super soft, nylon stretch fabric that regulates perspiration in response to body temperature to keep you cool and dry. In the women’s underwear, the cotton panty liner is key in enhancing breathability, long-lasting odor resistance and a comfortable fit. Their breathability and fit make them top picks for underwear to take on long distance activity! The men’s underwear are available in the following styles: flyless briefbrief3” boxer brief and 6” boxer brief.

The give-n-go line raise the bar with antimicrobial treatment that reduces odor in fabric while flatlock seams and a smooth fabric waistband prevent chafing. This line includes the women’s bikini brief, 2″ boy short, and mesh hipkini.
While breathability, comfort, odor control and anti chafing technology are key on the bottom, the upper body criteria expands to include support, as well as moisture wicking and quick drying technology. The Patagonia Women’s Cross Beta Sports Bra has a crossover front design that reduces heat retention and provides extra support. Extremely soft 85% recycled polyester/15% spandex jersey fabric wicks moisture, dries fast and provides comfort for all-day wear. An innovative perforated elastic band creates increased breathability for extended wear.

Cool-Lite™ Fabrics 
Icebreaker has brought groundbreaking technology to the market resulting in unbeatable temperature regulation for to keep your body cool when pushing the limits. Their new Cool-Lite™ technology combines two natural performance fibers – premium merino wool and TENCEL® resulting in an odor resistant garment that wicks moisture 3x faster and runs 40% cooler than 100% merino. For the strenuous, under-the-sun portion of your trailwalk this moisture wicking fabric technology could be a winner on your gear list. The Icebreaker men’s Cool-Lite SS Crewe  is a great option to keep  you cool when exerting yourself in warmer conditions.

Micro Puff 
When we’re talking long distance bushwalking, or any sport for that matter, we need to account for changes in temperature, weather, as well as breaks you might take along the way. As the temperature drops with the falling of dusk, or when you take a trailside break for a meal, it’s important you have the appropriate layers to keep your body temperature where it needs to be. For colder weather, Patagonia has released their “best warmth for weight jacket [they] have every built”, which is exciting news, if you ask us! To sum it up, the Micro Puff delivers ultralightweight down-like warmth with PlumaFill synthetic insulation. They are calling it a “featherlight down alternative”. An added bonus: the ultralight nylon ripstop Pertex Quantum® shell is water-resistant, windproof and treated with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish. It’s a good piece of kit for boosted comfort, without sacrificing your entire weight budget.

 

Shoes 
When choosing a shoe for a long distance bushwalk, it’s important that you have shoes that have been tried and tested to ensure you don’t run into unexpected hot spots or points of discomfort. Many people who tackle long distance activities prefer to sport lighter trail runners over more supportive hiking boots; however, what you wear on your feet is very individual. You should consider things like: ankle and arch support required, waterproofness, tread, and of course, comfort. Our Paddy Pallin staff recommendation would be a shoe such as the Salomon X Ultra GTX® Women’s Shoe. This shoe has evolved Salomon’s best selling boot into an even more effective hiking shoe. This shoe really takes the stage and shines when it comes to tough descents, thanks to Descent Control technology. Even in wet conditions, this shoe is made to efficiently tackle technical terrain. The shoe boasts a High Traction Contagrip® outsole, GORE-TEX® waterproof lining, and Advanced Chassis™ which lives between the outsole and midsole to maximise motion control, energy management and push through protection for a stable and responsive ride.


Another option that will award you with lasting comfort, fostering a comfortable completion of your long distance challenge is the The North Face Endurus Hike GTX Shoe Men’s. XtraFoam™ midsole technology boosted by Industry-leading OrthoLite® foot bed technology make the Endurus a great choice for long lasting comfort throughout your adventure. A GORE-TEX® membrane combined with FlashDry™ collar lining will keep your feet cool and dry. Keeping your feet dry is a top priority to minimise blisters. FlashDry™ fabrics are engineered to accelerate the removal of moisture from the skin and speed up evaporative drying. Bonus: FlashDry™ doesn’t add weight or bulk and never washes or wears out. Finally, The North Face shoe is perfect for varied trail terrain with its forefoot-to-midfoot ESS Snake Plate™ that provides torsional rigidity and protection from stone bruising.

Socks
Now – what you put under those shoes can be just as important as the shoes themselves to ensure that your feet can take you across that finish line! We recommend roughly 4-6 pairs of socks to complete a long distance trail such as the Oxfam Trailwalker, keeping in mind that you can leave a number of these spares with your support crew. Similar to your shoes, your socks should be well broken into before you embark on your race. It is imperative that they fit perfectly inside your shoes, to avoid bunching and hot spots. We suggest bringing your boots along when you try on technical socks, and vice versa. In a sock, you can look for factors such as an articulated y-heel design, arch and ankle elastic to ensure it doesn’t slip down, cushioning underfoot, a flat toe seam and fabric that keeps moisture away from your skin.
If you’re someone who falls victim to the deadly in-between-the-toes-blisters, consider the Injinji Run 2.0 Lightweight Mini-Crew Sock that allows you to maximise comfort while minimising bulk. This sock is ultra-thin and ultimately allows your toes to splay naturally, resulting a more comfortable fit while moisture is able to be wicked away from all surfaces of your foot. This sock features a light and breathable mesh top to foster ventilation and breathability. If you’re after something even lighter, the Injinji Liner 2.0 Lightweight Coolmax Crew Sock  can aid your foot in defending against moisture and blisters. In cooler conditions they can be worn under a thicker outer layer or can be worn as a stand alone sock.
After all that hard work to keep your feet comfortable and dry, a pair of gaiters will be the cherry on top to keep your shoes debris free. Varied terrain and weather conditions can mean mud and scrub. If you’re after something ultralight and extremely compact, Dirty Girl Gaiters will do the job for your needs. For a little bit more coverage and durability, consider taking along a pair of Sea To Summit Tumbleweed Gaiters.
Water and Windproof 
Check the weather forecast before you take on such a challenge, but always keep in mind that things can change. Unexpected weather conditions are an eternal struggle for all outdoor enthusiasts. That’s why we recommend being prepared for what could potentially come your way. An omniscient overcast prediction should not be overlooked; a proper rain jacket will protect you from getting wet, cold, and uncomfortable throughout a long trek. You’ll want to make sure you have something that’s light, breathable and able to move with you. The Rab Kinetic Plus Jacket is a super lightweight, stretchy, waterproof softshell with high levels of breathability and watwer resistance. It’s available in both Men’s and Women’s styles. Weighing in at roughly 300 grams, this outer layer won’t weigh your pack down when not in use! To read more about the Rab Kinetic Plus jacket, check out our review!

For more on waterproof fabrics and what you’ll need to square up against the conditions you might face on your long distance challenge, read our blog post that dives deep into the nitty gritty of waterproof fabrics.
If you’re feeling optimistic about the season you’re walking in, and the weather forecast is looking like it will be on your side, you might be able to get away with a windbreaker in order to shed some grams! The Patagonia Houdini Jacket, available in both men’s  and women’s, blocks wind and withstands abrasion. The jacket packs into its own chest pocket, and will only weigh you down by roughly 90 grams. A windbreaker can be perfect for early mornings before the sun hits you and when you enter into dusk, feeling the cool of the night start to set in.
When getting dressed for a long distance, arduous, challenging activity such as the Oxfam Trailwalker, it’s important to consider the principle of layering. Layers will be your best friend as are exposed to various temperatures and weather conditions, walking from dawn to dusk. Braving the elements can be daunting, but backed by the right gear, you can ensure that you’re warm at night, dry in the rain, protected from the wind, and cool under the midday sun. To learn more about layering, check out our Introduction to Layering blog post.

Sunglasses
A beautiful sunny day can be ideal conditions for a long distance walk – who doesn’t love being outside in the sunshine? This glory also comes with responsibility including an increased focus on hydration and sun protection. When it comes to sunglasses, a long distance walk will have you treading through a spectrum of light conditions. From early morning to late at night, you will require a varied level of protection. When choosing your next pair of sunnies, consider the fit, lens as well as bonus features such as anti fog coating and oil repellent. The Julbo Aero Zebra Light Sunglasses (men’s) and Julbo Breeze Zebra Light Sunglasses (women’s) host a category 1-3 photochromic lens with NTS (Non-Temperature-Sensitive) technology which means your lens will get darker or lighter to match changing light conditions. This can be very advantageous for long distance trail running or bushwalking as you move between stages of light around dawn or dusk, or as you come in and out of shade. The Zebra light glasses will be your “go to” glasses for all light conditions. Lastly, their suspended lens allows for maximum ventilation, and paired with exceptional anti-fog coating, these specs will keep you fog-free!

Technology that will take you further

Head torch
A head torch will do you no good if you can’t navigate the trail in front of you, so make sure you have tested it out on a trail in the night prior to the event. The waterproofness of your head torch is something you may want to consider depending on the weather forecast for the event. A top performer for varying activities and light needs would be the Black Diamond Storm 350 Lumen Headlamp. This features a redesigned lighting profile which offers improved peripheral lighting for close-range activities like map reading or sorting gear. Don’t forget spare batteries or charging options!

Photo: @onelastexposure

Watch
A watch can be your absolute best friend, trail buddy and motivator to elevate you in the training stages of your long distance trail walk. Innovation has enabled the latest in training and monitoring technologies to accompany you along the way in the form of a small gadget on your wrist. The Suunto Traverse GPS Multi Function Watch boasts up to 100 hours of battery life (with GPS recording on), alimeter, barometer, and compass. When hitting the trails, a barometer is a key feature to monitor your training factoring elevation into the equation. The Suunto Traverse is your ideal companion on treks in the wild, allowing you to plan your route in Movescount.com with topographic maps and stay on course with the GPS navigation. To up your training game even further, check out the Suunto Spartan Ultra GPS Watch with heart rate monitor. Its compass and barometric altitude with FusedAlti™ ensure you always stay on course and follow your progress with personal bests and train smarter with community training insights. The Suunto Spartan Ultra will be your ultimate training partner. To learn more, read our review of the Suunto Spartan Ultra GPS Watch by seasoned adventure racers Ben and Alice here.

Traveling with Tech

Your phones, cameras, maps, lighting and any other electronics that are not suited to brave the rain will be best kept in a dry sack. This will allow you to focus on the trail ahead rather that worry about desperately trying to shelter your cell phone from becoming saturated. Let us be the ones to tell you from experience: in taking on a long distance bushwalk you are subjecting yourself to the elements. Over the course of your trek, you may see multiple seasons in a day depending on where you are. We have also been the ones to fall victim of an “I swear I screwed it on properly” leaky water bottle lid as well as a punctured water reservoir. Similar to the rain, your electronics will not love this exposure to the elements. A lightweight dry sack such as the Sea To Summit Ultra-Sil View Dry Sack will give you peace of mind when on the trails. Its clear TPU window allows you to easily view the contents inside. If you’re weather forecast isn’t looking pretty, consider using a dry sack to protect more than your electronics. With a variety of sizes, you can pack your extra layers, socks and food protected from the rain as well

Pack your pack

Trekking Poles 
To distribute weight from your legs and feet on such a long journey, we strongly recommend taking trekking poles along for the ride. Trekking pole can be shared and rotated between team members, and even left with your support crew to use in final stages of the adventure. They could get you across the finish line!

The two most common varieties of poles you will encounter are adjustable telescopic poles and collapsible folding poles. The former are constructed using a series of telescopic pole sections that lock together. These poles offer a great range of length adjustment, but still fold down to a fairly compact length. Some examples are the Komperdell range which are top quality and made in Austria. For those looking for an ultra-lightweight and collapsible option, the Black Diamond Z-Poles (they fold into a Z- shape) might fit the bill.
The construction of poles varies a lot between manufacturers and models. The two main pole materials used are Aluminium (tougher, heavier and cheaper) and Carbon Fibre (lighter, more expensive). Often a mixture of both is used, which can combine the best attributes of both materials The hand grips are generally formed from foam or cork, which type you prefer will simply come down to personal preference. In general the lighter and thinner the pole the more flex it will have. As such, a thicker, more robust pole may be heavier, but will also be stiffer and its durability might foster a longer lasting piece of gear. Learn more about trekking poles and how they can help you complete your trek here. 
Hydration
Hydration will be key as you tackle this long distance walk. Easy access and ease to carry are criteria to prioritise when choosing a hydration system. Hydration packs can be a convenient way to store and frequently access large quantities of water while doubling as a pack to carry your gear! You can customise the size of your reservoir based on your needs (calculated from your personal training as hydration needs vary among individuals and conditions) and the same for the size of your pack depending how much you are bringing along with you.

Photo: @samanthagash

Now – with this in mind, we hope you are one step closer to hitting the trails and completing your long distance challenge! If you have any specific questions about the gear that will be best suited for your adventure, head in to your local Paddy Pallin store!

#ExperienceIsEverything #paddystaffer

About The Author

admin

Some 80 years ago, a young bushwalker's dissatisfaction with the limited and heavy bushwalking equipment available prompted him to design and make his own. Before long, word spread, and Paddy Pallin's lightweight, functional designs were soon in demand among fellow bushwalkers. From its early days the company has concentrated on supplying bushwalkers, travellers and adventurers with the highest quality and most advanced products and knowledge. Since 1930 the company has grown to become Australia's leading supplier of specialist outdoor and travel gear. The company, still owned by the Pallin family, now has thirteen stores throughout Australia as well as online, mail order and corporate sales divisions. We are using our vast wealth of knowledge, and experience, to build an online community where we can share our stories, reviews and tech tips to help you research and plan your next adventure.

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