Taking a holiday walking the Kokoda Trek is a great adventure. However, whether you’re an experienced hiker or outdoors person, or not, you will need to get a lot of specific hiking gear for a particular trip like this.
The Kokoda Trek crosses the Owen Stanley Ranges on Papua New Guinea’s main island and it’s a remote and rugged territory. You will need to be prepared for the terrain, for the tropical weather, for camping and of course to make sure you can keep a memory of this wonderful experience.
Depending on which Kokoda Tour Operator you choose to go with, the trekking company may supply some of the items we mention here. Once you have completed your booking with a tour operator, they will typically also supply you with a list of items you need to pack and a list of items that they supply.
Camping Gear And Backpacks
To sleep along the Kokoda Trek you will need a tent, sleeping bag, foam or therm-a-rest mat, and if you want a blow up pillow. To carry your gear you will need a large backpack, and potential also a day backpack, if you are travelling with a porter. You will need dry bags to keep your backpack contents dry as there are tropical rains in the area.
For sustenaince you would need cooking gear and food, a plate, bowl, cutlery and a cup. Typically the cooking gear and food is supplied by the larger Kokoda Trail Tours operators and carried by group porters. If you want to make sure of this, contact your chosen trekking company.
To master the treacherous terrain you may choose to take trekking poles to reduce the strain on your legs. You should also bring a Camelbak and spare water bottle to ensure you have enough water every day.
Shoes and Clothes
As you need to carry everything you take with you for 10 days, you are very limited in what you can pack for Kokoda Treks. Most companies advise that your backpack should not be more than 8kgs if you’re hiring a porter (as they will need to add some things of their own), and around 10kgs if you carry your own large backpack. It is recommended that you take two sets of tops and bottoms, preferably light-weight, easily drying, long sleeved, and breathable. You will also need a pair of long underpants and shirt for cold nights, 3 pairs of socks and of course underwear. You may consider a pair of bike shorts underneath your trekking pants to avoid chaffing. You may have the opportunity to wash some items of clothing in a river along the way, but this depends on the weather, your hiking speed, etc. Generally speaking you will wear one set of clothes during the day while you’re hiking and another set in the evening and at night after you have washed yourself.
To protect you from the tropical weather, bring a hat and a rain coat or cape.
In terms of shoes, you should choose hiking boots that give ankle support, and that can dry quickly, as you will often need to walk through rivers, and there may not even be time for the whole group to stop at a river and take their shoes off. In such cases you would have to continue your hike with wet shoes and socks until you can dry your shoes in the sunshine during the day or at the campfire at night.
To ensure a memorable and safe holiday, don’t forget to bring your first aid kit (including blister tape, paracetamol, aspirin, Ibuprofin, Imodium, anit-biotics, bandages, water purifying tablets, sunscreen, lipbalm, etc.) although each professional trekking company will also have their own extensive first aid kit. In terms of toiletries, you need to take toilet paper, wet wipes, soap (biodegradable if possible), mosquito spray, a hand sanitiser and a quick dry towel. Many people choose to keep a diary when walking Kokoda Treks. On top of that you will want to take a pocket knife and a camera to keep shots of your adventure of a lifetime!
Living cannibal victim in Papua New Guinea
Matthew Blackwell interviews Helena Michael who had her face partially eaten by a serial cannibal in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea in 2011. Blackwell suggests that a rare and debated psychosis known to anthropologists may be involved.