I had the luxury of having a brother who walked the Kokoda Track with Kokoda Trekking (KTL) last year, so he was able to give us some really sound advice in advance.
The first piece of advice is to get fit.
You will spend one 8 hour day walking solidly uphill with your (about 8 Kg) day pack on your back. Other days you will spend a very long time walking downhill which is actually harder. Do lots of walking up and down steep hills.
The second piece of advice is to get your malaria medication
This isn’t difficult – just go to your doctor.
Most malaria medications need to be started a couple of days before you head to New Guinea – check with your doctor.
Malaria is one of those diseases that mutates regularly, so get up to date info and get the right pills. Different doctors will prescribe different medication so don’t be surprised if your trekking mates have pills different to yours.
The malaria medication will be a PROPHYLAXIS. This type of medication will not cure you if you get malaria. Also, it will not guarantee that you won’t get malaria. All it will do is dramatically reducing your likelihood of getting it.
The third piece of advice is to make sure your equipment is in good condition
You will need to have a small, light rucksack that you will carry your day stuff in.
Expect to have in your day pack
- Your food for the day
- A rain coat
- Your eating plate and drinking mug
- Your water purifying pills
- Your sandals ( for walking through streams)
- Your water bottles / bladders
- Toilet Paper
You will also need to have a more substantial rucksack that will be carried by your porter. Porters do not have their own rucksack – you have to provide your own. Your Porter’s rucksack will carry everything else of yours including:
- A small one man tent
- A sleeping bag
- A camping mattress
- A mosquito net
- You changes of clothes
- Your torch with spare batteries & bulbs
- Your medical kit
- Your washkit (soap, toothbrush toothpaste & towel is all that’s needed)
Your porter’s rucksack, when fully loaded MUST NOT weigh more than 15 Kg.
Realistically, if it weighs more than 13 Kg, you’ve got too much stuff. Also you must leave some space in your rucksack for your porter to store his (small) pack too.
Make sure that your trekking boots fit properly and are in good condition. They are possibly the most vital and irreplaceable piece of kit you have. You can’t afford for them to fail.
Make sure you wear your boots on the aircraft when you travel as if your backpack goes missing with your gear most things can be replaced but not your boots!