The Mountain Safety Council’s Nick Kingtone’s list of things to do before you leave home – so you’ll make it back home
Clean up your act Some things get better with age, outdoor equipment is rarely one of them. Drag out your kit, dust it off and give it a good old fashioned spring clean. Not only will your gear last a whole lot longer, it’ll work better. This works in reverse at the end of the season, put your gear away clean and serviced for long life and peace of mind.
Sun smart Remember the sun? Your skin does, and certainly will as you age. Pack a hat, sunscreen and extra water. Dehydration and fatigue from heat exposure is a factor in many 3pm navigation ‘disagreements’. Arrive fresh and happy into camp.
Book a bunk early Many of DOC’s most popular huts are on the department’s booking system, which means you have to book a bunk to stay there. Avoid disappoint, book now.
Safety kit Admit it, you’re thinking about which piece of gear you’ll be buying this season. If you can spring for it, a PLB is a great investment in your overall safety. It doesn’t supersede good trip planning and sensible management of risks, but if it all goes pear-shaped at least you’ll be much easier to find.
Plan your trip It sounds simple, but there is more to it than you’d think. Failing to plan is (in some trips) planning for failure.