My Kokoda Trail Packing List

The Kokoda Trail is a pilgrimage for Australians, many of us have family members who fought in World War II, all over the world. When the Japanese were invading from the north, they came through Papua New Guinea in some of the most dense jungle in the world. The Australian Army fought hard to abate the advance, but there was a great loss of life as result of this campaign.

My cousins’ grandfather was a solider in this war campaign and it was a personal journey for them to hike the trail. I joined them on this journey.


Our eight day hike through the jungle began with a light-aircraft flight to Kokoda. We were limited to under 10kg (combined weight of main backpack and day pack) due to the weight limitations of the aircraft.

Our hiking path would take us back to Ower’s Corner, some 98km away (as the crow flies). Of course, the distance was much greater than this when factoring in ascent and descent, which at times were extremely steep to the point where we were literally using our hands to climb a mountain face.

In October 2013, we were hiking in an auspicious year, marking the 69th anniversary of the end of the war. The climate in this season is very hot and humid in the day, cold at night.

Including everything, my main backpack was 8kg which my porter and friend, Auda, carried. I carried my own water and snacks in my daypack, weighing up to 5kg at any time – water in the process of being purified and water ready for drinking.

The Basics
Several pairs of underwear (avoid cotton if possible)
A pair of satin boxers (for sleeping)
A singlet (for sleeping)
Several pairs of liner socks
A pair of hiking socks
A technical hiking shirt
A technical tee shirt
A pair of running shorts
A pair of hiking pants (can be zipped off at the knee)

– Optional
A pair of compression leggings
A mosquito net jacket (covers upper body, including head and hands)
A rain poncho (heavy duty)

Warm Clothes
Waterproof windcheater

The Footwear
Hiking boots
A pair of thongs (flip-flops)
A pair of reef shoes (for water crossings)

The Accessories

The Personals
Two travel towels
A first aid kit
A jungle kit
– SPF 40+ sunscreen
– 80% deet insect repellent lotion
– 60 water purification tablets (1 tablet for 1L of water)
A toiletries kit
– in the jungle, use organic toiletries that won’t pollute the environment
A laundry kit

The Equipment
Spare laces for boots
Self-inflating 3/4 sleeping mat
Sleeping bag (compact, under 1kg, rated to 2 degrees celcius)
Hiking pole
A manual hand-pump torch
A neck lamp (worn around the neck, instead of around the head)
Two 1L Water bottle
A 2L foldable bottle
A 450g tub of hydralyte (to help reduce salt and mineral loss through excessive sweating)

Camping kitchen
– knife, fork, spoon
– foldable plate
– foldable bowl
– foldable cup
– foldable mug

60L backpack (total packed weight under 8kg)

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