If you ask anyone that’s ever done the Otter Trail, they’ll tell you its one of their favorites, but they’ll end that same sentence off with “Make sure you’ve pre-packed your hiking pack correctly, or you’re going to be stuffed”.
Seriously, the Otter Trail is a beautiful 5 Day Hike that takes people along 45km’s of South Africa’s most untouched coastline, always with a wave breaking in your left ear as you trek up and down the MANY hills, but the hardest part to some is carrying ALL your stuff, including food and utensils.
There’s no electricity at any of the 4 Huts you stay in and wood is provided at each camp, but the rest is on you to transport from Storms River, all the way to the finish line 5 days later in Natures Valley.
So, with that being said, here’s a list of Essential Items you should take with on the Otter Trail, all of which can be purchased at Cape Union Mart Stores countrywide.
What to Pack for The Otter Trail
The K-Way 70L Venture Hiking Pack
One thing you should know about this hike if you don’t already know, is that all your belongings and food needs to be transported on your back! I’ve yet to hear of anyone that lugged roller luggage along the hike with them, so make sure your hiking pack is sturdy and as lightweight as possible.
Carlinn and I opted for the K-Way 70L Venture Packs, which I’ve seen loads of people use in the past by scrolling through all the photos on the Otter Trail Facebook Page.
It’s got plenty of space to hold everything from the 2 really big side pockets, which is where I kept things like my K-Way Cooking Pots and Gas Burners, and my daily snacks and energy gummies.
The inside is broken down into two main compartments, where I kept my sleeping bag, slops and air pillow at the bottom, and then all my clothes, food and camera went into the top.
It sits really snug on your hips, taking the bulk of the weight from what was a 18kg pack for me, and puts spread it evenly across my hips.
This hiking pack also has a water proof cover stored at the bottom of the bag as well as an area inside the main compartment for a bladder.
The Sapphire Cowl Sleeping Bag vs. The K-Way Chamonix Sleeping Bag
Carlinn and I both had a different sleeping bag for this hike because I already had the Sapphire Cowl from previous adventures I’d been on, but next time I do the Otter Trail, I’ll be packing the super lightweight K-Way Chamonix Sleeping bag.
Both of these sleeping bags can be purchased at Cape Union Mart Stores, but I think the Sapphire Cowl is more suited for camping trips where you need extra warmth and don’t really have to worry about weight because it sits at 1,8kgs vs. the 850g of the Chamonix.
The Chamonix is also a hell of a lot smaller, making it super easy to attach to the bottom of your pack if you’re looking for extra space inside the bottom compartment.
Cooking Utensils from Cape Union Mart
Saving as much space as possible is key to a comfortable hike on the Otter Trail, so I was pretty stoked to have the K-Way 2 Piece Pot Set, which allows me to keep my gas canister inside the main pot, which then has the smaller one fit snuggly on top of it, to be safely stored in the side of my pack.
Storing Gas in the side of your pack is not recommend just like that, always make sure it’s inside something or wrapped up so that it can’t be damaged.
Speaking of Gas, Cape Union Mart stores sell the Colman C5 Gas Canister, which I had 3 for the trip, but only used 2 to boil all our water and cook certain things like porridge and noodles.
The burner I have is the Fire Maple, which burns the hottest of all the burners found in store and it screws on perfectly to the Gas Canisters.
Keep Dry and Warm with K-way Clothing
As I’ve said a couple of times in this post, saving on space is KEY and when it comes to your clothing for this 5 Day Hike, I can only say this… Nobody cares what you smell like because everyone else smells the same.
With that being said, you will not need more than the following:
- A pair of shorts to hike in if it’s hot and a pair of hiking trousers if it’s cold.
- One hiking shirt for to hike in every day and one t-shirt to wear at night. Make sure the hiking shirt has a moisture management material or you’re going to hate life 1 hour into day one and continue hating it for the rest of the hike)
- A fresh pair of jocks for ever day (that’s just general hygiene)
- Two pairs of thick hiking socks
- A Waterproof Jacket / Wind Breaker
- Proper Trail Shoes or Boots
- Aqua Shoes
- Slip Slops
This is what I packed:
- A pair of K-Way Hiking Shorts (The K-Way Knox Active Shorts) and a pair of hiking trousers which I wore in the evenings (The K-Way Lango Trousers)
- The K-Way Reiko Crew with Moisture Management.
- 2 Pairs of thick K-Way Socks.
- My underpants are the tight boxer briefs which I bought else where, but on top of that to reduce chafe, I also invested in a pair of short tights. (These go under your shorts)
- The Wind Breakers and Waterproof jackets I packed were the SUPER lightweight K-Way Drake, and my good old trusty K-Way Softshell Hoody from their Kilimanjaro Expedition Range.
- When packing shoes for this hike, I have both boots and trail running shoes, of which I opted for the trail running shoes because they are lighter on my feet and because I own the Adidas Terrex Swift R GTX shoes, they have an easy lace system making it SUPER easy to get on and off when we got to the river crossings.
- My Aqua shoes were bought on our last trip to Mauritius after I stood on a sea urchin, but have a look at Cape Union Mart’s awesome range of aqua shoes.
What else to pack…
The rest of the items you should be packing in your bag are :
- Food for 5 days
- Snacks to keep you going during the day (Read my post on what snacks to pack here…)
- A Torch – I use a LED Lenser Headlamp as it keeps my hands free to help climb in the dark.
- Pack a lightweight camera like the GoPro Hero 5 Black because its SUPER lightweight, perfect for selfies and it takes incredible photos and video.
- A Sharp Knife or Leatherman.
- A Walking Stick or Trekking Poles (or you can find one on the way, but DO NOT CHOP ANY TREES DOWN or SANparks will cut you!)
- Toilet Paper! If you forget this, you’re going to be using leaves or water to clean your butt.
- A Quick Dry Towel – I’ve got the K-Way Trekking Towl that dries in minutes after use.
- A Large Plastic Bag to put your pack inside when doing river crossings.
- Water Purification Drops or Tablets.
- A Hat, Sunblock and a Beanie to keep your pip and skin protected and warm.
- Sunglasses with Polarized Lenses to make everything look like its 3D (even though life generally is in 3D).
- Make sure you’ve always got enough water, especially in the summer because dehydration is a real thing you do NOT want on the Otter Trail. I had the K-Way 3 Liter Hydration Reservoir inside my bag, which I filled with water and threw 2 bags of isotonic game inside.