What to Bring

Navigation Weekend


by Ashley Burke

This equipment list is suitable for the navigation weekend that is normally run in the months of March-October.This list is specific for this particular weekend. For a more general list intended for most other bushwalking trips that I lead in the Blue Mountains, please see the Bushwalking Gear List.

Equipment List - Navigation Weekend


Item Comments Availability
Sleeping bag The sleeping bag should be 3-4 season rated, or temperature rated to zero degrees celsius.  
Pack/Rucksack Minimum volume 60L, or 55L at a pinch. Try to pack everything inside. Avoid loose items strapped to outside of pack. Foam mats can get scratched or torn if strapped on outside of pack. I have a spare which you can borrow.
Lightweight tent or tent fly with ground sheet.

The campsite is in a very sheltered location under a huge sandstone overhang protected from the elements. A tent is therefore not essential if you are willing to sleep under the overhang, but if you do not bring a tent you will need a ground sheet or tarp, plus a space blanket or similar.

Due to COVID-19 social distancing requirements, sharing of tents between people who do not normally live together should be avoided.

Rent a Big Agnes 1-person tent: $30

You may borrow a lightweight 1-person tent from me for $30.

Brand: Big Agnes

Weight: About 1.3kg

Foam mat or thermarest

A foam mat can be purchased inexpensively from camping stores.

Other options are Thermarest. There are many different models in the Thermarest range. The Thermarest NeoAir is the lightest for the amount of warmth, insulation, comfort and compactness.

Can be borrowed: Thermarest Z-lite foam hiking mat.
Waterproof rain coat Can be lightweight.  
Water bottle(s) Enough to hold 3-4 litres is required. Nalgene bottles are recommended. Alternatively just take old soft drink bottles or used wine cask bladders.  
Torch A small head torch is ideal  
Fleece or warm jumper    
Thermal underwear Top and bottom  
Walking shoes For further advice on walking shoes, contact me directly  

Cooking and eating utensils:

  • Billy or cookset
  • Plastic cup
  • Spoon
  • Pocket knife
  • Fork (optional)

Camping stoves are optional. On most trips we will have a campfire which you are welcome to use for cooking on. Camping stoves can be shared, and I can provide you with boiling water for your cooking needs.

A "billy" is a small aluminium pot which is used to cook over the fire. Alternative to a billy if using a stove is any kind of camp cookset.



Bring enough food for yourself for the duration of the trip. Normally everyone brings their own food unless specific arrangements to share food are made.

Due to COVID-19 social distancing requirements, sharing of food between people who do not normally live together should be avoided.

You need to bring:

  • 1 breakfast
  • 2 lunches
  • 1 dinner
  • Snacks

See food suggestions below for help on what sort of food to bring.


Shirt and shorts or long pants for walking in during the day

Shorts or long pants? This depends on personal preference, and time of year or expected temperatures. Bear in mind that you will be walking through scrub which may be dense in places and therefore long pants are recommended. In the summer months or in hot weather, shorts are ok, though gaiters are highly recommended if hiking in shorts.  
Gaiters (optional) Gaiters for the lower legs provide protection against the low scrub and also from snakebite. Optional.  

Additional warm clothes (depending on time of year):

  • Beanie
  • Gloves

Check the weather forecast prior to the trip. The weather in May-September can be variable and cold weather is likely, especially at night. Ensure you have sufficient warm clothes for chilly evenings and mornings. Most likely not needed on trips in March, April and October.

A cheap and very light pair of sandals/thongs/crocs/flip flops for the river crossings. Optional.

We will be crossing a running stream on both days. The stream is a few metres wide and less than knee deep. I recommend just wading through with your shoes on but if you want to keep your hiking shoes and socks dry, you may change into a lightweight pair of footwear suitable for walking through water. These should be cheap and light as you will need to carry them the rest of the time.

Please note that walking barefoot across the river is permissable, but not recommended due to the risk of hurting your feet or slipping.


Personal items:

  • Toilet paper
  • First aid

Keep to minimum. Do not use soap or anything that will pollute waterways. Hand sanitizer gel (that doesn't require water) is a good alternative to soap.

First aid kit must include as a minimum:

  • 1 x compression bandage (minimum dimensions 7.5cm wide x 2.3m long unstretched)
  • band aids
  • Antiseptic cream or betadine

Also recommended:

  • Cotton wool balls
  • safety pins

For COVID-19 hygiene it is a requirement to wash or sanitise your hands frequently on the hike, and always before touching food or any group gear.


Each person should bring a compass for this weekend in order to gain the most benefit from what we will be learning. I can supply you with a compass at the same price that it costs me, or you may rent one for the weekend for $15. Compasses can also be purchased from camping and outdoor stores or online.

For information on what is the best compass to buy, see Section 7.2 of my navigation tutorial.

Here is a price list for different models of compasses that I can supply for you:

Rent a Silva Ranger for the weekend - $15

Buy a Suunto A-30: $50

Buy a Silva Ranger: $55

Buy a Suunto M-3 Global: $96.50

Buy a Suunto MC-2 Global with mirror: $115

Topographic Map of the area we will be walking in. You will need a topographic map of the area that we will be walking in. Details of which map you need will be sent to you once I receive your application. You can either bring your own copy of this map, or purchase one from a supply I will bring with me at a cost of around $22. Maps supplied by me are printed on durable laminated and weatherproof paper. The maps are about 1.1m x 0.6m in size.  
Pencil Useful for drawing bearings and marking the route on your map.  

For your personal expenses travelling to and from the start point.

Payment for the navigation weekend is required in advance, however you may purchase maps, compasses and other gear on the day for cash.


A whistle is an important safety item for attracting attention in an emergency or in the unlikely event that you become separated from the group.

Some backpacks come with a whistle built in or attached. These are often too small and feeble for a genuine emergency. Bring a separate pealess whistle if you have one. If you don't have one, MountainSphere can supply one for you for the trip.

Recommended brand: Fox 40 Sharx Pealess Whistle
Course Notes (Not required - optional)

I have written an online navigation course and on the weekend you will be putting these course notes into practise.

A printable PDF version of this online material is also available. Please be advised that this document is more than 55 pages long and it is not necessary for you to print and bring these notes with you on the weekend as it is a hiking trip focused on applying these skills in a practical way.

You do, however, have the option to print selected pages to serve as a set of "cheat sheets" to help you remember the techniques you will be putting into practise on the weekend. The best pages to print are pages 34-41 (8 pages in total). You may also wish to print "The Back Page" (pages 54 and 55).

Go to online course


Download PDF

... and remember to just print pages 34-41 and 54-55 from the PDF.

Printing these pages and bringing them with you is optional.

Optional: Mobile phone

Mobile phone with COVIDSafe app installed and Bluetooth turned on. This is entirely optional and you will not be penalised for opting not to bring your phone or install the app.

MountainSphere Adventures encourages the use of the COVIDSafe app.

For more information check the Australian Department of Health website.

Keen to join a navigation weekend? Click below:

Food Suggestions

It is normal practise for everyone to bring their own food for the trip. That way, each person can eat according to their own preferences and diet, and less time is spent organising communal food.

Due to COVID-19 social distancing requirements, sharing of food between people who do not normally live together should be avoided.

Below are some suggestions on the sorts of food that are suitable to bring on the 2 day navigation weekend. These are suggestions only, based on what I normally take on a weekend walk. Everyone's tastes and diet are different, so feel free to make any changes to the list below based on your preferences. Also feel free to contact me if you have any other questions about what sorts of food to bring.

You will need to bring:

General Comments

Things to avoid:

On the other hand, food can be fun and easy to cook when camping, and it is possible to have good variety, including fresh foods, especially on shorter trips.

Freeze dried meals are a popular choice and are easy to prepare, though more expensive and lacking in fresh ingredients. If you bring a freeze dried meal, I can provide you with boiling water to rehydrate your meal.










If you like to snack between meals then you can bring anything such as chocolate, nuts, biscuits, snack bars or other snack food.



All content on this web page is Copyright © Ashley Burke. No duplication of any text or image without permission.

This page created 17 Apr 2008, last updated 08 Jun 2020.