Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Backpacking, Slackpacking or Base camp hike?

Hi everyone,
We’ve been asked on numerous instances, what we prefer, Backpacking, Slackpacking or Base camp hike?
What do we think is the right way of doing the outdoorsy thing?

Now, honestly, I don’t think there is a precise answer here, it all depends on what you are keen for.
All three options has their benefits and disadvantages
(Read awesome and horrible situations).

I’m going to break it down for you, and then let you decide.

/ ˈbakpak/
gerund or present participle: backpacking
travel or hike carrying one's belongings in a rucksack.

The original format, of getting from point A to point B, by walking and carrying all your supplies. This is the one we like the most, it gives you a sense of accomplishment, to know you “survived” on your own for a couple of days.
It took a great deal of planning to finalize the contents of your bag to keep it to the bare minimum, as light as possible.
You carried all your weight, including the 6 pack beer and the water bottle filled with Whiskey.

But sometimes you just want to relax and walk with only a day pack, whilst knowing that when you get to camp, all your stuff is there. This is where slackpacking comes in.

This is a great choice, for the unfit.
You walk with only water and snacks, and your heavy pack, gets dropped off at each camp, thus all the backpacking gear available, but you don’t have to carry it all day.
Now as overwhelming as this sounds, this options usually works out VERY expensive, because now you have to pay someone to drive around and load/unload gear for you, like a glorified butler.

But on the other end, isn’t it great to just rock up and walk, and supporting a local business, nudge-nudge, wink-wink.

I would like to do the Whale trail like that.
Imagine walking along the coast and ending the day with a glass of wine with a great view?

Then we get the good old basecamp hike, the best of both worlds.

Base camp hike:
This is an option I really enjoy for weekend trips.
Driving out the Friday after work, get to the camp and enjoy the night, no hassles, with all the luxuries you can fit in your vehicle.

Then you can walk 2-3 looped trails out and back over the duration of the weekend, knowing that as you return, the cooler boxes are ready and the camp is set up already.
All you need to do start the fire, crack a cold one and get the feet up in the air.

Generally these basecamp aren’t that expensive and a weekend like this won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
It also gives the opportunity for hikers of various fitness levels to join in and walk one or 2 trails together.

What is your thoughts?


Tuesday, 3 July 2018

When reality hits... What's next?!?!

So it's been a while since my last blog post, and a lot has happened since our Otter 2018 adventure.

We've had two "Hiking for Beer Day hikes", one at Wolwespruit Trails park and another at Hennops hiking trail.
It's always awesome to meet new faces and see familiar ones again.

We also had to say goodbye to Rodger, one of the hikers on the Otter, enjoy Netherlands my friend, enjoy walking the mountain free paths that side, until we meet again..

More than 2 months ago we finished a life changing experience, and it didn't take long for reality to set in, it was back to norm, the rat race "needed" me.
But it's difficult to forget that freedom one had. 5 Day's with no Cellphone signal, no stress, no fuss.

I've been asked on numerous occasions over the last 2 months,
"What is next?"

The obvious one comes up all the time,
"When are you doing Kilimanjaro?"

Now don't get me wrong, that adventure is definitely on my personal bucket list, but I was thinking closer to home, certainly South Africa has more than enough top class hikes to do first.

The hikes that are high up on my list is Fanie Botha, in the Lowveld, and Cathedral peak, in the Drakensberg area.

Which others would you recommend?
Perhaps Tsitsikama trail? Or even Amatolo trail? Where do you start?

Whatever your choice, be it a day hike, or a serious multi-day expedition, one needs to target these hikes, because memories are made out there.

Please share your bucket list with us, we might just plan a trip there soon...


Hiking for Beer

Friday, 4 May 2018

Otter trail, what an experience

Otter trail, one word, BREATHTAKING!

It all started roughly 12 months ago
We never had the intention on doing a hike of this caliber.

We were more than happy with the average day hike, content to say the least.

Until that day we got a WhatsApp message from Rodger saying the “Otter is booked, who is in?”

And just like that, a journey started, a goal in mind, but nobody could’ve ever explained to us what we’ve approached, to put it mildly, the Otter trail is a silent beast.

So if you’ve been following our Blog and Facebook posts, you’ll know, we took this very serious (with some beers and fun as well), so it’s not like we were unprepared, but what hit us on Sunday morning, 22 April 2018, was like a brick in the face.

We quickly realised that there is a reason, for the 11 month waiting period, it was beautiful, but you get that sense of danger as you start.

The ranger did a the safety briefing, and one realised that this is real, and not just a slapped together overnighter.

But was it worth the wait? MOST DEFINITLEY!

It’s the most intense physical activity I’ve done in my life, and I’ve done some serious stuff.

Between the group of 12 mates, all of us, at some point, hit the wall and did some introspective thinking.
But you got to pull up your big boy panties, and keep on walking, because the escape routes looks even worse.

Will I recommend people on doing the Otter? MOST DEFINITLEY!
If I get a phone call tomorrow, saying I can walk again, I’ll do it without consideration.

For my review on all 5 days of the trail, have a READ HERE 
(for registered users only, FREE registration)

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Suikerbosrand Overnight hike - Final Gear test

Hi everyone.

With the clock ticking down, rather fast, to our Otter trail in less than 3 weeks time, we had the luxury of testing our final gear, meals and packing arrangements at Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve.

The guys from Deadbeat Adventures asked us to join them on the trip - A short day 1 hike to Springbok hut (approx 4.8km hike) and then a more taxing day 2 hike back to the start (via Blesbok Hut, approx 11.5km). Rodger and Marihette attempted to do a day 3 hike via Steenbok, but had to bail out, more on this later.

It was a case of fine tuning our gear, and relatively confident that every decision made throughout the last year was worth it.
I can confidently say that I know now, eventually, what should be in my pack when we start our Otter 2018 adventure.

While testing was the main purpose of the hike, one quickly realised how awesome the Suikerbosrand trail is. It's diverse with different views waiting for you just over the hill.

The trail started of with a serious climb, like majority of the hikes in Gauteng, but the moment the legs (read lungs) started to wake up, it was a great hike to the hut, with various fauna and flora to enjoy along the route.

We got to the hut without really breaking a sweat, so after having having a small lunch, we took some Beers, obviously, and went on a short walk to the ridge next to our hut, and just chilled...

The next morning we got an unexpected surprise... It was bucketing down with thunder in the distance. But as luck would have it, minutes before we started our day 2, the rain stopped and the clouds cleared, giving us a beautiful day, with great hiking conditions.

At roughly 6km's we stopped for lunch at the blesbok hut, to have lunch and as always ended up taking the customary #hikingmonkey photo. The group split after this, 4 of us went left, back to the parking lot, while Rodger and Marihette went right towards Steenbok.

The rest of the trail ended up very basic, but still some tough hills to get over, but managed a steady pace to the finish.
As we got to the cars, Rodger phoned and told us they are turning back, due to the overgrown route. Thus making it a 16km walk for the day, hectic!

This was one of two issues we had during the weekend.
The other problem was the toilet at the hut, in basic terms, it was disgusting.

Both these issues can be easily resolved, with help from volunteers and donations towards the reserve... 

I feel a charity walk coming ;)


p.s. for maps, and .gpx files, REGISTER HERE FOR FREE

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

How did this happen? Our first event sells out... FAST!!!

Hi everyone,
You might think I'm getting lazy, by not doing my weekly Blog on Monday.
But I've got great feedback to share with you.

We created a hiking event, taking place on the 15th of April, at Groenkloof Nature reserve.
Originally, we thought by ourselves, if we get 20 people joining us, we'll be over the moon.
Well we surpassed that mark significantly.
You, our followers and fellow hikers came to the part, BIG TIME!

I had to close the entries for the event yesterday, due to the numbers we reached.
We are so overwhelmed by the support shown to our group and event.

*Proceeds of the event, and events throughout the year, will be given to SANPARKS, towards Rhino conservation.

So this is why the weekly Blog is late, I had a lot of admin to do, but as they say, this was a great problem to have.

Please keep an eye on our Facebook Page and our Website, or send us an email at info@hikingforbeer.co.za to be added to our mailing list.
If you would like us to arrange a mass hike at your favorite venue/reserve, please comment here, or send us an email.

Back to the Otter diaries:
For those following our #Otter2018 stories, the time has arrived for the nerves and excitement to set in, we are 24 days away from doing the one of the most iconic hikes in Southern Africa, if not the world.

We are actively busy on our Whatsapp group, making final arrangements as time runs out, as well as planning a last minute "Gear testing" hike.
We'll be doing a multi-day hike this weekend (don't forget to read next week to see how it went).
I did asked a lot of questions on this platform, so now the testing time is here, hope you guys gave good advise ;)

Cheers for now

Friday, 23 March 2018

So what could we be missing?

Hi guys… 
I have not forgotten about this week’s blog entry.
It just happened to be a crazy one, with work keeping me busy, something has to pay for all these adventures.

With yesterday being exactly one month to go, I have also been very busy with final Otter arrangements, and arrangements with mates for one final overnight hike before we hit the O.T.
Who would have thought that living a “peaceful” life for 5 days will take so much preparation time? But, personally, I think it’s going to be awesome…. CAN’T WAIT!!!

We have plane tickets booked, but getting reasonable transfer to and from Plettenbergbay and George airport, is almost non existing, the service providers charge an arm and a leg.
The accommodation sorted before and after the hike, thanks for one of the group members, thanks Jannie.
The transfers to the trail and back is sorted, thanks to HIKING TRAIL TRANSFER, really affordable.

So what could we be missing?

As you know, each week I try and post a question to you, and there is no difference this week.

What are the final, last minute, details that you need to consider with 1 month to go before a big hike like this?
What will the ‘checklist / to-do-list’ items be that you need to tick off now?
I have my own list in progress, but the input from fellow hikers will be good, just to get that extra input or point of view.

For those who haven’t seen it yet, our website, www.hikingforbeer.co.za , is live!!! Go have a look.

For free .gpx and map downloads, please REGISTER on the site, it’s only takes about 1 minute. If you only want to be added to our mailing list, please SUBSCRIBE
I promise we won’t spam you, that’s just irritating.

Cheers for now,

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

What to do in an emergency situation!?!?

Hi everyone, can you believe it's 40 days until our Otter trail hike starts.
Time is flying.

Everybody reading this, has done a couple of hikes, or keen to do hikes, and the thought of this great outdoor life awaits.
But what happens if things go wrong? Will you be able to “Bear Grylls” yourself out of any situation? Can you recall any of those Boy Scout knots?
Honestly, this is the last thing we think about, nobody wants to go out onto a trail, expecting a disaster, either medical or situational.
Now I know this seems like a boring blog, compared to some of our other content, but safety and preparation is very-very important to me.

Some tips that I live by:
  • ALWAYS carry a first aid kit with you.
  • ALWAYS make sure you have enough water with you. I’d rather carry an additional litre with me, than run out of water (again, happened to me twice, so trust me on this one.)
  • ALWAYS have a solid/nutritious breakfast before hiking, and snack during the walk. Once the sugar levels drop, it’s very difficult to get them back to a stable state.
  •  Never walk alone, get a buddy hiker that you are comfortable with.
  •  When walking in a group, the  first and last walkers have an important jobo   First walker:
    • Needs to look out for trail markers, animals on route, sudden terrain change. Effectively this person is the hiking leader at this moment, and should assume all responsibilities of this position.
    •  Last walker: Make sure that nobody falls behind, if someone stops, you stop with them. Another VERY important task is, look out for and pinpoint the last 2-3 trail markers, just to confirm that the group hasn’t veered of the trail.

Other useful tips/recommendations for hikers.
  •  Go do a level 1 & 2 First aid course (when in a group, 2-3 people should have basic first aid skills)
  •  Learn to navigate with a map & compass, don’t rely solely on a gps watch/device.
  •  Do a basic outdoor course, similar to the “Personal Recreational Hiking Competence” course that the guys from The School for Mountain Leadership (www.sml.co.za) present. (FYI ,I haven’t done any courses through them ,but have read some good reviews)

In most situations, one will probably never, ever need any of these tips, but rather be prepared and nothing happens, than not be and the emergency hits you without warning.

Any tips that you’d like to share with us?

Monday, 5 March 2018

The balance between necessities and luxury items

It’s less than 7 weeks to go, until our Otter trail adventure begins, and trust me, not sure what feelings are stronger at the moment, excitement or nerves.

It’s almost a year since we started our hiking journey, but I have yet to fine tune the content of my pack.
The balance between necessities and luxury items can be a discussion on itself.

Here is the question for this week. What is the one item of luxury you always take with on a hike?

I my case, I always have a deck of playing cards and a box of matches (to substitute for poker chips)

I have also recently added a snorkel and goggle (with GoPro attachment) to my pack, especially with the Otter in mind.

I’ve seen and read about interesting stuff people carry with them, ranging from hammock’s, water mist fans, domino sets and in the case of my mate, a sleep apnea machine (to our benefit I think)

What is the ONE item you don’t mind carrying with you on a hike?


Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Campingaz Bleuet® Micro plus Review

Campingaz Bleuet® Micro plus Review

When I first saw this little burner, I thought it was not going to “light my fire” (pardon the pun)
Damn, was I wrong, this is a case of dynamite comes in small packages.

Weighing in at only 180g, compared to the Campingaz Twister plus Cooker, at 263g, its light and durable.
Even though it’s not as light as the Fire Maple Gas Stove – Standard, at 103g, it comes in at about R100 cheaper, might be worth the compromise.

My own stats gathered through testing:
  • Boiling time
    • 5.5 minutes for 1 liter kettle

  • Burning time
    • I managed to get 180+ minutes with the CV300 canister, even though the Campingaz reckons about 160 minutes.

  1. Lightweight (180g excluding canister)
  2. Cheap (take a lot has them for R225 at the time this entry was published)
  3. Folds up small enough to store away almost anywhere.
  4. Connects to the canister via the easy click plus system, for easy assembly

  1. No wind protection (I advise using a wind shield or inside the overnight cabin)

Here is a link to Campingaz youtube video
(courtesy of Campingaz® EMEA official channel)
Campingaz® Bleuet® Micro Plus - 1 Burner Backpacking Stove - EN

This could be me being biased, because I own one, but I love the little thing.
For the price I paid, and for the results I have seen, I'm convinced this is a good buy

Monday, 26 February 2018

What’s on the menu?

So we are within 8 weeks of doing the Otter trail, and it’s time to, seriously, think about what will be on the menu for the 5 days?

Effectively it works out to the following:
Day 1 - Snacks/lunch & Dinner
Day 2 - Breakfast, Snacks/lunch & Dinner
Day 3 - Breakfast, Snacks/lunch & Dinner
Day 4 - Breakfast, Snacks/lunch & Dinner
Day 5 - Breakfast & Snacks/lunch

(4x Breakfasts, 5x Snacks/lunch & 4x Dinners)

So apart from the traditional instant oats, breakfast bars, peanuts trail mix, etc, what is good ideas for dinner?

Rice and Soya mince? Steak en smash? Pasta with sauce? Noodles with tuna?
The possibilities seem endless, but what is the best options with regards to nutrition, cooking time and most importantly, weight?

Any advise? Please comment with your options and ideas.

Till next time, Cheers


Monday, 19 February 2018

Pack weight? Luxury or comfort?

Hi everyone!
In less than 9 weeks we start our #Ottertrail multiday hike.
A lot of thought is going into my pack at the moment. More or less? Comfort or luxury? Gadgets or simplicity?
So I asked one of our Instagram followers, who just finished the Otter in January what her thoughts were.

@hikingforbeerza: How much did your pack weigh in?

@carmenbunnyqueen: Mine was 18kg, my boyfriend’s 21kg so average of the group was about 16-19kg… honestly take out as much as you can haha!

@hikingforbeerza: In your opinion, what did you take with that you will never pack again?

@carmenbunnyqueen: Try and coordinate with your group. Don’t take a pot, a light etc. for every single person, I didn’t even use all my ‘tools”. We took a little too much food. But even if you do, make sure it’s a variety, don’t eat the same thing every day! Also don’t take unnecessary toiletries. Toothpaste, toothbrush, roll-on and a double use shampoo/bodywash is all that’s needed.

@hikingforbeerza: Thanks for the advice, mind if I use this in a blog I’m writing?

@carmenbunnyqueen: Not at all go ahead!!! Also recommend taking vacuum sealed meat for day 1 and 2, yes, it’s a bit heavier but its HEAVAN.

@hikingforbeerza: It is planned in our menu, HAHA.

I’ve been told, that a general rule of thumb is, not to carry more the 25% of your body weight, thus meaning mine should be approximately 22.5kg… NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!!!

I think I’ll cut down to about (hopefully!?!?) 14kg without water, thus totalling out at about 17-18kg
This I can do.

Please feel free to send us your tips towards keeping down the pack weight


Monday, 12 February 2018

#Otter2018 is 10 weeks away, what now?

Hi guys

So, yesterday we hit the “70 days to go” mark towards our #Otter2018 hike.

While I was sorting out our gear, updating our gearlists, I realised that our journey to the amazing Otter trail started approximately 40 weeks ago, and got to thinking... Have I prepared enough?

We could’ve done more overnight hikes perhaps, tested different gear options, etc.
But it all comes down to training, any form of training.
Be it a 5km Parkrun, or looking like an idiot with a full 5 day pack on a dayhike at Suikerbos Rand.
Either way, the time (read kilometers) has been put it.

So my 10 week to go checklist reads as follows:
-Test variations of gear
-Look at menu options (how many beers should I carry with me?)
-Decide on one luxury item to take along