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Thread: Otter Trail

  1. #1

    Default Otter Trail

    So I have finally managed to get a booking for the famous otter trail in Knysna.
    I just wanted to hear if any other members have done the trail and what suggestions they have on gear including how they EDC'd over the 5 days, what they EDC'd and any other helpful tips you may have.

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Cape Town, South Africa

    Default Re: Otter Trail

    As far as I know SANparks are gunfree.

    On the other hand you won't find me in one without my EDC.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011


    Quote Originally Posted by wrm View Post
    As far as I know SANparks are gunfree.

    On the other hand you won't find me in one without my EDC.
    Especially not on a hiking trail through a forest, that's for sure.

    Get a drybag. You may have to do several river crossings and you don't want it getting wet.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Otter Trail

    Yep I know they gun free but thats a risk I'm willing to take, I'm not heading out over 5 days with minimum cellphone reception over 42,5kms without my EDC, anything can happen and thats not a risk I am willing to take. I would rather take my chances dealing with sanparks than with a group of 5 attackers unarmed.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Otter Trail

    Otter trial is a great experience. You don't need to carry, they have guards.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Otter Trail

    Have you done it Springer? Any suggestions on essential gear for the hike?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Inne Cape

    Default Re: Otter Trail

    Dry bags a good idea.
    For an energy boost: Buy one of the packets of pudding that you mix with milk. Add milk powder and mix in bag. Seal bag. When needed, open bag and add the necessary amount of water and shake. Doesn't take a lot of space. Enjoy

  8. #8

    Default Re: Otter Trail

    Quote Originally Posted by afzals1 View Post
    Have you done it Springer? Any suggestions on essential gear for the hike?
    Hi. I did it some years back, but I would assume the gear part remains the same. You'd probably be better off taking advice from someone who's done it recently. But your normal good hiking gear, make sure you have a cover for your pack that keeps it rainproof, and you need a drysack too for the water crossing, guys who gor their gear soaked had a miserable time - When you do the water crossing put all your kit in a bag and do it kaalgat, better to have dry clothes after. Pack for weight, the pack gets heavier after a few days.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Otter Trail

    Did it in May 2005 and again in Nov 2012.

    Comments below is based on what I can remember of the top of my head. Given more time/effort I'll probably remember more, but for now here goes...

    SANPARKS regulations say 'thou shalt not edc...' Should you decide to not adhere, the following will probably apply:
    It's doable but far from ideal to carry at 3-4 o'clock with a typical backpack weighing in at 16-20kgs. Since the trial is (or at least has been) virtually crime free, a side pocket on your backpack could do, alternatively you can also try a moonbag or similar as you should have ok'ish time to get to FA. You'll be hiking with at least your buddy, if not the whole group, so you can also have FA in the most accessible back pocket on buddy's backpack with you following closely. Carry method will also depend on whether the rest of the group is known to you and whether you're happy to share the fact that you're carrying.
    In retrospect, most ideal would be an inconspicious holster on the hip strap of the backpack, i.e. on the hip, but not between backpack and body.

    On Food:
    there are four overnight huts. If you start with frozen vacuum packed steaks you can braai the first two nights. Starch came in the form of mealiemeal (putu) topped with tomato and onion (heavy but lekker), and two min noodles the second day. Third evening was one of the expensive cape union mart dehydrated meals. Overkill, but adds a bit to the 'survival' experience :) Evening four ended up being snacks - salami, mussels, pringles etc for dinner.
    We also packed a cucumber of all things, but it made for a nice addition on the first two nights.
    For breakfasts we packed 2 x servings of pronutro and 2 x oatso easy. I don't like the latter and replaced with jungle bars. Similar energy content. Nescafe/Enrista coffee sachets.
    Snacks/Lunch. This is where it's a bit more difficult to plan, but we packed more or less the following per person (this is indicative as you snack the whole time when taking rests, and will obviously depend on your personal taste):
    2 x 2 min noodles
    3 pouches of tuna/chicken (latter is not as dry)
    2-3 tins of mussels
    couple of small packets of TUC biscuits/pro-vitas.
    1 x melrose cheese wedges
    1 large tube of pringles
    4 x Super C/Enerjellies
    2 small packets peanuts and raisins
    biltong/salami/droewors. Not a lot as it makes you more thirsty
    8 packets of Game powder (1 on day one, 2 for the next three and one for the last day)
    dried fruit/fruit rolls
    tobasco sauce
    We were only left with 2 packets of game, 1 packet of peanuts and 2 x oatso easy between two people.

    You need a small CampingGaz cooker per 4 or 6 persons. One 250g canister should last 2-3 people for the duration of the trip.
    Tin Cup
    Fork and Spoon
    Folding Knife with can opener

    Small container Sunlight Liquid (100ml's or so)

    There's the option to phone in for booze/braaipack/snacks on day 3 for night 4, but in my opinion that's defeating the object.

    On Clothes etc:
    Blow up cushion was worth taking with.
    One set of Columbia or similar shirt and pants (zip-down is better) for hiking.
    Another change of clothes for the evenings and sleeping.
    3 pairs of socks.
    x jocks.
    Depending on weather forecast you might need a lightweight rainproof jacket. But not a big deal if not cold as you get wet from the inside in any event :)
    Many people ziplock all their clothes. I only had two sets and as such backpack got unpacked on a daily basis. If adverse weather, get rainproof backback and/or repack clothes in liner or refuse bag in backpack and/or use raincover for backpack. Depends on what you have.
    Sleeping bag. Lightest you have, and doesn't need to be a minus 40 model.
    Slops. Useful in the evenings and at river crossings.

    On river crossings:
    VERY dependent on conditions. First time Lottering was way worse than Bloukrans (day 4). Second time round, Lottering was a walk in the park, Elandsbos much more difficult (iirc), and Bloukrans was a proper crossing utilising dry bags, survival bags, duct tape and cable ties, and we had a proper lagoon crossing at Natures.
    The others are more dependent on recent rainfall, but Bloukrans is a tide play and also dependent on the current shape of the sandbanks. Again iirc, at full and new moon, the difference between high and low tides is at max, and it's at its min right in the middle (first and last quarter). In 2005 we walked through with water just about knee-high. It was at full moon. Nov last year we caught it in the middle and at low tide we had to put cameras in dry bags in backpacks and backpacks in survival bags and float those and ourselves through. Ensure that there are no sharp protrusions and ensure survival bag is sealed properly.

    Walking stick - the most underrated piece of equipment.

    Water bottle - we carried 1 x 800ml bottle each, and another 750ml between two of us. Integral hydration packs worked better. Also bought a 'life straw' which worked quite well. Didn't use any purification tables and no side-effects, but we were careful as to the size of the streams we picked to drink from.

    Booze - personal preference dictates. Beer is heavy and heats up. Whisky decanted into 500ml PET bottles less so.

    Headlamp with new batteries. You might need to get up at 3am on day 4 to start hiking in order to catch bloukrans at low tide.

    Toiletries - little bit of enviro friendly shampoo/shower gel. toilet paper. sunscreen. toothpaste and brush. Only take one tube per x number of people. Every little bit helps.

    A basic first aid kit. We used a needle and transact plasters. Sensible to add the 'usual' such as immodium, antiseptic, plasters, blister treatment etc. Works better if a larger kit can be shared amongst the 12 people than everyone taking his/her own basic stuff. There weren't any mosquitoes, but we encountered ticks in two places.

    2005 total backpack weight was 25kg on day one, dropped about 3kgs of stuff on the first night and ended the hike at about 18kgs.

    2011 started with 19kg, ended at about 15kg. Much more pleasant.

    duct tape.

    Make sure that you get down to 'Blue Bay' for lunch on day two - really worth it. And take it easy overall. Rather stop more often and enjoy the scenery along the way than rushing it to camp.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Cape Town, South Africa

    Default Re: Otter Trail

    Eish Bloukaas you have a bloody good memory.

    Last time I went hiking (scary long ago) I just stuck a 38 snubby in my pocket. Didn't notice it there, would have been slow to deploy, but based on the perceived risk at the time, worked for me. And (scary thought) this was under the previous act and all legal since it wasn't even my gun...

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