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Tips for Day Walkers


SGWAAC takes the safety of its members very seriously and so this booklet has been compiled to provide information and share some common knowledge to make walking a safer and more enjoyable experience for all.

It is for those just starting out, those who haven’t walked with a group before, as well as new leaders

It is aimed at day walkers so those wishing to know more about multi day walks should read our ‘Introduction to Overnight Hiking’ guideline or visit the Bushwalking Victoria websites.

The information has been gleaned from several sources including ‘Walksafe’ which can be viewed on the Bushwalking Victoria website, Outdoor Leadership on line and the SGWWAC risk management Policy

Useful Websites

Bushwalking Victoria:

Leadership Online :

Getting Started

Being Equipped

The following list is a guide only. Extra items of personal preference may also be carried as well as any items specifically requested by the walk Leader.

Day Walking

·         Day Pack – lined with plastic or with rain cover

·         Sturdy footwear

·         Waterproof jacket

·         Jumper/thermal jacket

·         Beanie /cap

·         Water bottle (1 litre min)

·         Sunhat

·         Sunscreen/chapstick

·         Insect repellent

·         Personal 1st Aid Kit

·         Toilet paper & trowel

·         Whistle 

Personal 1st Aid Kit:

Commonly suggested items include:

·      1 triangular bandage and fasteners

·      1 10cm elastic bandage

·      1 medium wound dressing

·      Bandaids/Elastoplast

·      Antiseptic

·      Personal medication

·      Blister treatment

·      Paracetamol

Lambswool is good for blister prevention


·           Walking poles

·           Binoculars

·           Camera

·           Sunglasses

SWAAC risk policy requires everyone to carry an up to date Personal emergency contact form in their packs

Tuesday walkers are asked to carry the Tuesday Walkers mobile phone contact list and a mobile phone

What to Wear

The right clothing ensures you enjoy bushwalking in both comfort and safety.  Clothing is important since it is your first line of protection from the weather, insects, snakes and the scrub.

A number of light, adjustable layers is preferable to a few layers of thick fabric.  There is a wide range of specialist clothing available today and an equally wide range in personal preferences and body needs. A sensible personal balance needs to be struck between the advantages and disadvantages of wearing clothing made from cotton, wool and synthetic fibres. 

Some bushwalkers wear shorts in all weathers, often combined with polypropylene thermal underwear in the cold with wind and waterproof over-pants quickly donned at rest stops in bad weather. In comparison the ubiquitous jeans are highly unsuitable for bushwalking.

Some advantages and disadvantages to be considered when selecting clothing for bushwalking: 


A.             Cool  sun protection, non irritant

B.             Cold when wet, slow drying


A.             Warm when wet, low flammable

B.             D.  Skin irritant, slow drying, heavy when wet


A          High warmth/weight ratio, absorbs little moisture and Quick drying

B          Warm in hot weather,  non fire  resistant

Walking in a Group

If you follow a few basic protocols when walking in a group you will make your leader’s job easier and help keep everyone safe.

Before the walk

  • Check the advertised details for the walk and ensure it is within your capabilities.
  • Check the weather forecast - organize clothing and pack daypack accordingly.
  • Pack Emergency Contact & Medical Information form
  • Pack sufficient snacks/food/ water for the day.
  • Carry a mobile phone
  • Tuesday walkers should carry the group mobile contact list

On the day of the walk

  • Advise the leader of any medical condition or recent illness/injury they should be aware of prior to the start of the walk.
  • Advise the leader or someone in the group if you are having difficulties keeping up with the group.
  • If you need a toilet stop – leave your pack on the track or path and let someone know you are stopping.
  • Walk with the group, don’t go ahead of the leader or fall behind the Tail end Charlie.
  • Wait to regroup at track junctions. Maintain sight contact of the person in front and behind you on untracked or poorly marked routes.
  • Be safety conscious when walking on roads, walk on the right hand side of the road unless unsafe and no more than two side by side. Call out to alert other walkers of approaching traffic.
  • Be aware of any signs of heat exhaustion, hypothermia or any other difficulties in others in the group and let the leader know.

Leading a Group

Leading a walk is not difficult, but following the routine listed below will help keep everyone safe and looked after

Before the day of the walk

  • Review the walk planned. Consider any potential risks relating to weather, track and road conditions. Take a map when necessary. Review emergency procedures and contingency plan to shorten a walk if emergency, bad weather or miscalculation of walk times occurs.

 Before the walk starts

  • Arrive at the walk start 10 mins early
  • Complete the participants list and have any visitors complete disclaimer forms. Note any walkers who have medical conditions you should be aware of. Carry the form with you on the walk and send to the Walks Coordinator on completion of the walk.
  • Organise transport if car shuttles, car pooling are required and make sure everyone is allocated a vehicle. Note who is driving the vehicles.
  • Before the walk starts, make any introductions necessary
  • Advise participants of the walk plan, timings and any likely hazards.
  • Appoint an experienced walker as Tail end Charlie
  • During the walk do a regular head count, monitor walkers’ condition – take action if anyone is having difficulties.
  • Encourage socializing and enjoyment
  • Ensure the group stays together

At the end of the walk

  • Account for everyone, organize return car shuttle/transport if needed.  Check no walkers or cars are left behind.   In the event of any accident complete an incident report form.
  • Find a coffee shop.

 Do You Know?

  • As a guide the daily water requirement of the average active person is approximately 2 litres in cool weather rising to 5 litres in very hot weather.
  • On a day walk it is generally unwise to rely on finding drinking water en route.
  • Leeches are an unpleasant nuisance rather than a danger – carry salt.
  • It is always worth the time to stop to take preventative action before a blister becomes a problem.
  • The police are responsible for all search and rescue operations in Victoria and should be the first source of contact for assistance in an emergency.
  • To minimize damage to the bush, keep to established routes and tracks where possible.
  • As a rough guide for the average party you need to allow 1 hour for every 3-4km on a smooth flat track and 1-2km in rough terrain plus an additional hour for every 500m ascent and 1000m descent.
  • As a guide a fit group of experienced walkers may stop only 5-10 mins every hour whilst children, hot weather or a steep climb may dictate more frequent breaks.
  • Our Bushwalking Victoria Membership Card enables you to obtain discounts at a number of outdoors stores. Take it shopping with you and ask before you purchase.