A practical action list for outdoor leaders

  • Before the trip begins
  • On the track
  • In camp
  • Emergencies
  • After the trip

Wise bushwalkers and skitourers refer to an equipment list when packing for a trip. They also work from a list when assembling food. This practice minimises the risk of forgetting some important item. In the same way, wise leaders can profitably use a list to remind themselves of the basic essentials of their task. The following checklist covers those things you as a leader must do in the running of most bushwalking trips.

Circumstances however, do alter cases and the range of circumstances covering bushwalking trips is enormous. They can range from: a day walk to a three-week epic, from desert country to the Australian Alps, from a small party of experienced walkers to a large group of school children, from February to August, and from a well-equipped group to one with makeshift, inadequate equipment. Other variables include: the physical and psychological wellbeing of the party at any given time, the ratio of strong walkers to weak walkers, the strength of the leader, the difficulty of the terrain, and most importantly, the weather. A leader must always be aware of the risks inherent in the circumstances that exist at any stage of the trip.

The checklist is graded into groups of things which must, should or might be done in normal circumstances. In adverse circumstances most of the ‘should’ items could become ‘must’ items. The ‘might’ items are mostly things which make the difference between a really enjoyable trip and a mediocre trip.