Namaqua Camino prep

Hi, I’m planning to do the Namaqua Camino this year - https://www.namaquacamino.co.za/index.html

Any advice from someone that’s done this hike before? Or any multi-day hike? In terms of, on what to pack (food is provided). Clothes for hiking and camping? This is on the west coast so we are expecting “interesting” weather.

Looks exciting! Glad to see more multi-day longer distance stuff popping up around the country. Haven’t personally done this hike, but spent a fair amount of time hiking on the west coast. Will throw my two cents in but sure there is someone much more knowledgeable on here.

Carry as little as possible, the mantra is that people pack their fears. But it slack packed, in a group with daily camp sites, not too much to go wrong there. Which seems like a great opportunity to walk light and enjoy it. Always amazing how many little things you can fill a bag with ‘just in case!’. If it is a new thing for you, definitely go on a nice long day hike and see what you actually use and leave the rest.

Shoes - The west coast is not tough terrain largely and you aren’t carrying a heavy pack. I would go a comfy pair of breathable trail runner. Boots would be overkill in my mind. The fight on any long walk is protecting your feet. Breathable trail runners (Don’t go too big on the mesh here, the WC is a lot of fine dust), comfy socks (Fond of Belega and Injinji, toe socks are irritating but great for certain feet!) and a short gaiter to keep things out of your shoes will do you well (Very happy with my AR Mini Gaiters, always feel silly but they make a world of difference).

Feet - System that works for me is two pairs of socks, switch them at lunch and rinse dirty pair to dry on my pack. Carry some shortish Leukotape P sections on wax paper for blisters, stuff is brilliant and a roll has lasted me years. Deal with any hotspots early as possible! And then breath and pamper your feet at night :sweat_smile: If you are the type to be interested by this sort of thing Fixing Your Feet is an amazing resource and book on this.

Cold/Wet - West coast can get cold at night, a good warm jacket will be great. You arent carrying it so go for anything you have! In terms of the day, I’ve never been in any sustained rain on the WC really. Misty and drizzly is about it, would pack an emergency poncho or something light for the rain and a fleece and wind jacket layer for the day. If you are moving it is as much about blocking the wind and being able to dump heat as actual warmth. A fleece beanie and gloves are always great for early mornings! All things fleece go cheap and light. I swear by Decathlon for this stuff, cheap and as solid as anything else unless you really ramp up the budget.

Sun - Up to you, some people are all shorts and tanktop folk. The WC is hot and can be deceptive to me, you can get a nice cool breeze and not realise you are cooking. Would rather have to use less sunscreen so my go to is physical barriers these days, long sleeve button ups with a high collar and pants. Light polyester is great for this, but can get smelly. Avoid cotton, hot and unpleasant unless the humidity is really up there. Been pretty happy with Columbias Silverridge Lite stuff these days, weird sizing and pricey but often on special at sportmans warehouse. Pants are all awful in my experience :rofl: Wearing some light nylon ones from Decathalon and they are fine, NH100 I think. If you can do shorts, anything light polyester in the 7inch by the major sports brands will do (Nike drifit works for me). Pockets are handy.

Hats, if you can go full brim awesome (Avoid cotton! Made that mistake before, a nice farm hat is lovely until it is soaked in sweat). They irritate me in the wind, so tend to go peak running hat with a buff I can tuck under it to cover neck and ears if need be.

If you struggle with the sun I would give a travel umbrella some serious thought. The WC is not exactly covered in shade. Umbrellas are amazing on a long exposed walk. Bungie it to your shoulder strap for hands free. Irritating when windy though.

Trekking poles are your friend! Particularly if you are not that fit or have any knee issues. SA seems to avoid them, but maybe to do with we don’t have a lot of long trails. Just youtube how to actually use them.

Excuse my long ramblings about gear! Can’t get out that much these days so it is a nice distraction :grimacing:

Look after your feet and have a blast! PS. On that note, with WC hiking, keep your shoes on while hiking on the beach. At the end of the day combining a pack and wet, raw abraded feet is not a fun time even though it seems amazing in the moment haha.

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thanks! some good tips here, especially the gators. I’ve been looking for a lightweight pair. We’ve been to the west coast a few times and yes, the sunburn is deceptive!

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AR Gaiters seem to be the only ones I have found in SA, and they have worked out so far. Friendly and delivered quickly. They come with add on velcro for your shoes but have found them to be a good enough fit that I have never bothered to put it on. Did end up removing the big plastic label on them though. Don’t really need to be hauling that with me.

Have embraced the ridiculousness of them and think mine are bright blue mermaid themed or something along that line :sunglasses:

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Second for the AR gaiters - they’re brilliant - check the sizing I apparently have skinny ankles…

Ive just come off a shift on Jutten Island and Im very “sun kissed” ie dehydrated, physically exhausted and despite wearing sunblock and a hat am quite burnt. The wind chill and hot sun make conditions perfect for shorts and T-shirtweather, but its deceptive so try to keep your arms covered especially if you’re out all day.
Bare in mind that this is January and you’re going in August I think?
Id add a long sleeved windproof “jacket” with zippered arm pits - Ive used an Altura Cycling one for years and its been brilliant. doesn’t really increase the thermal side, but keeps off wind and sun.

On the socks front take twice the number you expect and on the beach sections consider changing at lunch each day. I find the general moisture levels on these beach walks can make things smelly sticky and sand gets in somehow. Changing socks was a blessing.
Everyones got their goto feet fixer - I find a small tube of Lamisil once works a treat if your feet get constantly exposed to the wet.

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for the sun, I’m also considering using arm sleeves - I saw some at cape union mart that’s not that expensive. Seeing as I have enough time to test items of clothing now. I am planning some other multi-day walks to see what is going to work for me.

Another point to add - not sure whether you have purchased your clothing yet, but if you haven’ t (and are in the financial position to do so), I would happily recommend a merino t-shirt or long sleeve. Because it doesn’t stink, you would quite literally be able to walk the whole 10 days in the same shirt. (have a look at the review Arno did on a merino shirt on this website). The only downside is that it is very expensive. Look at Core Merino or Bold Gear (local) and Icebreaker (international).

I own a pair of ice breaker merino undies. I have worn them for 6 days 24/7 in the Langeberg (no water = cant wash) and they were amazingly not-so-stinky after. It may sound too good to be true, because it is!

This may not be as important, because its a slack pack and you can exchange clothes in the evenings, but if it was my money I would rather buy one merino long sleeve than 3 synthetic shirts.

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Decathlon has 3 Merino shirt options for men! (I also swear by Decathlon)

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@_Dieter at that price - game changer!

definitely something to think about, thanks!

Oddly enough my Decathlon long sleeve merino is the only thing from them I don’t like. It is a merino/acrylic blend and I find it supremely itchy no matter how much I wash it :face_with_hand_over_mouth: Quality otherwise is good though.

Though I also don’t own any other merino tops like that, so I couldn’t tell you if that has anything to do with their product or just my reaction to merino in general :man_shrugging:

I just got a short sleeve there that is a mix between Merino and Polyamide. 89/11% in some parts and 98/2%. It’s the Forclaz Trek 500 :heart_eyes:

It’s been said but to reiterate: given the long distances taking care of your feet will be paramount. Comfy shoes and high quality socks (preferably a wool blend); use a thin application of cycling bum cream on hot spots / areas that chafe (spots on your feet, groin, armpits). Worthwhile to do a 20+km training hike and see which areas take some chafing; it often does not show up on short distances. Cycling bum cream is non-greasy and has anti-bacterial ingredients; really works well (I use Assmagic https://assmagic.co.za/). I haven’t had a blister in 15 years.
Looks like a super hike; enjoy!

+1 for Willem’s advice. Hot weather and long days - feet swell - all of a sudden your shoes are too tight and hotspots develop. This effect is even more notable with a heavy pack. Hence the trend with shoes like Altra which have the wide toe box.

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