GEAR CHECKLIST: Larapinta Trail
Author: Danae Baggs Date Posted: 11 June 2021
The Larapinta is a magnificent multi-day trek in central Australia.
Northern Territory | Australia
Image via Trek Larapinta Walking Trails
One of Australia's newest trails, the Larapinta has 12 sections across a massive 223km, which takes around 12-14 days to walk. You'll start near the famous Alice Springs and walk the desert ridgelines of the West MacDonnell Ranges, with views of ancient and rugged landscapes in Australia's Red Centre.
Central Australia is an arid region with extreme climates ranging between intense heat and freezing cold. Rain does fall throughout the year, sometimes in downpours. Check the weather forecasts, plan your trek according to the season, and follow this packing guide!
- Large hiking pack - we recommend a 75 -85L pack to cope with the massive trail length
- Pack liner - dry bags, brand-specific pack liners or even a large garbage bag prevents water from soaking through onto your equipment in the case of heavy rain
- Rubbish bag - leave no waste behind on the track. Do not burn or bury your rubbish. There are 4 rubbish points along the trail where you can dispose of your carried rubbish.
- Tent - your tent will help you to keep out creepy crawlies (like venemous snakes, ticks, mosquitos, centipedes, and mice), protect your gear from dingo theft (a surprisingly common occurrence), and keep out the wind, dust, cold and rain.
- Sleeping mat - prevents heat from being leeched out into the ground, and protects you from the Larapinta's hard, rocky/gravelley and uneven ground
- Sleeping bag - rated to 3 seasons or warmer
- Repair kit - don't be caught out mid-trek with a rip, tear or hole in your tent floor or sleeping mat
- Bag liner (optional) - an lightweight silk sheet adds warmth and helps keep your bag clean
- Pillow (optional) - choose something small and inflatable
- Sturdy hiking boots - make sure your boots have strong soles and that you wear them in before you leave
- Hiking socks - choose socks primed to minimise blisters and regulate your temperature
- Underwear - ideally sweat-wicking or quick-drying
- Pants or shorts - choose lightweight, breathable materials
- Shirts or t-shirts - looser, long-sleeved shirts provide better sun protection
- Sun-safe equipment - like a sun hat (wide brim is best), sunglasses (ideally with polarised UV lenses) and sunscreen
- Thermal base layers - long sleeve top and long pants for colder nights or winter treks
- Warm jacket - lightweight fleece, microfleece or merino wool are all good options, but not cotton
- Rain jacket - it does rain on the Larapinta, so bring a waterproof, seam-sealed and breathable raincoat
- Beanie - you'll definitely need a lightweight, warm beanie in winter
- Gloves - woollen or thermal gloves or mittens for cold temperatures
- Warm pants - joggers or trackies for nighttime
- Gaiters (optional) - prevent grit, dirt and debris from getting in your shoes, and can help protect against snake bites
- Fly net - flies can get very bad on the Larapinta Trail; a fly net over your head protects the moist facial areas that flies target, like the corner of your eyes, inside nostrils and around the mouth
- Shemagh / keffiyeh - wrap-around face/head covering that protects your ears, mouth, nose and neck from sun, wind and dust/sand in arid conditions; you could also use a buff/neck gaiter
- Camp shoes - lightweight sandals are great for letting your feet relax and breathe at the end of the day
Food & Water
- Water - see the official Larapinta website for details on water access
- Hydration bladder - capable of carrying 2-3 litres per day
- Water bottles - capable of carrying an extra 2-3 litres per day
- Water treatment - a filter, purification tablets or a sterilisation device
- Food - lightweight and energy-dense; remove excess packaging to save waste and weight
- Cooking stove - no open fires are permitted on the Larapinta Trail
- Fuel - fuel can't go on planes and must be bought locally
- Lighter and/or matches - for lighting your cooking stove
- Utensils - bring lightweight camping utensils rather than heavy metal
- Cooking pot/pan - lightweight and with foldable handle
- Mug - lightweight and collapsible
- Bowl - lightweight and collapsible
- Scourer - if cooking with a pot/pan and using plates/bowls
You won't be able to carry all of your food for the entire Larapinta Trail. To restock your food, you will need to organise food drops or food storage.
Pack your food and other essential items you'll need to resupply (e.g. fuel) into sturdy containers - plastic is best. Bunnings in Alice Springs stocks great plastic containers. Seal the containers with tape or zip ties to keep theft (animal or human) at bay. Mark your containers clearly and distinctively.
- Food storage (official) - There are 2 official food storage points along the trail: in Ellery Creek and in Ormiston Gorge. You will need to carry a key to access these locked storage sheds, which can be obtained from the Tourism Central Australia Visitor Centre in Alice Springs. Always lock the door behind you. You can donate food/items by leaving them in leftover containers marked with Larapinta Trail and NT Parks stickers - alternatively, you can take leftovers from these containers for free.
- Food storage (private) - Standley Chasm and Glen Helen Lodge (update: Glen Helen is NOW CLOSED) also offer food storage or food drops. You will need to contact them direct to obtain permission to store food here.
- Food drops - several local operators can drop resupplies via vehicle or helicopter to the official food storage points, at trailheads, or even to your campsites.
- PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) - alerts search & rescue services to your location in an emergency
- Map - mobile phones cannot be relied on in remote areas, so bring a printed map
- Torch / head-torch and spare batteries - for campsites and climbing Mt Sonder
- Whistle - helps you call for help in an emergency
- First aid kit - add in your regular medications, plus a blister kit to remedy hot spots
- Emergency space blanket - for preventing and/or treating hypothermia.
- Satellite messenger - for contacting friends, family and rescue services out of mobile range
- Multitool or pocket knife - handy in a variety of situations
- Mobile phone & charger - please note that more than 95% of the Larapinta Trail has NO MOBILE COVERAGE whatsoever.
- Toilet trowel
- Toilet paper
- Antibacterial gel
- Basic personal toiletries
- Travel towel
- Insect repellent
N.B. Along with this list, carry some cash on you. At least three campsites require a nomial fee to stay overnight, ranging between $3.30 - 10.
Image via Australian National Geographic