What to Wear
The weather during the Operation Flinders Challenge event weekend can be unpredictable. It may be hot and dry; it may be cold and wet, particularly at night in the Mt. Lofty Ranges. In some instances the weather could peak in the mid-30’s during the day and then plummet to 5 degrees at night, again preparation and planning is the key.
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You should check your comfort in your preferred attire by completing some longer walks in this clothing. At night ‘long johns’ or ‘thermals’ can be a godsend. Wearing these under shorts/shirts will keep muscles warm in cold temperatures. A light waterproof/windproof jacket will also assist in keeping warm, along with a beanie.
Socks are important. Keep your feet clean and dry. Wool socks are preferred to cotton, and should be changed regularly. Checking for, and the prevention of blisters is paramount. Some experienced participants apply blister-blocks or strapping tape to their feet and toes before they walk, to help minimise problems that may arise later. Prevention is better than a cure.
Possibly the most important factor in you achieving your goal are your feet. You need to be comfortable in your footwear and sock combination. Using untried socks and shoes can be a dangerous approach.
Make sure your boots/shoes are well worn in before the event.
The first section to Checkpoint 1 is a hard surface walk. It can be hard on your feet, plodding along the concrete path. It will be important to complete this section with your feet in good condition. For this section, make sure your feet are well cushioned. A different pair of shoes may be an option. Lighter shoes and boots have proved to be the most successful in the past.
- Plan what you are going to carry. Do not try to carry too much. Leave heavy items to your support team.
- Plan what to wear, remembering that the weather can change dramatically during the course of the event. You will need a wide brimmed hat and 30+ sunscreen for protection from the sun. You will also need warm clothing to replace or cover the clothes you wear in the heat, particularly if these have become wet. DO NOT WEAR COTTON unless it is very hot! Cotton has no thermal properties when wet. There is always the chance that it may rain, so be prepared!
- Knee bandages can be useful to protect existing injuries to the knee ligaments or joints.
- Changing socks as often as possible will help to prevent blisters. Treat hot spots on your feet as soon as they arise, before blisters form.
- You are strongly advised to take out insurance to cover injury or death and any damage to personal property.