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Kokoda Track Packing List: What To Pack For The Track


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Laurie Flack



Embarking on the Kokoda Track is an incredible adventure, giving travelers the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the brave soldiers who fought during World War II. This challenging 96-kilometer (60-mile) trek through the rugged terrain of Papua New Guinea is not for the faint of heart, but with proper preparation and the right equipment, it can be an experience of a lifetime.


When preparing for the Kokoda Track, it’s important to have a well-thought-out packing list to ensure you have everything you need to navigate the trail and face the unpredictable weather conditions. This article will guide you through the essential items to pack, helping you make the most of your Kokoda Track adventure.


Before diving into the packing list, it’s crucial to remember that lightweight and functional gear is key. You’ll be carrying all your belongings on your back, so every item must serve a purpose and be as lightweight as possible.


Now, let’s dive into the essential items that should be included in your Kokoda Track packing list.



When packing for the Kokoda Track, there are a few essential items that should be at the top of your list. These items will ensure your safety and comfort throughout the trek.

  • Backpack: Invest in a sturdy, comfortable backpack with a capacity of at least 60 liters. Look for one with padded shoulder straps and a hip belt to distribute the weight evenly.
  • Sleeping Bag: Choose a lightweight, compact sleeping bag that can withstand cold temperatures. Look for a bag with a temperature rating suitable for the weather conditions you’ll encounter.
  • Tent: A lightweight and waterproof tent is essential for camping along the trail. Look for one that is easy to set up and provides adequate protection from the elements.
  • Headlamp: A reliable headlamp is crucial for navigating the trail after dark. Choose one with a long battery life and adjustable brightness settings.
  • Water Purification System: Ensure access to safe drinking water by bringing a water purification system, such as water purification tablets or a water filter.
  • Sun Protection: Protect yourself from the harsh sun with a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen with a high SPF.
  • Insect Repellent: The Kokoda Track is known for its mosquitoes and other insects. Pack a reliable insect repellent to keep bugs at bay.
  • Knife or Multi-tool: A versatile tool that can help with various tasks, such as food preparation and gear repairs.
  • Map and Guidebook: Carry a detailed map and guidebook specific to the Kokoda Track to navigate the trail and learn about its historical significance.

These essential items will form the foundation of your packing list and ensure you are well-prepared for the challenges that await you on the Kokoda Track.



Choosing the right clothing for the Kokoda Track is essential to stay comfortable and protected from the elements. Here are some clothing items to consider packing:

  • Moisture-Wicking Base Layers: Pack lightweight, quick-drying base layers to keep you dry and comfortable. Look for materials like merino wool or synthetic blends.
  • Long-Sleeve Shirts and Pants: Protect your skin from the sun and insects by packing lightweight, breathable, long-sleeve shirts and pants.
  • Insulating Layer: Depending on the time of year, the nights on the Kokoda Track can get chilly. Pack a lightweight fleece or down jacket to layer up when temperatures drop.
  • Rain Gear: Be prepared for rain showers by packing a waterproof jacket and pants or a poncho. Look for gear that is lightweight and breathable.
  • Hiking Socks: Invest in moisture-wicking, cushioned hiking socks to prevent blisters and keep your feet dry and comfortable.
  • Hat and Gloves: Protect your head and hands from the sun, wind, and cold temperatures by packing a lightweight hat and a pair of gloves.
  • Swimwear: Take a lightweight swimsuit for a refreshing dip in the rivers and waterfalls along the trail.
  • Underwear: Pack comfortable, moisture-wicking underwear for optimal comfort during your trek.

Remember to pack enough clothing for the duration of the trek, but keep it minimal and lightweight. You can wash your clothes along the way and let them dry overnight.


Additionally, consider the cultural sensitivities of the local communities along the Kokoda Track and pack modest clothing out of respect for their traditions and customs.


By packing the right clothing, you’ll be able to adapt to changing weather conditions and stay comfortable throughout your journey along the Kokoda Track.



Choosing the right footwear for the Kokoda Track is crucial, as you’ll be spending long hours on your feet and navigating challenging terrain. Here are some considerations when it comes to footwear:

  • Hiking Boots: Invest in a good pair of sturdy and waterproof hiking boots. Look for boots that provide ankle support, have a firm tread, and are comfortable for long walks.
  • Break-in Your Boots: Before embarking on the Kokoda Track, make sure to break in your hiking boots. Wear them on shorter hikes to allow your feet to adapt and prevent blisters.
  • Extra Pair of Shoes: Consider packing a lightweight pair of camp shoes or sandals to give your feet a break after a long day of hiking.
  • Socks: Bring several pairs of moisture-wicking hiking socks to keep your feet dry and prevent blisters. Avoid cotton socks, as they can retain moisture.
  • Gaiters: Gaiters are handy for keeping dirt, debris, and water out of your boots, especially during wet and muddy sections of the trail.
  • Foot Care: Pack blister prevention items such as moleskin or blister pads. Additionally, don’t forget to trim your toenails before starting the trek to avoid discomfort or injury.

Remember, comfort and durability are key when selecting footwear for the Kokoda Track. Take the time to find the right pair of boots and ensure they are properly broken in before you begin your trek.


Proper footwear will provide the necessary support and protection for your feet, allowing you to focus on enjoying the stunning landscapes and historical significance of the Kokoda Track.


Backpack and Accessories

Your backpack is one of the most essential items for the Kokoda Track, as it will carry all your belongings throughout the trek. Here are some tips for choosing the right backpack and accessories:

  • Backpack Size: Aim for a backpack with a capacity of at least 60 liters, as it should be able to hold all your gear comfortably. Ensure it has adjustable shoulder straps and a hip belt for proper weight distribution.
  • Waterproof Cover: The Kokoda Track is known for unpredictable weather, so it’s crucial to protect your gear from getting wet. Invest in a waterproof cover for your backpack or use a heavy-duty trash bag as a makeshift cover.
  • Compression Sacks: Use compression sacks to organize your gear and maximize space inside your backpack. This allows you to fit everything efficiently without sacrificing organization.
  • Dry Bags: Keep your essential items, such as electronics and spare clothing, safe from water damage by stowing them in dry bags inside your backpack.
  • Trekking Poles: Trekking poles provide stability and support, particularly on steep sections of the trail. Opt for collapsible poles to save space in your backpack when not in use.
  • Camera and Accessories: Capture the beauty of the Kokoda Track with a lightweight and durable camera. Don’t forget spare batteries and memory cards to ensure you don’t miss any memorable moments.
  • Snacks and Water Bottle: Carry a lightweight water bottle or hydration bladder to stay hydrated throughout the trek. Pack energy-rich snacks, such as trail mix or energy bars, to keep your energy levels up.
  • Plastic Bags: Pack a few ziplock bags to keep your belongings organized and separate wet or dirty items from the rest of your gear.

Remember, a well-organized backpack and the right accessories will help you stay comfortable and prepared during your journey along the Kokoda Track. Distribute the weight evenly and keep essential items easily accessible, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable trekking experience.


Camping Gear

As you make your way along the Kokoda Track, you’ll be camping in designated areas along the trail. Here’s a list of essential camping gear to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable camping experience:

  • Tent: Choose a lightweight and waterproof tent that is easy to set up and provides adequate protection from the elements.
  • Sleeping Pad: A sleeping pad will provide insulation and cushioning, ensuring a good night’s sleep. Look for one that is lightweight and compact.
  • Pillow: While it’s not a necessity, a compact and lightweight camping pillow can provide added comfort during your nights in the wilderness.
  • Cooking Stove and Utensils: A lightweight camping stove, along with a pot, pan, and utensils, will allow you to cook hot meals along the trail.
  • Cooking Fuel: Depending on your stove, pack the appropriate type and amount of fuel to sustain you throughout the trek.
  • Camp Cookware: Bring lightweight and portable cooking equipment, such as plates, bowls, and mugs, to enjoy meals during your camping stops.
  • Water Bladder or Bottles: Ensure you have a reliable water storage system, such as a water bladder or reusable bottles, to stay hydrated during your camping and hiking.
  • Utensils and Cutlery: Pack a folding knife, spoon, and fork set for eating meals on the trail.
  • Lighter or Matches: These fire-starting essentials will come in handy for cooking meals and providing warmth during colder evenings.
  • Camp Towel: Pack a quick-drying and compact camp towel for personal hygiene and drying dishes.

Remember, when selecting camping gear, prioritize lightweight and compact options to save space in your backpack. Utilize compression sacks to minimize the size of your equipment, ensuring a hassle-free camping experience along the Kokoda Track.


Food and Water

Proper nutrition and hydration are vital for a successful trek along the Kokoda Track. Here are some tips for managing food and water during your adventure:

  • Meals: Plan your meals ahead and pack lightweight, nutritious, and easy-to-prepare options. Include a mix of dehydrated meals, energy bars, nuts, and dried fruits to keep your energy levels up.
  • Snacks: Pack a variety of high-energy snacks to munch on throughout the day. Trail mix, energy bars, and jerky are great options for quick and convenient fuel.
  • Water: Staying hydrated is crucial during your trek. Carry a sufficient supply of water and replenish it whenever possible. Depending on your water purification system, consider carrying a water bladder or reusable bottles.
  • Water Purification: Ensure access to safe drinking water by carrying a water purification system. Options include water purification tablets, water filters, or a combination of both.
  • Cooking: If you plan to cook hot meals, bring a lightweight camping stove and cookware. Plan accordingly and consider the weight and cooking time of your chosen meals.
  • Local Food: If you prefer to experience the local cuisine, you can arrange for meals to be provided at certain campsites along the trail. This option allows you to savor traditional dishes and support the local communities.
  • Waste Disposal: Pack out all your food waste and dispose of it properly to minimize your impact on the environment and leave no trace.

It’s important to carefully plan your meals and consider the weight and nutritional value of the food you pack. Keep in mind that the Kokoda Track is physically demanding, and you’ll need adequate fuel to sustain you throughout the trek.


Stay hydrated and nourished, and enjoy the stunning landscapes of the Kokoda Track with the right food and water provisions.


Hygiene and First Aid

Hygiene and first aid are essential aspects of any outdoor adventure, including the Kokoda Track. Here’s what you need to consider when it comes to maintaining hygiene and addressing medical needs:

  • Toiletries: Pack travel-size toiletries, including biodegradable soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, and toilet paper. Consider bringing wet wipes for quick cleanups.
  • Hand Sanitizer: Carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer to maintain hand hygiene, especially when water and soap are not readily available.
  • First Aid Kit: Create a comprehensive first aid kit that includes essentials such as bandaids, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, blister treatments, and any personal medications you may require.
  • Sunscreen and Lip Balm: Protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays by applying sunscreen with a high SPF. Don’t forget to bring lip balm with SPF as well.
  • Insect Repellent: The Kokoda Track is home to various insects, including mosquitoes. Pack a reliable insect repellent to ward off bugs and reduce the risk of mosquito-borne diseases.
  • Antibacterial Ointment: Include antibacterial ointment in your first aid kit to treat cuts, scrapes, and other minor injuries.
  • Moleskin or Blister Pads: Prevent and treat blisters by packing moleskin or blister pads in your first aid kit. Apply these to problem areas as soon as you feel discomfort.
  • Tweezers and Swiss Army Knife: Include tweezers for removing splinters or ticks, and a Swiss Army Knife for various tasks such as cutting, opening cans, or repairing gear.
  • Emergency Contact Information: Carry a list of emergency contact numbers, including local authorities or emergency services, as well as any relevant personal or medical information.

It’s crucial to prioritize personal hygiene and have the necessary supplies to address any minor injuries or discomforts along the way. Knowing basic first aid skills is also beneficial.


By being prepared with proper hygiene practices and a well-stocked first aid kit, you can address minor issues promptly and ensure a safe and healthy trek along the Kokoda Track.


Navigation and Communication

Ensuring proper navigation and communication capabilities on the Kokoda Track is essential for your safety and overall experience. Here are some tips to help you navigate the trail and stay connected:

  • Map and Guidebook: Carry a detailed map specifically designed for the Kokoda Track. Study it before your journey and use it to navigate along the trail. A guidebook that provides information on landmarks and historical sites can also be a valuable resource.
  • Compass: Bring a reliable compass to assist with navigation, especially in case of poor visibility or when the trail markers are not easily visible.
  • GPS Device or Smartphone: Consider carrying a GPS device or a smartphone with a reliable offline navigation app that allows you to track your progress and locate specific points of interest along the trail.
  • Extra Batteries and Portable Charger: Ensure you have spare batteries or a portable charger for your electronic devices to keep them powered up throughout your trek.
  • Whistle and Signal Mirror: Carry a whistle for signaling in case of emergencies and a signal mirror for attracting attention if needed.
  • Emergency Locator Beacon: Consider carrying an emergency locator beacon (ELB) in case of critical situations where immediate assistance is required. Check local regulations for its use along the trail.
  • Local Guides or Tour Operators: Engaging the services of local guides or joining a guided tour can provide valuable insights, enhance your safety, and help you fully appreciate the historical and cultural significance of the Kokoda Track.
  • Communication Devices: Depending on available network coverage, carry a mobile phone with a local SIM card and consider a portable satellite phone for emergency communication.

It’s important to remember that the Kokoda Track can be challenging to navigate, so adequate preparation and having the necessary tools will aid in a smoother journey.


Always inform someone about your itinerary and expected return time before you begin your trek, and adhere to any local regulations or guidelines regarding communication protocols along the trail.


By being well-prepared and equipped with the right navigation and communication tools, you can safely navigate the Kokoda Track and fully immerse yourself in its rich history and breathtaking landscapes.


Miscellaneous Items

In addition to the essential gear and equipment, there are a few miscellaneous items that can enhance your experience on the Kokoda Track:

  • Cash and Identification: Carry some cash in case you need to purchase supplies or services along the trail. Also, carry identification documents, such as your passport or ID card, for identification purposes if required.
  • Journal and Pen: Capture your thoughts, experiences, and memories by bringing a journal and pen. Reflecting on your journey can be a fulfilling and meaningful way to document your adventure.
  • Binoculars: Enjoy the stunning landscapes and wildlife sightings along the Kokoda Track by bringing lightweight binoculars. They can enhance your observation and appreciation of the natural surroundings.
  • Camping Chair or Mat: If you prefer some additional comfort during your camping stops, consider bringing a lightweight camping chair or mat to relax and enjoy the surroundings.
  • Extra Plastic Bags: Pack extra plastic bags for storing wet or dirty clothes, separating trash, or protecting important items from moisture.
  • Spare Batteries and Memory Cards: If you’re using electronic devices such as a camera or GPS, bring spare batteries and additional memory cards to ensure you don’t miss out on capturing precious moments.
  • Entertainment: Consider carrying a book, e-reader, or card deck for relaxation and entertainment during downtime at the campsites.
  • Travel Towel or Sarong: A lightweight and quick-drying travel towel or sarong can serve multiple purposes, such as a towel, beach cover-up, or even a makeshift blanket.

While these items may not be strictly necessary, they can contribute to your comfort, enjoyment, and overall experience along the Kokoda Track.


Remember to evaluate the weight and practicality of each item, prioritizing those that truly enhance your journey without adding unnecessary bulk to your backpack.


By being selective with your miscellaneous items, you can customize your trekking experience and make the most of your time on the Kokoda Track.



Preparing for the Kokoda Track is essential to ensure a successful and memorable adventure. By packing the right gear and equipment, you can navigate the challenging terrain, stay comfortable in varying weather conditions, and fully immerse yourself in the historical significance of the trail.


Remember to prioritize lightweight and functional items, and be mindful of the weight and size of your backpack. Each item should serve a purpose and contribute to your safety or comfort along the journey.


Plan your meals and pack adequate food and water supplies to keep your energy levels up. Maintain proper hygiene with toiletries and a well-stocked first aid kit to address any minor injuries or discomforts.


Ensure you have the necessary navigation and communication tools, such as maps, compasses, or GPS devices, to safely navigate the trail. Consider engaging local guides for a more immersive and enriching experience.


Finally, don’t forget to pack some miscellaneous items to enhance your overall experience and capture the memories of your journey along the Kokoda Track.


As you embark on this incredible adventure, stay prepared, respect the environment and local communities, and take the time to appreciate the historical significance and natural beauty that the Kokoda Track has to offer.


With careful planning and the right mindset, your trek along the Kokoda Track will be an unforgettable and transformative experience.