Category Archives: shelter

Bivy Bag

Everything you need to know about bivy bags

Life is an adventure,
it's not a package tour. Eckhart Tolle

A bivy bag (aka bivvy sack) is a waterproof jacket for your sleeping bag. Sometimes spelt ‘bivy’, sometimes ‘bivvy’, both these terms are short for ‘bivouac’ meaning a temporary (usually minimalistic) shelter. They are thin, lightweight and compact, making them a lot smaller (and often cheaper) than a tent. Being so small, it’s possible to sleep almost anywhere with a bivy, including small patches of clearing, rock faces and so on. Hence, they are generally considered a more flexible shelter option than a tent. Like tents, bivies come in four-season varieties making some models suitable for alpine conditions (e.g. Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy).

There is no perfect shelter and bivy bags are not perfect. One disadvantage of a bivy bag is that you are likely to get some condensation forming on your sleeping bag as there is very limited air flow. This is ok if you can easily dry your sleeping bag out, but not ideal for extended trips in wet conditions. The other consideration is comfort: in undesirable weather, you can bunk down in a tent with a cuppa, where a bivy is small and closed area. Depending on the design some bivies are not great in heavy, sustained rain or in areas with lots of mozzies as some have a simple opening for your head at the top with no insect screen. Each bivy bag design is different and some deal better with these issues then others, so it is worth keeping an open mind about their potential.

Check & pack Checking and packing your bivy

Bivies are relatively simple to check and pack. Most setups are simply one piece of material, similar to the outer material of a tent. Some have a small set of poles and perhaps pegs as well, and in which case, follow the same procedures to check and pack these as you would do for a tent.

In general, the key things to check are:

  • Are all the parts there?
  • Are the seems intact and waterproof?
  • Does it work, and is there any damage?
  • Is it clean? Some gear may pose biosecurity risks if dirty, as there is a risk of transmission of diseases, pollen, spores, seeds and so on into uninfected regions.
  • Do you have a repair kit for that part in case something breaks in the field?

Even weight distribution and ease of access are key concerns when deciding how to pack your bivy (or indeed any items in your backpack). Since a bivy is only needed at camp, it’s generally packed near the bottom of your pack, but make sure you can access it in rain without getting your gear soaked.

Depending on the bivy design, the material may be relatively heavy, so aim to get it near to your back. Since the bivy is soft and flexible, consider using it as padding between hard bulky objects to stop them moving around (e.g. stove, gas, billy). Ideally, waterproof the bivy as you want to minimise the risk of your sleeping bag getting wet when slipping inside the bivy. Your sleeping bag is the most important thing to keep dry, and since it comes into close contact with the bivy, it’s worth spending time wrapping it in a dry bag or bin bag to keep water out (most manufacturers provide a lightweight waterproof covering). Avoid packing the bivy in a way that creates direct contact with sharp objects (e.g. edges or poles, pegs) as they may tear the material. Wrap lightweight waterproof cover around it (usually supplied by manufacturer).

Chapter photo by Allysse Riordan on / CC BY-NC-SA

Use in Field Using your bivy in the field

In dry weather conditions, using a bivy bag is easy. Choose a flat area free from pointy rocks or roots, that will not flood in rain and clear of other risks such as falling tree limbs. Lay out the bivy bag and slip in your sleeping bag. Larger bivy bag will also take you sleeping pad inside, but tighter fitting bivy bags may require you to have your sleeping pad outside. If the bivy bag has poles or guy lines secure them in place. With open topped bivy bags, close up the gap using the to a small gap leaving plenty of room to breathe. You can even do the set up (sleeping bag into bivy) at home before setting out and just unroll the whole bivy-sleeping bag set up in one.

Consider laying out a groundsheet and setting up a tarp over the top. This helps protect your bivy bag and helps to keep your gear dry in rain. There are lots of different options, so play with it and find what works well for you on your trip.

Practice using your bivy at home first. This means you become familiar with all the material and how everything fits together. Remember you’ll be tired after a day of walking and it’s nice to be able to know how your tent fits together, rather than having to figure it out for the first time in the field!

If you haven’t used your bivy for a while, you can test if it’s still waterproof by setting it up in the backyard and using a hose to spray it with water. This is an easy way to determine if there are any issues (again, much nicer than finding out at 3am in the field!).

Remember that you are more exposed to weather conditions such as rain, wind and cool weather in a bivy than in a tent, so it’s worth taking additional clothing layers to stay warm. Also, think through where and how you’ll store all your other gear. Unlike a tent, where packs can be protected from wind, rain and animals, with a bivy bag, your pack will stay out overnight. Be sure to waterproof gear well and store food securely. Carrying a large heavy duty plastic bag can be a useful way to store your pack overnight.

In wet or windy weather, choose somewhere as sheltered as possible to set up your bivy. This could mean finding an overhang or sheltered clump of trees for windy protection. If the weather conditions are wet, place the sleeping pad inside the bivy bag for extra protection of the sleeping pad (if the bivy is indeed large enough to fit over the pad).

Chapter photo by moosepics on / CC BY-NC-ND.

Care & Maintenance Caring and maintaining your bivy

For bivies, the main material maintenance is similar to care for the outer part of a tent. For bivies with pegs and/or poles, again, care and maintenance is essentially the same as for tents.

Cleaning and drying
The bivy is fairly prone to picking up mud and dirt on trips so it’s worth spending time cleaning it well when you get home and before packing it away in a long-term storage. Check that the material is clean by running your hands over both sides of the material and removing any mud, earth or sand using warm water and non-detergent soap. Check any zippers, guy lines and other attachments too.

Air out the bivy thoroughly (using indirect sunlight) and make sure it’s completely dry before packing away in a cool dry place. Never use artificial heat or direct sunlight to dry the material as this can melt or damage the materials.

Washing and improving breathability
Many bivy bags are constructed using breathable materials with a durable water repellent (DWR) treatment similar to quality raincoats. Read your bivy bag instructions for washing and reapplying the DWR. This usually means using a washing machine to apply the DWR and a tumble dryer to help set the DWR and improve the material breathability. This with rain jackets this a process that you may benefit from doing each year or so.

For bivies, the most likely repair you will need to do in the field is repair a rip to the main fabric. Remember to pack a repair kit for mending fabric (e.g. Coghlan’s Nylon Tent Repair Kit). Typically, your field repair kit will be small, with only those essential items necessary to make temporary in-field repairs. Back home, you can revisit your field repair and decide if you need to do a more thorough job.

Check that the sealant is still intact, and periodically apply DWR to the fabric.

Long-term storage
Make sure that the fabric is clean and bone dry before storing it in a cool dry place. It’s a good idea to store the fabrics loosely to allow a small amount of airflow and prevent mildew buildup.

Chapter photo by bradbox on / CC BY

Selection Selecting a suitable bivy

Bivy bags are great lightweight shelters for bushwalking, with many different types to choose from. They are great options for people seeking a lightweight, smaller alternative to a tent. Traditionally used as an emergency shelter, bivies are now fairly common amongst the outdoor community, particularly for people that frequently need solo gear and are doing trips where weight considerations are critical (e.g. long distance walking, multi-day climbing etc). When used correctly, bivies can be just as durable and comfortable as tents, however, the type of bivy must be well matched to conditions you typically expect to use it in. If weight is the key concern, a bivy may be the answer, but bear in mind that some one-person tents these days are also extremely small, compact and lightweight (e.g. Zpack Duplex).

Modern-day bivy bags are typically made from two types of material: the underlayer made from similar fabrics to tent floors (e.g. durable nylon), and the upper layer made from a lighter weight waterproof and breathable nylon.

Some key considerations:

  • Is a bivy appropriate for this trip? Will there be lots of heavy rain? Would I like to sit up and read/play cards? Can I share with someone else? If the answers are yes, it may make more sense to share a 2-person tent.
  • Size: A bivy that’s too small also won’t be warm because the sleeping bag is pressed up against the wall, flattening insulation and making it less effective. A bivy that’s too big will have a lot of extra air space and won’t be easy to warm up (rarely a problem). Generally, a bivy that provides a little extra room is the best option, and you can store a few extra items there also.
  • Tent-like protection above head: Some bivies have a larger section of fabric at the head (called ‘bivy shelter’ rather than a ‘bivy sack/bag’) which can be propped up with poles or a guy line to create a tent-like structure over the head and protect from rain and wind. It adds a small amount of extra weight, but may be worth it to make it easier to read and organise gear.
  • Managing condensation: The biggest issue with bivies is the buildup of condensation due to poor air flow. Look for models that have breathable material, and ventilation options. You can also reduce condensation by airing during the night. Using a sleeping bag with a water-resistant shell can be helpful to reduce the risk of your insulation getting wet.

Some examples of bivies:
Twilight bivy

Black Wolf Cocoon

Another option that some bivy users prefer is to add an additional protection from rain via a tarp. This can be a great option in weather conditions when rain is expected.

Image source:

Chapter photo by hungrydog on / CC BY-ND

Tents & tarps

Everything you need to know about tent and tarps

“I'd rather be in a tent than in a house.” Mary Leakey

Tents and tarps are the most common shelters used by overnight bushwalkers. They come in many different shapes, sizes and designs, with plenty of options to find something that works well for you.

Tents are self contained units with an inner and an outer, whereas tarps have open sides and are simply an outer cover without insect protection. Tarps are generally pitched using trees or sticks for support, whereas tents have designated poles. Some tents can be pitched like a tarp by simply using the outer and groundsheet components.

Tents are great for people starting out bushwalking, whereas tarps require a little more thinking about in terms of where to pitch them and how to avoid insects and rainfall getting in. Bushwalkers that do a variety of different kinds of trips often own both and choose the one that best suits their trip.

Although it may take time to find a tent or tarp that is best for you, it’s a piece of equipment that lasts a long time, so very worth the time getting one that work well for the trips you typically do.


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“An optimist is a man who plants two acorns and buys a hammock.” Jean de Lattre de Tassigny


Everything you need to know about caves

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” Joseph Campbell

When bushwalkers talk about using caves to sleep in on overnight trips, they usually mean a sizable rocky overhang with a flat sheltered space underneath rather than an underground cave (a fully enclosed cave is generally dark and wet – not great for sleeping!).

These ‘camp cave’ overhangs are a fun way to experience the bush by night, and can make great shelters for overnight bushwalking trips.

Check Checking what caves are ok to use for camping

If you’re planning to use a camp cave on a bushwalk, check the cave conditions before heading out on the track. Look for recent track notes or online blogs from walkers that have been in the area to make sure that the conditions are still good. Ask around to see if you can find someone that has been there recently and have a conversation about the cave condition and if it’s still suitable for overnight use.

Double check that the cave you are planning to stay does not have artwork or is known to be significant to indigenous peoples. Check with local National Parks visitor centres for more information, or contact the Office of Environment and Heritage.

Some of the more popular camp caves can get pretty busy at certain times of the year, so it can be worth check that other bushwalking clubs aren’t planning a trip into the same area as you. Caves can get fill up if a few groups arrive at the same time, so be prepared to camp in a tent if needed.

Plan ahead for your water supplies. Many caves are not close to a water supply, so you may need to carry in water or collect from a distance. This is something that needs to be factored into route planning as it may not be easy to backtrack to a water supply. Water bladders or old cask wine inners make excellent water carriers as they fold down easily and are lightweight (excellent when not in use). Some caves have a regular water drip and pool of water that can be used to drink from, but under certain conditions, this may dry out. Find out whether a water source is likely to be there based on recent rainfall events and chatting to bushwalkers that have been in the area recently (or know it well).

Lastly, check what your backup shelter is. Always carry some kind of backup shelter in case you don’t make it to the cave, or the cave is full and you need to find an alternative. Consider carrying a lightweight shelter such as a fly for a backup as it doubles as a handy sun/rain shelter for breaks along the track.

Once you’ve got to your cave in the bush, here are a few checkpoints to make sure that it really will be suitable for camping:

  1. Protection from the elements
    Check the direction of the cave and how protective it is from the elements. Does the overhang provide enough shelter from rain and wind? Will the area be dry inside, despite a downpour?
  2. Air flow
    Fresh air flow is important as stagnant moist air can lead to lung issues. Check that the air is fresh and not dusty.
  3. Enough space & flat areas inside
    Check that there is enough space for the group inside including flat areas for everyone to get a good night’s sleep.
  4. Water availability
    Check that you have enough water to spend the night here. This may involve doing a water collection trip if the cave is away from a water source.
  5. Collapse risk
    All geological features change over time. A cave roof is guaranteed to collapse at some stage, although the risk is normally low the outcome if it does occur can be very bad. Check the ceiling and rock above the cave for cracks or recent movement. Without a lot of study, experience and measurements it is not really possible to predict a collapse reliably, but look up and if looks too risky to you then find a safer place to camp.

Use in field Using camping caves on a bushwalk

Great caves to spend the night in are those that provide protection from the elements and generally have large flat areas where groundsheets and sleeping mats can be laid out. Of course, in an emergency, protection from the elements is the primary concern, and comfort (i.e. space to sleep) is secondary.

Caves can be tiny, just large enough to sleep one person, right through to the infamous 100-man cave on the Ti Willa Plateau at Kanangra Boyd National Park.
Caves indeed are a first-come-first-serve basis, so make sure to carry enough gear to be self-sufficient and able to camp elsewhere if the cave is already full. However, if there is room, make new visitors welcome and share.

Do not camp in a cave that has artwork or that are known to be significant to indigenous people. If you unexpectedly come across indigenous artefacts, do not touch or disturb. If you believe you have found an unknown piece of artwork or artefact, please contact the Office of Environment and Heritage.

For cave camping, use a ground sheet to protect your sleeping pad and bag, and prevent dust getting all throughout gear. Some bushwalkers use a material called Tyvek, which is a lightweight building sheet that is extremely effective at providing a waterproof protective layer. It can be purchased by the metre and cut down to meet the exact dimensions you need, hence saving on weight. It’s also incredibly cheap at less than $10 per metre.

Never light a fire within a camp cave itself. Campfires produce soot and smoke which will quickly blacken the cave walls with a charcoal layer. Instead, find a suitable spot outside the cave, or use other cooking options (e.g. stove).

If there is a logbook in the cave, sign it before you leave and make the place good. This means leaving no trace by carrying out all rubbish and leaving behind no evidence of your being there.

Care & Maintenance Caring for camping caves in the bush

Paintings, engravings, middons, grinding grooves and more are evidence of Indigenous Australians using caves for as long as they have inhabited the land. While some caves simply provided shelter, others were sacred, for instance, Baiame Caves, where women were not allowed to enter, and men were initiated.

There is an incredible amount of history and culture depicted through cave wall paintings, telling Dreamtime stories, depicting animals and their relationship to humans. Near Sydney, Red Hands Cave is one of the best depictions of rock art in the area.

Spending a night in a cave, you can’t help but feel connected to the indigenous heritage of Australia. Bushwalkers who visit should consider how they can pay their respects to indigenous people past and present and acknowledge the long rich cultural history that Australian caves hold. Never touch any artwork, engravings or other cultural artifacts. If you believe you have found an unknown piece of artwork or artefact, please contact the Office of Environment and Heritage.

Selection Selecting a suitable camping cave

While there are a few camp caves that are extremely well documented with precise GPS coordinates online (e.g. 100 man cave), the vast majority of camp caves are not well known or documented.

Often, you can get a sense of what caves are in an area by reading track notes and trip reports online as they may be mentioned in passing. The other key way to find out about camp caves is simply through word-of-mouth. Often, simply chatting to another bushwalker can be a fantastic way to glean information on suitable camping caves in an area. In some cases, the camp caves that you can learn about through these conversations are merely caves that people have stumbled upon by accident and remembered as great spaces to be used on future trips.

If you’re planning a walk in an area and want to find a suitable camp cave ahead of time, search through bushwalking blogs and track note descriptions to get a bit more information about the area. Sometimes, a trip report write-up might have some clues as to where suitable camp caves are. If possible, find someone that is familiar with the area and ask them a bit more about it – how likely will you be able to find a particular camp cave?

Another alternative is to examine maps and look for cliff lines that are likely to contain suitable cliffs. Sometimes you can use the Satellite view of Google Maps to get a sense of the land layout and take a reasonable guess as to whether or not an area will have camp caves. Of course, you will need to have a backup camping shelter set up in these cases, as you could very well turn up to the area and not find a suitable camp cave.


Everything you need to know about huts

“There are a lot of stories out there, waiting for you to live them.” Author unknown

Huts make great shelters for bushwalking trips, particularly in landscapes with unpredictable weather, rain and even snow. Huts are common in alpine areas such as the Snowy Mountains (e.g. Kozi huts) as well as cooler wetter climates like Tasmania (e.g Tasmanian huts).

Check Checking the hut is suitable before your trip

Hut use in Australia is based on honesty and respect. Virtually all Australia huts do not have a permanent warden, caretaker or ranger living there, so visitors are expected to respectfully use the huts and leave them in good conditions for subsequent visitors.

Formed in 1970, the Kosciuszko Huts Association (KHA) helps conserve and manage huts for their heritage value and potentially life-saving service, particularly in high alpine regions where visitors may use huts as an emergency shelter. KHA push the heritage value of huts for cultural and safety regions, coordinate reconstruction work and encourage responsible use by everyone (from recreational users through to scientists). Despite their main focus being in Kosciusko, KHA does maintain and protect huts around Australia.

Not all huts are open to the public. Some are privately owned, and others that are for emergency use only. NPWS does have a few huts that they actively manage, and these have an online booking system:

Huts used by bushwalkers generally fall into two categories: huts that are for overnight use where bushwalkers are welcome to spend the night, and huts that are for day and emergency use only. In the case of the latter, people are welcome to hang out in these huts during the day and use as a short respite but are discouraged from spending the night unless there is an urgent need to do so (in which case, guests are welcome). The key thing here then is to plan your route accordingly, and check that your intended hut for the night is open to being used as an overnight shelter. You may also want to include day-use huts on your route for lunch and food stops along the way.

Bushwalker groups must be self-contained and carry all the gear they need to camp out at all times and in any conditions (e.g. tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag etc), in case there is no room in the huts, or they are delayed reaching the huts due to unexpected conditions (e.g. poor weather, injury). Check your gear accordingly.

Use in field Using huts in the field

Most huts used by bushwalkers in Australia work on a first-come-first-serve-basis, whereby visitors simply show up and take pot-luck as to whether or not they get a bed. This means that bushwalkers will generally carry a lightweight shelter as a backup.

Huts usually have a designated sleeping area (usually bunk beds), where people can roll out their sleeping bags. Some huts have mattresses provided, whereas others are simply wooden structures, so bushwalkers will need to carry in a sleeping mat.

There is usually a log book and information sheet in the entrance area or on the dining table. The logbook not only provides a historical record of who has visited, but it also is also an important record for search and rescue authorities in an emergency. Fill in the logbook with details of your party and your trip intentions. If the logbook is full, contact land managers when you get home and request a replacement.

The Kosciuszko huts association has a good summary information for visitors here:

Care & Maintenance Caring for huts

Huts are there for everyone to use, and guests are expected to behave courteously to others and make new guests feel welcome.

In general, users are expected to follow these guidelines:

  • Share the facilities with other visitors and make new visitors feel welcome.
  • Keep fires small. Never leave a lit fire unsupervised. Make sure that the fire is completely out before leaving.
  • Replenish firewood: huts provide refuge for visitors, and there is a culture that current visitors restock wood, kindling and match supplies for future visitors to enjoy.
  • When cooking, use gas stoves outside, and away from any materials that could ignite with a flare up. Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur if stoves are used in closed areas without good airflow. Some huts are gas stove only. If you can, use a gas stove to reduce wood consumption directly around the hut.
  • Report any hut damage (e.g. leaks, cracks etc.) to land managers upon your return.
  • Use pit toilets if provided. If not available, find an appropriate place 100 away from the hut or water supplies.
  • Use tank water sparingly. If collecting water from a source nearby, collect upstream and purify if necessary.
  • Carry out all rubbish, sweep and clean up hut before leaving. Do not leave any food behind as this encourages animals.

Selection Choosing a hut

The Kosciuszko Huts Association (KHA) is a great starting point for getting information about possible hut use for bushwalking trips. The website has up to date information on hut condition and size. Use this to double check that it will meet your party’s needs.

Some things to consider include:

Is the hut near the track or will you have to detour significantly? Will this impact upon route planning?

Facilities and access
Use photos to check what facilities are available at the hut and that access will work for you and your group. Some huts have pit toilets, while others require guests to go away from the hut. For people with mobility restrictions, check critical issues including things like that rooms have minimal steps and bathrooms are wide enough to access. Likewise for other types of impairments or disabilities within your group.


Using an inn/hostel as overnight accomodation on a bushwalk

“Home is in your head.” Author unknown

Inns/hostels can make comfortable and convenient overnight accommodation on overnight bushwalks and saves you carrying sleeping gear.

Hostels can fill up quickly, so be sure to book in early. Check what equipment such as bedding, cooking and food supplies you need to carry, and what time you need to be out of your room in the morning.

Check Checking your Inn/Hostel

Before you leave on your bushwalk, double check a few things about your accommodation.

Location & contact details
Make sure you know where the accommodation is located, and how to get to it from the bushwalking track. Check what you must do if you arrive later than expected, i.e. will the reception still be open or do you need to contact an after-hours receptionist?

It can be helpful to carry a contact number for the accommodation in case you have trouble locating it, or you want to alert your host that you are running late.

Booking details & payment
Print out a copy of your booking reference (or have it readily to hand on your mobile device). Clarify how you’ll pay for your room booking, and don’t forget to carry your credit card. If it’s possible, making an advanced payment can be a great way to alleviate stress around the booking, however, you’ll probably still want to carry a method of payment to settle up for additional extras (e.g. breakfast, phone calls etc.). Check that they accept the payment method you intend to use.

Bedding, linen & toiletries
Some hostels provide all linen and toiletries, while others expect you to bring all of these. Double check so that you’re not caught out. It makes a lot of sense to lighten your pack by avoiding carrying an extra sleeping bag and towel that’s not needed.

Double check the food situation: is there a meal provided with your booking, or will you need to carry in some/all of your food?

Arrival/departure times
Hostels/inns usually have arrival and departure times. Double check you know these in advance and plan your bushwalking schedule accordingly.

Use in field Using an inn/hostel as overnight accomodation on a bushwalk

Hostels and inns can be great places to meet other bushwalkers as well as relaxing and recharging after a long day on the track.

In some inns and hostels, you’ll have your own private bedroom, whereas in others, you could be sharing in a dormitory with several others.

If sharing a dormitory with other people, it’s helpful to have an eye-mask and earplugs as you may find it noisier or louder than usual and harder to sleep.

Care & Maintenance Looking after your inn/hostel room

In a private room setting, treat the room and contents with care, and report any damaged items to management. Respect your neighbours, keep noise to a minimum after 10pm and try to make as little noise as possible if you have an early departure.

In a dormitory setting, be considerate to your other roommates: look out for them and share the space respectively. Be friendly: have a chat to your other roommates, check they are ok. Share tips, snacks and ask people if they want to join in your card game.

Keep noise to a minimum in the evenings and mornings: people are on different timetables, with some people getting up very early, or falling asleep late. This is particularly true when sharing a dormitory with several other people. In a dormitory, turn main lights off after 10pm: use a head torch if you want to keep reading or need to enter/exit the room.

Keep your gear tidy and organised: don’t leave gear lying around a shared dorm room. Instead, find out where you can hang out your wet gear so that it doesn’t smell and annoy others.

If you’re leaving early in the morning pack as much as you can the night before. For those sharing in a dormitory, finish packing your final pieces of gear away from people sleeping, and preferably out of the room.

In shared bathroom facilities, keep shower lengths short, and leave facilities clean for the next user.

Selection Selecting a suitable inn/hostel

Although it’s far more common in Europe to stop at hostels along a multi-day walk (e.g. The El Camino Trail), there are some options to do this in Australia for example on the Great North Walk and Six Foot Track. It’s worth keeping this in mind as a great option to avoid carrying heavy packs and enjoy some creature comforts along the track.

Here are some things to think through when selecting a suitable inn or hostel on your trip.

On some trips, the track may go straight past a suitable hostel, whereas on others, you may need to detour off the track. Consider how far you need to detour to get to the hostel and factor this in when assessing if it is a good option. If the hostel is a significant distance away, it may be better to organise a taxi pickup or consider other options like camping instead.

Single or shared room
It can be fun to share a dormitory with others, but it’s not for everyone. In a dorm with 4-8 other people, there will be a lot of shuffling and scuffling noises throughout the night as people settle down, change position, and hop up during the night to use toilets.

Some people are susceptible to noise, and find it incredibly difficult to sleep with other noises and sounds. If this sounds like you, then a shared dormitory is probably not the right choice! However, if you’re reasonably comfortable that you can sleep well enough in a room with others and still be able to function well on the track the next day, then it might be the right choice for you.

If you’re looking into group accommodation for everyone on your trip, bear in mind that everyone will have a different budget to you. And an amount that might be reasonable for one person could be extremely tricky for someone else. That’s why it’s great to provide options. Hostels often have a couple of different room setups that cater to different budgets: private en-suite rooms being at the high end of the spectrum and 10-bunk dorms at the lower end. The main thing is to be upfront and transparent with your party about what the expected costs of the accommodation are. Don’t forget to check for hidden costs (e.g. meals, linen).

Some hostels will provide meals, whereas others won’t offer any. Check in advance to find out and be prepared. If the hostel is in a community, you may be able to go out for a pub meal in the evening, however, if the hostel is remote, then you’ll be relying on the hostel to provide (or bring in your own food).

Facilities and access
Lastly, check what facilities come with the hostel and that access will work for you and your group. For people with mobility restrictions, check critical issues including things like that rooms have minimal steps and bathrooms are wide enough to access, and with support railings. Likewise for other types of impairments or disabilities within your group.

A few websites that may be useful when searching for accommodation: