If bikepacking 1000km between Melbourne and Canberra sounds like your cup of tea, you’ll be frothing at the mouth for the Hunt 1000. Explorer Mattie recently took on the ride – here’s his guide on how to thrive and survive the Hunt 1000.


In the middle of the 20th century, the American psychologist Abraham Maslow developed the ‘hierarchy of needs’, with the base layer being the physical needs. According to this hierarchy, us humans need to satisfy our most basic needs of food, water, shelter, sleep, and clothing, before we can move onto more lofty ideas of fulfilment. 

I think that the same principle can be applied to a long bikepacking trip. 

The Hunt 1000 is a 1000km bikepacking route between Melbourne and Canberra, travelling through the High Country and Snowy Mountains, predominantly ridden off-road. I recently rode this route and Maslov’s five basic needs were definitely at the forefront of my mind.

It was only during the times when I had these bases covered, that I was truly able to enjoy myself out on the trails and become more mindful of the beautiful, brutal, terrain we were passing through.

So here’s a breakdown of the basic needs of bikepacking, the successes and the challenges I found as I addressed them out on the trails of the Hunt 1000. 



Out on the bike, you’ve got to think about your major food groups, namely:

Snacks, meals, snacks, and bakeries. And snacks. Snacks are important.


Keep your snacks within easy reach while riding so that you don’t have to stop every time you need a snack. I used an aptly named ‘feed bag’ attached to my handlebars. If anything, I wish I’d had two of these so that I had more snacks on hand.

I favoured a mix of muesli bars, salami sticks, sour worms, tiny teddies, salt and vinegar chips, and Anzac biscuits. But choose your own snacking journey.



I’m not sure if I got my lunches spot on, but here you go. I squashed a whole loaf of bread into my saddlebag, alongside a jar of peanut butter, and ‘enjoyed’ squashed peanut butter sandwiches throughout my journey.

To spice things up, I’d add chips, cucumber, jam, anything to mix it up and get it down. Hands down the best lunch I had though was the one time I stopped long enough to boil water and have a soup (alongside my squashed bread PB&J).


Town Meals

Meals fall into two categories. 1. Camp meals; 2. Town meals. Pretty much every time the route passed through a town, I stopped for a meal. Bakeries were always well received, and the timing of my ride often revolved around what time the bakery opened.

When buying from a bakery, it’s always a good idea to eat something there, but also take a baked good with you for later. Country pubs were equally as well received as the bakeries, and a hot plate of food was consumed at every opportunity.


Camp Meals

For camp meals, my strategy was simple and revolved around dehydrated food. I like using pre-made and pre-packaged meals because it takes out the guesswork. I don’t need to think about ingredients or chopping, everything is right there in the bag. Plus I had no dirty pot to worry about.

I always carried more meals than I needed, in fact I carried three dinners and three breakfasts as an extra ‘emergency’ supply, in addition to the two or three days of food I needed. This extra food gave me peace of mind, in case of an accident, bad weather or a severe mechanical issue – it gave me confidence that I’d be OK to wait out any of these issues, and have food to spare for others.



Out on a long bike ride, staying hydrated is essential. Much like the snacks, having easily accessible water on the bike is important. I’ve found from experience that if your water isn’t easy to access, then you’re less likely to drink as much as you need.

I carried three water bottles on my bike, equalling around 2.5 litres. Most of the time this was plenty. However, on a couple of hotter days, when there were longer gaps between water sources, I definitely found myself worrying about water.

In addition to my water bottles, I usually grabbed a can of coke or chocolate milk, when passing through a town. Having another option while in the middle of nowhere, was a mental boost and felt like a real treat. Hopefully it goes without saying that these empty cans and containers were packed out of the wilderness with me – leave no trace friends!

As most water sources were wild rivers and creeks, I carried a water filter with me. I also carried water purification tablets, although I didn’t end up using them – they weigh nothing and are a great backup in case the filter breaks and gets lost.

The benefit of using a filter is that you can drink immediately when you arrive at a water source, effectively increasing your water carrying abilities.

I carried hydralite tablets and vitamin tablets, which I added to my water each day. Luckily the weather wasn’t too hot, but I was still been losing salts through sweat and the tablets are an easy, lightweight way of topping up.


The Hunt 1000 passes through the alpine region for at least half of the ride. As such, you need to be prepared for alpine weather conditions. In previous years, riders have experienced snowstorms, torrential rain, and days above 30 degrees. 

I carried thermal layers, a rain jacket, and a puffer jacket, as preparation against the colder weather, none of which were called into action too often. My main concern was about being sun smart, so I was generally wearing a long sleeve cycling jersey to keep the sun off.

Overall, I was carrying two complete changes of clothes. I alternated between wearing padded cycling shorts and merino/bamboo boxer shorts. This was just my preference, but I found that I was much more comfortable with long days of pushing my bike up hills when wearing the boxer shorts.

Initially, I tried to keep one pair of socks for riding, and one pair for sleeping, but it wasn’t really cold enough to need the sleeping socks, so they became alternate riding socks. 

Similar to snacks, the rain jacket, and puffer needed to be easy to access so that I didn’t have to think twice about whether to put them on or not. It’s much easier to stay dry (or warm) than to get dry (or warm).



My main form of shelter for the Hunt 1000 was my tent. I’ve played around with using a tarp and bivvy setup, but I’ve found that I prefer the tent. My tent was packed away in its own dry bag, away from all other gear (strapped to my forks). I do this so that if I pack it away when it’s wet, which is bound to happen when I start early in the morning, it’s not going to make anything else damp.

On days when I had time to stop for a longer lunch, I’d pull out my damp tent and let it dry as much as possible. Similarly, if arriving at camp early enough, the tent would go up straight away to help dry it out.

In addition to the tent, I made as much use of pub, hotel, and campsite accommodation as possible. I know some people like to camp the entire time they’re out bikepacking, but that wasn’t my strategy.

I was treating my Hunt 1000 ride as a cycling holiday, rather than a rugged bikepacking adventure, so if the route passed through a town, I generally planned my daily kilometre goal around reaching that town in time for a feed and a bed. 

While out in the High Country, one of the highlights is the historic huts that abound. These shouldn’t be relied upon for shelter (they’re just for emergency) but are a great resource for respite from the elements.

We visited a few such huts along, and near the route. For me, the hut highlights were Derschkos Hut in the Jagungal Wilderness and Lovicks Hut in the Victorian High Country.



As I mentioned in the shelter section, my strategy for the ride was to prioritise my comfort and choice of shelter. Sleeping in a comfortable bed every opportunity I got, may well have aided my success in completing the route.

At the very least, staying in hotels/pubs along the way increased my access to showers and helped with personal hygiene.

To help with sleeping in the tent, I used a thick inflatable mattress. It’s not as ultralight as you can get, but worth the small weight sacrifice to me and an important change I’ve made through experience.

I also carry a pillow, which might seem like a luxury but again makes the difference for me. They also weigh next to nothing.

For bedding, I used a quilt on this trip. Using the quilt was a bit of a risk, as I’d never used one on a long trip before, and I hadn’t used this particular quilt at all as I’d just received it for testing (WAE review to come).

I’d taken an even greater risk by carrying a quilt with a warmth rating of two degrees. Luckily the quilt performed beyond expectations, both in comfort and warmth, and I was blessed with relatively mild overnight temperatures.


Thriving or Surviving

There were definitely many times out on the Hunt 1000 where I felt like I was merely surviving, thoughts consumed by the snacks I needed to eat, concern over the next water source, and where I’d be sleeping that night.

But there were also times when these basic needs were covered and therefore fell to the back of my mind and it was at these times, perhaps without even realising it, that I truly felt like I was thriving.