The Adventure Gene

2022 Bibbulmun Track Hiker Survey

At 1000km long, the Bibbulmun Track is one of Australia’s greatest long-distance hiking trails. The Bibbulmun Track Hiker Survey is designed to provide hikers with a comprehensive and up-to-date planning resource to help them prepare for any trip ranging from day hikes to end-to-end thru hikes.

At its core, the survey is community driven as it is only made possible by hikers sharing their knowledge and experience. In 2022 we had 82 responses. If you want to participate in the 2023 survey, you can be notified when the survey is opened by filling out the form below.

Due to the wide scope of the survey, the results have been broken down into the following sections:

  • Hiker demographics & motivation
  • Hiking statistics
  • Resupply
  • Gear
  • Hiker health
  • Common fears & advice for future hikers

If there is something that isn’t covered in the survey, make sure to let us know so we can improve it for next year. Finally, as with any survey, there are a number of limitations that must be considered when interpreting the results:

  • The survey results are only as reliable as the information collected.
  • Survey results will skew towards the types of people that answered the survey (as shown below).

Age

Gender

Where Are Hikers From?

95.1% of hikers live in Australia, and 76.8% of all hikers are from Western Australia.


Why Do People Choose the Bibbulmun Track?

68.2% of people choose to hike on the Bibbulmun Track because of its reputation.


How Do People Have Time to Hike on the Bibbulmun Track?

32.9% of people hike on the Bibbulmun Track during their annual leave.


Some More Quick Facts:

51.2% of hikers did pre-hike training.

54.9% started their trek alone.

70.0% were planning their trip for <6 months.

10.1% of people had never hiked before.

The wind was picking up as we exited across the beach .

Top Three Planning Resources

  1. The Bibbulmun Track Website (used by 97.0% of hikers)
  2. The Bibbulmun Track Facebook Group Page (used by 58.2% of hikers)
  3. The Bibbulmun Track Facebook Page (used by 51.9% of hikers)

When Is The Track Busiest?

The Bibbulmun Track is busiest in the second half of September and the first week of October. This typically corresponds with prime orchid season, ideal temperatures, and school holidays!

When Is the Track Busiest?
When Are End-To-End Hikers on Trail?

End-To-End (E2E) Hikers

Which Direction Do E2E Hikers Walk?

75.9% of hikers attempting an E2E walk southbound (Kalamunda – Albany).

Why Do Hikers Walk Southbound?

Why Do Hikers Walk Northbound?

How Long Does An E2E Take?

The average duration of an E2E was 48 days. This corresponds to hiking 20.8km per day (including rest days).

The average person took a total of 4 rest days (zeros) throughout their E2E.

How Much Does an E2E Cost?

The average total cost of a Bibbulmun E2E was ~$2300 (including gear, transport, food etc).

What Is the Toal Cost of Hiking the Bibbulmun Track?

The average on trail cost of a Bibbulmun E2E was ~$1200 (food, accomodation etc).

How Much Does Hiking the Bibbulmun Track Cost?

The average cost per month on trail is $750, which works out to be $25 per day or $1.20 per kilometre!

Which Sections Do E2E Hikers Enjoy the Most? Which Is The Hardest?

Hikers favourite section of trail was Walpole to Denmark (30.2%), which was also rated as the most challenging section of trail (37.1%).

Interestingly, however, 0% of people said Walpole – Denmark was both their favourite and most challenging section!

Favourite Section

Most Challenging Section

Why Do E2E Hikers Quit?

79.6% of hikers complete their end-to-end.

For those who don’t finish, 42.9% stop because they run out of time.

Why Do Hikers Not Finish Their E2E?

Return Rate

Of all E2E finishers, 76.7% reported that they would attempt another E2E.

16.3% would only hike their favourite sections again.

7.0% would not hike the trail again.


Section hikers

The average section hiker completed 187.0 km along the Bibbulmun Track at any one time.

The most popular distance to hike was 60-80km, completed by 25.6% of hikers.

Most Popular Sections

Overall Popularity

  1. Kalamunda – Dwellingup (24.7%)
  2. Balingup – Donnelly River (12.4%)
  3. Walpole – Denmark (12.4%)
  4. Northcliffe – Walpole (11.3%)
  5. Collie – Balingup (10.3%)
  6. Dwellingup – Collie (9.3%)
  7. Denmark – Albany (8.2%)
  8. Donnelly River – Pemberton (7.2%)
  9. Pemberton – Northcliffe (4.1%)

Weighted by Distance from Perth

  1. Walpole – Denmark (↑ 2)
  2. Northcliffe – Walpole (↑ 2)
  3. Denmark – Albany ( 4)
  4. Balingup – Donnelly River ( 2)
  5. Donnelly River – Pemberton ( 3)
  6. Collie – Balingup ( 1)
  7. Pemberton – Northcliffe (↑ 2)
  8. Dwellingup – Collie (↓ 2)
  9. Kalamunda – Dwellingup (↓ 8)

Although Kalamunda – Dwellingup is the most popular section to hike on, it is likely not because it is the most scenic or enjoyable. Instead, Kalamunda – Dwellingup is probably the most popular because it is close to Perth (where most section hikers live).

Once section popularity is weighted by distance from Perth, the two most popular sections are Walpole – Denmark and Northcliffe – Walpole. This aligns with what E2E hikers reported as their favourite sections.


What Factors Negatively Impact Experience?

There will always be aspects of hiking that can make trips less enjoyable. We asked hikers to rate the following factors out of 10 (10 being the highest), depending on how negatively they impacted their experience.

Resupply Strategy

82.6% of hikers would not change their resupply strategy.

14.5% would not post any resupply boxes.

2.9% would mail food to every town.

“If I were to hike the trail again I would still mail some supplies, but resupply mostly from towns.”

“Next time, I would only send boxes to smaller towns, eg. Donnelly River.”

“Posting was so much hassle and didn’t work out to be much cheaper.”


Resupply Locations

Where Do Hikers Who Post Food Send Their Food Parcels To?

TWR stands for Three Ways Roadhouse. Note that it is currently closed and it is unclear if/when it will reopen.

The resupply at Donnelly River general store.

How Do Hikers Rate Each Town for Their Resupply Options?

Dwellingup (7.3/10)

Collie (8.8/10)

Balingup (5.3/10)

Donnelly River (5.1/10)

Pemberton (7.6/10)

Northcliffe (6.2/10)

Walpole (7.5/10)

Denmark (8.3/10)


Other Food Parcel Facts

67.7% of hikers who posted food would change their parcel contents for next time. Of those hikers,

56.0% would pack less food.

28.0% would pack a larger variety of foods.

24.0% would pack more food.

16.0% would pack more dehydrated food.


How Did People Store Their Food at Night in Shelters?

The shelters on the Bibbulmun Track can attract mice and other rodents that might want to inspect your pack for food at night!

Note: Plastic tubs are typically only provided at shelters where rodents are more troublesome.

How Do Hikers Store Their Food at Night?

Base Weight

The average hiker base weight (pack weight minus food and water) was 10.5kg.

What Baseweight Do Hikers Have?


Tents

74.3% carried a freestanding tent.

69.6% carried a double-walled tent.

Most Popular Tents

Rating: 8.5/10

Rating: 9.6/10

Rating: 9.0/10

Weight: 525g/18.5oz

Weight: 1220g/43oz

Weight: 1315g/46.4oz

Type: 2 person, single-walled

Type: 2 person, double-walled, freestanding

Type: 1 person, double-walled, free standing

"Love it."

"Perfect. No issues in any weather yet."

"Perfect size."

"Very cosy."

"I could probably get a lighter tent if I spent more money, but this one is good enough for me!"


Sleeping Bags

78% of hikers carried a sleeping bag whilst the other 22% carried a quilt.

Female hikers carried a sleeping bag/quilt with an average temperature rating of -3.8°C (25.2F).

Male hikers carried a sleeping bag/quilt with an average temperature rating of -1.9°C (28.6F).

How Many Hikers Were Cold At Night?

Note that being cold at night may also depend on factors such as the R value of your sleeping mat, sleeping in a tent vs a shelter, and how much you ate for dinner!

Most Popular Sleeping Bags

Note: The temperatures ratings are supplied by the manufacturer. The S2S Flame uses the EN women’s comfort rating, whereas the S2S Trek and S2S Spark use EN lower limit ratings.

Rating: 8.2/10

Rating: 9.25/10

Rating: 7.3/10

Weight: 665g/23.5oz

Weight: 760g/26.8oz

Weight: 665g/23.5oz

Fill weight: 440g/15.5oz

Fill weight: 350g/12.3oz

Fill weight: 430g/15.2oz

Fill power: 850 cuin

Fill power: 650 cuin

Fill power: 850 cuin

"Love it. It was almost too warm for the Bibb."

"Super warm. A bit bulky to pack."

"Perfect for the time of year and sleeping in huts."

"I got a large so I could have more space, but that made it a bit colder."


Sleeping Mats

93.8% of hikers carried inflatable mats whilst the other 6.2% carried foam mats.

Most Popular Inflatable Sleeping Mats

Rating: 7.4/10

Rating: 7.6/10

Rating: 8.8/10

Weight: 350g/12.5oz

Weight: 470g/16.6oz

Weight: 410g/14.5oz

R-value: 4.5

R-value: 3.2

R-value: 4.2

"Love it apart from the noise it makes when you move."

"Easy to puncture."

"Noisy, looses air."

"Comfortable but I don't like how noisy it is."

"Super comfortable and easy to inflate."

"Excellent, was probably longer than I needed (regular size)."

"Super light and comfortable."

Most Popular Foam Sleeping Mats


Backpacks

The average backpack capacity was 52L.

What Backpack Capacity Do Hikers Have?

Most Popular Backpacks

Rating: 8.3/10

Rating: 8.0/10

Rating: 6.8/10

Rating:10.0/10

Weight: 1946g/68.6oz

Weight: 1280g/45.2oz

Weight: 2231g/78.7oz

Weight: 1920g/67.7oz

"I had everything I needed without going without (I am not an UL hiker). 50L pack was able to fit everything inside, nothing strapped on the outside."

"Comfy but a bit heavy."

"Loved it but got pressure sores on my hip bones."

"Probably should have picked something lighter."

"Too big and heavy for what I needed on the Bibb."

"Pulls on my shoulders, gives me bruises."

"My Aarn gave me much less shoulder pain than my previous pack. I particularly liked the very large and moulded hip belt which made a huge difference to me."

"The only pack I’ve had that feels like you wear it, rather than carry it."


Stoves

92.7% of hikers carried a stove.

Of those, 92.0% used gas canisters for fuel.

The average pot capacity for a solo hiker was 1.0L.

Most Popular Stoves

Rating: 9.1/10

Rating: 8.4/10

Rating: 8.9/10

Rating: 9.2/10

Weight: 415g/14.6oz

Weight: 330g/1.2oz

Weight: 99g/3.5oz

Weight: 73g/2.6oz

Fuel: Gas canisters

Fuel: Methylated spirits

Fuel: Gas canisters

Fuel: Gas canisters

"Perfect for this trip. Robust, light, fast and fuel efficient."

"Feels too heavy."

"Love my Jetboil."

"Great but I would prefer to have something lighter."

"A bit bulky."

"Hungry on fuel because no protection of flame from wind."

"It did the job. I mostly go stoveless now."

"Lightweight, did what I needed it to do."

"Worked perfectly. Light and tiny."


Trekking Poles

79% of hikers used trekking poles.

Most Popular Trekking Poles

Rating: 8.3/10

Rating: 9.7/10

Rating: 9.3/10

Weight: 490g/17.3oz

Weight: 486g/17.1oz

Weight: 340g/12.0oz

Material: Alloy

Material: Carbon

Material: Carbon

"Never hike without them."


"They're great, no complaints."

"Don’t leave home without them."

"They are lightweight and sturdy."


Shoes

The average E2E hiker used 1.3 pairs of shoes for the whole trail.

45.5% of hikers wore trail running shoes, 30% wore lightweight hiking boots and 24.5% wore heavy duty hiking boots.

Most Popular Shoes

Rating: 9.8/10

Rating: 4.5/10

Rating: 7.8/10

Weight: 300g/10.6oz

Weight: 442g/15.6oz

Weight: 1210g/42.7oz

Style: Trail running shoe

Style: Lightweight hiking boots

Style: Heavy duty hiking boots

Waterproof: No

Waterproof: Yes

Waterproof: Yes

"Great shoe, but not overly protected toe."

"Started to leak."

"Sturdy shoes."

"Once they got wet they stayed wet."

"Excellent, took some time to wear in, but now are fantastic."

"They were too heavy."


Socks

The average E2E hiker carried 3 pairs of socks at any given time.

Most Popular Socks


Most Popular Rain Jackets

Rating: 5.0/10

Rating: 8.5/10

Rating: 8.5/10

Rating: 8.5/10

Weight: 230g/8.1oz

Weight: 394g/13.9oz

Weight: 434g/15.3oz

Weight: 293g/10.6oz

"Got caught on the vegetation all the time."

"Can be difficult in the wind so I used an elastic around my waist in windy weather."

"Did what it needed to do as well as any raincoat can."

"Water would go up the sleeves from my wrists."

"Nice and Light."


Insulation Layers

Most Popular Down & Synthetic Jacket

Rating: 7.0/10

Rating: 10.0/10

Weight: 240g/8.5oz

Weight: 238g/8.4oz

Type: Down jacket

Type: Synthetic jacket

Fill weight: 73g/2.6oz

Fill type: 2oz/yd² Climashield APEX

Fill power: 650 cuin

Most Popular Fleece Jackets

Rating: 10.0/10

Rating: 7.0/10

Weight: 140g/4.9oz

Weight: 330g/11.6oz

"Best bit of gear ever."

"Only wore in camps and towns."

"Good as a mid layer, but I generally used it in combination with a Marmont merino wool base."


Electronics

80.2% of hikers carried a power bank.

The average power bank capacity was 12005 mAh.

For an iPhone 14, that’s around 2.5 full charges.

Most Popular Power Banks

Rating: 9.3/10

Rating: 9.0/10

Rating: 9.7/10

Weight: 210g/7.4oz

Weight: 150g/5.29oz

Weight: 343g/12.1oz

"Had plenary of capacity and charges pretty fast- but heavy."

"Didn’t run out of power, but deliberately left my phone on flight mode most of the time."

"Very good. Just needed a double charger for in town to recharge them."

"Was supposed to charge iPhone 3.5 times but did not do this. Maybe 2-3 times."


Most Popular SOS Devices

Rating: 8.5/10

Rating: 7.0/10

Rating: 7.6/10

Weight: 100g/3.5oz

Weight: 198g/7oz

Weight: 114g/4.0oz

"The tracking wasn't as accurate as my watch and I sometimes had trouble connecting to my phone via bluetooth."

"Good to tell family where I was each night. I felt safer knowing they knew."


"Only carry it for the tracking feature for my spouse."

"Sometimes it takes a while for the message to send."

"Sometimes showed flat batteries even when freshly charged."

"Expensive for 8 - 15 days hiking per year for 5 years."


Navigation

80.5% of hikers used their phone as one of their means of navigation.

Clear track signage on the granite outcrops!

Top 3 Apps Used by Hikers Who Navigate with Their Phone

  1. FarOut (71.9%) ($14.99 USD)
  2. Maps.Me (21.1%)
  3. AllTrails (14%)

Additional Gear

Top 5 Additional Items

Camp shoes

Towel

Sit pad

Paper books

Town clothes

Top 5 Items Hikers Picked Up

Blister care

Massage ball

Trekking poles

Bug net

Tarp (to use under mat in shelters)

Top 5 Items Hikers Discarded

Games

Umbrella

Guide books

Gas cannister stabiliser

Extra cooking utensils

Injury

26.3% of hikers got injured on trail.

85.7% of these were new injuries.

On average, injured hikers took an additional 1 day of rest due to their injury.

On average, hikers estimate their injury cost them an additional ~$37.

Top 5 Injuries on Trail

  1. Knee pain
  2. Sprained ankle
  3. ITB pain
  4. Plantar Fasciitis
  5. Shin splints

Illness

9% of hikers got sick on trail.

No hiker reported that they got COVID on trail.


Water Treatment

The average water carrying capacity was 2.6L.

How Often Did Hikers Treat Their Water?

Top 3 Water Treatment methods

  1. Water purification tablets (used by 63.5% of hikers)
  2. Water filter (used by 36.5% of hikers)
  3. Boiling water (used by 21.2% of hikers)

Most Popular Water filters

Rating: 9.4/10

Rating: 9.5/10

Rating: 9.0/10

Weight: 21g/0.7oz

Weight: 57g/2.0oz

Weight: 39g/1.4oz

"Super fast flow."

"Slowed down through the hike."


"Light and easy to use. Doesn’t take too long and can be set up to gravity feed."

"Worked really well and didn't effect the taste."

"Great as long as we remembered to flush it in town."

"No problem as long as you flush it regularly."


Ticks

53.5% of E2E hikers encountered ticks on the trail.

E2E hikers got an average of 2.9 ticks during their trek.

Worst 3 Sections for Ticks

  1. Kalamunda – Dwellingup
  2. Dwellingup – Collie
  3. Denmark – Albany

Top 3 Items Carried to Remove Ticks

  1. Normal tweezers (33.7% of hikers)
  2. Nothing (30.3% of hikers)
  3. Tick tweezers (15.7% of hikers)

Female Hygiene

20% of females carried a wee rag.

How Did Female Hikers Manage Their Period on Trail?

Common Fears

Although the top two fears did not change before and after hiking, there were 36% fewer post hike fears submitted.

Top 5 Fears Pre Hike

  1. Snakes (45.9%)
  2. Getting injured (37.7%)
  3. Getting lost (29.5%)
  4. Rain/getting wet (27.9%)
  5. Rodents in shelters (27.9%)

Top 5 Fears Post Hike

  1. Snakes (32.8%)
  2. Getting injured (27.9%)
  3. Rodents in shelters (18.0%)
  4. Bugs (e.g. ticks, spiders) (14.8%)
  5. Extreme heat (13.1%)

The Bibbulmun Track is very safe and a great trail to learn how to thru hike!


Lots of snakes around Denmark, but they aren’t dangerous if you watch where you step. Ticks and rodents more annoying than anything.


“I think these concerns can all be mitigated with some planning.”

A curious visitor at Blackwood hut.

Top 5 Things Hikers Would Do Differently Next Time

  1. Refine gear/reduce base weight
  2. Slow down
  3. Train more
  4. Walk with a friend
  5. Keep a journal

Final Comments

One of the best experiences of my life. I look fondly on all experiences even the beach sections which were particularly bad mostly due to weather and my lack of fitness at the beginning.


“Safe and achievable hiking.


“I hate it so much I have completed 6 E2E’s and now volunteer for 500+ hrs a year.”


“If I could give it 20 out of 10 I would. My advice would be to plan and train as best you can so you know what you are heading into and avoid unnecessary issues that take away from the experience.”


The Bibbulmun is fantastic and well worth doing. My mistake was having a far too structured and optimistic timetable.


“Great variety of landscapes and vegetation.”


Thank you BTF volunteers!”

8 Responses

  1. A fantastic collection of information
    Experience is the best teacher and the combined experience here is brilliant

  2. Wow this survey really enlightened me, great feedback. About to start Trail on 24 Feb planned on taken 59 days that include rest days. Glad I went for the long option from feedback. I found the gear section great especially the foot wear, I’m taken runners that have a great cushion to offset any pain I get that had in the past.

  3. Thank you so much for all this super valuable information! I’m planning an E2E for later this year and your survey results are helping me immensely. x

  4. Wow this is super impressive. The higher baseweigths and ages stand out compared to halfwayanywhere’s surveys from the US, but also not too surprising. And how do Balingup and Donelly river almost have the same resupply rating haha, that photo shows basically the whole Donelly river shop

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