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Hikers’ mate: Three Capes Gear & Gourmet

February 25, 2017 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

So you’re planning a walk on the Three Capes Track – but you’re not exactly the Edmund Hillary of hikers. What to do? A new Hobart-based business might be the best thing for you since someone invented Gore-tex shoes.

New hiking gear hire and food provider Three Capes Gear & Gourmet was set up with less experienced walkers firmly in mind. On the ‘3CGG’ website there’s a wealth of information about hiking in general and the Three Capes Track in particular. When you’re ready to start getting gear and food you can set up a bag for yourself and up to five friends, and as you choose things your bag will tally both the price and weight – the latter all important when the end game is hoisting the bag into your back and heading off for a walking adventure.

Three Capes Gear & Gourmet is the idea of Gail MacCallum and Ian Connellan. Ian has been an enthusiast and expert on Tasmania for 20 years, writing articles, publishing books and producing walking guides about the state. A few years ago the former Sydney-based magazine editors moved to Hobart to establish a scientific tourism venture called Curious Traveller. They still took occasional gigs as writer/photographers, a couple of which in 2014 were stories about the making of the Three Capes Track. But the nascent track got them thinking about more than stories.

“Everywhere we went we saw a business opportunity,” said Ian. “In fact, the track was being set up in part to stimulate the Tasman Peninsula economy – the Tasmanian government wanted people to create businesses around it.”

Gail and Ian thought that offering quality light hiking gear and a range of food, with a focus on Tassie-provenance treats, was a no-brainer, and they figured they had complementary skills.

“Ian’s the walker and I’m the yuppie,” said Gail. “He’s the one that knows how to fit rucksacks and tie knots and I’m the one that goes searching for treats for people to eat.”

They started sourcing gear and food and working on the Three Capes Gear & Gourmet website in October 2016, and opened for business earlier this month. They’re already busier than expected.

Ian, a multiday hiker and walking enthusiast for decades (and a former Lonely Planet writer and editor of outdoor magazines) has hunted down gear that’s specifically designed for the idiosyncratic conditions of southern Tasmania – be it weight, warmth or waterproofness. He’s chosen from a variety of renowned and respected makers, including Sea to Summit, Macpac and Wilderness Equipment. If you rent a “full track package” (including rucksack, sleeping bag, waterproof/breathable raincoat, eating kit and various extras) you’ll set out on your walk with more than $1000 worth of quality hiking gear – for $165.

Meals and treats range from a couple of dollars to $15-plus. A full suite of food and snacks for the three night, four-day walk can be sorted for as little as $100 (but you’ll probably want to add some Pyengana cheese and gumbo as well). The site offers a wide range of gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options and can cater for people with other dietary restrictions on request.

Want a day-end tipple? No problem: 3CGG offers spirits and cocktails from Tasman Peninsula distiller William McHenry. Tasmanian treats such as vintage cheese, fudge, and popcorn bang? No problem. How about a lightweight breakfast of fluffy pancakes and freeze-dried maple syrup? Gail’s only getting warmed up.

“We want people who are new to multi-day walking to have a great experience and go for another hike,” said Ian.

“And we hope we’re finding a few new things to eat and treats for the more experienced hands,” Gail added.

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