Wes Moule’s life in the wilderness

For Wes Moule, adventure is a way of life. It’s his job, his favourite pastime, and his way of giving back to those who helped him in his time of need.

We’ve known Wes for about ten years – he tests out our packs in the Tasmanian wilderness – a place that he calls home. He shares his story with the Macpac blog.

Wes’ passion for adventure started when he was just a boy growing up in Adelaide Hills – his father enrolled him in Cubs and the Scouts where he was first introduced to bush walking and carrying packs.

“That was my first experience of being involved in that world – and I just loved it from the very beginning,” says Wes.

Wes left school early, and pursued an apprenticeship working as a diesel mechanic. He went on to start his own workshop, but his love of adventure always remained.

“I would take time off to just ‘go bush’ for four to eight weeks at a time in South Australia in the Flinders Ranges through to magnificent desert country – the closest real outback environment to Adelaide. Sometimes I’d venture over to Tasmania which is the opposite yet again – beautiful rivers and green bush.”

After 20 years as a diesel mechanic, Wes decided it was time for a change, and he shifted to Tasmania permanently to take up a position with Tasmanian Expeditions.

“I thought they only employed guides but then I found out that food dropping was also something that the guys did. I approached the company and said I’d do all their food drops for them. They were more than happy with that as the guides didn’t like doing it too much. I took over that role – nearly ten years ago now, and I haven’t looked back,” says Wes.

As part of this job, Wes delivers food, equipment and supplies anywhere in the World Heritage area of Tasmania – he often carries some pretty heavy loads, and this is where Macpac comes into the picture. We first met Wes about ten years ago at the Hobart Macpac store where he was looking for gear to assist him with his work.

“It was the start of such a good relationship – I started to provide feedback on Macpac’s gear – mostly packs. I carry heavy loads when I’m out food dropping, so it’s been really great being able to work with Macpac – they’ve really helped me out along the way, and I especially like the Cascade packs.”

In 2005, Wes received the shock news that he had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. He received treatment through the Holman Clinic and came out feeling really indebted to the staff who helped to save his life.

“I wanted to get out and help them, and I did this the way I knew best – I put my boots on and started walking. Every kilometre I walked for three years, I gave a dollar back to the Holman Clinic –and every dollar was matched by Macpac. It was such an amazing way to give back to them when they helped me get through the toughest time in my life,” says Wes.

Wes is passionate about helping others, and aside from his charity work, he also finds himself helping many people in need when he’s out in the wilderness. He says he’s come across people with all sorts of injuries, stranded in areas where there isn’t a lot of foot traffic.

“I’ve found people with broken legs, broken ankles, tired people, hungry people, freezing people.  It’s for this reason that you’ve always got to be prepared in terms of what you pack.”

When Wes is out pack hauling, he can sometimes be carrying weights up to 46kg, walking for days on end. Unlike New Zealand, there are no Helicopters allowed in the World Heritage areas of Tasmania, so everything has to be done on foot.

“I really do get the best out of my Macpac Cascade packs – they’re probably my favourite piece of gear as they really stand up to the load.”

In the last year or so, Wes has started fundraising for Appin Hall – a Tasmanian foundation dedicated to helping Children in need.

“With them initially I saw that they’re helping in the community in a big way by doing different things for the kids. When I went and met them and saw what they did, it made me want to get more involved.”

It started by raising money, with help from World Expeditions and Macpac, but Wes soon decided he wanted to do more for organisation

“There was nobody to guide the kids and help them get out and explore.  They’re in a place called Erriba which is close to Cradle Mountain, so I helped them by getting the kids out for 6km circuits in the bush, and they just loved it. I thought I may as well just start helping out wherever I can.”

Wes has committed a lot of his time to the foundation, and can often be seen cooking lunch for the kids, and showing them how to prepare healthy food in the bush. He also sometimes brings baby animals like Wombats to Appin Hall to teach them about the animals that they can encounter in the bush.

His work with Appin Hall came to the attention of fellow volunteer Sylvia Berger – a childrens book author who was interested in sharing Wes’s story in a further effort to raise money for the foundation.

“I hope that we can do more of these books in future, we’ll see how they go, but for now I couldn’t be happier with how it’s turned out. So many  hilarious things have happened to me out in the wilderness, and it’s so great to be able to tell these stories in a childrens format and to make them laugh a little bit as well,” says Wes.

You can purchase Wes’ book at selected Australian Macpac stores.