tramping gear

With accommodation mostly sorted, you will be staying, mostly, in those fabulous backcountry huts, what gear do you need to bung into your pack?

When you think that you will be lugging it all with you no matter what the terrain, there’s an obvious point to make: you want everything to be as light as possible, as long as it does the job.

No point in carrying a lightweight raincoat if it can’t keep you dryish and block the wind. You also don’t want it to fall apart, it can be pretty rough out there.

So the desired tramping gear characteristics: lightweight, does the job, reliable.

Then again, as in life, there’s the cost aspect, together with compromise and making do with something that’s not necessarily 100% perfect.

But the most important aspect with your gear, is it absolutely essential, can you survive without it?

Don’t pack unnecessary weight.

+++++horizontal rule+++++

what to wear: two sets of clothes

Big Bungaree Bay from the well located hut | Rakiura National Park, Stewart Island

Here’s a handy hint: take the right attire, only the necessary.

+++++horizontal rule+++++

tramping clothes: the wet set

West Ruggedy Beach on the west coast | Rakiura National Park, Stewart Island

For what it’s worth here’s my wet set list …

+++++horizontal rule+++++

tramping clothes: the dry set

Little Hellfire Beach with Masons Bay, Rakiura National Park, Stewart Island

That’s all? Yeah. No excess.

+++++horizontal rule+++++

a you-beaut tramping pack

Smokey Creek, Rakiura National Park, Stewart Island

People swear by their different packs and who are we to argue.

+++++horizontal rule+++++

tramping boots and gaiters

mud, better to have decent gaiters and overtrou. Rakiura National Park, Stewart Island

Let’s face it, feet get a bashing: you will be lugging plenty on your back, and feet in the NZ outdoors get wet.

+++++horizontal rule+++++

cookin', ie, stoves for tramping

Karamea River, Leslie Karamea Track, Kahurangi National Park

You gotta take a stove of some type: huts usually have a firebox but they are intended for heating only, being generally unsuitable for cooking and in any case sometimes there’s just no dry firewood around, or wet for that matter, or the axe has a smashed handle, etc.

Your stove is essential equipment.

+++++horizontal rule+++++

medical equipment

swingbridge on Leslie Karamea Track, Kahurangi National Park

When it comes to health some people go completely over the top in preparing for any possibility: drugs for any condition; bandages for various injuries short of amputation; a full drug cabinet with concoctions for staying healthy.

Others take the minimal health junk.

+++++horizontal rule+++++

sleeping bag

1ºC inside Bobs Hut, maybe much less outside, Nelson Lakes National Park

Accommodation is most often provided courtesy of DOC in fabulous weatherproof huts, many of the recent huts are insulated and even double glazed. In more remote valleys the original huts have neither, often there are louvre windows and plenty of ventilation via the open fireplace chimney, although almost all huts have plastic encased mattresses. Combine that with 41º—47ºS latitude, the elevation and deep, shady valleys and, well, it gets cold at night.