Te Araroa packing list

EVALUATION… details in the evaluation notes at the bottom of this post.

Walking 3000 km (1865 miles) is quite an undertaking. To be safe I am taking a PLB on this hike, a first for me, but a personal locator beacon is just smart in case I run into trouble – or get lost. Navigation is going to be a challenge at times. After all, this trail is not as well tramped as many other long trails and there are a lot of maps… 141 pages to be exact. Printed double sided of course to save on weight. Because naturally weight management is key. My ambition was to shave about 4 kg off my base weight* for this hike compared to what I carried on Kungsleden this summer. Not an easy task, but I think I might have pulled it off.

One thing that helps a lot is the use of a bouncebox system this time around. A bouncebox is a box that I will keep sending ahead to myself at regular stops along the way. This way I can keep clothes and gear handy for when it is needed and save on carrying the weight. I also have different strategies for my feet depending on the terrain and for long stretches I will opt for walking in trailrunners and bounce my boots for rougher sections up ahead. I will also need to replace a few things that will simply wear out, like socks and even shoes! Granted, New Zealand is not the end of the world (only middle earth…) so if I miss something I can always pick it up along the way, but gear preferences are rather personal so it is nice to have most of it sorted ahead of time.

Another way to lighten the load is of course to upgrade to lighter gear. This can be a very expensive endeavour but I opted to replace a few key pieces for this hike. Most notably my tent, always a big ticket item on the gear list. For Te Araroa I am bringing Hilleberg Niak which, at 1700g, is 100g less than the Soulo I started Kungsleden in and a whopping 1600g less than the Allak I finished it with. Although much lighter, it is by no means an ultra light option, but one I will feel safe in so I am happy. I also replaced my shell/rain gear. The new Mountain Equipment jacket and full-zip pants together actually weigh less than my old jacket alone! Well done.

Then it is all about whittling down the list really. Striking a balance between weight, comfort and safety as best you can. As it stands now my base weight checks in at around 11 kg, I was shooting for 10-11 kg… so I am nearly there. I will fine tune it a bit more no doubt and also adjust what I carry from stage to stage along the way, but this is basically how I imagine I will start at Cape Reinga on day one. Barring any major revelations. Oooh… this stuff really keeps me up at night! I welcome input.

Only two weeks to go now. Crazy how fast time flies!

*Base weight =weight of the backpack not including food, water, fuel and what I am wearing.

PS! I will either walk in boots or trailrunners, so I will not carry both at the same time but rather send the other choice of shoes/socks ahead in the bouncebox. Oh, and I normally like to double up on socks to prevent blisters, but am still undecided on this approach in the trailrunners.

*sent home, **would bring fewer of/smaller size next time, ***replaced/exchanged (or would do so next time), ****added along the way.

Feet

  • trailrunners
    • The North Face Ultra Endurance W’s (542g)*
    • Merrell W’s Capra Rapid (556g) – camp/river walking*
    • >> added on trail: Merrell Moab Ventilator (848g)****
  • biomechanical insoles
    • Superfeet carbon, TNF trailrunners (72g)*
  • BOUNCEBOX
    • hiking boots, leather shell: Lundhags Mira Mid (1200g)
    • trailrunners: The North Face Ultra Endurance W’s (542g) – replacement pair*
    • biomechanical insoles
      • Superfeet green, boots (96g)***
      • Superfeet carbon, trailrunners (72g)*
      • >> added on trail: Superfeet orange****

Base layer

  • merino wool
    • briefs: Aclima (46g) x2
    • boxers: Kari Traa (74g) – camp/sleeping***
    • >> added on trail: boxers: Peak Performance (68g) – camp/sleeping****
    • sports bra: Icebreaker Rush (108g)
    • camp socks: Icebreaker multisport light mini (57g) – camp/sleeping
    • socks trailrunners: Icebreaker run+ light mini (40g) x2
    • tank top: Icebreaker (84g) – camp/sleeping
    • t-shirt: Icebreaker (115g)
    • thermal shirt, long sleeve half zip: Kari Traa (208g) – camp/sleeping
    • thermal pants: Kari Traa (182g) – camp/sleeping
  • BOUNCEBOX
    • briefs: Aclima merino (46g) x2**
    • socks trailrunners: Icebreaker run+ light mini merino (40g) x2**
    • socks boots (liner): Smartwool hiking liner crew merino (34g) x2**
    • socks boots: Bola hiking merino (60g) x2**
    • t-shirt: Icebreaker merino (115g)
    • thermal shirt, long sleeve crew: Ortovox merino (236g)***

Mid layer

  • long sleeve button down shirt: Ortovox RNW cool shirt, merino/tencel (236g)
  • >> added on trail: merino wool hoodie: Icebreaker (486g)****
  • insulated jacket: Norrøna Falketind PrimaLoft100 hoody (396g)

Outer/ reinforcement layer

  • hiking pants/shorts: Fjällräven Keb Gaiter, zip-off (658g)*
  • shorts: Nike DF Essential (158g)***
  • >> added on trail: merino/polyester shorts: Icebreaker (112g) ****
  • >> added on trail: merino capri tights: Icebreaker (198g) ****
  • shell/rain jacket: Mountain Equipment Ogre (390g)
  • shell/rain pants, full zip: Mountain Equipment Odyssey (295g)

Accessories

  • sun visor: Craft (36g)
  • sunglasses: Redbull Racing (26g)
  • headband: Buff coolmax (14g)
  • bandana/ hankie: snusnäsduk (18g)
  • buff: Buff merino (48g) – buff, beanie, pillowcase
  • gaiters: Dirty Girl (30g)
  • belt: Houdini (88g)*
  • BOUNCEBOX
    • wind/waterproof gloves: Sealskinz (100g)
    • tights: Nike DF Essential (250g)*
    • dress: Arcteryx contenta (160g) – town clothes*

Packing

  • 62L backpack: Osprey Aura AG 65 (1900g)
  • rain cover: Osprey hi-vis (112g)
  • waterproof pack bags: Sea to Summit/ Osprey (misc sizes)
  • compression dry sack: Sea to Summit UltraSil eVent (90g) – for sleeping bag
  • BOUNCEBOX
    • flight bag: Osprey Airporter (450g) – flight
    • 18L packable daypack: Osprey (90g) – flight carryon

Sleeping

  • tent: Hilleberg Niak (1700g)
  • tent: footprint (250g)*
  • sleeping pad: Therm-a-Rest Neoair XLite Large (460g)
  • sleeping bag: Western Mountaineering Alpinlite, down (900g)**
  • liner: Sea to Summit, silk (165g)
  • BOUNCEBOX
    • liner: Sea to Summit, thermolite reactor (255g)*

Cooking

  • stove: Primus, express set – gas burner, 1L pot, bowl*, windscreen* (570g)
  • gas canister
  •  utensils
    • titanium spork (20g)
    • titanium long spoon (19g)*
    • stainless: whisk (12g)*
    • spatula (10g)*
    • rubber dish scraper (14g)*
    • tiny dish sponge (2g)
  • folding cup, 6dl: Wildo vikkåsa (46g)
  • 30ml bottle (ghee/cooking oil): Nalgene (12g)
  • 15ml bottle (all purpose soap): Nalgene (6g)
  • BOUNCEBOX
    • all purpose soap: G Travel Washit All – refill

Water

  • filter: Sawyer Squeeze (77g)
  • dirty water sack: Evernew 2L (42g)
  • hydration bladder: Platypus Hoser 2L (102g + cap 9g)
  • water bottle: Nalgene wide 0.5L (90g)
  • purification tablets: Katadyn – backup only
  • BOUNCEBOX
    • syringe to backflush Sawyer filter (12g)**
    • dirty water sack: Evernew 2L (42g)
    • hydration bladder: Platypus Hoser 2L (102g + cap 9g)

Tools/ miscellaneous

  • multi-tool: Leatherman Juice CS4 (159g)
  • repair kit/tools (232g)
  • first aid kit (299g)
  • foot care
  • fire (lighter, matches)
  • trekking poles: Black Diamond W’s Trail Pro (490g)
  • maps & trail notes (on paper + iPhone/Kindle)**
  • waterproof map case: Sea to Summit (56g)**
  • mosquito head net: Sea to Summit (12g)**
  • seating pad: Therm-a-Rest Z-seat (60g)
  • dew rag: MSR (20g)
  • headlamp: Petzl E Lite Classic, 26ln (27g)***
  • >> added on trail: headlamp: LED Lenser SEO 7R, 220ln (93g)****
  • BOUNCEBOX
    • wax (leather boots)
    • cleaning tabs (water bladders): CamelBak
    • knee braces x2 (158g)

Camera

  • Sony CyberShot HX90V (242g)
  • SD memory cards (128GB) x3
  • extra camera battery x1
  • camera case: Lowepro Apex 30 AW (100g)
  • tripod: Gorillapod mini (36g)**

Communication and power

  • iPhone 6: Apple (143g)
  • headphones: Scull Candy (12g)
  • e-reader: Kindle Paperwhite (358g)*
  • waterproof case for iPhone & Kindle: E-case (42g/48g)***
  • >> added on trail: waterproof case for iPhone: Lifeproof (42g)****
  • PLB: Ocean Signal rescueME PLB1 (116g)
  • portable battery: Anker PowerCore 20000 mAh (354g)
  • apps for iPhone
    • Guthook Guides (Te Araroa Hiker)
    • DayOne Journal
    • Spotify
    • Audiobooks
    • Google Drive
    • Kindle
    • PlayMemories (Sony)
    • + several local services (weather, tides, hostels, wifi etc.)
    • Instagram
    • Twitter
    • Facebook
  • BOUNCEBOX
    • usb power adapter 12w with NZ plug: Apple (74g)
    • usb-hub (4): Plugable (32g)*

Personal

  • valuables (money, bank cards)
  • travel papers (passport, visa, tickets)
  • glasses/contacts
  • microfibre towel: PackTowl L (86g)
  • toiletries
  • toilet paper
  • potty trowel: The Deuce of Spades (17g)
  • travel pharmacy
  • ear plugs
  • sun screen
  • bug repellant*
  • liniment
  • e-books (Kindle)
  • audio books (iPhone)
  • BOUNCEBOX
    • toiletries – refill
    • travel pharmacy – refill
    • razor*
    • laundry detergent
    • hair dye (ehm… no really, I am a natural purple)

Food

  • Regular resupply stops along the way, plus 3-4 food drops on South Island (north).

Evaluation

Right… I have said it before, packing lists are not really as useful as they could (should) be unless they are revisited after the trek with some reflections and thoughts on how everything really worked out in the field. So, here you go! Anything not mentioned here worked as expected and would be included on my next hike as well. This is what I would change.

Sent home (or bounced)

  • trailrunners: The North Face Ultra Endurance W’s (542g) = my feet swelled up quite a lot on this walk, so I had to up the size on my trailrunners a couple of sizes more than normal
  • trailrunners: Merrell W’s Capra Rapid (556g) = see above
  • Superfeet carbon, trailrunners (72g) = too flimsy for this kind of walk, the front bit fell apart after a few hundred km (I ended up using the green ones instead)
  • hiking pants/shorts: Fjällräven Keb Gaiter, zip-off (658g) = I wore these for one week on the entire hike then bounced them for the duration. I really like them but they simply weigh too much. I walked almost the whole trail in shorts.
  • tights: Nike DF Essential (250g) = bounced these, never really used them
  • Arcteryx contenta dress (160g) – town clothes = a luxury item that never left the bouncebox
  • The footprint (250g) for my Hilleberg Niak tent = I bounced this after the first few weeks, yeah, I missed it on a few occasions (mainly when it was raining a lot) but not enough to warrant carrying the weight…
  • liner: Sea to Summit, thermolite reactor (255g) = Never left the bouncebox, never got as cold as I thought
  • stove: Primus, express set = bounced the bowl and windscreen attachment early on to save on weight
  • titanium long spoon (19g)stainless: whisk (12g), spatula (10g), rubber dish scraper (14g) = ok… only a few grams each but luxury items… bounced these too… what was I thinking?
  • e-reader: Kindle Paperwhite (358g) = bounced this after a few weeks, simply too tired to read at night after journalling and reading trail notes… Used the phone/audiobooks for entertainment instead.
  • usb-hub (4): Plugable (32g) = bounced and did not miss
  • bug repellant = yeah… none of that stuff works very well so I did not bother with it…
  • razor = aaahhhh ha ha ha ha ha…. yeah right……. shaving was not happening… bounced the deodorant too

Would bring fewer of/smaller size next time

  • Icebreaker run+ light mini (40g) x2 = Wow, socks! I thought I would go through so many socks on this hike, but nope! I had spares in the bouncebox that never saw the light of day. I walked the full 3000km in the same socks… props to Icebreaker and Bola brands!
  • Bola hiking merino (60g) x2 = se above
  • briefs: Aclima merino (46g) x2 = no replacements needed
  • sleeping bag: Western Mountaineering Alpinlite, down (900g) = Really really love this bag, but it was waaaaay to warm for this hike! Should have brought my summer bag instead. I only zipped it up the last couple of weeks of the hike, used it as a blanket for the rest of the time, sleeping in tanktop and boxers…
  • syringe to backflush Sawyer filter (12g) = yeah, at least I could service Sawyer mini users along the trail, I back flushed my Sayer squeeze like 4 times…
  • maps & trail notes (on paper + iPhone/Kindle) = never used, not once.
  • waterproof map case: Sea to Summit (56g) = never used, not once.
  • mosquito head net: Sea to Summit (12g) = never used, not once. Just not comfortable… can’t breathe…
  • tripod: Gorillapod mini (36g) = no energy to fiddle with this… sad but true. Bounced it.

Replaced/exchanged (or would do so next time)

  • Superfeet green, boots (96g) = Needed more padding in the front under the ball of my foot, so I got the orange Superfeet insoles for my boots and used the green ones for my trailrunners instead
  • boxers: Kari Traa (74g) – camp/sleeping = oh I wanted to like these, but did not. I hate when clothes loose their shape after a few wears… these were hopeless… So I had my mom send me my tried and tested Peak Performance merino boxers instead. Happiness.
  • thermal shirt, long sleeve crew: Ortovox merino (236g) = I like this shirt, but not for this, it is lacking somewhat in features. Mainly I wanted a zipper… I replaced it with an Icebreaker hoodie instead.
  • shorts: Nike DF Essential (158g) = replaced these for a pair of Icebreaker shorts after about 2/3 wanted a shorter model with better breathability.
  • headlamp: Petzl E Lite Classic, 26ln (27g) = ok as backup for in-tent use perhaps, but hopelessly underpowered for anything else! Had mom send me my bigger headlamp from home – too expensive to buy in NZ – damn the prices on gear..!
  • waterproof case for iPhone: E-case (42g) = frustrated with functionality on this one… hard to get in/out of sleeve and had to do so to charge and take calls. Replaced it with a much better one from Lifeproof.

Added along the way

  • Merrell Moab Ventilators (848g) = I normally wear size 38-39, but in hiking shoes I usually upsize to 40, here I needed to get mens size 42 to accommodate my swollen feet! (WTF!?)
  • merino wool hoodie: Icebreaker (486g) – love the hood, zipper and mitten hand warmer cuffs on this model. It is pink too. I like that.
  • merino/polyester shorts: Icebreaker (112g)
  • merino capri tights: Icebreaker (198g) = walked in these when it got colder and I still did not miss my heavy hiking pants
  • headlamp: LED Lenser SEO 7R, 220ln (93g) = sent from home
  • waterproof case for iPhone: Lifeproof (42g) = Expensive but I loved it!

 Broken/ lost gear

Over all… precious little broke! So happy with my gear!

  • t-shirt: Icebreaker (115g) = went through two t-shirts on this hike, expected and I am good with that.
  • headband: Buff coolmax (14g) = lost this one in the Richmond Ranges… replaced it with an Icebreaker model a few weeks later.
  • bandana/ hankie: snusnäsduk (18g) = this one was ancient already at the start of this hike, and it finally gave up half way don the South Island. Saw a lot of good use along the way though
  • shell/rain jacket: Mountain Equipment Ogre (390g) = I did not realize that the zipper on this jacked was not properly sewn in until after arriving in New Zealand… and Mountain Equipment could (or would) not help me while over here (!)… They just offered to help me fix it after I came back to Europe. (WTF!) So I just had to deal with it for 5 months! Meaning that every time I had to pull the zipper it was catching like crazy in the loose material. Love the jacket otherwise but frustrating as all f#%&k!!! Got it fixed now, but how can they not have global support when it comes to adventure gear!?!?
  • merino/polyester shorts: Icebreaker (112g) = loved these, but the first pair kept falling apart (the glued seams popped) but I got a replacement pair from the lovely Icebreaker store in Wellington.
  • dirty water sack: Evernew 2L (42g) = yeah, busted two of these… glued the last one with liquisole and made it all the way to Bluff, but not super happy…
  • water bottle: Nalgene wide 0.5L (90g) = lost two of these along the way… lol… oh well.
  • trekking poles: Black Diamond W’s Trail Pro (490g) = held up the whole way, but one is bent now (took a tumble in Pureora Forest) so I cannot collapse it but have to take it apart completely to store… not complaining, just stating fact.

Honorable mention

  • Guthook Guides (Te Araroa Hiker) = loved this app!!! Soooooo awesome! Can’t say enough nice things about this app. Used it exclusively for all my navigation.
  • Looove this gear extra much with sprinkles on top as well:
    • hiking boots, leather shell: Lundhags Mira Mid (1200g)
    • 62L backpack: Osprey Aura AG 65 (1900g)
    • tent: Hilleberg Niak (1700g)

About the Author:

Karma is an environmentalist, hiking zealot and orchid nerd from Sweden. She is also a designer/art director and a blogger. She has been the editor for the Swedish Orchid Society magazine, published internationally and held lectures on orchid culture. At the moment Karma is a digital nomad, intent on discovering the world one trail at a time.

5 Comments

  1. Sam November 11, 2016 at 14:28 - Reply

    I enjoyed reading about Kungsleden (and also this one) and hope you will be able to do a few blog entries while you do the Te Araroa hike. How long do you expect to be away for this hike?
    I’m planning to do parts of Kungsleden (Kvikkjokk to Abisko) myself in August 2017, so reading your blog entries are very motivating 🙂
    I need to go through your backlist again for improving my own.
    Keep on hiking 🙂

    • Karma November 11, 2016 at 16:09 - Reply

      Thank you Sam! I don’t plan to rush through Te Araroa, so I imagine about 150 days or so barring injury or other mishaps. The extended visa is good for 6 months, so that would be a hard deadline. I am very happy to hear that you find inspiration in my travel journal. You will LOVE Kungsleden! 🙂 Good luck in planning your hike.

    • Karma November 11, 2016 at 16:35 - Reply

      Oh… and I do recommend the Calazo maps app for Kungsleden. Same maps as the paper ones (Calazo are the best maps for hiking in Sweden) but in your phone. Worked beautifully! The app is free, but maps cost, about 90 SEK per map. Well worth it!

      Calazo kartor: https://appsto.re/se/vssnH.i

      • Sam November 12, 2016 at 17:17 - Reply

        I already have paper maps ready for the sections I plan to hike but great with the digital map, I normally use this when I hike here in Switzerland (I have no real experience with reading real maps). 90 SEK sounds pretty alright I would say. Thanks for the hint 🙂

  2. Karma November 12, 2016 at 23:56 - Reply

    Anytime! 🙂

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