food & 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.

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food, glorious food, maybe

Everyone has their own ideas about food, but when you have more than a week’s supply strapped to your back maximum calorific value and getting that warm cosy feeling at the end of your dinner is high on the list of priorities.

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dehydrating your own tramping meals, easy-peasy

Dehydrating meals for hiking is surprisingly easy if you have the right equipment, like a fan-forced oven with some low-sided baking trays.

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tramping costs, it all adds up

Think of it as an investment in your health and your physical and mental well-being.

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what to wear: two sets of clothes

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

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tramping clothes: the wet set

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

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tramping clothes: the dry set

That’s all? Yeah. No excess.

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a you-beaut tramping pack

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

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tramping boots and gaiters

Let’s face it, feet get a bashing. You will be lugging plenty on your back, and feet in the New Zealand outdoors usually get wet.

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cookin', ie, stoves for tramping

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.

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medical equipment

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, and a full drug cabinet with concoctions for staying healthy.

Others take the minimal health junk.

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sleeping bag

To generalise and oversimplify, feathers are better in the cooler areas.

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hiking poles

A single shorter hiking pole makes more sense on the usual South Island terrain, away from the Great Walks.