Packing for a big adventure is always exciting, but as the time gets closer to your departure, packing practically for your trip starts to become a priority.
If you’re the super duper prepared type, who finds themselves consulting with the experts at the outdoors shop, trying to work our what weight sleeping bag to buy, or which hiking socks to stock up on, then you can print out this list, and walk in to the store fully prepared.
If you’re the happy go lucky kind of traveller who is happy to just wing it, you’ll find the essentials that we recommend as must haves for a Kiwi Adventure.
When packing for a hiking adventure there are two things that usually come to mind:
How Much To Pack:
Weight: You’ll want your pack to be light and easy to carry, but still contain all of the essentials you need to make your trip a comfortable and enjoyable one.
Quantities: How many changes of clothes you’ll need. If you are wearing Merino socks ad shorts, for example, you won’t need as many clothes because you’ll be warm and un-sweaty, no matter what the days weather brings.
Think about the weather, terrain, altitude, and environment where you will be hiking. Obviously you’ll need to modify your gear as needed based on the environment. New Zealand is equally as beautiful on sunny day as one with mists and rainbow dusted rain showers, so you’ll want to be prepared. A good waterproof windbreaker keeps you dry and warm, on hot or cold days.
What Should I Pack for Hiking in New Zealand?
The best source of advice is from people who have been to Milford at least once. If a traveler has been recently, even better so you’re getting the latest most up to date tips and advice.
Comprehensive gearlists and packing tips for hiking in New Zealand
(courtesy of Activeadventures.com)
Going for a day hike? View this: Packing List for a Day Hike.
See the Able Tasman Coast: Packing List for a Great Walk.
Going on a backcountry trek: Packing list for a Multi-Day tramp in the backcountry.
(If you’re joining an Active Adventures New Zealand trip, they give you a comprehensive trip-specific gear list when you book.)
There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.
It’s not uncommon for the weather in New Zealand to be variable, and so when hiking, it makes sense to carry all appropriate clothing. A layering system is the tried and true method of staying warm, dry and comfortable no matter what the weather. This means adding or removing layers depending on the conditions at the time. Seasoned New Zealand hikers will tell you to take a waterproof shell/Gore-Tex rain jacket or similar. The weather might be perfectly fine and sunny, when you set off, but can change quickly, so it’s a good idea to take several layers of preferably merino wool clothing. Merino wool is a highly breathable and eco-friendly natural fiber. It is renowned for it’s ability to keep you warm or cool through a wide rage of temperatures, and best of all, it is very odor resistant. Good to have when you’ve been hiking for several hours over changing altitudes and weather conditions.
It’s not uncommon on “scenic” walks to see see people wearing anything from sandals to hiking boots, but when hiking on a longish hike over a couple to several hours, it’s important to wear adequate footwear. We recommend always wearing closed shoes – no sandals or flip-flops! Day hikes are fine for wearing trail-running or “approach” shoes, but for longer trails, it is wise to wear leather or fabric/Gore-Tex hiking boots for comfort and practicalities sakes.
10 easy steps to help you pack for a multi-day hiking trip:
First multi day hike? Or haven’t done one in a while? Things change, like gear and clothing to make your hiking adventures more comfortable. You’ll always need good energy food and a decent capacity water bottle.
- The gear list – Layout a place for all your stuff, so you can see what needs to go into your bag(s) and what you’ll need to pack, from first to last.
- Pack liner – You don’t need a fancy liner, a heavy duty garbage bag will do for the main compartment, then smaller bags to separate stuff for easy “plucking” out of your bag as needed. To guarantee you’ll keep your bits, bobs and stuff dry no matter where you go, it’s a good idea to use liners to line and organise your gear.
- Good organization – Not only do these inner bags help protect your gear from the rain, but they are also super handy for keeping your pack organised – another key to hassle free packing and hiking!
- Bulky items at the bottom – Its common sense if you think about it to keep the heaviest items lower to the ground. A lower center of gravity makes walking and balancing easier. It’s also much easier to pull out smaller items, than have to haul out something big and bulky to get at your lunch or insect repellent. Smallest items last is the rule of thumb.
- Food – If you are on a guided hike, most of the food will be sorted for you, but of course you’ll want to snack along the way. The best place to put food is in the middle of your pack. Why? Well again, if you’re carrying anything heavy up high, you’ll find yourself regretting it after about 30 minutes. The best kind of food is high calorie light weight food to fuel your body like nuts, dried fruit etc which you’ll want to have handy (more on this a couple of points away). Always take chocolate as pudding- a hikers secret – trust me – ignore this at your peril!
- Waterproofing – Be prepared for a sudden downpour in New Zealand – yes a rain shower, misty mountaintops and forests are beautiful, but not if you are unnecessarily wet or cold. Take at least one set of wet weather gear so you can enjoy all weather and not miss out on all of the changing scenes you’ll be raving about when you get home.
- Snacks, camera and hydration – Secret is – put these in your top and side pockets for easy access! Again lots of trail mix made up of nuts, chocolate and dried fruit is perfect or if you love chocolate bars, now’s the time to pack them! These are also great emergency food sources to stash away just incase you need them. Keep your drink bottle handy, sip away often – this is the best way to stay hydrated and to stay sharp. Keep your camera handy too – and take a big memory card because you’ll absolutely need it for all the shots you’ll have the opportunity to take.
- First aid kit – Preparation included bandaids, blister kit, bandage, scissors, painkillers, sling, antiseptic cream and mosquito repellent – a must have for anywhere in Milford especially at night! The very top of your pack is a perfect place to keep a first aid kit.
- Top it all off – You’re almost set to go, so so fold the waterproof lining over the top, shut the pack down tight, and you’re good to go.
- Looking great – When you’re all packed up, adjustments made, it should look tidy with nothing hanging off the sides (stuff that can get caught on branches as you walk etc)! It should look well packed with all straps fastened and tucked in. Now you’re all set to begin your awesome hiking adventure.