People often ask what’s in my backpack. Below is a list of the gear I carried 3000km on the Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand. Your needs may vary on other hikes but this is a good starting place to edit your packing list from.
I do not claim to be an ultra-light hiker. While I want to save weight as much as anyone, I will only do it to the extent that I don’t compromise safety or enjoyment. That means I carry plenty of warm clothes when conditions require, and I carry a decent first aid kit plus a Personal Locator Beacon (all of which have been used).
Food and water is additional to the list below and varies depending on the trail.
- I carry shorts only for really hot conditions. Long pants give protection against the elements and overgrown trails.
- Instead of a towel I carry a loofah mitt to wash with and Chux dish cloth to dry myself off. Both are light as a feather. A loofah mitt allows you to scrub the dirt and sweat off you with minimal water and soap.
- Aarn packs have totally revolutionised my hiking experience – they are so incredibly comfortable (read my full review on the Natural Balance for more details).