In the Last Sphere of Preparation
While typing this, we are sitting in an airplane from George to Johannesburg, South Africa, on our first leg of the adventure to wilderness. A lot has happened to get to this point; a lot of packing, selling furniture and items, donating things, finding the right gear, getting travel documents in order, and so on. Regardless the amount of preparation, I suppose you can never say that you are completely ready to tramp 3000 kilometres—at least mentally.
Amidst all preparation, slowly the mind begins to turn nomadic; longing for solitude, longing for stories, nature, a basic lifestyle in the wild. Going on a hike is a paradox of the equilibrium between having enough and yet not too much. Below you can see our list (please note: not comprehensive) of gear we believe are essential to our expedition over the next couple of months.
1. Tent - Our home for the next few months.BackpackWe decided to take 75L and 60L backpacks that are light but with sufficient support.
2. Safety Beacon - One thing we have decided not to compromise is our safety, thus getting a proper personal location beacon which is registered in New Zealand. Once activated, the beacon sends an emergency signal to authorities and also radios in the area.
3. Water filtration - Most of the water in New Zealand is drinkable, except for farming regions. Water filtration is a necessity on Te Araroa.
4. Clothing - Hikers advice not to pack too many clothes with, as they take space and lift up the weight. One set of clothes includes a hiking shirt, zipping trousers, long gaiters, a hat (very important for the sun), a rain and water proof jacket, three pairs of merino hiking socks, shorts and T-shirt for camps, and thermal underwear for cold. Once we’ll reach the South Island we’ll also be carrying gloves and beanies. Folkers is planning to take his balaklava (his favourite, not mine).
5. Shoes - Shoes are perhaps the most important equipment when it comes to your well-being. It is recommendable not to take waterproof boots as it gets very wet in river crossings and muddy forests, which is an effort to dry again. We’ll be taking hiking boots, our trail running shoes and sandals for beach parts and road walking.
6. Sun Screen - Just remember to wear sun screen. Go listen to Baz Luhrmann – Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen.
7. First Aid Kit
8. Sleeping Gear - Sleeping is another important topic. We’ll be carrying sleeping mattresses, EVA mats, sleeping bags and sleeping bag liners (not too warm though).
9. Hiking Hammock (This was pretty useless, we sent it away as soon as we reached the first town)
10. Kitchen Accessories - We’ll be taking a camping stove, a hiking kettle, and accessories. We’ll try to carry dehydrated food, and apparently fishing can become your new hobby on the way (It didn't, you need a permit to fish in NZ and the fresh water eel we managed to catch was horrible). We still need to figure out how one actually cooks eel.
11. Trail Notes/Maps - We will carry printed trail notes. Maps are available electronically.
12. Hiking Poles
13. Other Gear- Travel journals, battery banks, 2 x phone, a book to read (such a bad idea, get a kindle or read the hut books), basic hygiene items, camera, headlights, water proof bags, and the things we forgot to mention here.
14. Open mind and willingness to adapt on the way