Gear Lists & Other Thoughts
The gear that you use on Te Araroa Trail is all about personal preference. We ran into people who had all sorts of setups - from tiny packs to the monster backpack. We would say that we tried to keep our walking setup fairly light and simple because we didn’t want our bodies to take a huge hit from walking so much. From all of the other research we did pre-trip and from our personal experience, the Te Araroa seems to be a great fit for keeping your backpacking (or tramping, as kiwis would call it) setup lightweight.
What We Would Change & Future Considerations
Overall, we were pretty successful with all of the gear that we brought. We feel as if we brought the right amount of layers, correct sleeping pad, and other pieces of equipment. Below we will highlight a few sections of our gear that we wished we would have done differently and will most likely change for future thru-hikes that we may attempt.
Our shelter may have been the biggest part of our gear breakdown that we were disappointed about. We normally use a mid, the Black Diamond Beta Light, and we were excited to continue the trend. We like using a mid because it is lightweight, enclosed on all sides, and stands up to all types of weather very well.
The one downfall of our shelter was that we did not bring the bug insert along with it. In our naivety we figured there was likely nothing too much worse than some of the other bugs and mosquitoes that we have experienced in the past in various parts of the U.S. and in other countries as well. We were wrong. The New Zealand blackfly, more commonly called sandflies, are ridiculous and extreme. The bites lasted much longer than mosquitoes, and the daily bug hours lasted until full dark most nights (well past 10PM). Not having a bug net cost us more than a few nights of sleep.
If we were to go back again we would either get a bug insert for our mid or a fully enclosed shelter with a bug net. Dealing with sandflies was, by far, one of the biggest learning experiences that we had on our trip.
We started off planning that we would use one pair of Altra Lone Peak 4 trailrunners per island, but with the caveat that we may need to buy a third or a fourth pair. We did make it through the whole South Island with just one pair of shoes, acquired our second pair and ended up purchasing a third pair for the end of the North Island in Hamilton. We used Altra Lone Peak 4 trailrunners every time. Looking back, we should have been more willing to buy another pair of shoes before the end of the South Island. We think that maybe 4-5 pairs of shoes would have made our feet feel much better throughout the whole hike. Because we didn’t replace our shoes often enough the bottoms of our feet hurt most of the trip. Not that buying a couple more pairs of shoes would have changed that, but it may have assisted us in being more proactive with the overall health of our feet.
You may have read in other blogs and sites on the Te Araroa that your feet will be wet. Your feet will most likely be wet the majority of the time. We stand by our choice to not bring camp shoes on the trail. Our lightweight trail runners dried very quickly and we had no trouble wearing them around once we got to camp and keeping all of our gear and feet dry.
What We Brought
Below you will find a breakdown of what we carried on our thru-hike of the Te Araroa. This was the first time we really weighed out all of the gear that we carry on our trips, so we were excited to find the numbers below as well.
** To note: The "Total Weights" and the "Pack Base Weight" numbers include the addition of each of our individual Group Gear weights.
Carolyn's Gear List
Jeff's Gear List
The table below breaks down all the gear that we will collectively be using on the trip. We did our best to divide the weight evenly.
Some items that are not on here are the fuel canisters, and obviously all of the food that we needed to carry along our journey.