Aug 11, 2009 at 5:12 pm #1238519
I'm heading to NZ and Antarctica this winter for my graduate work as a EE. On the way back, I'll be stopping by in NZ and hope to get a week or two of time in the mountains if I can. I'm putting together a gear list for the trip, so this won't include the gear for Antarctica, though it will be influenced by what I bring to the ice. I would also like to know what are good hikes for touristy spots (Great Walks?) and less-touristy spots (Arthur's Pass?). I'll be starting and ending in Christchurch, and would like to explore the South Island from what I've heard about it. I might have a partner or might just be solo.
What are the temps like in NZ during the day and night? I've heard there's lots of rain which isn't a big deal as long as I have the gear for it.
I've never been to the area but I have hiked a lot in the Whites here in New Hampshire and have taken a couple of wilderness first aid courses and was a group leader and president of my university's outing club during my undergrad years. I also studied abroad in Budapest for a semester and hit up a dozen countries while I was there. I'm 'warm'/'hot' and sweat a fait bit while hiking and sleep 'average'.
Items with a '*' are things that I do not own but think they would work well and items with a '?' are things that I am still undecided on and need input!
* Six Moon Designs Traveller
Trash compactor bags, ~2
Notes: I have a blast 26 but this is not really a suitable travel pack. I'm looking at the Six Moon Designs Traveller as it seems to be the only lightweight panel loader out there. I used a panel loading Osprey Porter 46 in Europe and it did well but it's not great for the hiking (tramping) portion of the journey. My other pack is an Osprey Crescent 70 (gasp!) so that's not going either if I can help it.
Limmer Custom Leather Boots
Fox River Trekking socks
* Short or Long Sleeve Merino shirt
Beartooth Merino underwear
* REI Sahara Convertible pants
? OR Crocs Full Length gaiters
eLite Head Lamp
Extra Lace for Boots (doubles as p-cord)
Orange 55gal Drum Liners x2
Panasonic Lumix TS1 waterproof camera
Notes: The merino shirt is to help the stink, though I can go either way with the short or long sleeves. I do have the BPL UL long sleeve merino top but this is a bit too light for traveling and wearing it every day.
I have the ID Shortie gaiters but I think I may follow suit with the Kiwi's and go for the full length gaiters, since I own them already and they seem good for the exposed mountains and bush whacking.
Fox River Trekking socks, extra pair
Darn Tough Vermont short socks, sleeping pair
Montane Quickfire rain jacket
* RAB Bergen rain pant
? BPL Merino Hoody
Montbell Thermawrap Parka
* Crocs Bistro (has tread)
Polypro Liner Gloves
Notes: I'm not sure on the rain pants for NZ. I don't usually use them in the summer since it has to be lower than 40F before I can wear my Marmot Precip pants which are getting old, hence I would get the Bergen's if needed. The Bergen's are nice over the RAB Drillium's I think because I can use them in the winter here and they go over my boots.
Not sure if I need the Hoody either since the merino shirt should cover a good comfort range. If I don't need it then I will just use a hat to complement the merino shirt.
So I need some sort of shower shoe for the dorm's in Antarctica and the hostel's in NZ. My idea was that this shoe could double as a river crossing shoe as well so that my boots could stay dry! I could go with a full-strap sandal like a Teva, but I think that would be heavier. Any other suggestions?
I'm guessing I would have to pick up a cheap knife while I'm there.
Can matches go on a plane? How about a lighter? Should I buy them there instead too?
* 3 season quilt
? Sleeping pad
Notes: It's time for me to get a new 3 season bag and so I think I'll go for the quilt option this time around. Not sure which one yet but I think it will work for NZ too.
I think I'll stick to the huts instead of camping out so that I don't have to bring a tent. I've heard that bringing a pad is good for the huts and I carry one for survival purposes anyway.
Sawyer water filter bottle (1L)
Notes: I have a Ti-Tri alcohol stove which I love but I'm not sure about bringing it or the fuel on the plane. I'm guessing buying fuel in Christchurch is an option but I'm not sure.
Dr. Bronner's soap
Leather Boot grease and brush
Spare Camera Battery
Extra Memory Cards
NZ Plug Adapter
* Guide Book
Notes: Is there standard AC electricity in the huts or would I have to charge up my batteries in town?
I've heard the Lonely Planet books are good for NZ tramping and touring around but are there better?
So that's about it. If you've made it to this point, thank you for reading and thank you even more for posting!
-jimAug 12, 2009 at 1:31 pm #1520362
@trtlrockLocale: Blue Ridge
I'm also gearing up for NZ, so I can't give you any what-worked advice.
But you might want to check this place out; it's been very useful to me for trek-planning & gear advice:Aug 12, 2009 at 1:42 pm #1520365
"What are the temps like in NZ during the day and night? I've heard there's lots of rain which isn't a big deal as long as I have the gear for it."
There is no way of predicting the weather in NZ, so be prepared for four seasons in one day.
"I think I'll stick to the huts instead of camping out so that I don't have to bring a tent. I've heard that bringing a pad is good for the huts and I carry one for survival purposes anyway."
I would strongly advise a light bivy as well. Huts can be full unless you are on one of the "great walks" and can pre-book a bunk.
"Notes: I have a Ti-Tri alcohol stove which I love but I'm not sure about bringing it or the fuel on the plane. I'm guessing buying fuel in Christchurch is an option but I'm not sure."
You can get stuff called 'methylated spirits' in just about any grocery store or outdoor shop. This purple fuel burns really well in alcohol stoves (it's mostly ethanol with a bit of methanol thrown in to stop people from drinking it). You can pick up matches and a bic at these places as well.
"Notes: Is there standard AC electricity in the huts or would I have to charge up my batteries in town?"
There is no electricity of any kind in any huts that I know of.
Don't forget to bring a sunhat of some kind.Aug 12, 2009 at 1:49 pm #1520368
Thanks for the tips!.
I've looked at some of the basic info on tramper.co.nz and it looks good. I know I've heard their name elsewhere on this forum. So far I'm also looking at getting one or more of the following guide books:
Lonely Planet Tramping in NZ
Lonely Planet NZ South Island
Rough Guides NZ
I think the LP Tramping one would be good but it has info on the North Island that I don't really need since I'm more for the mountains and such. I may just go for the LP South Island book as I've read some good things about it. We'll see.
Are there any websites on NZ tramping that are, how should I say, not used by tourists? Somewhat like viewsfromthetop.com is for us around here.
Now that's the exact advice I was looking for! Thanks so much. So, in your opinion, if I threw in a sun hat (I have an OR Seattle Sombrero which is close) then the list would be looking pretty complete?
-jimAug 12, 2009 at 2:30 pm #1520376
"So, in your opinion, if I threw in a sun hat (I have an OR Seattle Sombrero which is close) then the list would be looking pretty complete?"
Yeah, it looks pretty good. The sombrero could double as a rain hat, which might be handy if you are unlucky with the weather. You may also want a good insect repellant, and maybe an insect headnet.
The best all round book used by many Kiwis is 101 Great Tramps in New Zealand by Mark Pickering & Rodney Smith. Although it covers both islands, it is a very good general book. I haven't seen the LP guides to NZ, so I can't really compare.Aug 12, 2009 at 3:06 pm #1520388
@jephotoLocale: New ZealandAug 12, 2009 at 3:07 pm #1520389
What time of the year will you be here?Aug 12, 2009 at 3:14 pm #1520392
Thanks for the insider tip! That book seems to have all of the hikes I would like to go on so far. I have a headnet that I can bring along and I might pick up bug spray while there.
Which LP book are you referring to? Just the whole of NZ? Also, the Bird's Eye book looks like it has some good info with its style of map.
I'll be there in mid-January. We have to be off the ice by around the 8th or so and I would be spending my couple weeks in NZ right after.
-jimAug 12, 2009 at 3:31 pm #1520395
@jephotoLocale: New Zealand
Which LP book are you referring to? Tramping In New Zealand. It has small maps and lots of useful information on the logistics of doing the tramps. Personally I wouldn't recommend the Pickering book as your only one. It has no maps and no information on how to get to and from the tracks etc. Also I find the route descriptions difficult to follow. It does though cover some great tramping.Aug 12, 2009 at 3:55 pm #1520397
That seems like sound advice. I would figure on the LP Tramping book being more touristy with info on how to get to the trail heads. Kinda like our AMC guides out here; they'll give you directions if the track starts from an obscure location but otherwise it's all about the walking.
On another note, my rain jacket doesn't cover my rear as well as some have suggested it should. I find it good for the snow ice here but I'm more of an umbrella guy for the rain when it suits. Should I trade up to something like the Integral Designs Thru Hiker jacket for the extra coverage and ability to layer over my Thermawrap?
-jimAug 12, 2009 at 3:59 pm #1520399
>What are the temps like in NZ during the day and night? I've heard there's lots of rain which isn't a big deal as long as I have the gear for it.
I had a few cold and wet days right in January at about 8 C: chilly if it's raining and windy and you're dressed for summer. And no doubt it can be colder, it can still snow in January if you're unlucky. So I would give yourself a bit of margin, maybe a fleece vest/top which you can wear at night anyway. Max for me was 28 C, but it's a fairly pleasant dry heat, and often you're either up high where it's cooler and breezier, or down low in the bush out of the sun.
Re gaiters: I only wear them for rough off trail bushwhacking or when in snow (even then I get away with just my rain pants a lot of the time). On the trails or above the bushline (90% of my walking) I don't wear them. So it depends on personal preference and where you are going, don't feel they're mandatory.
>My idea was that this shoe could double as a river crossing shoe as well so that my boots could stay dry!
It's unlikely your boots will stay dry, even if it isn't raining. Ground is often boggy/swampy/muddy.
>I think I'll stick to the huts instead of camping out so that I don't have to bring a tent.
You don't want to end up stuck out overnight without shelter when it's raining, even in summer… Lots of things can prevent you from getting to a hut (track damage, slips, flooded rivers, misjudging times/terrain, injury, …). And aside from the sandflies (no mosquitoes at least), summer is a great time to camp.
Re Great Walks: I personally would avoid them in the summer, too much traffic, huts need booking, restrictions on camping etc. There are so many other trips which are just as good, but get a lot less traffic. IMO they're categorized and marketed as 'Great' Walks because of the high standard of the tracks and huts, and suitability for a wider range of walkers.Aug 12, 2009 at 4:03 pm #1520402
>On another note, my rain jacket doesn't cover my rear as well as some have suggested it should. I find it good for the snow ice here but I'm more of an umbrella guy for the rain when it suits. Should I trade up to something like the Integral Designs Thru Hiker jacket for the extra coverage and ability to layer over my Thermawrap?
I'm sure what you've got will be fine.Aug 12, 2009 at 4:11 pm #1520403
Thanks for putting my worries to rest!
Do Kiwi's usually use rain pants or do they go without?
-jimAug 12, 2009 at 4:19 pm #1520404
I use mine a fair bit, esp in the the shoulder seasons and winter, but then again I wear shorts and no gaiters, so it's nice to have pants to put on in the rain+wind.
As for everyone else… to be honest I'm not sure (guess I need to walk with other people a bit more!). I think many would pack them yes, I wouldn't consider them essential in summer though, esp for those with full length gaiters which do half the job anyway. Which reminds me of another reason why I don't like gaiters – too hot in summer.Aug 12, 2009 at 5:29 pm #1520417
"Do Kiwi's usually use rain pants or do they go without?"
I would say most folks I've walked with do not carry rainpants, but instead use the knee high gaiters and longer jackets to make up the difference. If your jacket is short, you may prefer to go with rainpants. It's really up to you. Ditto the high gaiters. If you are walking on mainstream tracks, you can get by just fine with low gaiters. The Thru-Hiker jacket is not really as long as the photos make it out to be, in fact I would call it a pretty short jacket!
And as Adrian points out, your feet will likely be wet unless you luck out with the weather and stick to only the Great Walks which tend to have bridged river crossings, so it may not be worth carrying shoes just for crossing rivers. Advantages of the Great Walks: You can pre-book a hut space, and can virtually do them without any maps or special skills. Disadvantages: everything Adrian said, plus the increased cost!Aug 12, 2009 at 5:59 pm #1520424
So what is the cost of the Great Walks? The annual hut passes seem to only run for around $35 from what I've seen but I could be off with that. Are the Greats that much more?
I was thinking that if a tent would save me the cost of staying in a hostel then perhaps I could stay at a campground. Around here there are campgrounds where you setup a tent and have access to toilets, sinks, and showers, all for about $10 a night. This would allow me to skip the huts as well and maybe save a few bucks there too. I guess then I would be missing out on getting to meet all the interesting Americans ;-)
As for the rain jacket, I bet the New Zealand gear shops sell them in longer versions then we can get here or even in the UK.
Thanks again for all the help!
-jimAug 12, 2009 at 6:16 pm #1520428
"So what is the cost of the Great Walks? The annual hut passes seem to only run for around $35 from what I've seen but I could be off with that. Are the Greats that much more?"
An annual hut pass is NZ$90, but doesn't cover all huts. Huts on the great walks vary in price, but can cost up to $45 per night!!
Campgrounds are a fine idea if you don't mind sleeping in a tent. They run NZ$12-$20 per person for a tent site with access to showers (some campgrounds charge extra for this), cooking facilities, etc…you will still meet plenty of folks if you are using a tent/tarp, and likely they will be more interesting than the folks who go with the hut/hostel option ;)
If you are only here for a few weeks, I doubt it is worth buying a raincoat for just this trip. The one you own now will probably be fine, especailly if you pair it with rainpants. Wouldn't you be pretty upset to buy a new raincoat and then not even have it rain on your trip???Aug 12, 2009 at 6:30 pm #1520430
@romandialLocale: packrafting NZ
An Alpacka raft with a spraydeck, a Sawyer paddle and two weeks to do the Arthur pass to Mt Cook traverse is sweet, too. You can get a food drop at Erewhon Station en route.Aug 12, 2009 at 8:43 pm #1520459
I tracked down the writeup of this at http://www.alpackaraft.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=423, wow.
My list of trips to do gets longer and longer, not shorter…Aug 13, 2009 at 6:02 am #1520502
That's the way it seems to go with trips I want to do as well… I think I would stick to the hiking option for the trip since I'm not a big kayak or rafting person, but thanks for the tip!
I'm actually looking to do the AT as well this coming summer, but that will be umbrella turf for me, but if I could buy a jacket to ward of the rain for the two weeks down there, I would buy it in an instant!
I didn't realize staying in the huts was that expensive. I guess it may well be worth it to grab a tent to use there. Actually, are tarps a viable option? I'm probably mistaken, but it seems that there are a number of camping spots above treeline in New Zealand, which is something we don't really do in NH due to National Forest and LNT rules, so I'm not used to it. On the other hand, if there are enough campsites below the tree/bush line then I may have to try the tarp. Also, what is the cost of a campsite on the Great Walks? From what I understand it's free on the mountains if you're on the other treks since you can mostly camp wherever.
-jimAug 13, 2009 at 7:43 am #1520522
Jim, there's been no mention on this thread as to hiking in Antarctica. You'll be there for what, 3 weeks? The hiking is limited, due to safety, but there are 3+ unrestricted hikes in the immediate McMurdo area. Is that where you'll be working, or will you be at the Pole or maybe a remote field camp? Anyway, you'll perhaps have a few 25-degree days while you are there (in McM, that is–it's colder on the plateau). They of course will provide you with some pretty macho clothing, some of which I found to be far too warm for hiking. The big red duck down parkas, while a life saver in severe cold, can allow you to overheat easily. I found that a couple 200-300 weight fleece tops and a sturdy Gore Tex shell to work nicely when the temps were above 20 F. The key thing is to have full windproof protection, as the Ice is the windiest place on earth. When you check out your gear at Christchurch, you might ask for a Gore Tex shell, something not on the standard clothing list. If I were to go back now, I'd take a set of Under Armour cold gear top/bottom, a pair of 100 wt and also 200 wt fleece pants and matching tops, and a serious Gore Tex shell and pants. And a pair of -40F insulated hiking boots. They issue some stuff like this, I think maybe a 300 wt fleece bib and a top. Keep in mind that you can mail this stuff to the Ice before you deploy, and also mail it back when you leave. The shipping is via APO, so it's not expensive. The McM hikes I alluded to are: Observation Hill, a flat couple miles out to the sea ice runway, a trip on the ice to NZ's Scott Base and back, and the Castle Rock loop. Folks can tell you about these when you get there. You'll have a great time on the Ice, and when you return to ChCh you won't believe how green everything is. On your way back to the States, if you have the time and inclination, consider a stopover to see either Fiji or the Cook Islands. Have a grand adventure, Jim, this will be something you'll never forget.Aug 13, 2009 at 8:14 am #1520535
Thanks for the trip advice! I've been mainly focusing on the New Zealand part of my trip here since there are a few people in the office that have gone to Antarctica and are filling me in. None of them are really into hiking or anything so the hikes you listed will be great if I have some down time on ice.
I will be at McMurdo for a little bit and then I'll be heading into the interior for WAIS Divide, via Byrd station most likely.
One thing that I was told I should have are some sunglasses. I think I'll end up buying some Julbo's or similar for that since they only give you goggles which I feel will restrict me for the work I have to do outside all day.
I think I'll bring some VB socks with me for when I get to the interior since my feet get cold when I am spending all day in a plastic boot and they become damp with sweat.
I'll also be bringing my leather boots for McMurdo in the hopes that they'll be warm enough, unlike the boots they provide which are too hot apparently.
Other things like a calling card, sunscreen, dermatone, alarm watch, shower shoes, towel, and a book or two are all good things to have from what I hear. I may bring some or all of my clothing that is intended for NZ so that I have some base and wind layers. I'll try asking for a goretex shell at the CDC, too.
If I can get to someplace like Figi or the Cooks on my way back with my free ticket then I certainly will but I don't know if that is possible.
-jimAug 13, 2009 at 4:27 pm #1520678
The cost of camping on Great Walks varies as well, from $10-$15 from memory. But in general, the camping spots are more limited than the huts. As for camping above bushline, I think you can arrange any of the more popular non-GWs so that you are down in a valley most nights. Camping high is usually more of an option than a requirement (and highly recommended if the weather is fine). I know Adrian is a fan of tarp camping, and it is certainly an option. And yes, outide of the GWs, camping is free.
"but if I could buy a jacket to ward of the rain for the two weeks down there, I would buy it in an instant!"
Keep in mind all we can say about the weather in this part of the world is that it is unpredictable, which means you might have 2-3 weeks of perfect rain-free weather and not even use a raincoat. But chances are……I would recommend you go with what you are used to using. A lot of traditional Kiwi tramping clothing is more cultural than necessity.Aug 14, 2009 at 5:34 am #1520821
Thanks again for the advice. The part about bringing what I am comfortable using is very sound and I think I'll end up doing just that.
I think I'll end up bringing a Gatewood Cape and maybe the Serenity Net as well for a simple shelter that I can use for getting by cheap at campsites instead of hostels, and for the off chance that I need to hunker down, though my years of leading trips has made me very conservative and I doubt I'll be in that situation.
I picked up the lonely planet tramping book last night and read some of it. From the few pages I got into I can tell that this will be a great time for sure!
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