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.  There have been a few tweaks since then but this list will give you a general idea.

What I carry nowadays depends on the hike.  Unless I need large carrying capacity (for extra warm clothes or water) I now use the smaller Aarn Featherlight Freedom pack (50 + 12 litres).  Aarn packs have totally revolutionised my hiking experience – they are so incredibly comfortable (read my full review on the Natural Balance for more details).

In milder weather conditions I also regularly swap the super snuggly and warm Rab Boulder Hoodie for their lighter and more compact Power Stretch Fleece.

I am no ultra-light hiker.  I like to ensure I am warm, safe and comfortable, and 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 (both have been used).

Food and water is additional to the list below and varies depending on the trail.

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Other Notes:

  • I carry shorts only for really hot conditions.  Long pants give protection on overgrown trails.
  •  Instead of a towel I now 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.

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