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.
- 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.