Having hiked mostly with Osprey packs,the need to lighten up for Te Araroa was going to be a necessity. To put it in perspective a ZPacks 62 litre arc haul pack, a ZPacks duplex tent with stakes and poles and a ZPacks -7 degrees c down sleeping bag all together weigh less than just an Osprey 70 litre aether pack by itself. So it is one each of the main three items for Jan and I.
For a sleeping pad we chose a Thermarest XTherm Max in a large size, we also decided to use the Thermarest neoair mini pump to cut down moisture inside the mattress and passing out due to hyperventilation when blowing up the mattress with your mouth.These are tiny, weigh only 65g and take 2 AAA batteries. Post hike review after Auckland. We each have a Sea to Summit silk liner, not only to help keep our sleeping bags clean, but also to just sleep in if it is too hot. Exped inflatable pillow and that is our sleep system.
Our rain gear……. after around 15 years of trying all types of wet weather gear I think we have finally found some that ticks all the boxes. ZPacks rain jacket (thigh length) and a ZPacks rain skirt. We have found with this system there is no need for rain pants although we do use high gaiters. Very light weight rain gear, breathable and highly waterproof. Field tested in appalling weather on the Southern Circuit Stewart Island, Milford and Routeburn tracks this gear really proved it’s worth.
Our wind jackets are also from ZPacks and weighing in at 57 grams is the lightest and most useful item of clothing in our kit. We usually wear them under a merino top. These jackets fold up real small and can be carried in your pocket to be used when the need arises. We have field tested these on a three hikes but how will they hold up to the wear and tear on Te Araroa? Time will tell.
As our tents are Cuban fiber, we have decided to use a foot print under the floor. There are a few options but the easiest and probably lightest is 3m window insulation from a Bunnings store. This stuff is practically indestructible and ultra lightweight.
We use Komperdell hiking poles, originally all aluminium but we moved to carbon fibre about two years ago and have used them on three major hikes before Te Araroa. These poles have been unbelievable in strength and lightness. I have had them bent to where they should of broken but didn’t and would have certainly buckled if they were aluminium shafts.
The tips on these poles are a standout, over 500kms including off trail kms, on concrete, asphalt, gravel and rock and there is absolutely no wear at all on either of the tips on both sets of poles. We were shown the tips on a popular brand of pole used by our hiking friends also on Te Araroa and the same mileage and they were half worn down.
The only small downside to this particular model of pole is that if you unscrew them too far the black ‘c’ clip at the top is forced off and also it is possible for the white screw expander to unscrew off the shaft as well. The remedy is to twist the shafts not much more than one turn to pull them apart.
We purchased our poles at Bivouac But I’m not sure this particular model is still available.