Gearlists and Packing Tips for Hiking in New Zealand

Untitled%20design%20-%202021-10-12T124634.858.png

We all approach the task of packing for an adventure differently. Some people will eagerly anticipate this ‘job’ and will start laying out their gear weeks in advance. They're the organized ones who know the sales staff at the local outdoor shops by name. They will probably agonize over which sleeping bag to buy based on its performance to weight ratio. They will spend hours mulling over which order to pack their stuff, so that it's convenient to retrieve yet also well balanced. They could even go as far as colour matching everything, so it's easy on the eye. The lists will get systematically ticked off and labels may even be sewn here and there so there won't be any awkward moments of confusion down the track.

What should I pack for hiking in New Zealand?

 


We all approach the task of packing for an adventure differently. Some people will eagerly anticipate this ‘job’ and will start laying out their gear weeks in advance. They're the organized ones who know the sales staff at the local outdoor shops by name. They will probably agonize over which sleeping bag to buy based on its performance to weight ratio. They will spend hours mulling over which order to pack their stuff, so that it's convenient to retrieve yet also well balanced. They could even go as far as colour matching everything, so it's easy on the eye. The lists will get systematically ticked off and labels may even be sewn here and there so there won't be any awkward moments of confusion down the track.

If this is you, the team here at ‘Active HQ’, who have all fielded plenty of pre-trip phone calls and emails, have got preparing for a hiking mission down to a science. Check out our lists below for every hiking occasion.


Comprehensive gearlists and packing tips for hiking in New Zealand


1. You're charging up Ben Lomond, a favourite day hike near Queenstown. View our Packing List for a Day Hike.
2. Summer is upon us and it's time to tackle the Abel Tasman Coastal Track. View our Packing List for a Great Walk.
3. Easter is around the corner! And with that comes a well-earned long weekend. View our Packing list for a Multi-Day tramp in the backcountry.

(If you’re joining us for an Active Adventures New Zealand trip, you’ll get a comprehensive trip-specific gear list upon booking.)

There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing

The weather in New Zealand can be variable, and so when hiking, you need to make sure you're carrying the appropriate clothing. A layering system is best, where you can add or remove layers depending on the conditions at the time. Most seasoned New Zealand hikers will always be carrying a waterproof shell/Gore-Tex rain jacket or similar, even if the sun is shining when you set off, and several layers of merino wool clothing. Merino wool is a breathable and eco-friendly natural fiber that doesn’t retain odour, keeps you warm even when wet, and also wicks moisture away from your skin to keep you more comfortable while you hike. It’s no wonder most Kiwis (and all those sheep!) wear merino wool outdoors.

On some of the "scenic" walks you might see people wearing all manner of shoes on their feet, but all too-often people are caught out using inadequate footwear, and we would recommend always using a closed shoe – no sandals or flip-flops! On day hikes, some people are comfortable wearing trail-running or "approach" shoes, but for longer trails, a proper leather or fabric/Gore-Tex hiking boot is required.

10 easy steps to help you pack for a multi-day hiking trip

So you're taking on your first multi-day hiking mission – ever? In the last 5 years? Or since you were at school? Well, you may be a little rusty, or you may just want to know how the experts do it! We all have a special packing system that helps us navigate our way around our backpacks easily and effortlessly, always able to find those snacks when the mood is running low, or to easily grab a water bottle, but if you're new to this or you're out of practice then this guide is for you.

 

Packing Guide

  1. GEAR LIST - First up, you're going to need a gear list, a space to lay out your stuff and patience to run around trying to find everything.
  2. LINE YOUR PACK - If you're going to be trekking outdoors, and let's assume we all are because if you're not getting outside then clearly something is wrong, then you need to be prepared for the fact that it may rain. Therefore, the first thing you need to do is ensure your pack is lined to protect your spare clothes and other bits and bobs from getting wet – no one wants wet gear, plus it makes your pack heavier. You can use anything from a dry bag down to a normal plastic bag if the budget is tight. Heavy duty garbage bags are also a good bet.
  3. STAY ORGANISED - Not only do these inner bags help protect from the rain, but they also help keep everything in your pack organised – another key to packing!
  4. BULKY ITEMS IN FIRST - Once your pack is lined, group everything heavy or bulky together – sleeping bag and tent if you're taking them, your spare clothes and undies, socks, down jacket (not your waterproof – keep that for the top) and camping cooker. Any of these heavy things, shove them in first. The middle of you is your most stable bit, and the bottom of your pack will be sitting round your waist, so heavy stuff goes in first. Top tip – get out all the clothes you think you need, half it, and then put them in your bag leaving the other half behind. Think lightweight, quick drying, non-cotton clothing. It's the best for hiking.
  5. FOOD - Next up, food – if you're carrying your food, then it needs to go in the middle above the bulky items. Don't carry tins or anything heavy, because you'll regret it after about 30 minutes. You can do without it! Think about buying some dehydrated camping meals as they are very light and they'll taste great in the outdoors (not so much if you cook them up at home – this is the magic of the wilderness at work). You need high calorie light weight food to fuel your body. Always take chocolate for pudding. This is my advice. Ignore at your peril.
  6. WATERPROOF – now is time to chuck in your waterproofs – pants and jackets if it's cold. They need to be near the top so you can easily grab them out in case of a shower, or torrential downpour, without having to get everything else out at the same time. There's nothing more refreshing than a shower – and it can be fun to be out in it, as long as you're prepared!
  7. SNACKS, CAMERA AND WATER – All in the top and side pockets for easy access! You need to eat plenty of snacks on your way – trail mix made up of nuts, chocolate and dried fruit is perfect. As are things like Mars and Snickers bars – and these are great in an emergency too so keep a couple separate just in case. Another old favourite are boiled sweets to keep your spirits up at the end of the day, and jelly beans are yummy too. Make sure you can get to your camera often to capture the memories of your trip, and water either in a bladder or bottle should always be easily accessible. Drinking little and often is the key.
  8. FIRST AID KIT – be prepared! The roof of your pack is a perfect place to keep your first aid kit. You'll need a good compact kit with plasters, blister kit, bandage, scissors, painkillers, sling and antiseptic cream.
  9. AT THE TOP – you should be well packed now, so fold the waterproof lining over the top of your gear, or do up your dry bags, and close your pack up tight.
  10. LOOKING GOOD - When you're packed up, straps pulled tight and adjustments made, it should look nice! It should look well packed; with nothing hanging off or sticking out and the straps should all be fastened and tucked in. Once it's looking nice, you're ready to haul it onto your back and begin your hiking adventure.

Want help planning your hiking trip?

There are so many hiking trails in New Zealand and there's plenty more to hiking New Zealand than just the Milford Track. If you're not sure of your plans just yet, a good place to start is with our New Zealand E-Brochure. You'll find interactive maps, information on our hiking trips, as well as lots of cool photos, it's a great place to begin your research.

 

Related Posts

The First Timers’ Guide to Adventures in New Zealand

Here's your first timers' guide to adventures in New Zealand!

Podcast - Rick G talks about his North Island Adventure with Kit Parks

Our guest Rick was hosted by Kit Parks, on her…

Best Time to Visit Peru | Destinations, Climate, and Seasons

So, when is the best time to visit Peru?If you're…

Travelling to Europe During the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Insider Guide

Since July 2021, we've been back exploring the breathtaking trails…

Podcast: Kit Parks Interviews Wendy, CEO, About the Merger of Active and Austin Adventures

Kit Parks from Active Travel Adventures and Wendy van Lieshout,…

Safe Travel in 2021: Why Small Group Adventure Travel is the New Normal

It's no secret that since March of 2020, the travel…

Keeping Up With Our New Zealand Guides

You’ve heard us say it before, and you’ll hear us…

Hiking Iceland: The Best Day Hikes and Multi-day Hikes in Iceland

Iceland is a hikers paradise. Its vast wilderness calls to…

Conquer the Alps to Ocean Trail, an Iconic New Zealand Bike Ride

The longest continuous bike ride in New Zealand, the Alps…

5 Reasons New Zealand Winter Isn’t All About Skiing

With names of ski fields like The Remarkables, you can…

Hike the Tongariro Northern Circuit

The Tongariro Northern Circuit crosses 45 kilometres through the the…

Best things to see on the West Coast of New Zealand

The West Coast of New Zealand's South Island is a…

Hike or Bike the Paparoa Track

The Paparoa Track crosses 55km of the Paparoa National Park,…

Multi-Day Hike Packing-List for New Zealand

You and some mates have 4 (5 at a stretch)…

Explore Punakaiki, home of the famous Pancake Rocks

Punakaiki is best known for its Pancake Rocks and Blowholes.…

Explore Okarito Lagoon, in the Heart of New Zealand's West Coast

The view from Okarito Lagoon cannot be surpassed by any…

Discover Rakiura National Park, on Stewart Island

 Where is Stewart Island? 

Where is Stewart Island?Stewart Island is situated…

Where to Next, with Active Adventures?

We've been adventuring for more than 22 years now, and…

A sample of the walking you can expect on our Comfort-focused trips

For over 20 years now, we’ve taken thousands of keen…

The 'Finale' by Jack Taylor

Filmed during our guest, Jack's, Ultimate South Island Adventure 'Rimu'…

Little Guide to Kaikoura, New Zealand

On the rugged east coast of New Zealand's South Island,…

Discover Franz Josef Glacier

 

Where is the Franz Josef Glacier?The Franz Josef Glacier is…

What to pack for your next day hike

It’s the night before the hike you and some of…

Podcast: Kit Parks talks about her adventures on the South Island of New Zealand (Part I)

Add the North Island if you are already doing the…

Podcast: Kit Parks talks about her adventures on the South Island of New Zealand (Part II)

 

Add the North Island if you are already doing the…

Podcast: Kit Parks talks about her adventures on the North Island of New Zealand (Part III)

 

Add the North Island if you are already doing the…

Discover the Tongariro National Park

It may be surprising to hear that the Tongariro National…

Things to Do in Glenorchy - the Gateway to Paradise

Situated at the end of the road, there’s only one…

Discover Fiordland National Park - Things to See & Do

The largest of New Zealand’s fourteen national parks, Fiordland National…

Discover Arthur's Pass National Park

 

New Zealand's famous ArthurSir Arthur Dudley Dobson must have been…

Discover Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park

Aoraki (the Maori name for Mt Cook) is New Zealand’s…

Video: Reviews from our guests

Many of our videos feature interviews with Active guests, and…

Video: How to pack for a three-day hike

Lynette, our client services rock star gives you a step…

Highlights of our Essence of Iceland 'Lundi' trip

Have you been to Iceland yet? At Active Adventures we…

Video: Food and Wine with Active Adventures

New Zealand’s seasonal, local food is something we’re immensely proud…

Video : Choosing a pair of hiking boots

A lot of our guests wonder how to pick the…

Active Hearts Foundation Documentary

The Active Hearts Foundation is a grass roots international charity…

Video: Highlights of our Elegant South 'Kakapo' trip

A short look at some highlights from our comfort-focused Elegant…

Mont Blanc Circuit 'Tour du Mont Blanc' Trip

Our 'Tour du Mont Blanc' trip is a challenging hiking…

Video: Fiordland National Park

Fiordland National Park is New Zealand's biggest National Park, and…

Video: Our Accommodations

A quick look at some of our guests' favourite accommodations…

A Family Adventure

We have trips tailored towards families in New Zealand and…

Ben Lomond

A challenging hike to beautiful vistas above Queenstown and the…

Punakaiki

Famous for its 'Pancake Rocks', Punakaiki is also host to…

Video: Milford Sound

Rudyard Kipling once described Milford Sound as the 8th wonder…

Video: Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park

This national park was the training ground for one of…

Video: Nelson Lakes National Park

This section of our 'Rimu' trip is an opportunity to…

Staff Picks: Adventure Books and Movies to Stay Inspired

At Active, we’re all big travel and outdoor enthusiasts…I know,…

Our Favourite Hikes on the West Coast of New Zealand

The West Coast of the South Island is a unique…

New Zealand Glaciers You Can Easily Hike To

Many travellers to New Zealand are familiar with our 2…

Staff Picks: Favourite Places in New Zealand

Here at Active Adventures, we consider ourselves pretty well-travelled and…

Things to Do in Auckland: Explore New Zealand's City of Sails

Auckland, known as the 'city of sails', was recently voted…

Best Things to Do in Cuzco, Peru

The ancient Inca capital is said to have been founded…

Discover the Best Things to Do in Lima, Peru

The once-called City of Kings, founded in 1535, is the…

Discover Queenstown, The Adventure Capital of New Zealand

Queenstown is a little town with a big personality. Nestled on…

Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise: An Experience Like no Other

Doubtful Sound, like so many places, was discovered somewhat by…

7 New Zealand Must-Sees You Can't Go Wrong With!

If you're looking for the best natural destinations in New…

Finding Flights to Patagonia

Sorting out Patagonia flights and Patagonia travel doesn't have to…

Best Time to Visit Patagonia

With years of experience in the travel arena under our…

Bolivia Culture and Customs

The culture and customs in Bolivia are unique and have…

Is It Safe to Travel to Bolivia?

If you’ve been thinking about travelling to South America, safety…

City Guide to La Paz, Bolivia

La Paz, also known as ‘the city that touches the…

Little Guide to Uyuni, Bolivia

Uyuni is the land of the endless horizon, home to…

Okarito Lagoon

The sleepy hamlet of Okarito is close to the sizeable…

Siberia Experience

On our 'Tui' trip we fly into a remote valley…

Video: Franz Josef Glacier and Township

'Glacier country' - the west side of Aoraki/Mt Cook National…

Video: Ultimate South Island Adventure 'Rimu' trip

The 'Rimu' is our signature New Zealand trip. 14 days…

Patagonia Hiking Adventure 'Condor'

Patagonia is a mystical land of glaciers, mountains, and often…

What to Pack for a 2 Week Adventure Vacation to New Zealand

Lynette from our office talks you through what you'll need…

Ultimate North Island Adventure 'Kauri' Trip

Our 'Kauri' trip is 11 days on New Zealand's volcanic…

Video: Switzerland: Why I keep coming back

This video was shot in Switzerland on the Bovine Trail…

Video: An Amazing Adventure from Kathmandu to Lukla, Nepal

Learn about Sherpa life and be rewarded with mesmerising views…

Everest Base Camp Trek

Our guest Jack Taylor made this incredible video for us,…

The 'Rimu' Trip - Through The Eyes Of Our Travellers

Their adventures took them through the heart of New Zealand's…

Video: The trek to Everest Base Camp

Gareth Leonard from Tourist2Townie travelled on our 'EBC' adventure, here's…

Video: Essence of the South Island 'Tui' Trip

Our Essence of the South Island 'Tui' trip is 8…

New Zealand Adventure Tours

Want to know what travelling in New Zealand with us…

Rimu Trip Highlights

Our signature New Zealand trip, the Rimu is 14 days…

Our Guest Kilo's 'Rimu' adventure

Follow our guest, Kilo on his 14-day epic journey around…

Highlights of our Ultimate Dolomites Adventure 'Dolomiti' Trip

Follow travel blogger Gareth from Tourist2Townie on his Ultimate Dolomites…

See What our Comfort-Focused Trips Are Like

Take your time, escape and indulge – that sums up…

Video: An Introduction to Active Adventures

Not sure what Active Adventures is all about? Here's what…

Annapurna Sanctuary Trek 'AST' Trip

Experience what it's like to trek in the Annapurna Region…

Travel to Nepal: Everything you need to know

We're big believers in the journey being just as important…

When is the best time to visit Nepal?

So, you’ve decided you want to go to Nepal? Or…

Nepal Culture and Customs

How Not to Be Mistaken for a Tourist in NepalUnderstanding…

The Full Guide to Nepal’s Annapurna Sanctuary Trek

Celebrated for its amphitheatre of giant granite peaks, the Annapurna…

Hiking in Nepal: Multi-Day Treks

To hikers and trekkers from all over the world, the…

Challenge Your Trekking Guide With These Everest Base Camp Facts

Everest Base Camp represents either an origin or a destination…

Popular Religious Sites in Nepal

Nepal is a cultural mecca, it is architecturally rich with…

Discover the Mustang Region in Nepal

You may have heard quiet whispers, unconfirmed claims at truth,…

Bhutan Culture and Customs

Bhutanese people are known for being happy. You'll pick this…

Things to Know Before You Travel to Bhutan

Bhutan is a unique destination, and a unique destination calls…

Things to Know About Iceland Before You Go

Has Iceland been recently added to your bucket list? No…

When is the best time to visit Iceland?

Welcome to the ultimate guide to the best time to…

Trek the Tour du Mont Blanc: Learn About our Guided Itinerary

Strap on your best pair of hiking boots – this…

Best Time to Hike the Tour du Mont Blanc

Thinking of joining us here in Europe for a bucket-list…

Hiking in the European Alps

A hiking & mountaineering dreamThe European Alps stretches across seven…

Everything you need to know to pick an African Safari

Africa is an animal-lovers paradise, the wildlife viewing is unrivaled…

The best time to visit Tanzania

Tanzania is known for having some of the best safaris…

Everything You Need to Know Before Travelling in Patagonia

Patagonia has an almost surreal quality to it so it's…

Little Guide to New Zealand Native Trees

There’s nothing quite like standing amongst the rimu trees and…

New Zealand Historic Facts You Should Know Before Your Trip

Although there is some uncertainty as to the exact timeframe,…

All You Need to Know About Sea Kayaking in Milford Sound

Kayaking is a great way to get out there and…

Hike the Rakiura Track

Although the Rakiura Track is a 29 km tramping track,…

Multi-Day Hiking in New Zealand: How to Plan the Perfect Trip for You

New Zealand has earned itself a reputation as one of…

Hike the Lake Waikaremoana Track

The Lake Waikaremoana Track, located within Te Urewera National Park,…

Hike the Kepler Track

The Kepler Track, in Fiordland National Park, is a 67…

How to get to New Zealand

New Zealand is about as far away as it's possible…

How to Plan Your New Zealand Hiking Trip: An Easy 5 Step Guide

Not many travel companies will share these unbiased truths about…

Booking your Airline Ticket to New Zealand

Once upon a time, if you wanted to fly somewhere…

Hiking Safety Tips for Tramping in New Zealand

Safety’s not as hard as you may think – New…

Hike Ben Lomond in Queenstown

Ben Lomond (45°00'24.06" south 168°36'54.76" east) is an attractive mountain…

Hike Mueller Ridge and Sealy Tarns

The Mueller Ridge hike from Mount Cook village, up past…

Best Day Hikes on New Zealand's North Island

Wherever you are in New Zealand, chances are you aren't…

The Best Day Hikes on New Zealand's South Island

Wherever you are in New Zealand, chances are you aren't…

Ultimate New Zealand's Great Walk Gear List

Summer is upon us and it's time to tackle a…

Hike the Queen Charlotte Track

The Queen Charlotte Track offers a spectacular trip through the…

Hiking in Nelson Lakes National Park

Without a doubt, this is New Zealand's best kept hiking…

Best Time To Visit New Zealand

Thinking of joining us here in New Zealand for an…

Hike the Heaphy Track

 

The Heaphy Track is known for its beauty and diversity.…

Hike the Routeburn Track

The Routeburn track traverses 33km of Mount Aspiring and Fiordland…

Hike the Abel Tasman Coast Track

The Abel Tasman Coast Track is a 51 kilometre (32…

Hike the Milford Track in New Zealand

The 53.5 kilometre (33.2 mile) Milford Track is one of…

5 Adventurous Facts About Milford Sound

Milford Sound is without a doubt one of New Zealand's…

10 Interesting Facts About New Zealand That You Didn't Know

We do things a little differently here in New Zealand…

The Complete Guide to New Zealand's 10 Great Walks

The "Great Walks" are generally regarded as New Zealand's premier…

Best Cycle Trails in New Zealand

New Zealand boasts some of the best cycling trails in…

Best Heli-Hike in New Zealand

Franz Josef Heli-HikeOn all of our summer South Island trips…

How to Prepare for a Hike: 8 Fitness Tips for the 50+ Explorer

“Am I too out-of-shape for an adventure trip?” It’s the…

Our Guides Take On the Everest Marathon

Our guides are pretty amazing people. They're understanding, adaptable, enthusiastic,…

Everest Base Camp Trek 'EBC' Gear Packing List

Here you'll find a list of 32 items you'll want…

5 Reasons to Take up Adventure Travel in Your 40’s

You mean you haven’t already done it yet? That’s OK.…

6 Travel Apps You Absolutely Need When Travelling in South America

The smartphone has quickly evolved into one of the most…

Peru Vaccinations and Medical Checklist

Exploring the ancient streets of Cusco, trekking the Inca or…

Huayna Picchu Hike: How Fit Must you be to Climb?

So you've made it up to Machu Picchu. After months…

Inca Trail Packing List: The 12 Most Important Items and Why

You've done it… You've finally decided to go hiking the…

7 Things to Know About Traveling to Peru

Sometimes surprises when you're travelling can be good - a…

Hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Superlatives are inadequate to describe this outstanding one-day hike on…

Annapurna Base Camp Tips: Everything You Need to Know

Now that we’ve been running trips in the Nepalese Himalayas…

How to prevent and deal with Altitude Sickness

Most hikers will never experience altitude sickness, (sometimes called acute…

Best Day Hikes in New Zealand

As a small island nation, New Zealand is an absolute…

Hike the Copland Track to Welcome Flat

The Copland Track is located south of Fox Glacier on…

Multi-day Hiking in New Zealand's Backcountry, and 8 Reasons to Go Guided

The team here at Active Adventures are an outdoorsy bunch!…

The Best Places to Eat in Peru

There is no place quite like Peru. And no, we’re…

Why Joining a Small Group Tour is the Bee's Knees

I better start by explaining the term ‘Bee’s knees’… I’ve been doing…

Tiaki Promise - What You Need To Know

As Kiwis we grow up with a deep connection to…

2019 Southern Alps Traverse with 180 Degrees Trust

The 180 Degrees Trust is based in Christchurch, New Zealand,…

Benefits of Travelling Alone & Tips to Plan Like a Pro

Solo travel is on the rise and we’re stoked about…