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Adrian Smith
(zajsmith) - M

Locale: Wellington, New Zealand
Lightweight Gear for NZ conditions on 05/02/2009 22:57:04 MDT Print View

Hi All

New to the forums here, lot s of interesting information - i was wondering about the transferability of the UL style gear to NZ conditions, particulary on the tops- peoples thoughts and opinons sought.

Cheers

Adrian

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Lightweight Gear for NZ conditions on 05/02/2009 23:09:53 MDT Print View

You need very big boots on the tops. Helps to stop you from blowing away...


Transferable? Why not?

Cheers

Ross Novak
(Aurator) - F
UL in NZ on 05/03/2009 01:16:40 MDT Print View

Been hiking NZ UL for years, no problem. Go for it.

Adrian B
(adrianb) - MLife

Locale: Auckland, New Zealand
Re: UL in NZ on 05/03/2009 03:31:57 MDT Print View

Yep no problems. You might get some strange looks (I do), I wouldn't say local trampers are the most progressive lot when it comes to gear, particularly footwear. Maybe that's the same the world over though.

Adrian Smith
(zajsmith) - M

Locale: Wellington, New Zealand
/ on 05/03/2009 04:27:13 MDT Print View

Cool, any of the kiwis on the board care to post a winter alpine tramping gear list ?

One opinion i have heard espoused amongst local trampers is lightweight gear is not robust enough for NZ?

Shahrin Bin Shariff
(zzmelayu) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Table Mountain
Check out Alan Dixon's trip on 05/03/2009 05:38:59 MDT Print View

Alan Dixon (BPL editor-at-large) and his fiance did a "couples" trip in NZ in 2006 using Lightweight Gear. Check out his trip report.

http://www.adventurealan.com/NZ_2006/index.htm

Somewhere in there he has a gearlist. Not too sure if it specific to the NZ trip.

Zack Karas
(iwillchopyou@hotmail.com) - MLife

Locale: Lake Tahoe
NZ gear on 05/03/2009 14:57:18 MDT Print View

I spent 6 months in NZ and hiked somewhere around 1000 miles while there. My baseweight fluctuated from 9-11 pounds. I got told off several times by locals (who were carrying near their body weight) that I was going to die. After awhile, it just became this ongoing joke between my girlfriend and I. By going light, we were able to hike the 'harder' trails in 1/3 to 1/2 the time that locals hiked them in--and this gave us the ability to stay put on really bad weather days (like flooding rivers) and then just make up the lost time the next nice day. For instance, we did the Dusky Track and Stewart Island trek both in 5 days and that is including one day spent in a hut during horrible storms.

We used a TT Cloudburst for our shelter when camping (but with the annual hut pass that you can get, we didn't camp all too often). Golite Jam pack, trail runners, etc. The usual ultralight thru-hiking set up used here also works there.

The only recommendation that I would make is to bring knee high gaiters for the INTENSE mud, and trekking poles for the same reason. There is waist deep mud on trails there, and I'm not exaggerating in the least. Picture putting a pole into a puddle and it sinking down to the handle.

Have a great trip! I miss NZ badly.

Adrian B
(adrianb) - MLife

Locale: Auckland, New Zealand
Re: / on 05/03/2009 15:52:27 MDT Print View

>One opinion i have heard espoused amongst local trampers is lightweight gear is not robust enough for NZ?

Lightweight doesn't have to equal fragile. Sleeping bags, stoves, cooking gear, toilet bags, lights etc don't mind what country they're used in :) Even lightweight gear like packs can be bomber: frameless Dyneema MLD and ULA packs are tougher than mainstream lightweight internal frame packs from Osprey.

I don't think NZ conditions are particularly hard on gear. Below the bush line, off trail or really overgrown trails wouldn't suit bashing through with a thin windshirt on. My trail running shoes (Inov8) do wear out quickly though (500-600km?), but I think they're particularly fragile as far as runnners go, and I'd rather replace them more frequently than have to wear something heavier.

>The only recommendation that I would make is to bring knee high gaiters for the INTENSE mud, and trekking poles for the same reason.

It's all down to preference... I gave up on gaiters, now and then I rinse my shoes out in a stream, but I don't miss them. Poles I found too fiddly on rougher tracks.

>Cool, any of the kiwis on the board care to post a winter alpine tramping gear list ?

Don't have a spreadsheet, but here are the main bits:

Inov Terroc 330 (no gaiters)
running shorts
thinnest weight short sleeve merino top
Rab Phantom Gloves + MLD eVent Mitts
Cactus 100 weight fleece cap
add more fleece/synthetic clothing depending on temps (eg Patagonia R2 Vest/Hoody, Capilene etc)
Montbell UL Windshirt
Fairydown Goretex Paclite rain jacket, pockets removed (305g)
Montbell Peak Shell rain pains
MLD Zip (old version of current Exodus pack)
Platypus 2L Big Zipper
MLD Patrol Shelter (cuben)
Komperdell C3 Compact Carbon Pole (for front of Patrol)
Easton short pole for rear of shelter
MLD Soul Bivy with cuben bottom
GG NightLite full length foam pad (cut in half, half in pack as frame)
SnowPeak LiteMax stove
Firelite 550 titanium pot + wind shield + spoon
Arc Alpinist with 4oz extra-fill (swap for Arc Ghost + 1oz for shoulder/summer)
MB wind pants (use these as 60g pajamas to keep my bag clean)
Skaha Plus Vest/Jacket depending on temps
Sleep gear in cuben stuff sack inside polythene bag
Fenix LD10 AA flashlight
Zebralight H501 AA headlamp
Brunton ADC Summit (acts as watch, altimeter, thermometer)
eTrex Vista GPS, MT410 PLB. The first is more an emergency item.
Canon 980 IS camera, book, ipod nano

This covered me for the N. Island in winter unless I was doing actual climbing, and down here for lower altitudes. Last winter down here I didn't do much serious snow/ice, this winter hopefully some more. Some extra gear for this:

Swap OR Gear Endeavour Goretex mitts for MLD eVent mitts
Swap OR PL400 gloves for Rab Phantom
CAMP Nanotech Ice Axe
Rocky Mountain Goretex socks
Kahtoola KTS Steel crampons

On paper the sleeping gear probably looks like overkill for lows of perhaps -15C, but I sleep cold (too many years living in Auckland I think) and I don't rely on wearing any of my day clothes (fleece gear etc) to bed because they can be soaked through.

Here's a pic from Saturday:

park glacier

And here's some more 'robust' footwear:

boots

Edited by adrianb on 05/03/2009 16:15:06 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: / on 05/03/2009 16:04:50 MDT Print View

Hi Adrian

> Fairydown Goretex Paclite rain jacket, pockets removed (305g)

Pockets removed - why? Catch on scrub? Fill with water?

Cheers

Adrian B
(adrianb) - MLife

Locale: Auckland, New Zealand
Re: Re: Re: / on 05/03/2009 16:13:00 MDT Print View

They were small and really fiddly to open even without gloves: they had stiff waterproof zips covered by storm flap which stuck down with velcro. And, besides.. I just never use rain jacket pockets (what are you going to use when you take it off)? Saved about 30g removing them.. that might seem a lot, or not much at all, depending on your level of sickness :)

Otherwise it's a great jacket, fully adjustable hood, pit zips.. Had it for years, by far my oldest bit of gear.

Adrian B
(adrianb) - MLife

Locale: Auckland, New Zealand
Re: Check out Alan Dixon's trip on 05/03/2009 16:29:16 MDT Print View

Alan Dixon's article on lightweight backpacking in rain (http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/lightweight_guide_to_backpacking_in_sustained_rain.html) is probably still my favorite article here, was really helpful when I first started out. Gear list at the end. I disagree with the importance of DWR though, and I skip synthetic insulation.

Ryan Teale
(monstertruck) - F - M

Locale: Almost Yosemite
Lightweight Gear for NZ conditions on 05/03/2009 19:34:25 MDT Print View

I was down there a couple years ago for 2 months and used my normal lightweight gear. Nothing special is needed unless you are on the less established tracks in Fiordland or other wet areas with heavy vegetation. I did use leather boots for the Dusky track and they were pretty torn up afterward. I think my feet would have took some damage if I was in trail runners. Clambering on all the roots and going through bogs with submerged hazards warrant the extra protection. I have read of many people punching a few holes in the leather boots to allow the water to drain. Full length gaiters were nice to have and I adopted the Kiwi tramping uniform of shorts with Capilene bottoms underneath which worked well for the changing conditions with out pulling a shell layer on and off.

I don't normally carry fleece or heavier Merino midlayers but think they are best for under a shell in prolonged wet conditions.

Poles would have been a nuisance with all the vegetation to catch on and the steep ascents and descents where you need your hands free to hold on to the roots!

Since you aren't carrying a tent on many trails you can bring along footwear to have something dry to wear in the huts and explore around if it is dry out.

On the Great Walks or above treeline I would use poles, trail runners or approach type shoes, wind jacket, lightweight raingear, Micro Puff, the normal stuff. In some areas it is a bit of a bush bash to get above treeline so I can see people wanting more durable shells, packs and footwear.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Lightweight Gear for NZ conditions on 05/04/2009 15:02:27 MDT Print View

A lot depends on what type of hiking you plan on doing. At least half of my trips are off the beaten track, and even when on the beaten track I never use the huts. If you spend much time off the well worn tracks, mud, 'spaniard', matagouri, scree, hook grass, bush lawyer, black berry and bidibidis can make a good pair of gaiters and boots worthwhile. Likewise with raingear if you are off trail. If you are tenting/tarping, then your tent/tarp really should be able to withstand a gale. This doesn't mean it has to be heavy, but it does need to be well designed. Other stuff such as sleeping bag, stove, torch etc...doesn't matter so much, so choose the lightest option that suits. I have found packs made from Dyneema to be very, very tough and durable.

If you stay on the well formed tracks and stick to staying in huts, then hiking in NZ can be one of the most UL experiences possible, as you don't need to carry a shelter or sleeping mat. I would carry these things anyway, as a) I don't like huts, and b) sometimes the huts are full and you have to make other arrangements.

But even the toughest boot in the world is no match for a curious Kea!

Adrian B
(adrianb) - MLife

Locale: Auckland, New Zealand
Re: Re: Lightweight Gear for NZ conditions on 05/04/2009 15:04:04 MDT Print View

and c) if you can't find/get to a hut, you don't really want to die.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
NZ UL on 05/04/2009 15:48:43 MDT Print View

Hi Adrian,

You've got some great information here. In my limited UL experience I have found the core of the UL philosophy to be transferable to NZ, but you will have to make a few adjustments. I would suggest though that this is the same in any environment - you have to adapt to survive :).

In terms of gaiters not many places on the planet are as wet as the Dusky Track and not many as muddy as Stewart Island! However, there are the other issues that Lynn mentioned.

If you go off track (or find the track hasn't been well maintained) then some UL gear may take a bit of a bashing.

Adrian makes a very good point. some of the traditional kiwi trampers commenting on your trail shoes and tiny pack will be carrying no shelter. If they can't make/find a hut they well be spending the night out in just a down sleeping bag.

Finally I would agree that poles can be a pain at times.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Lightweight Gear for NZ conditions on 05/04/2009 17:14:24 MDT Print View

"and c) if you can't find/get to a hut, you don't really want to die."

Yeah, the absolute minimum I would carry is a bivy bag and torso length mat, even if I AM planning on going to a hut. No telling when you might get lost, injured, or stuck on the wrong side of a swollen river.

Poles can be a blessing and a curse. I like to hold one out in front of me when walking through spider web infested forests, and they are great for crossing rivers, etc...but any stout stick will work just as well for this purpose. It's more of a personal preference thing like anywhere else in the world.

Adrian Smith
(zajsmith) - M

Locale: Wellington, New Zealand
"Lightweight Gear for NZ conditions" on 05/04/2009 19:22:11 MDT Print View

Hi All

Thanks for all the input. i think i should clarify i am actually a kiwi living in NZ, mainly tramp in the Tararua ranges - probably what you guys woudl call a mid-heavy weight tramper not a UL hiker planning a trip to godzone :>
Im looking at getting lighter while still being safe

I do a some bushbashing and like the more remote tracks and prefer being above the bushline.

Re shelter i always carry a bivi bag and a ridge rest

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
NZ UL on 05/04/2009 19:36:34 MDT Print View

Hi Adrian,

I am sure that you can safely reduce pack weight. However, camping out right on the tops in the Tararua ranges in a tarp may be a bridge too far:) I am also Wellington based.

Adrian Smith
(zajsmith) - M

Locale: Wellington, New Zealand
Lightweight Gear for NZ conditions" on 05/04/2009 19:37:26 MDT Print View

This is my gear list from a recent (3day - 60km) trip to Nelson Lakes that involved some bush bashing, biviying out in the snow at 1700m, + ascent of Mt Travers (2334M). We were incredibly lucky with the weather, tho it was still quite cold at night

http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=pYa1tb426Kdg-HZRxEUONRw


All in mertic sorry my brain doesn't work n oz/pds

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Lightweight Gear for NZ conditions" on 05/04/2009 20:25:37 MDT Print View

There is quite a bit of room to save weight in that list, but it would cost $$$$ and you probably won't find the stuff at Bivouac....other stuff you could just leave behind, but it really depends on your comfort zone.