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Upper layers puzzle! 8 month NZ trip.
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Frances Bothfeld

Locale: Iowa
Upper layers puzzle! 8 month NZ trip. on 01/29/2013 15:45:52 MST Print View

I am headed to New Zealand for about 8 months starting next week. I will be tramping and wwoofing and just plain old travelling. I have the rest of my gear all set and laid out on the ping pong table but I can't seem to settle on what top layers to bring. Everytime I walk past, I swap something out or take something off all together. I come to you for help.

Background in stream of consciousness format:
I don't want to buy anything new. Some of the options below are not necessarily UL and are actually pretty dang heavy, but please remember I am going to be gone for 8 months. This gear needs to perform in the front country and the backcountry (IE look good, I should probably mention I am a 23yr old female). Comfort is a big thing too. While I love my downshirt in the backcountry, I tend to like a softer snuggly sweatshirt for an 8 hour bus ride. I have a sub 10lbs base weight with any three of these items so the rest of my stuff sticks to the ultralight principles. I am starting in the invercargill and slowly moving north. I am planning a few hikes to moderately high elevations (tongariro circuit) so temperature will range from snowing and windy to maitais on the beach. I am generally a cold person. I am a little worried about down in the notoriously WET NZ, especially because my quilt is down and I feel like I should have at least 1 insulating layer that isn't down, but I am also vigilant about keeping things dry. I like the idea of merino wool because it doesn't stink and I feel bad when I don't wash my clothes and get in a car with strangers and I smell.

Below is what I currently own. Out of the list below, what should I bring:

#1 EMS techwick 1 shirt (4oz)- probably going to bring this for the sun protection extra insulation in conjunction with something.

#2 Icebreaker SS (3oz)- probably taking this. I like to hike in SS and it is good for the frontcountry

#3 Smartwool midweight (5oz)

#4 merino wool hoody (13oz)- before you gawk at the weight, this has a nice balaclava hood. It is the same thickness as a midweight. This also has the added factor that it is my absolute FAVORITE frontcountry sweatshirt.

#5 western mountaineering flash vest (3oz)

#6 Patagonia down shirt (5oz)- There are much better jackets out there, but I got this on sale for $75

#7 Ibex nomad zip up (13oz)- super warm, antimicrobial, soft, 320g/m2. It also looks good in the frontcountry

#8 Smartwool microweight merino wool top (5oz)

*I will also be bringing an nice arcteryx rain coat


Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Upper layers puzzle! 8 month NZ trip. on 01/29/2013 18:11:54 MST Print View

"Puzzle" is a good word. Shelter & clothing seem to be the hardest categories to get just right and the easiest to constantly tinker with. Look at the forums here. Most/many questions have to do with layers for the upper body and with shelters. Anyway . . .

From your list, and for the kind of traveling you are doing, I'd take:

(1) Icebreaker s/s t-shirt. I use these, too. Great shirts!

(2) Merino Wool Hoody.

(3) Patagonia Down Shirt

(4) The A'Teryx jacket

Those four above should get you through a wide range of temps/conditions. Also:

(4) A favorite cotton t-shirt. Weigh all yours at home and take the lightest. For sitting on a bus, hanging out, doing laundry, etc.

(5) Light wool gloves/liners and a thin WP shell glove

(6) Wool hat

(7) Thin wool scarf.

Edited by saparisor on 01/29/2013 23:39:30 MST.

Frances Bothfeld

Locale: Iowa
thanks on 01/29/2013 22:19:29 MST Print View

I think I have the shelter down. I am going to take the SMD wild oasis because of the price and the perimeter netting. I don't plan on using them THAT much because of the hut system, but I still want to have some form of shelter on me when I am travelling.

Thanks for the advice. I have a feeling that I cannot really go wrong with any of the above combinations. It just seems like a big deal because of the length and the inability to have something sent out to me. I guess I could pick something up if I end up with not enough layers, but I would hate to buy something when I have so many perfectly good layers at home.


Zack h
(want2belite) - F
less is more! on 01/31/2013 18:31:14 MST Print View

I will update this tomorrow when I get infront of a real keyboard. What months are you planning on being there? My bad if I missed that!
I know you don't want to buy while there, but there is a lot of oppurtuniy to find, barter, sell and trade for what you need while in NZ.
What is your pack system looking like, and have you made a full list? Would love more details, I think I can help on this one....I can't wait to go back.
EDIT: I read a bit more and see you are already sub 10lbs....that's impressive.
I know you post was pertaining to only those items but is love to see a full list. FWIW I brought my down quilt there and have zero regrets. Narrowed in on footware? Sleeping?
Sorry, I know this is outside the scope of your initial thread

Edited by want2belite on 01/31/2013 18:39:24 MST.

Matt F
(matt_f) - MLife
2 cents: new zealand layers on 01/31/2013 23:04:47 MST Print View

I spent five months tramping around new zealand when i was 21 (yikes...7 years ago already)...suffice it to say I'm a bit jealous of you right now. Anyway, I brought decidedly heavyweight stuff at that point. At this point I'd focus on bringing the pieces you like most and focusing on versatility and durability, especially if you'll be working/woofing in this stuff:

1) techwick shirt
2) SS icebreaker
3) your favorite merino hoody
4) patagonia down shirt or the heaviweight merino layer.

I also like the idea of a lightweight shelter for nights you're not staying in the huts, (saving money by camping at hostels rather than bunking or in the rare instance that the hut is packed full).

have a blast,


Karen Kennedy
(karenk) - MLife

Locale: NE NSW - Australian subtropics
Vest is best on 02/04/2013 00:48:41 MST Print View

If you feel the cold, consider taking the WM vest as well as the Pata down shirt - UL sacrilege I know, but NZ in the winter can be COLD. NZ in the summer can be cold too (well by Oz standards)!

Once you get through winter, you could always post it home. No reason you couldn't get stuff posted to you in NZ - care of a local post office. Check with NZ postal service, but AustraliaPost will hold a parcel at a post office for 4 weeks. We had parcels sent to us from the UK to fill a gear gap on a recent 3 month trip in Oz - around 10 days' delivery time, parcel arrived in town the same day we did - perfect!

Enjoy your trip!

Frances Bothfeld

Locale: Iowa
Posting stuff home on 02/04/2013 08:29:23 MST Print View

I am leaving on Friday (feb 8th) on a one way ticket. By my accounts, I have enough money to stay 160-240 days depending on budgeting. We are planning on jumping over to Australia once our visa runs out or if it gets too cold. Whichever comes first. Thus far we have planned a circuit hike on Stewart island (9 days). We also want to do Abel Tasman, Mt Cook circuit, tongariro crossing, and hollyford-pyke.

As for the rest of my list. I have three of them. I will be travelling with someone else which accounts for the missing stove and the large cooking pot and lack of first aid kit and sunscreen. I also seemed to have gained a pound. This list isn't totally complete. I still need to throw in some trash bags-
Summer Backpacking:
cold weather:

We also might just bring one tent on treks. My hiking partner also has a SMD wild oasis. We are both tiny women and fit snuggly in it together (sans gear). Though we plan on rarely having to do this. I threw in the merino wool jacket and vest just as place holders, but they are, clearly subject to change.

I do like the idea of picking up extra layers as needed at a goodwill type store! I will also be sure to label and put out some gear so that, if need be, I can have my father mail it my direction.

Any other suggestions welcomed!


Anna T

Locale: Victoria, Australia
Kia ora! on 02/20/2013 02:37:53 MST Print View

Hi from a Kiwi! I'm guessing you've already left, so further clothing comments are redundant, but I'll just add: have fun! If you want to stock up on Icebreaker, there are some factory stores (eg one just north of Wellington) - there's a very good reason you'll see all of us using it for hiking down this way!

Happy to answer any questions/give tips. Cheers.