Shedding the excess baggage.

We both lost a lot of weight on the trail, in more ways than one. Here you’ll see the things we trimmed off our pack weight as we went along, some practical yet unnecessary, some utterly ridiculous. The comments on the photos are a mix from both of us.

When we go on another mental trip across a country there are some things we have learned about packing for a thru-hike. I’m going to go through some of these which may seem painfully obvious to the experienced but some of your reading this may be like us when we started so I’ll go ahead, and please if you are one of the experienced people and you do things differently please add a comment and share your knowledge, but no one wants an ultralight war, right?

Keeping your sleeping bag dry is pretty important, especially in a country with weather like New Zealand’s. Your sleeping bag will stay just as dry in the dry sack as it will in its own stuff sack within the dry sack.

One well-insulated jacket/fleece and a long sleeve merino/light hiking top is enough to keep you warm in the evenings. If it’s really really cold get into your sleeping bag.

Sporks, they’re fantastic. That set of camping cutlery was actually purchased mid-trail when there were no sporks to be found, but I still got rid of them as soon as I could.

We nearly did have to walk on the roads at night going back to Whananaki after reaching Ngunguru, but we didn’t have the bike light with us. A lot of use that was.

The navigation book wasn’t the worst idea, we had done our mountain skills and navigation courses but we knew we’d probably forget some of it and if we were tired and panicked we’d probably make bad decisions. Thankfully we never needed it, the trail was very well marked pretty much the whole way.

We probably could’ve got a bit more use out of the frisbee but the opportunities were so few, it wasn’t worth carrying around.

I got to the point where I pretty much lived in my merino vest, I was only really wearing my t-shirt in towns anyway.

Definitely bring a compass, but if you have a GPS you probably don’t need a 2nd one. Especially not a pair of cheap Kathmandu ones.

Really didn’t need two head torches, once again worried about hiking at night, the only hiking we did at night was to the long drop, even a small bike light would do, cheaper and lighter.

The scissors were kind of part of the first aid kit really, and I actually cut Laurens fringe a couple of times, but we still didn’t need them.

Stuff like the peppermint capsules, I guess you wouldn’t really know until you go. Ya just can’t tell how your body is going to react to the physical challenges of a thru hike.

Tweezers. Say it ain’t so.

As a photographer, I was concerned about memory and storing images. But due to weather inhibiting my willingness to take out my camera a lot of the time on the North Island I didn’t take as many shots as I would’ve liked and I also ended up buying a 128gb card for my camera which was plenty in the end.

I’ve awful allergies to dust/pollution, same symptoms as bad hay fever but they all disappeared on the trail, no need for the antihistamine eye drops and nasal spray, absolute bliss.

Imodium is definitely on the bring list, and I think we only got rid of our spares after we had already done about half of the trail and dealt with my water bug.

Blusher indeed. Isn’t Lauren’s face red now, eh?

The nature of the pain of my calf injury had all sorts of things going through my head so I bought a massive box of Aspirin on the outskirts of Hamilton to dissolve the blood clot in my imagination. Bounced most of them but kept a few as pain killers.

We did play a good amount of cards, but we mostly just used the ones in the huts. Take ’em or leave ’em.

Bit of rope. We used the 8m of accessory cord to dry clothes and to hang food so possums and mice couldn’t get at it. The rope wasn’t really needed, could’ve been useful if something broke I suppose.

Hair clips?!

Probably should’ve kept the merino top, I had another long-sleeved top but it was just a wicking layer with no real insulative qualities.

I can’t remember a single time we used water filtration on the South Island, but we kept it with us just in case, either way, we didn’t need two plungers.

We left one of the seats in the back of someone’s car on the way to Cape Reinga, we barely used the other one.

I had two penknives, this and a swiss army knife. This one was for whittling. Yes, whittling. While Lauren read her Kindle, I would whittle. I had also intended on teaching my self Spanish on the trail.  Great intentions.

Less weight and less cleaning by leaving the bowl behind.

Not sure what that is, foundation?

Rarely any signal, ditched the radio pretty quickly, too much winding up while trying to wind down in the evening.

Who needs lids on cups?

The accidental torch. Stowing away to New Zealand, fair play.

Who needs eye masks when you have Buffs?

Like windproof matches and a lighter weren’t enough.

More UFOs, unidentified futile objects.

The foot cream probably could’ve been utilised more, but we had Hurt Creme, a Kiwi wonder product that fixes everything. Everything.

If we weren’t walking for the Irish Heart Foundation I would’ve kept the insulative midlayer jacket and left the fleece as the jacket packed smaller.

Great to have a guide to New Zealand but it was just too heavy to carry.

Lauren had many tops. I think she was happy when we finished though, as she got to wear one that she hadn’t worn in a few months.

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