Your hiking gear is what paves the way for having a great time in the outdoors. It carries your things, protects your feet and captures your moments BUT a common trap to fall into is thinking that you have to buy a bucket load of expensive gear before you can even START hiking. False. So what are the essentials for a hiking? Honestly, you could throw on those sturdy sneakers in your closet and pack up your old school bag to take for a walk when you’re just starting out.
It doesn’t make sense to buy a high-end, -14° sleeping bag when you plan to try day hiking in summer or buying crazy expensive mountaineering boots for some flat bush walks; don’t let people convince you otherwise! I would consider my gear list made up of low priced items that do the job and have stood the test of time; what else could you ask for?
Always check the weather and route alerts before you explore the outdoors and be prepared for the conditions. Tell someone where you’re going and when to expect you back. Respect New Zealand’s environment, wildlife and land owners by following the Tiaki Promise. Leave only footprints, take only photos.
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My day pack is a Lowe Alpine Vector 30. I use it for almost any one-day walk; it is comfortable, has SO many pockets, and holds every essential I need.
I actually borrow the backpack I use for overnight hikes (maybe I should stop freeloading) hence why it’s a higher price point than the rest of my base gear. It's a Arc’teryx Bora AR 61 Women’s backpack and I’ve linked the closest one I can find. I’ll head out at some point to buy my own and let y'all know what I choose.
Although I do wear whatever active-wear is appropriate for the climate, usually a breathable pair of LuLulemon bottoms*, I still have my important staple clothing pieces that I take out with me to be prepared for shitty weather which is essential for staying comfortable and safe in the outdoors. I won’t get too specific because there are SO many variables when it comes to clothing, just take note of the specific functions each jacket serves.
I’ll always take a completely waterproof jacket with a hood, for me it's a Kathmandu Gore-Tex*, in case the weather takes a turn or is already forecast for decent rain. My jacket is purely waterproof/windproof and not very warm so I’ll either pair this with a snug, fairly thick Macpac fleece jacket or a Hunting and Fishing fleece that's on the thinner side, again, depending on the temperature.
If the forecast is looking cold but with minimal chance of rain I’ll take my Kathmandu down jacket (aka puffer jacket)*. The Kathmandu New Zealand website has a great article on How To Choose a Down Jacket to help you get this right.
I have Hi Tech Bryce II Mid WP Women’s boots that I bought in a Macpac sale for around $99.00 NZD and so far they have supported my ankles, provided great grip and overall served me well! It looks like they are currently out of stock so the next best Hi Tech boots I can find around the same price point are the Altitude VI I WP women’s boots as an alternative.
Hiking boots is something I believe you don’t necessarily NEED for your first couple of day hikes (my one exception is if your ankles require extra support in uneven terrain). If you’re easing into the hobby you shouldn’t be finding yourself on hiking trails that require heavy duty boots anyhow. This is completely subjective but something to think about if you want to test the waters before splashing out on boots.
My sleeping bag is a Kathmandu insuLITE Globe (Comfort: 6°. Transition 1°. Risk -14°) and weighs 1.34kg. I actually got this as a Christmas present in 2018 (thanks Mum!). I found a close match in the Kathmandu Odyssey; it has an almost identical temperature rating and actually weighs less than my current one.
For me, I simply cannot go on a hike without my camera anymore as it's become such a big passion of mine. This is as optional as gear gets really but I think the extra weight is worth it. I shoot with a Canon 77D from Expert Infotech that set me back $1,099NZD, a recent upgrade as I get more into Photography. Previously I used an entry level Canon 500d that I bought second-hand from TradeMe for around $300.00 NZD which works great and I still keep around as a spare. I also have two lenses; 18ml-55ml lens that came with the camera body and a 55ml-250ml lens I also bought on TradeMe for around $150.00 NZD. Keep an eye out for bargains if you don’t mind second-hand gear!
I also have a WeiFeng WT-6662A Professional Ball head Tripod that I rarely take out on trails if I’m walking more than two hours since it adds a lot of weight. It’s on the budget end as far as tripods go; I’d recommend it for general shooting but probably not for hiking purposes.
So that's my gear! This is personally what I take adventuring with me but remember not to rigidly compare your kit to others or spend a bucket load if you don't need to. If you'd like a more in-depth blog on hiking clothing and how to layer, let me know on my Instagram!