3 Items I’ve Loved on the Te Araroa

A recurring conversation on the trail is about base weight. Base weight is the weight of a pack without food or water taken into account. When hikers get to talking about base weight, we start talking about what items we have that are ultralight and what items we have that are our “splurge” items. In this post, I want to write about three items I’m carrying and why I’m carrying them.

The first item is a “splurge” item: my Platypus 2L Gravity Filter. I absolutely love it! For water filtration in the past, I’ve used the sawyer squeeze, the MSR trail shot, and the lifestraw. For both the sawyer and the MSR, they’re squeeze filtration. So, you get the dirty water and squeeze it into a clean bottle or reservoir. They’ve both worked well for me in the past. However, I really don’t like having cold hands. And, my hands are cold most of the time. When I would squeeze water through these filters, it was usually cold water, which would result in my hands being even colder. For this longer trail, I didn’t want to have to deal with cold hands more than was necessary. I love the ease of the gravity filter! I fill up my 2L bag of dirty water, find a high tree limb to hang the bag on, connect it to the clean water filter and hose, and then I let gravity do its job. I have 2 liters of clean water in just a few minutes. I haven’t seen anyone else on the trail carrying this system, and I think it’s because of two reasons. The Platypus 2L Gravity Filter is bulkier and heavier than the Sawyer squeeze. I’m carrying the entire kit, and it weighs in at 10.9 ounces. It’s definitely a “splurge” item, but it’s one that I’m so, so happy to have!

My second item is an ultralight item: the Nemo Switchback Sleeping Pad. Weighing in at 14.5 ounces, it’s virtually indestructible. I cinch it to the outside of the bottom of my bag, and its dual-purpose is to keep my bag upright when I take it off. The reason I chose the Nemo Switchback is because I despise, hate, abhor rolling up a sleeping pad in the morning. When I hiked the Ouachita, I remember every morning, squishing the air out of the sleeping pad and groaning as I started to roll it up. It’s time-consuming and meticulous. If you don’t roll it up just right, it takes up too much space inside the pack. I also wasn’t a fan of blowing it up every night. After a long day of walking, the last thing I wanted to do was blow up a sleeping pad. The Nemo Switchback was a last-minute addition. I think it was maybe 2 weeks before leaving for New Zealand that I decided that I wasn’t going to put up with rolling up a sleeping pad every morning. It took some getting used to since it’s just a foam pad, but now that I’m used to it, I love it. It’s super easy. I’ve also used it as a sit-pad during the day. I like that it’s multi-use. I like that it keeps me warm with the insulated layer on the bottom. I really, really like that I don’t have to roll it up in the morning!

The third item is another “splurge” item: my foldable Bluetooth keypad. It’s what I’m using to write this post right now! Weighing in at 5.53 ounces, this keypad is worth its weight! It quickly and easily connects to my phone’s Bluetooth. I then turn my phone to landscape, and I have the entire screen available while I’m typing. I love using it to blog, because it feels like I’m using my laptop back at home. It’s so easy and convenient. Plus, it’s held the original charge for this whole trip! I’m on day 40 right now, and I’ve written over 20 blog posts. I’d say that’s a good track record for the battery life on it! I just bought it off Amazon for around $25, and it was money well spent!

So, that’s me! I have other items I could write about, but these three take the spotlight for items that I’m so, so grateful to have with me! What about you? What are items you’ve brought and loved? Or, on the flip side, what are items you’ve brought and realized that you hated?

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 2

  • Pinball : Mar 12th

    1000% on the Nemo pad. Another plus is that they are quieter than inflatables. A toss n turner could keep themselves up all night in an inflatable. And if you’re a bear canister user- I throw my Nemo pad on top of my bearikade expedition for a relatively high chair stool for break time. Tough to beat.

    • Sam Francart : Mar 23rd

      So, so, so true!!! Thanks for sharing!!


What Do You Think?