Te Araroa Gear List (Why Does Stuff Weigh So Much?)

As Feather demonstrates in the photo above, the ULA Circuit pack accommodates one large cat comfortably.

Boy, You’re Gonna Carry That Weight

As I assemble the gear list for my hike, I’ve found myself wishing that stuff just didn’t weigh so dang much. I’ve gotten my base weight down to 15.4 lbs (for the full rundown of items and weights you can take a look at my gear list here), gradually winnowing out extras like my spare pair of pants and my insulated travel mug. See you later, sweet mug… I promise to be true to you in my heart.

I’m a pretty committed thrift store rummager, which means I have an abundance of old weird cheap clothes and knickknacks. So it’s been entertaining and strange to spend a bunch of money on a very small array of precision-engineered technical gear that I’m going to stink up and pulverize.

Things have certainly gotten a lot lighter over the years – no more 5-lb. tents or 4-lb. sleeping bags! – but I’ve nevertheless been experiencing the same old push and pull between wanting to be amply prepared on the one hand and wanting to be light and unencumbered on the other.

My New Panic Tent, and Other Special Items

I’m swapping out my 2-person Big Agnes Fly Creek tent for a new (and significantly lighter) The One from Gossamer Gear. This will be the first time I’m using a shelter that’s held up by trekking poles instead of conventional tent poles, and I’m a little nervous about it blowing over in the wind. To reassure myself I’ve been reading the 5 million rave reviews people have written about it (conservative estimate) and resolving to practice a bunch before I leave. Did I just order this tent in a panic 3 weeks before I leave town? Why yes I did. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Leaving behind the anxiety-driven impulse-purchasing, one of the things I’m most excited about is the insulated cozy I sewed for my cookpot. I made it from a piece of interfacing (which is a kind of thin foam sheeting with fabric backing on both sides that’s used on the insides of quilts and such) and a pair of ill-fitting quick-dry underwear. It even has a lid and a hand strap! Knowing that I am going to be eating dinner out of underwear every day makes me unaccountably happy. Also just FYI and so you don’t judge me, the ill-fittingness of the underwear meant that I had hardly worn them, and I truly believe they are now fulfilling their highest possible use. I know I’m really selling it here – I bet you want one too now.

My cook set, starring insulated cookpot cozy sewed out of unmentionables.

Another thing I’m in love with are my trekking poles, which are the MSR Carbon Fiber DynaLock Ascent. What I appreciate most about them is that in addition to telescoping down, they separate into 3 sections held together by an internal cable, so that the minimum stowed length is about 14”. This makes them incredibly packable – helpful for bundling them into the interior of my pack for the flight to NZ, and also less cumbersome when I want to shove them into an external side pouch during trips into town. They’re also nice and light at around 14 oz, and after about 100 miles of shakedown hiking they’ve proven themselves plenty sturdy.

MSR Carbon Fiber DynaLock Ascent trekking poles – look how small these puppies fold up!

I’m taking a few luxury items like a Kindle and a sitting pad, and I’ve traded up for a larger Anker battery block that should be able to charge my phone 4x (better safe than stuck with a dead phone, since I’m going to be using the Te Araroa navigation app in lieu of paper maps).

Well, that’s it for now! Leaving in exactly 16 days… feeling excited and nervous and pretty jazzed about this adventure!

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