Gear Details

Monday, April 17, 2017 Jule 5 Comments


GENERAL THOUGHTS:
 


Gear is one of the main topics, while preparing for the trip. Here, we firstly want to emphasise, that the gear is something individual. Everyone has very specific needs, therefore it is important to reevaluate each idea and place it in your own environment.
Apart from the Te Araroa specific setting (4 possible seasons, very unreliable weather, etc.). Our gear needs to fullfil some specific needs due to personal reasons.


Firstly, Hauke is quite tall (2,08m or 6.8ft), which influences our choices of tents, sleeping pads & bags and makes the shoe question a little bit harder. Secondly, you need to ask yourself where your body has it's weak points, you need to put special care into. Thirdly, you need to calculate the costs of the gear. Everyone wants as lite as possible with the best possible equipment. But in the end, ultralight gear is often ultra expensive. We did a "stock-check" prior and than decided on what needs to be replaced, upgraded or purchased. The gain an overview, you'll find our gear list here.

TENT:


Firstly we planned to buy a TarpTent, but due to a lack of outfitters, selling them in Europe, we searched for other option. Looking for alternatives, our attention caught by the the MSR flylight. Especially, the quadratic entrance matches our needs (big person has to enter the tent) greatly. However, it the end the we decided to by a two-walled tent, due condensation problems in single-walled tents. Tarptents, a US company, has specialized on ultra light tents and offer different options. Finally, we chose the Strato Spire II, a non-free standing double-walled ultra light tent (ca 1200g). In Germany, you can purchase these tents from a shop in Rostock. The owner is very kind and experience and is willing to help. As usual, tents from the US are not seam sealed yet, and needs to be done by yourself. Great instuructions can be found online. Due to bad weather and a drying period of 24h, we had to do it inside and had to be creative about the tent construction ;). The first impression of the tent is great, yet it is to early to make the call. To give the tent the last finish, we added some additional ropes and different stakes. 

Wechsel Outpost 2

Old picture of Hauke in front of our Outpost 2 Wechsel tent two years ago in Australia. This tent was a great choice for us, due to the diagonal lying area. However, it is to heavy for the Te Araroa to carry on. We love the idea of using our trekking poles to hold up a shelter.

Post-Trail Comment: We simply loved our Tarp Tent. Honestly, most of the times we slept in the outstanding hut, but when ever needed, the tent was very easy to pitch and provided great shelter. Although it is large sized, we always found a suitable spot to pitch the tent. We did replace the tent pegs with lighter ones with from MSR in advance, which did a great job, too. We did not have a single rip or repair, it never leaked water either. We loved to have two separate entrances and sufficient room to store our backpacks. To sum this up: We would buy the exact same tent again!  

SLEEPING PAD & BAG: 


Post-Trail Comment: We used Therm-a-rest Neo Xlite sleeping pads. They were extraordinary comftable and available in a variation sizes. They pack very small and are super lite. Both survived the trail perfectly fine and we slept so well on them. Only thing we would change is that we would bring a pump bag, too. Otherwise it's quite a lot of effort to inflate them and makes you fairly dizzy. 

Which sleeping bag to take was a hard decision for us. Due to Haukes body length, only two brands were of closer interest to us. Yeti and Exped produce sleeping bags with a length of 2,4m. Additionally, we wanted to be able to zip our sleeping bags together. To make this possible, you need one sleeping bag with a left zip and one with a right zip. Finally, we decided to us Yeti VIB 600 sleeping bags with a comfort zone of -1°C. While walking in March in the south of the South Island you'll have to face freezing temperature. We were always very happy with our choice. Generelly, we were rather on the warm side with our sleeping bags and often only used it as a blanket, but in those few very cold nights, we were so happy to stay warm. Lots of our Te Araroa friends brought insufficient sleeping bags and ended up spending a lot of money on inlets or new sleeping bags. Furthermore, it's very relaxing, when you do not have to worry about freezing at night. Therfore our advice: Do not save on the sleeping bags, otherwise you'll reget it. 
Therm-a-rest Neo Xlite
Therm-a-rest Neo Xlite

KITCHEN: 


To make it short: We already own a Jetboil Flash, which we purchased in Australia before hiking Hinchinbrook Island and we love it. No need to change anything! 

Post-Trail Comment: As say before, it's still great and simply safes you a lot of gas. Would take the same device again. If we would have to buy a new one, we would buy the newest wider modle (same volume, just wider). This makes cooking easier and you can store the medium gas bottles in there, too.  
Jetboil Flash
Jetboil Flash

TREKKING POLES:


Trekking poles have become famous again for the last years. There are some important advantages for using trekking poles. The most important thing is that they offer higher balance during challenging backcountry hiking and secondly reduce stress for your body. Trekking poles are sold in different materials (aluminium or carbon), pole adjustment mechanisms (twist lock or external lever lock), number of sections (two or three), basket sizes, shock absorbers, weight and grips.

Aluminium: 
+ a little flexible, therefore more break resistent
+ cheaper
- heavy

Carbon

+ light weight
+ stable
- expensive
- breaks more easily, when bend


SHOES:

Shoes is a very important topic, if not the most important. Wrong shoes can spoil your whole trip. There are hundreds of different options for shoes: bear foot shoes - trail runners - hiking boots, mesh - gore tex - leather and everyone has a different opinion about this. Here, we would like to give you some support on general topics. It can help you to narrow the decision down a bit. But we can't really tell you, what will be the best shoe for you. We won't discuss bare foot shoes, since we don't have any experience on them. We just want to let you know, that some people do wear them on long distance trails. 


1. Look at your feet! Foot malformations are common! Some have flatfeet, some have skew feet, some have a hallux valgus. Include your foot anatomy in your choice of shoes. Some shoes, for example Asics, often have a supination support included. This does make sense, if your feet "roll" inward, but can push you into over supination, if your foot arches properly. The best is to visit a local sports shoe shop and get your foot anatomy analysed. 


2Look at our path! What type of ground are going to walk on most? Are you going to walk/run mostly on streets or well maintained paths? Are you going to walk al lot on slippery rocks? Will you have to walk on ice or snow? The type of track defines the shoe sole you are going to need. 


3. What type of shoes to pick? Most of the people use trail runners. As Europeans like to wear "real" hiking boots, it is somehow a little bit difficult to get used to idea of trail runners - at least it was for me. Here some ideas, while we did pick trail runners in the end.




The Te Araroa passes lots rivers and you'll have wet feet regularly. Therefore, it does make sense to pick non-waterproof shoes as they can dry quickly. Waterproof shoes basically lock the water, coming into your show via the top, inside of the shoe, keeping your feet nicely moist, a perfect biotope for athlete's foot. A large range of companies offer trail runners with mesh without a membrane, but it's fairly difficult to find real hiking shoes without leather or gore tex. 

While boots offer you some ankle support (no, they don't fully protect your from a sprained ankle), trail runners don't do this. Still with muscle training, you'll be able to strengthen your muscle tone, protecting your ankle. However, this is still an individual decision. 
    Trail runners give you the great benefit, that they weigh much less than real hiking boots. The weight on your feet is also weight you are carrying. Light-weight shoes simply save some energy. 
      Until now, we mostly hiked in leather boots. The pros of weight and non-waterproof material convinced us to buy trail runners for our trip. But trail runners offer a great variety of stability and flexibility, too. While trying on a lot of different shoes from different outfitters, we realised one major difference. Most of the shoes made by companies coming from the fitness section such as Nike, Brooks, Adidas, produce lot more light weight, flexible, non-protective shoes than companies coming for the mountain/hiking sector (La Sportiva, Merrell, Salomon..). We both like to have some support, protection and stability, paying off with their weight. 

      Finally we chose: 

        It is important to note, that you always need to follow your own individual needs. It's great to benefit of others experience, but the most important thing is, that YOU feel comfortable and confident about your shoes. YOU'LL have to walk in them many miles and therefore they need to be perfect for YOU and for no one else.


        Post-Trail Comment: As we figured on the trail, shoes are the most important and the most difficult topic. Just after five days of walking, Julia ended up with an Achilles tendon inflammation. As it seemed, our feet and ankles weren't prepared for trail runners. We ended up, no walking the Richmond Rage track, had to hitch out and buy extremely expensive hiking boots in Nelson. After a couple of weeks of walking and training, Julia was able to switch back to her trail runners.  

        Disclosures: For sharing affiliate-links, we received discount on some products. The Hyberg Attila Backpack of Julia was fully sponsored by http://greenline.de.com/.

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