Let’s talk gear

So I have been punished for having a month off in Wellington (lost all my conditioning). But feel very prepared for the up coming challenge ahead. This week we completed the lovely Queen Charlotte track and are heading into the Richmond Ranges for Christmas. Can’t wait to be honest.
Here is what I am carrying.

Road shoes

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Though barefoot is the way I like to be there are places it gets tough. So as a back up I got my toe shoes. They are not super ideal for tramping, when they are wet they stay wet plus not very robust. But they have lasted from Auckland and they do the job of protecting my feet.

3 litres of water
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I carry 3 litres of water as I don’t have much in the way of cooking I use it mostly for tea.

Two dry bags and a bivvy
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All my shelter stuff is in the top
My clothes and sleeping bag in the orange dry bag.
And the green is full of food and other equipment.

Cooking stuff
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I use a meths burner made from a v can as my method of choice. I only really use it for tea but then I was introduced to instant mashed potatoes.

This is my sleeping stuff
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Water proof bag and sleeping mat with my poncho fly.

Along with is sleeping bag I have been in some pretty bad weather and never noticed.
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I also made some leather shoes I traded the ice pick for the leather…I’ll let you know how long they last (I’m not confident).

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Technology
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Safety wise I have a PLB, a strobe light, a gps and I have a uv light to sterilise water all thanks to my mate Rowan. I also carry a solar panel to keep my phone charged (so this blog is possible).

Hunters stuff
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I also carry this collapsible 50 lb recurve bow. I also have a eel trap I made from fishing net. But the sun is gone so I can’t take the photo.

While in Wellington we made our own nut based bars and tried our hand at pemmican so we will see how that goes.

Anyway we won’t be out till early January so I will be spending both Christmas and my birthday in the bush. Don’t think I would have it any other way if I’m honest.
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Mountains to sea

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After getting through the pureora forest in one piece I got to Taumarunui with an unexpected surprise. The swedes were in town so after getting my gears sorted like always. We planned to walk the Tongariro crossing and the Wanganui river together. Both of these tracks are part of the Great Walks (the first I had heard of them) and this was the first time I had seen well maintained tracks and soo many people.

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(Where is the sign saying it’s safe?)

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As we climbed the sleeping giants we were treated to a bright and sunny day (the day before had been snowing). By the time we got to the lakes at the top the hordes of people were coming from the other side. I also found an ice pick and felt once we got to Ngaruhoe we were destined to take a picture of a hobbit,an elf and a dwarf in front of Mount Doom.

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Come sunset we had made camp at the hut (full of people) and had many interesting conversation with people all around the world. There is a real community feel to the people you find on the trail. I guess we are all looking for adventure so seeing a barefoot Maori with wooden things strapped to his back is a little weird but totally acceptable.

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Walking out the next day we ended up in National park and had agreed to be picked up by the kayak crew from there. Though we had a small issue of food. We put our last supplies together and figured we would manage.

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The next morning ended up being a late pick up. The kayak guy warned us about river rising and bad weather coming by the weekend and worst of all no reception! But honestly it was so amazing to be on the water. My poor feet got to rest up and we covered at least 40 km every two hours. The fastest I have ever moved.
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The feeling of isolation amongst the steep cliffs and forest was kind of peaceful. Each campsite we came to had its own unique charm. There was rain and hail but it was never uncomfortable. Though my blood sugar meter, cellphone and bow all got a little water damaged off the water they all came right.
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The river swell worked to our advantage as the closer we got to Wanganui the slower the current moved. The steep forest cliffs made way for sloping grassy farmland. And by day five we had made it to Wanganui.

Pushing on to Levin I had more family friends to visit and the weather up the Tararua range was terrible. We made the decision to give it a pass and headed to my family home in Wellington.

Now at my family home I have been preparing for the South Island. For though I may be half way the South is the tougher half. The Richmond range taking up to 12 days to complete.
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My gear has improved enough to last so far but is it good enough to complete the hardest section of the track? (I hope so)

…next blog I will show off exactly what my gear is.