Our special thanks to Tararua Tramping Club for sharing some invaluable hiking/tramping tips for those who are just getting started or those who just need some reminders.
- Planning is everything. Know where you are going to go; get the maps, and also work out plan B in case the weather packs up.
- The group on the tramp is of the utmost importance. You can only go as far and as fast as your weakest member, so select your group well.
- If you are going on-track take a map. If you are going off-track you also need a compass and these days a GPS is also useful.
- Always take a set of dry clothes to put on when you get to the hut/set up camp. Do not be tempted to put your dry clothes on the next day if the track clothes are wet. Wear the wet ones; you will soon warm up when you are walking.
- In the New Zealand bush (and most other countries as well) boots will get wet. Get over it! Put them on the next morning, walk quickly and your feet will soon warm up.
- Avoid wearing any cotton when tramping, particularly jeans. Instead wear wool, polypropylene or fleece*.
- Your boots and raincoat are the most important items when you tramp. Make sure the first are comfortable and the latter is waterproof.
- Your most important accessories are your hat and gloves (wool* is best); you can use them to manipulate how warm you feel.
- Packet soups sachets make a wonderful treat when you first get to a hut, warming one up and replacing lost salt.
- It always pays to take a thermarest or equivalent; you never know when you might get to a hut and find it full. There is always room on the floor.
- Join a tramping club; it will enhance your ability to go and enjoy a whole variety of outdoor experiences within New Zealand or Australia. They also have bushcraft, navigation, leadership and alpine instruction courses.
*Editors note – Icebreaker merino wool is obviously best – please remember that polyproplyene and fleece are synthetic and ultimately stink!
Some useful links