Monday, 29 July 2013

Hammock thruhiking New Zealand on the Te Araroa Trail

I know this isn't the usual or normal piece of gear in New Zealand, but I am going to hammock camp as often as I can while completing the Te Araroa Trail. I've read about one tramper, Jacob who took a hammock, so I know I'm not the only one!

Why a hammock? I get a fantastic night's rest in one. I've been using a Warbonnet Blackbird for almost a year continuously now, even indoors (!) instead of a bed. Weird? Maybe... but I wake up feeling great, no kinks or neck pains.

If you've checked out my gear list , you'll note a few things to help me out if (ok, when) I find myself without trees to hang from. I usually use an under quilt to keep me warm and insulate my butt. For this thruhike, I'll use a CCF pad instead. That way when I need to 'go to ground' I can use the pad. My trekking poles will be used to support my tarp like normal tent poles, and my hammock itself will be used as a bug net or second wall when needed.

What do you think, am I mad? Have you done much tramping with a hammock in New Zealand conditions before? Your thoughts and/or advice gratefully received. Don't forget to check out my Givealittle page to donate to Shine... thanks, you are awesome!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Testing my iPhone...

So I thought I should test the blogger app on my iPhone, as well as location services!

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

My Gear List

This is what I am planning to take.. more or less. I'm waiting to get back to NZ to pull kit from storage and weigh it, hence why some items have no weight! Weight is in kg. I cut this from an excel spreadsheet, didn't line up as well as I hoped, please forgive the ugliness of this list!

Aarn Featherlite Freedom 1.8
Pack Cover/Liner included in pack weight
Stuff Sack (Clothing) Kifaru stuffsack 0.075
Stuff Sack (Sleeping Bag) Kifaru stuffsack 0.075
Stuff Sack (Food) Cuban fibre 0.04
Stuff Sack (Shelter) bishop bag (incl in hammock weight)
Stuff Sack (Ditties) Kifaru pullout/ziplock

Warbonnet Edge Tarp incl whoopie slings and guys 0.375
Ground Cloth
Stakes 6 x GG Ti-lite long tent stakes 0.042
Guylines inclded above
Bug Tent Warbonnet blackbird 1.1 dble and suspension 0.83
Hammock sock Warbonnet travelsock 0.264

Kifaru doobie express 0.595

Sleeping pad
GG1/4in thinlight wide 0.227

Thermal Top
Icebreaker polo 0.21
Thermal Bottoms Icebreaker 0.145
Jacket/Vest Montbell Thermawrap 0.405
Rain Jacket/Poncho Zpacks Cuban Fibre Rain Jacket w pit zips 0.138

Spare Pants/Shorts Adidas running shorts 0.15
Shell Pants Macpac  0.3
Hiking Socks Lorpen  0.035
Sleeping Socks Lorpen 0.065
Warm Hat Icebreaker beanie 0.045
Waterproof gloves
Waterproof sock liners
underwear Icebreaker or Arc'teryx 0.085

Cooking Stove
Caldera ti-tri 0.08
Fuel Bottle/Canister pump water bottle 600ml 0.025
Cook Pot Evernew .75 pasta pot 0.105
Pot Cozy
Mug Sea to Summit plastic mug 0.07
Spoon plastic rationpack spoon 0.01
Ignition swisssteel  0.01
Water Bottles platybottle x 2
Water Bladder platy 2 l bottle
Water Treatment potable aqua ClO2 tablets x10 0.005
pot scrubber rationpack scrubber 0.002

Trail Maps/Guidebook
To be printed A4 sheets
Compass suunto 0.065
Light Petzl elite 0.03
First Aid Kit home made 0.1
Knife victorianox spartan 0.05
Fire Starter cotton balls/vasaline 0.035
Emergency Whistle built in to e-lite
Bug Repellant Goodbye sandfly 40ml and head net 0.08
Possibles pouch kifaru small pullout/ziplock .01 0.03
EPIRB Delorme Inreach 2 way sat comms 0.23
knife sharpner Smiths 0.025
cordage 0.03
duct tape 0.05

Toilet Paper
Hand Sanitizer use soap
Toothbrush and floss (double as sewing thread) 0.015
Toothpaste 0.03
Camp Towel MSR 0.035
Soap/shampoo 0.05
Blister Treatment duct tape
Chafe Treatment vasaline 0.06
foot powder 0.035
Deoderant crystal 0.065
nail clipper 0.02

Cell Phone
iphone w Lifeproof case and earphones 0.2

Spare Batteries AA and CR 0.07
Battery Charger Powermonkey classic (70gms?) 0.095
Trail Journal iphone
Pen/Pencil 0.005

Icebreaker/Arc'teryx 0.085
Shirt Icebreaker GT 0.2
Shorts/Pants Macpac crossterrain (.35) 0.35
Socks Lorpen 0.035
Shoes/Boots Salomon XA 3D Ultra 2 0.775
Sunglasses Rudy Project Impactx 0.035
Sun Hat Macpac Legionnaire hat 0.08
Trekking Poles Black Diamond Alpine Cork Trek 0.49
handkerchief icebreaker/army shamagh? 0.045
gaiters 0 Kg 
Wallet travel wallet, waterproof 0.02

Yes, I'm taking a hammock. I've been sleeping in one as a matter of preference since about Sept last year and I've been loving it! I'm fairly confident I can modify it to suit the conditions (hammock sock, going to ground etc). 

Aarn Featherlite Freedom stuffed to the gunnels. Shouldn't look like this except for long sections of the walk! 35l assault pack in the background for comparison

Monday, 8 July 2013

The Plan...

I've been thinking about walking Te Araroa for a while. And you know how it is, an opportunity presents itself and you can either go for it or hope it will come around again. In my case, my employer couldn't tell me what role they wanted to place me in after coming back from an overseas post.... and I thought, hmmmmm. How about five months leave? Sold!

And I have been quietly putting things together, reading blogs, and planning. Only to wake up to the fact that it is only about seven weeks away before I should be standing at Cape Reinga and pointing my nose South! Holy crap. Better get cracking then.

Why am I doing this? Ok, mostly because I can. But selfishness aside, it was suggested to me to use my time to raise funds for a worthwhile cause, and that appeals. I'm working on that part, and getting word out, so stay tuned.

The basic plan of attack is to take things slowly at first. Plan the first week in detail, see how things go. Adapt, adjust, roll with the punches. I've walked El Camino de Santiago in Spain, which was just amazing and life-affirming. I was going to go back seven years later, but thought I could do better. See what my own back yard has to offer.

That's it! My first blog too, you will notice this because it is a bit pokey and no bells and whistles... I'll try to flash things up as I go! For anyone interested, I'll also post soonish my equipment list so you can ridicule me for my gear choices :-) Hey, if you don't have a sense of humour... you know how it goes.