Hopefully enough water is under the bridge from all the various forms of Lockdown we endured last year – for us to be able to whisper quietly amongst trusted friends that; they were actually good for us. Hang on – woah woah! Before you get too hot under the collar about such a radical statement; think about it for a minute: There’s nothing like the removal of something to encourage some actual appreciation for what we’ve had under our noses the whole time – and never noticed. I’m talking about stuff like; being able to ride in an Uber without having to wear a paper mask; having verbal conversations with other humans without using a single emoji; and experiencing the wonders of nature first hand. Sure, playing Call of Duty – Cold War, dancing on Tik Tok and watching Doja Cat videos definitely have their place in our lives, but maybe we did enough of that last year during Lockdown. It’s time now to get out and enjoy the stuff we can’t do at home – before it gets snatched away from us again, like Day Hiking.
One such activity is day hiking in our amazing national parks. The ultimate anti-Lockdown activity, bush trekking cannot be done at home no matter how good everyone says Zoom is – as not only do you need to leave the house but you have to wave bye-bye to the city as well. In return, you get a fully-fledged Digital Detox as well as some satisfyingly sore muscles you never knew you had. Plus, if you take along your phone – not to check emails of course – you can even take some photos to post on social media afterwards. Win/win!
Day hiking doesn’t cost a lot although it does require a bit of gear – yes, yes, we know you’re just planning to go out for the day, but you never know what might happen next. Cortes was just popping out for an hour before he ended up half a globe away in Latin America! A great philosophy to have when packing for your trip is; ‘just in case’. Here’s a list of what you should take for your next day hiking trip, at the very least:
1. Boots – frankly boots are better than shoes on the trail as they offer great ankle support, but they are heavier which can wear you out quicker. But if you don’t want boots make sure you wear proper hiking shoes, not sneakers as they have better grip and give your feet more protection. Either way make sure they are broken in first, as you absolutely DO NOT want to get blisters on the trail. Maybe wear two pairs of socks too.
2. Waterproof Jacket – yeah, yeah, it might be nice and sunny now and the weather report is stunning – but this is New Zealand, dude! It rains here all the time and, if you are trekking through bush-covered hills, that’s where the rain hangs out while it waits for a cricket Test match to start. Seriously, take one.
3. Warm Clothing – this includes woolen underwear so forget about the Victoria’s Secret shoot, dress for the worst possible scenario.
4. Spare Clothing – if there are any rivers, creeks and/or lakes wherever you are going, (HINT; a close to 100% possibility) there is a good chance you could fall in (HINT; a 100% probability) so you will need to get changed.
5. Food and Water – a water bottle is essential as are trail snacks, like scroggin or energy bars. Hiking is very tiring and thirsty work – and there are no dairies (or pubs!) nearby. Bring enough for two days too – just in case.
6. Insect repellant – living in the city, it’s easy to forget about pesky creatures like mosquitoes and sandflies. But out in the wild, believe me, they certainly won’t forget about you! You’ve been warned.
7. Swiss Army Knife/Gerber – finally a chance to use them! Get them out of the bedside drawer, blow off the dust and put them in your pack. You probably still won’t need to use them – but there is actually the sniff of a chance of duty!
8. Map and Compass – it only takes one wrong step and you can be off the trail so make sure you can find it again.
9. Gaffer Tape – it may seem like a strange thing to take, but gaffer tape is amazingly useful anywhere let alone on a day hiking trip. Use it to tape your shoes on if you are groveling through any mud; to make gaiters for your pants and; you can also put it over your nipples if you are walking a long way after getting a wet shirt. Pulling it off again is less amusing however – free wax anyone?
10. Locator Beacon – it may seem OTT but these things have saved lives many times before. If you have a satellite phone, bring that too.
11. First Aid Kit – this can be quite minimal but make sure there are plasters for blisters and scrapes at the very least.
And above all, have fun out there!