Gear Review Te Araroa

So how did it all hold up? Was it worthy of the price tag? Heres the conclusion.
I won’t be reviewing every piece of kit in my gear list, just the essentials. I’ve also given the items a star rating out of 5 ☆☆☆☆☆ based on my personal experience with them.

MSR hubba hubba NX tent 2 person + footprint ☆☆☆


-2 door entry
-Spacious interior & vestibules
-High enough roof to sit up inside
-Extremely quick and easy set up
-Pop velcro windows
-Well placed mesh pockets
-A light 1998 grams

-The tent would get extremely wet after rain but also if there was just moisture in the air
– The $100 footprint didn’t make a difference, we still woke up with a wet floor 80% of the time
-As we weren’t always able to dry out the tent out an impressive white mould formed on the floor of the tent

Thermostat neoair x sleeping pad ☆☆


-Light weight 355g
– Easily deflated, rolled and packed away
-Theres a couple of inches between you and the floor which made for a warm, dry sleep

– A bit narrow. My arms would often have to be folded over my chest
– Noisy! really quite squeaky if you toss and turn the sound will wake you up
– It took about 30-40 breaths to fill. This could make me feel faint some days when it had been really hot
– Became impressively mouldy on the inside. There is no way to clean this

RAB atlas explorer sleeping bag 500 fill ☆☆

– Super cozy and comfortable
– Seperate zip at the base for hot feet
– Top hood and seperate cables for the hood and bag for chilly nights

– A heavy 1100g
– In the North Island this bag was simply too hot 60% of the time

Osprey exos 58L backpack ☆☆☆


– Lightweight 1400g
– 2 Top lid options
– Lots of pockets
– Surprisingly sturdy straps given how thin they are
– Comfortable. Back ventilation a huge plus
– Made for a great seat on the trail (another reason why the mesh has holes!)

– The small straps where the camelback tubes go into are quite tight
– The ski pole cable on the left shoulder strap put holes in our clothes through friction (see clothes section below)
– I use the pockets quite hard so there are a few holes in the mesh
– At first the shoulder straps felt really thin and cut into my chest. It took about a month to get used to this

Sea to summit backpack liner 50L☆☆☆


– No rain got through this tough puppy. Honestly it was awesome
– Sturdy toggles

– A heavy 50g but most of the lightweight options I encountered on the trail broke, Like Jacks Macpac cover
– The dome snap could sometimes be quite difficult to unsnap. As time went on the dome got quite rusty
– One tear on the trail at the base of the liner. This was on a rough terrain section of the Richmond Ranges

Icebreaker clothes & socks ☆☆☆☆


– Wicked sweat
– Dried quickly
– Extremely light
– Helped with odours
– Lifetime guarantee on socks (only socks though!). We replaced our socks in Whangnui and Queenstown

–  Holes developed quickly
– Fabric thinned out until it was transparent (usually where pack sits – back, hips and shoulders)
– Expensive

North face thermoball jacket☆☆☆

– Warm and cozy
– Well design snug Hood
– Super light
– Roomy pockets and includes internal pocket that is a perfect size for paper maps

– Expensive ($350 NZD)
– Lots of loose threads. Sewing work of subpar quality. I had concerns that whole seams would split because threads were coming loose all the time but the jacket held up

Outdoor research Helium II rain jacket☆☆


– Lightweight 175g
– Folds down into a pocket square in the internal pocket
– Works well in light rain/showers
– Not sweaty
– Chest pocket big enough for smartphone

– Not waterproof in heavy rain
– Small holes and tears developed in the hood
– Water accumulation on shoulders and arms within 5 minutes of heavy rain

Salamon Wings Flyte 2 model trail runner☆☆


– Cheap ($120 at rebel sports)
– Comfortable
– Excellent tread
– No shoestrings to come undone- quick pull laces worked well

– Design flaw in the sole where gravel stones got wedged
– Mesh toe broke apart easily.

*side note. I did switch to a bigger size shoe in Auckland as they were originally bought 2 sizes too small. My feet swelled a lot! But the condition of the shoe was quite good by that stage so in total I went through 3 pairs of these shoes. I believe if I bought the correct size from the start 2 pairs (1 for each island) would have sufficed

Outdoor research gaiters ☆☆☆


– Features like metal edging and sticky back pattern so gaiters stayed in place without bands
– Tough but comfortable fabric, the upper just felt like socks
– Easy adjusting toggles

– Metal edging split through fabric on one of the gaiters
– Because I wore the gaiters with no bands during river crossings they would often ride up. This would only be annoying in shingle bed or sandy grit rivers

Fizan trekking poles 


– Lightweight
– Telescopic adjustable poles
– Mud baskets
– Comfy handles and soft fabric straps

– Pole ends fractured 3 times on the trail and ended up like stumps unable to grip into ground
– Mid way down the North Island the handles kept popping off the top of the pole
– The telescopic poles would often fill with water and mud/grit and become stuck. A few times we had to wrench them apart with pliers
– After a fall one of Jacks poles broke cleanly in half. While the aluminium makes for lightweight poles it doesn’t make them tough

Jetboil 500ml ☆☆☆☆

– Fuel efficient
– Compact
– Super fast (with full gas can boils water in a minute)
– Easy to use and set up
– Excellent design blocks wind

– A bit small for 2 people, we often would boil water twice. Perhaps should have gone for the 1 litre model but its almost double the weight
– Expensive
– Occasionally we would have trouble mounting the jetboil pot onto the burner. Finding the link could be hard in the dark or if we were really tired

Steripen ☆☆

– Quick (faster than a sawyer. Treats 1 litre in 1 minute)
– No chemical method
– Compact and relatively light

– Replacement batteries were crazy expensive ($13-14 each, yes each! and you need 2).We used 6 batteries in total on the trail
– When it was sunny you can’t see the UV bulb flashing so its difficult to tell if the water is actually being treated












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