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Author and tramper Michelle Campbell

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January 2022 Issue

Author and tramper Michelle Campbell completed Te Araroa with her partner in 2017 and has written a book about the experience, Meeting Papa: a journey on Te Araroa. Her gear includes a mix of lightweight and comfort items for summer season tramps. Here’s what’s in her pack.


My Osprey Exos 58 is an early version of Osprey’s lightweight backpacks released in 2015. I nabbed it on sale (like much of my gear) and had no expectation the thin straps would last more than 100km. But Osprey quality hasn’t failed and after thousands of kilometres, it’s still going strong.


I have an MSR Hubba Hubba NX tent with an additional footprint. It’s a lightweight package that provides a surprising amount of space. Like most lightweight tents, it’s suited for fair-weather tramps and the footprint has proved to be mostly decorative in poor weather.

Hiking poles

Sturdy and reliable, my Black Diamond poles were an awesome upgrade from lightweight Fizan poles that broke under the pressure of rugged Kiwi tramping.

Sleeping pad

My Therm-A-Rest Neoair sleeping pad was a real treat when first purchased but is slowly starting to show its age and the perils of not using an inflater. Now filled with some questionable mould spores it’s still part of the kit as it’s not dead yet. Very narrow and noisy when in use but also very light and compact.


Petzl headtorch, Lightweight Smaak battery pack and charge cable, phone and charger.


First aid kit, PLB, Jetboil, cotton pee rag, Sea to Summit bowl, cup and spoon, Opinel knife, hand sanitiser, lip balm, Sea to Summit ultralight Nano-sil packs for food, Osprey waterproof pack cover, earplugs, toilet paper and spare batteries.

Water systems

I use a Nalgene bottle because its wide mouth easily fits my Steripen water purifier. It also doubles as a hold for physio tape to avoid extra weight and is also an excellent shaker container for Raro on hot summer days. I also carry a 2l reservoir with a slide top for extra water. I find the slide tops are the only water bladders that do not leak.


I mostly tramp in trail runners. My favourite brand has been Salomon as their ‘quicklace’ system means you don’t have to worry about the laces coming undone. I always pair my shoes with Outdoor Research trail gaiters.


Most of my shirts and socks are merino, layers include a lightweight North Face jacket, Outdoor Research rain jacket and gloves. I have a couple of Buffs and a moisture-wicking Patagonia sun visor.

Sleeping bag

I have a Rab Atlas Explorer 500 that has lasted nearly 10 years! While it’s one of the heavier pieces in my kit at nearly 1kg, it keeps me, a cold sleeper, cosy with a max rating to -2℃.