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Ieva Laucina, Te Araroa tramper

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June 2020 Issue

There was only one way Ieva Laucina was going to walk the Te Araroa Trail - by going as light as possible.

Ieva Laucina first came to New Zealand in 2018 to visit friends she had made while running dog sledding tours in Norway. She fell in love with the mountains here and decided to hike the Te Araroa Trail with only a running pack. 

“I wanted to experience the freedom of the mountains, moving fast and light,” she says. But after other trampers began asking her, ‘Is that all you carry?’, Laucina laid open her pack to show the essentials she walked the South Island with.

I use an Ultimate Direction 35l Fastpack which weighs 710g. It’s a vest design with front pockets handy for snacks, phone and water. It has a roll-top closure which means I can roll it down tight or expand it a bit when I have extra food to carry. The front mesh stretch pocket is practical for storing food on big days. It’s not waterproof, so I also carry a rain cover. I also pack a Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil daypack which helps keep me organized at camp and is handy for resupply missions.

My Big Agnes Fly Creek HV1 Platinum weighs 765g and takes up very little space in my pack. I’ve found it great for the changeable weather of New Zealand. The material is very thin yet durable and, best of all, sandfly-proof.

Sleeping mat
I pack a 370g Sea to Summit Ether Light XT (small) mattress. It’s insulated,
thick and easy to inflate with a stuff sack. However, I do find it very noisy to sleep on.

Sleeping bag
I have a Sea to Summit Flame FMII bag which weighs 500g and has a comfort rating of 2℃. It squashes down to a very small size and quickly lofts when unpacked. I use a Sea to Summit Thermolite Extreme Liner which vastly improves the temperature rating of my bag – it was too hot to use in huts.

I use an ultra-light Salomon windbreaker and a very light and durable rain jacket from Arc’teryx. Most of my merinos are from Macpac, which I love. My Patagonia down jacket can be stuffed into its pocket and used as a pillow. Bright colours are key to cheer me up and to be visible in the bush.

My Katadyn BeFree filter system takes up almost no space and is kept handy in the front pack pocket. It makes it easy to get cold water from fresh streams. I use Salomon soft flasks when I need to carry extra cold or warm water.

First aid kit
I carry a kit in a dry bag and include essentials like plasters, bandages, emergency blanket and pills.

It’s a JetBoil personal cooker. It’s small, practical and really fast at boiling water. After long days on the trail, I appreciate having a meal ready in no time.

I started out with a pair of Salomon shoes but I kept getting blisters, so I swapped for a more expensive pair of Altra trail running shoes. These were really comfortable and I never got another blister, but they weren’t as durable and I needed two pairs to complete the South Island.

Walking poles
I use Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Trekking Poles (255g).

My secondhand Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 weighs 400g. For such a small gadget, it has great video and photo quality.