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Laura Waters, travel writer

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July 2019 Issue

Laura Waters is a travel writer, author and speaker with a passion for inspiring people to connect with nature.

Laura Waters’ journey hiking Te Araroa was a game-changer, prompting her to quit a corporate job in favour of a more simple and authentic life, including more time in the great outdoors. She’s now hopelessly addicted to long hikes. Here is what she packs.

Packing method
My pack has a dry bag liner that resists all but the heaviest downpours. I use bin bags to line the inside to be sure and then just stuff everything in. I’ve stopped using stuff sacks and, with no dead space, it’s saved me considerable volume. Plus it’s quicker to pack and unpack.

It’s hard to overstate just how much I love my Aarn Featherlight Freedom. Aarn’s bodypacks spread the load and I literally never suffer from back or shoulder pain anymore, regardless of how much I’m carrying. My load feels about 5kg lighter with a bodypack, plus important stuff is easily accessible in front pockets.

I’ve recently shifted to an Enlightened Equipment Revelation quilt and I love it. It’s super toasty, lightweight, and I can spread out and pull the kind of shapes I normally do at home. I pair it with a Therm-A-Rest NeoAir Xtherm for added warmth. My tent is Terra Nova Solar Competition 1 – it’s small but freestanding and only weighs a kilo. My groundsheet is a piece of Tyvek.

I carry a first aid kit with decent painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, antiseptic wipes, adhesive Band-aids and butterfly stitches, anti-stick gauze pads, a bandage or two plus an emergency blanket. A RescueMe PLB always comes along, too.

Wash kit
Good hygiene avoids unpleasant skin conditions. A loofah mitt lets me scrub my body squeaky clean with minimal water, while a thick Chux dishcloth works just as effectively as a chamois towel. The whole shebang weighs around 20g.

I’ve enjoyed my Snowpeak Gigapower stove for around 5000km now. It’s safe, simple and – when paired with the Snowpeak Stove Windscreen – hugely efficient with gas. Dinner is eaten straight from a Snowpeak titanium pot.

Little luxuries
I carry a tiny chunk of Lush massage bar to rub over sore feet and legs at day’s end. A little goes a long way and just five minutes makes a huge difference to recovery.

I’m a huge fan of Rab hiking pants – they’re tough enough to let you slide and crawl over anything. Likewise, Rab’s Catalyst fleece and Neutrino down jacket are toasty and lightweight. My Kathmandu XT Alopex jacket has comfortably withstood some serious downfalls. I use Outdoor Research for thermals.

– Buy Laura’s book Bewildered in the Wilderness book store – subscribers get 10% off.