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Long-distance tramper Stefan Fairweather

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January 2019 Issue

Long-distance tramper Stefan Fairweather walked the Te Araroa Trail in 2017, penning a book about his experience called North to South. This Christmas he plans to hike from Kumara to Christchurch followed by a packrafting journey from Jackson's Bay to the Hollyford Road.

I usually wear a pair of running shorts and a quick-dry shirt. If things get chilly or I’m heading up high, I have a short sleeved merino top. I carry quick-dry pants with me, and tucked away in a dry bag is a spare polyprop top, merino leggings and some warm socks for the hut. I carry a The North Face down jacket, as well as Outdoor Research rain pants and jacket. I like my OR cap with neck protector and my Montbell beanie.

I use a Deuter Trek Lite sleeping bag and a nifty bedroll called a Montbell Airpad 180 I picked up in Japan. It’s like a Therm-A-Rest but has no filling, so it packs down much smaller.

An MSR Windburner, titanium spork, collapsible bowl, pocket knife and lighter.

Standard topo maps. Sometimes I’ll just use the ViewRanger app on my phone if the hike is only two or three days.

I rarely walk without my Black Diamond Trail Pro Trekking poles. My Black Diamond Icon headlamp gives great night hiking ability with 500 lumens and a much softer hut setting. I usually carry a plastic orange trowel for ‘just in case’.

My Salewa boots fit like a glove. Depending on conditions, I’ll wear my Sea to Summit gaiters.

I have an Alpacka Llama raft. Because I don’t paddle more than grade two rapids, I don’t need spray deck or cargo holds. My pack strapped to the front of the raft keeps me a little protected from the more ‘enthusiastic’ rapids. I use an inflatable Anfibio PFD bought from a German supplier and my paddle is a four-piece Aqua Bound Manta Ray.

When I’m on my own, I use a Macpac Sololite tent, but if I have a companion I’ll take my two-person The North Face Tadpole tent.

I carry two one-litre Platypus reservoirs. When I was walking the Te Araroa, I had to supplement this with another two-litre bladder. With respect to food, I like playing around with my dehydrator at home and trying a range of foods while out hiking, my favourite being chicken vegetable curry with cheesy mashed potatoes.

My Macpac Ascent that I bought in Queenstown five years ago has been carried the length of the country. Everything in my pack is protected with a pack liner, in addition to being compartmentalised in dry bags.

Safety and communication
A Safety Alert Kti PLB, and my phone. I also carry a SOL emergency blanket, first aid kit with some pain relief, plasters, a couple of bandages, sunscreen, insect repellent a triangular bandage/sling.