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Roger Parsons, stalwart of the North Shore Tramping Club

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September 2020 Issue

Roger Parsons has been a stalwart of the North Shore Tramping Club since 1978 and has tramped all over New Zealand, ticking off 71 of the Wilderness 100.

“That’s with a bit of licence,” he says, noting that he has been turned back on seven of the trips due to poor weather. “But it gives you an idea of what the club has provided me.”

The 75-year-old has sought out lighter gear as he aged to ensure he can keep on tramping. The gear below is what he used when he walked the South Island leg of the Te Araroa Trail over two summers in 2016 and 2017.

The Z Pack Arch Haul is about as light as you can go for a 55l pack. It weighs only 660g and works well as long as the rest of your gear is also lightweight.

Storm Gear
A Kathmandu NGX3 jacket weighing 400g, long johns, balaclava, neck warmer, gloves and over-trousers packed in a dry bag.

Merino, merino, merino. Singlet, a short- and long-sleeved shirt, plus a light jacket. The merino layers keep me warm even when they get wet and they dry out quickly while I am wearing them.

I like the Asolo TPS 535 wide fitting tramping boot so much that I’m now on my third pair. I like the support and comfort of a full leather boot, especially on longer trips. For many years now I have had no trouble with my feet, even on long multi-day tramps. Happy feet = happy tramper.

I use a Jetboil personal cooker because it is so economic on fuel that I save weight carrying only one fuel canister. Most of my food is home-dehydrated.

A Terra Nova Laser Ultra 1 tent is the jewel in the crown of my lightweight gear. Small, double skinned, cuben fibre and thoroughly waterproof. Only 700g – but it is very expensive!

My 10-year-old Marmot Helium 15 900-fill goose down sleeping bag is warm enough for all my New Zealand tramping. The Therm-A-Rest Neo Air Xlite mattress is a delightful 340g. It is a very comfortable, full-length mat. Need I to say more?

My Black Diamond headlamp is small and lightweight. Modern technology has really helped to lighten the load here.

I carry a Fast Find 220 personal locator beacon. This model works worldwide so it is an essential item even when I travel overseas. Traditionally, the good Kiwi tramper was proudly self-sufficient. But it makes absolute sense in the modern world to carry a PLB. No tramper should be without one.

First Aid
The first aid box is just over 400g but it is essential for keeping me going over the long haul. It holds suncream, vaseline, insect repellent, Anti-Flamme, eyewash, Voltaren, Paracetamol, Leukoplast, BSN medical plaster, small scissors and a sewing kit.