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May 2020 Issue
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Shaun Barnett, Wilderness’ roving editor

As well as being Wilderness’ roving editor, Shaun Barnett is a renowned tramper and Wellington-based writer and photographer.

“I’m fortunate to be able to make a modest living out of writing and photographing the outdoors,” he says. “What I carry in my pack is a balance between what I need for the adventure and the camera equipment to record the experience.”

Camera gear
I take a Nikon D850 with a Nikkor 18-35mm and 70-300mm lenses, assorted filters, a spare battery, and a Really Right Stuff tripod, which weighs just over 1kg but is stable. Combined, this gear is heavy, but allows me the greatest capacity for the sort of photography I like doing. I try and keep everything else in my pack as light as possible to compensate for the camera gear.

Diary and book
I keep a diary for every trip and write notes in an exercise book during the evenings. I usually take a slim paperback to read as well.

Top-of-the-pack stuff sack
This stays in the top lid of my pack, and has a PLB, map, compass, snacks, sunscreen, gloves and sunhat. It can be stuffed into a coat pocket if I’m doing a short side-trip away from camp.

Stove and billy
A light aluminium billy, one that can cook a meal for four, plus fit in my mug, bowl and spoon. I usually take a lightweight gas cooker, but for longer trips an MSR Whisperlite petrol stove.

First aid kit
Scissors, painkillers, plasters, bandages plus the essential roll of strapping tape – which is also useful for fixing footwear or rips in a tent.

Sleeping mat
A tried-and-true Therm-a-Rest Trail Lite (750g).

I’ve had my share of cold, wet nights at an unplanned bivvy so I always take enough spare clothing to have a dry set: Earth Sea Sky raincoat, Macpac thermal jacket and down jacket (for winter), Macpac long johns, Earth Sea Sky beanie for the hut or camp, a Macpac balaclava for poor weather, two Macpac thermal long-sleeve tops, and an Icebreaker merino t-shirt for sleeping in. Merino underwear is brilliant (wet cotton causes chafing and cold).

I have an old 65-litre Macpac Ascent (1900g), which is my workhorse pack for most adventures, as I can cram enough gear for up to eight days into it. It is a kilo lighter than the bigger Macpac Torre (which makes it a real shame Macpac has stopped making the Ascent). For shorter trips, I use the nice and light Macpac Fiord 40 (1100g).

The Lowa Baldo GTX are excellent boots, especially matched with Aspiring gaiters. I take light jandals to serve as camp footwear.

I’m a big fan of the superlight MSR Hubba Hubba NX tent, which has comfortable capacity for two people, yet weighs only 1700g.