Home / Articles / What's in my pack

WanakaSAR sub-alpine team coordinator John Burke

Image of the December 2018 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more from the
December 2018 Issue

WanakaSAR sub-alpine team coordinator John Burke has been volunteering for one of the busiest SAR teams in the country for 10 years. This is what he packs on a typical callout.

Pack
My pack is a Fairydown Phoenix, which is still my favourite. It’s a little heavier than some packs, but it’s still in great shape after many years. I also carry a 3-litre Platypus water bladder.

Sleeping
I use an MSR Hubba Hubba tent – it’s light and comfortable for one, but easily fits two people. I also have a three-quarter length Therm-a-Rest mattress, which doubles as a splint and flotation device. I use a Macpac Solstice 700 sleeping bag, which I keep in a dry bag with a set of long thermals, socks, hat and gloves.

Clothing
I take Gore-Tex rain pants, a shell jacket and a down jacket. Spare clothing is a pair of wool socks and two Icebreaker t-shirts.

Handy things
I also carry 50m of builder string which has a 50kg break strain and is very light. It’s good for making stretchers and shelters. I also have an orange pack liner that doubles as a shelter, replacement pack, floatation device, clean surface to work on or an aerial location marker.

Navigation
Navigation includes iPhone with Map Toaster app, a battery bank, a compass and topo map. I mark the topo with my GPS location once in the field so I have a paper map backup.

Emergency
My first aid kit includes pain medication, a blister kit, a puncture wound kit, a big bleed kit, two emergency blankets, nitrile gloves, a squirt of sunscreen in a ziplock bag, insect repellent, a whistle, a knife, a lighter and a satellite phone, which has a beacon function. I always carry a Petzl headlamp and Ledlenser torch.

Cooking
The MSR Whisperlite is great because it runs on almost any fuel. I carry a titanium pot with a lid, which can be heated over a fire if dry wood is available. My firestarter kit consists of a few old birthday candles and a lighter in a waterproof container with an old bike tube as another firestarter.

Now that you’re here, why not subscribe?

As a subscriber, you can browse all web content including more than 590 trips. You’ll also receive our Wildcard, offering discounts at more than 20 partners throughout New Zealand.

Subscribe from as little as $7.00/month for instant access to all articles, trips, gear reviews and gear guides.

View all our subscription options and join the club.

Already a subscriber? Login Now.