Well, we did it! My 12 year old and I completed the Waikaremoana Great Walk this week. Virtual High Five! I thought I would write a quick post so you can see how we packed for our multi-day hike. It was fairly simple, Joe chucked sweets in the bag and I was in charge of everything else.
We did the hike over 3 nights (+1 in the Waikaremoana Holiday Park the night before so we could get an early start). The below is a guide you can use for a four-day hike, if you are doing longer or shorter, just adjust the quantities.
What to pack for a multi-day hike | Clothes
Layers. Always layers. I packed one pair of clothes to hike in and one pair of clothes for in the huts. We were just going to get smelly anyway so it saved carrying loads on our backs.
For four days I packed:
- 4x really comfy underwear, one for each day. I don’t mind wearing the same clothes each day but wearing the same underwear is a no go for me.
- 3x pairs of socks. 1 for hiking, 1 for the hut and a spare pair. I washed my dirty pairs in the lake and let dry overnight
- 2x pair of three-quarter length leggings 1 to hike in and 1 for the hut
- 1x pair of hut shoes. It’s sooo good not having to put back on wet boots to go to the loo. Once those puppies are off for the day, that’s it. They ain’t gettin’ put back on again.
- Quick dry long sleeved top
- 2x t-shirts. 1 for hiking and 1 for the hut
- Feece top (this was only worn in the evening once it cooled down)
- Waterproof jacket
- Waterproof trousers
- 2x hats. 1 sunhat for the day and 1 warm hat for the evening
- Pair of gloves
- Hiking boots
Annnnd that’s it. Joe’s list was pretty much the same except he wore shorts, not leggings and I threw in a thermal top for him as he gets cold very easily. Note that we hiked it in the height of summer. If we were going in winter as originally planned we would have packed more layers.
Read More: Multi-day hikes with children
What to pack for a multi-day hike | Kitchen
When you go for a multi-day hike you need to pack everything including the kitchen sink. Well, most huts have kitchen sinks but y’all know what I mean. The kitchen was a hefty part of our packing as four days without the means to cook food (and most importantly, make tea) isn’t a pleasant thought.
Great Walk Huts have access to a water supply and a stainless steel bench but you will still need to bring your own cooking gear.
We just took the bare basics as the majority of our food just needed either heating through or boiling water added to it. This was on purpose because I hate cooking at the best of times. An easy meal is the best meal is my motto!
Our kitchen consisted of
- 2x sets of collapsible plates, bowls and mugs
- 2x sets of cutlery
- 1x dishcloth
- 1x tea towel
- A little container of dishwashing liquid
- Camping stove + gas
- 1x camping pot for boiling water (for the multiple cups of tea)
Read More: How to plan for your first overnight hike
What to pack for a multi-day hike | Food
You won’t get far on an empty stomach, especially on a strenuous day.
Our lunches stayed the same each day (I am not eating another 2-minute noodle for a while, that’s fo’ sure), whereas breakfasts and dinners were a bit more varied. The snacks were a combination of fruit, sweets, chocolate (gotta keep those calories up) and museli bars. Neither of us likes nuts or trail mix. You know, the snacks you are supposed to take.
Because I am also an organisational nerd, I separated our meals by day and type. Each meal was in its own Ziploc bag and then each day was placed in a bigger bag.
This made it easier to find what we needed for the day and saved rummaging around a big bag full of food annoying our hut buddies. Also, it’s frustrating rummaging around a large bag when what you are looking for seems to always find its way to the bottom. Especially when you are hangry.
- Rolled oats sachets
- Weetbix breakfast bars
- Cup of tea
- 2-minute noodles
- Cup of tea
- Dehydrated meals
- Cup of tea
- Tangfastics (my hiking staple)
- Museli bars
- Bounty bars
- Dark chocolate
- Cup of tea
We didn’t bother to go lightweight with our food because Joe and I are both fairly fussy. I wanted him to actually eat something while we were away so I chose food that I know he likes (plus a few treat items to get him up the hills). Plus, our packs were pretty light until the food was added and we ate our packs lighter.
Read More: Camping Meals
What to pack for a multi-day hike | Sleeping
As we were staying in huts we didn’t need to pack a tent (huzzah!) but we still needed gear to sleep in.
- Sleeping bag
- Inflatable pillow
- Sleeping bag liner
Great Walk Huts have bunks and mattresses, eliminating the need for sleeping mats but increasing the need for earplugs. Which we forgot. That’s a story for another day though.
Please note that you have to book Great Walk Huts well in advance. We booked ours in June last year for October but the track was closed due to storm damage by the time it came around. Luckily we were able to transfer the dates. Even in October, most of January was already booked out so it pays to book at least a few months in advance.
As Waikaremoana is the easiest Great Walk, it tends to book fast during school holidays. Avoid the area during these times if you are going without chillins.
Read More: The complete guide to New Zealand’s backcountry huts
What to pack for a multi-day hike | Toiletries, safety + personal items
Even though we wore smelly clothes, we didn’t have smelly bodies!
- Biodegradable soap
- Loo paper
- Hand sanitiser
- Prescription Medications
- First aid kit
- Printed topo map + compass
- Portable charger
- Camera + spare battery
- 1x headtorch
- 1x small handheld torch that can turn into a lantern
- 2x water bottles each
- Baby wipes
- Trekking poles
- Dry bags
- Spare plastic bags for rubbish
Read More: What’s in my hiking first aid kit
What to pack for a multi-day hike | Recreation
It’s not all about the hiking. We had downtime in the evenings as well so we chucked in a few bits of ‘for fun’. Our family loves card games and often spends an evening playing them when we are chilling at home so in the pack they went. Explosions of kittens were had, armies of unicorns were built and many a kitten blended throughout the night.
- Card games – we took exploding kittens, unstable unicorns and kittens in a blender. I just took them out of their boxes and transferred into ziplock bags to keep them dry and to take away some of the bulk.
- Ereader – I can’t go anywhere without it (it’s my non-negotiable)
- Notebook + pen. Again, nowhere is gone without it
- Togs (swimsuits to you non-kiwi’s) + microfibre towel. We were by a lake, ’nuff said.
By the last day, there were fewer explosions of kittens and more just resting legs and reading books. Even Joe who has more energy than a 2-year-old after a litre of energy drink had started to wan by this time.
Read More: 50+ camping activities to keep everyone entertained
That was it. I didn’t want to take too much as it was going to sit on our backs for four days and Joe is only wee. As he is only small and isn’t used to carrying a heavy pack for hours on end, he carried his clothes, sleeping bag, the card games and that day’s food. Everything else went in my pack which thankfully got lighter as the days went by.
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