Swiss Ultralight

Swiss Ultralight

All about trekking, thru-hikes and ultralight equipment

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Waterdrops on plant

Gore-Tex (Pro) vs Ascentshell, FutureLight, eVent and co.

Comparison of waterproof and breathable laminates for jackets, bivouacs, etc.

Shower in the river

5 quick-tips for good hygiene when hiking

Keep body and equipment clean

Marker of Te Araroa

Overview Te Araroa thru-hike in New Zealand (2020)

Thru-Hiking in New Zealand - a summary

Poncho-Tarp selfmade

Cuben Fiber vs Silnylon vs Silpoly

Advantages and disadvantages of each material for tents and tarps

Balls of wool

Merino vs Synthetic vs Cotton

Improve your comfort with the right material

Ultralight Footprint

Ultralight Footprints DIY

The 1 Euro tent pad - protection for the tent floor

Passport for customs

Visa and entry in New Zealand

Applying for the right visa for Te Araroa

Emergency lego image

Insurance and precautions for the hike

Avoid high costs in case of an accident

Finances and administration

How much does it cost to hike Te Araroa?

Start with enough money and minimize worries

Hiker looking up mountain

My gear list of Te Araroa

PLB and other equipment

Mobile phone

Phone providers in New Zealand

Watch out when buying data

Compass in hand

Navigating Te Araroa

Using apps to not get lost on the trail

Food on trail

Resupply / Water / Gas / Poste Restante

Stocking up on supplies on Te Araroa

Bluff sign in New zealand

Starting point of Te Araroa in New Zealand

Where the trail starts and how to get there

Hot sun

UV Rays and the New Zealand Heat

Protect your skin

Stormy weather

Unpredictable new zealand weather

Te Araroa can be stormy

Hat and sleeping bag

Hut's and wild camping on the Te Araroa

Backcountry Pass and other preparations

Helping hand at hiking

Trail Angels and Koha in New Zealand

Give and take on Te Araroa

Beach with single person

Other hikers and HYOH

Don't lose sight of your goal

Cute Rat

Sandflys, rats and possums

Some annoying fellow hikers

River in NZ

Crossing rivers on Te Araroa

Be prepared and don't risk anything!

Kayak on Whanganui River

Whanganui River kayaking

Spend 7 days on the water

A random road

Shuttle for river crossing Raikaia and Rangitata

Bypassing the two big rivers

Oldschool gaiters

Gaiters to keep stones out of your shoes

Minimize blisters and sores while hiking

Man drinking water

Nalgene VS CamelBak VS PET bottle

Which hydration system for hiking?


Vitamin 'I' also called Ibuprofen

Painkillers for hiking

Rainwear for hiking a comparison of options

Poncho vs Rain Jacket

Elevation profile Te Araroa Compass Example Image

Elevation profile - Te Araroa 2019/2020

Elevation profile according to the latest data

Garmin InReach Mini

SOS devices (PLB) for thru-hikes and dangerous hikes

Cell phone reception at the end of the world

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite Large shortened

Ultralight sleeping pads for hiking

The difference between shivering and sleeping at night.

Shoes, Gore-Tex and Gaiters

From leather boots to sandals made from car tires

Mosquito seeks blood

Insect protection in comparison

DEET, permethrin, picaridin: what helps against insects?

Different Fabrics and Yarn

Cuben-Fiber (Dyneema Composite), X-Pac, Cordura and co.

Comparison of different ultralight materials

Backpacks in grass

Ultralight hiking backpacks tips and recommendations

...and the fall from Mount Everest

Tiny Backpack

Base Weight Definitions

What do the different terms mean?

Guy with Quilt

Quilt or sleeping bag the pros and cons

Synthetic vs Down


Buff - bandana, headband, sweatband

An insanely versatile tube scarf

Cooker at night

The Super Cat Alcohol Stove (aka Fancy feast stove)

Gasoline stove from metal can

Survival knife

Knife, axe and shovel

Survival on the hike

2 minutes read

Backpacks in grass

Osprey, Deuter, Fjällräven, Mammut and Co. They all certainly produce very high quality backpacks. However, many in the 50-60 liter category are already around 2 kg without contents. There is not much left to be still Ultralight on the road.

For day trips or even times a weekend, this certainly makes no difference. However, if you are weeks or even months on the road, this has quite a high impact on the comfort while hiking. It is a trade-off between stability and the likelihood of a defect.

The Osprey Atmos, for example, you can probably throw it off the highest mountain in the world and it will only take a small scrape. But how likely this scenario is in everyday life, everyone must probably find out for themselves.

The next point is the size of the backpack. For longer tours, you often go to the sports store and get advice. There it is then: “Minimum 80 liters” touring backpack made of this super-sturdy nylon. Do you really need 80 liters? Or can’t you reduce your equipment list so that a 50 liter backpack is sufficient? Basically, you’re probably never in a survival situation where the Bear Grylls axe and hunting knife are needed. Minimalism leads to the goal here.

Many of the common backpacks contain countless zippers, pockets, buckles and straps. All of this means more susceptibility to error, as well as more unnecessary grams. A simple backpack with a “roll top”, an outer net and comfortable shoulder straps will usually do the job.

Recommended based on personal or friends experiences here are for example:

All suggestions except the Osprey are primarily available from small US Ultralight manufacturers. Disadvantages are additional customs costs and that a try-on is not possible.

Z-Packs Arc Blast / Arc Haul: The Arc Blast is made of relatively thin 3.1oz/yd2 Cuben Fiber. The Arc Haul is made of 4.85oz/yd2 Dyneema Ripstop. Nearly every long distance hiker with these backpacks that I encountered had issues with defects and early wear. Straps snapped, the frame had a hole poked through the fixings, or the frame was broken altogether.

I personally did not have a good experience with the support from the ULA company and the quality from the ULA Circuit. Therefore, I can not make a recommendation for this.

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