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

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

Thru-Hiking in New Zealand - a summary

4 minutes read

Marker of Te Araroa

New Zealand’s Te Araroa Thru-Hike offers a spectacle of beautiful scenery, caring people, a variety of birds and other wildlife, and a challenging trail. Here’s an overview for a successful start to the 3000 km hike.

Blogposts overview:

  1. Visa and entry in New Zealand
  2. Insurance and provisions for the hike
  3. How much does it cost to hike Te Araroa?
  4. My gear-list of Te Araroa
  5. Telephone providers
  6. Navigating Te Araroa
  7. Resupply / water / gas / Poste Restante
  8. Starting point of Te Araroa
  9. UV rays and the New Zealand heat
  10. Unpredictable New Zealand weather
  11. Hut’s and wild camping on Te Araroa
  12. Trail Angels and Koha in New Zealand
  13. Other hikers and HYOH
  14. Sandflys, rats and possums
  15. Crossing rivers on Te Araroa
  16. Whanganui River kayaking
  17. Shuttle for river crossing Raikaia and Rangitata

The most important data

Length: 3000+ km

Duration of the hike: about 4-6 months

Costs: approx. 7000-9000 Euro

Start SOBO: approx. September to November

Start NOBO: approx. December to January

FKT: 49 days and 14 hours


Several thousand hikers start this long distance hike every year. Some stop after a few days and others run the complete distance. Whether untrained or x-time thru-hikers, the spectrum of different personalities is vast. Some choose to have as little contact with other hikers as possible and many others form close hiker families and strong friendships develop. Many reach the finish in Bluff (SOBO) or Cape Reinga (NOBO) despite occasional doubts and are richer by many beautiful thoughts and unforgettable experiences after this educational trail.

The TA is certainly not the easiest long distance hike on this planet. Some of the trails are very difficult to walk on with many fallen trees, debris avalanches and countless other hurdles. Hikers who have hiked other thru-hikes such as the PCT are sometimes shocked as the Pacific Crest Trail is much more walkable and developed.
Good planning before you start is certainly helpful. Basically, though, everything clears up as soon as you hit the situation. Therefore, one should not worry too much about every little detail.

The trail includes some knee to even waist deep mud and river crossings and that can reach up to the chest. Ice cold and raging rivers are also present. As well as dizzying heights/bridges and many other challenges. This can seem daunting, however all of these points are quite manageable provided the weather and other conditions are right.

Te Araroa involves a lot of walking on paved roads. Some people hitch these parts and others consider it a mortal sin. Since everyone decides their own hike, there is nothing wrong with either option.

The recommended period for the start is officially between September and December for the start at Cape Reinga (SOBO) and December to January for the start at Bluff (NOBO) if you want to hike both islands and thus the whole route. If you only want to hike the South Island (NOBO), you can start between January and March.
The weather can be extreme, especially outside the indicated season. However, depending on the equipment, it is still possible to hike outside the season.

Personally, I started in November and finished the hike in Bluff in mid-June 2020. This due to the Covid-19 situation and the associated 2-month lockdown in New Zealand. Thus, my thru-hike evolved into a 4-season thru-hike. The weather was definitely cold and a bit more unpredictable. However, I was not too impaired with my equipment and the most dangerous sections were already behind me. The duration of daylight is getting much shorter though.

Some highlights of the hike:

  • The hospitality of the Kiwis
  • Up to 7 days kayaking on the Whanganui River
  • Climbing countless mountains
  • Tangarairo Crossing with the green sulfur lakes
  • The Maori culture
  • Bathing and camping in remote places
  • The feeling of pure nature
  • Birds such as the highly intelligent Kea (The only alpine parrot in the world)
  • Breathtaking landscapes
  • The feeling of accomplishment after sections and at the end
  • The countless laughs and friendships that did not end with the hike
  • Indescribable experiences and emotions every day
  • An adventure you will remember for the rest of your life.

Besides Te Araroa, there are many other shorter hikes in New Zealand. Many of them have to be booked during the season and are expensive (several 100 Euro). Out of season, some are covered by the Backcountry Pass discussed later and do not need to be booked. Recommended hikes include: Routeburn, Kepler, Rees-Dart, Avalanche Peak, Sewart Island Hikes and many more. An overview of the Great Walks can be found here: Great Walks of New Zealand

Word Dictionary:

Kiwi = New Zealander-/in

TA = Te Araroa

Resupply = The restocking of food and consumables

Thru-Hike = Long distance hike

Free/wild camping = camping in nature (not on campground)

PLB (Personal location beacon) = SOS device

Zero-Day = One day without hiking. Mostly for resting or resupply etc.

Nero-Day = Only a few kilometers hiked (near zero-day)

DOC (Deperatment of Conservation) = Department responsible for the nature life in New Zealand and most of the huts.

Trail Angels = People who support hikers in different matters.

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