Camping usually occurs as a result of a glorious hike. Despite the different climates in New Zealand, it is reasonable to go camping at any time of the year. Most importantly, camping helps you connect with nature. While camping, it is most likely that you will visit some of the most exclusive wilderness.

Besides, camping is a one-stop avenue for you to unleash your stress. By moving further away from your constant connection with technology, you are often obligated to leave your tech at home. This gives you additional focus on connecting with the people around you and can help you reflect on your own action in the rich and secluded wilderness. 

If you are planning a hiking trip or a long trip during the weekend for the very first time, you might be thinking of how to make your first hiking trip wholesome. You can have the right company, best location, and weather, but nothing beats the feeling of packing well before a camping adventure. If you are going camping for the very first time, the key tip is to pack well. Not to worry, we’ve compiled a list of essentials to help you plan better!

1. Start easy and find a suitable trail

The hardest thing about camping is not the weather, but finding the right trail. We all like to set high expectations and standards for ourselves, but you should always aim to start small and then increase your challenges as time passes. It is always good to familiarise yourself with some beginner hiking trails that meet your fitness level before you start attempting harder ones! 

Depending on the trail of choice, there is a wide range of resources online to best pick the right time, day, elevation gain, how much of a distance you’ll be hiking, and recommendations from the general public. One important tip is to pace yourself. Remember that it is okay to go slow and pick up the page. Don’t rush it - it is not a race! Take your time to enjoy your surroundings and new views. Take time to appreciate the views as it is not every day that this is a possibility.

2. Check the weather 

 As any seasoned camper would tell you, hiking unprepared can have major consequences. Factors such as seasonality, weather, and camping gears have to be considered thoroughly to ensure that proper measures are taken into account.

The weather is always changing any second. Although the weather forecast is not entirely accurate, it can provide you with a better idea of the weather during your hike. This information can hopefully give you an idea of what to pack, how to dress, and if there is a need to change your plans entirely. In the case of potential thunderstorms, it might be best to reschedule your hiking adventure to another day. 

 3. File a trip report

Safety first! When you are planning out a hiking adventure, always tell someone about your plans. Make sure to keep your closed ones informed just incase of any emergencies or if you need any help during the duration of the trip. Have a number that you can call if you need to call for help. You do not want to have an emergency and be mad at yourself for forgetting this simple step! Just keep everyone aligned and find people to go with you on the trip.

4. Pack well

There are a few lists of essentials that are important for you to have a smooth hiking adventure when you visit the outdoors. Remember that it is always safety first. If you are traveling with a company, it is important that you ensure their safety too as it is always good to reassure the whole group at all given times.

    • Navigation: map, compass, altimeter, GPS device, personal locator beacon (PLB) or satellite messenger

        Being able to navigate during the night is necessary especially during a hiking adventure. Imagine if your phone runs out of battery, the only way to help with navigation will be your headlamps. A headlamp is an ideal choice for most travelers since you do not have to carry anything with your bare hands. It keeps your hands free to do other chores if necessary and focus on more important tasks. An additional tip would be to always remember to carry additional batteries - pretty self-explanatory!

        • Sun protection: sunglasses, sun-protective clothes and sunscreen

        Always pack with you a pair of sunglasses and sunscreen especially during warmer seasons! This can prevent potential heatstroke and other problems that may arise due to the lack of protection. Remember, the sun is a powerful force and it is always better to take preventative measures when you can. 

        When choosing the right screen protector, make sure to consider these factors; a formula that offers a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, though SPF 30 is recommended for extended outdoor activity and a formula that blocks both UVA and UVB rays.

            • First aid: including foot care and insect repellent (as needed)

              • Knife: plus a gear repair kit

                • Fire: matches, lighter, tinder and/or stove

                  • Shelter: carried at all times (can be a light emergency bivy)

                    When thinking of shelter, you should carry a light hiking tent with you at all times. Imagine being stranded in an unfamiliar location - it is always best to carry around a lightweight tent to ensure that you can find shelter when necessary! There might be unforeseen circumstances that arise during unprecedented times hence, it’s always better to stay safe.   

                    The Illumina X Ultralight Hiking Tent is a strong contender for the category of ultralight hiking tents under 2kg by Novapro Sports. With its waterproof and double layer feature, this lightweight tent ensures functionality and accessibility during your hike. With its high-quality material and strong light fabric, it is recommended for any hikers - from beginner to advanced. 

                    Some reviews mentioned that this particular tent defied strong winds and rains during one of our customer’s camping trips. The inner section of the tent remained warm and dry despite the unpleasant weather. Nothing can go wrong with a lightweight, accessible, and easy-to-assemble lightweight tent. It is certainly value for money compared to smaller and less functional tents. It is truly a go-to lightweight tent for valuable camping gear.

                      • Extra food: Beyond the minimum expectation

                        Pack what works for you. Some people like bars, some like sandwiches, there are no real rules. As long as it tastes good and does not take up much space in your bag, it is more than good to go! 

                        Quick snacks such as clif bars, complete cookies, and lara bars are recommended - it should be easy to eat and easy to carry! Depending on how much time ahead for preparation, you can make an extensive variety of food and snacks to-go! 

                        Hear us out and make sure to meal prep before you embark on your adventure: 

                        Dinner: Look for all-in-one meals such as packaged noodles or rice. This can save you tons of time and effort. Make sure it is lightweight and easy to carry - it is a major plus if it also tastes good! 

                        Lunch and snacks: Bring your protein energy bars and trail mix to munch on occasionally! This is a simple and easy way to incorporate different ingredients to your diet. Other backpacking lunch options are also available such as dried fruit and nuts. Make sure to keep different options in mind! 

                        Breakfast: This can range from simple protein bars to other light snacks. You always need a good meal to start the day! If you can’t go without your caffeinated beverage, your one answer would be to get an instant coffee mix or some tea bags! 

                          • Extra water: Beyond the minimum expectation

                            • Extra clothes: Beyond the minimum expectation

                              Your backpacking clothing should be segregated to a few main items:

                                Inner clothing: An example of this can be long underwear or next-to-skin base layers. This is important to help you stay warm during the cold nights! Makes sure to bring plenty of tight clothing to prevent you from catching a cold. 
                                  Hiking layers: Especially for your hiking occasions, you should consider wearing long nylon pants. You can either wear a long-sleeved top or t-shirt with accessories such as sun hats and sun shirts. 
                                  • Insulation: For insulation, consider wearing a jacket or gloves. 
                                  • Rainwear: You should always bring a waterproof jacket. It is a necessity and can help alleviate stressful situations. 

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                                  5. Function over fashion.

                                  If you wear the wrong clothes and shoes during a hike, needless to say, you will have an unpleasant experience. We all aspire to dress well and look good at all times, but leave the jeans and fashion boots at home! Go for clothes that are moisture-wicking and ideal for a hiking trip. Wear shoes that are best fit for workouts and hikes. 

                                  6. Follow trail etiquette aka Leave No Trace.

                                  Remember that hiking trails are public areas, which means that anyone and everyone can use it! With that being said, we should always treat these areas with respect, as it is not every day we get to experience a new adventure! 

                                  7. Happy Hiking! 

                                  Overall, as a beginner, you should always pack light and bring all the essential items you need! Backpacking is always a fun adventure - it allows you to experience the world in a different light. To maximise your backpacking trip, make sure to bring all the items you need and enjoy! 

                                  All the best and happy planning!