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Sunday, 8 April 2012


As I had promised myself, 2012 is all about righting the wrongs and looking after myself better. Whereas my usual trips (I don't use the term holiday as holidays mean doing nothing but when I travel I have to see every little corner) are all about visiting the hot spots and planning every last second.

I booked a trip this week that requires hiking boots (gulp), ear muffs and a back pack. With not a shop in sight. I'm carefully working on the itinerary but trying to be flexible. There are too many glaciers to climb. Hoping the fresh air will do me a world of good. Any tips for a first timer welcome...


  1. Sounds exciting!

    I'm not a hiker but you must bring some of those merino wool tops that draw moisture away from your body. They pack well, are light weight and very warm. They also don't seem to pick up odours if they don't get washed but do dry quickly when they do.

    I really like The North Face's range of hiking shoes. The waterproof ones are expensive but mine have lasted years in all kinds of terrain.

    SSG xxx

  2. Where are you going? I try to get all outdoorsy stuff online from the states, it is so much cheaper. If going somewhere with glaciers (?), make sure you get something with goretex that will keep you warm and dry. Invest in a decent sleeping bag but make sure you get one that folds up super small. Get hiking boots that will fit thick socks under and walk around the shop in them a LOT. The last thing you want is I'll fitting hiking boots that will give you blisters. I don't like anything that rubs on the Achilles part.

    Thermals are obviously a must but remember you will get very warm when you walk, so I usually layer with a thermal top, a vest and a wind jacket, and eventually find myself stripping down to the thermals only. You will be much colder at night though so pile on the thermals and good socks, and snuggle into that sleeping bag. I wear a beanie when sleeping too.

    And lastly, I like to carry some of dettol hand disinfectant and a roll of toilet paper on my backpack. I get anxious if I don't have those.

    And don't forget, plenty of water!

    Are you camping? Where are you off to? I hate overnight hikes but am often dragged on them,

  3. Oh and if camping out for longer than a night, I'd highly recommend a blow up sleeping mat. A thin one. It makes a world of difference and doesn't add much bulk when folded up well.

  4. I'm going to NZ (South Island) but we're a group of beginners so definitely no overnight stuff. We're doing a road trip and hoping to do Mt Cook, Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, some of the lakes etc.

    Gear is all stupidly overpriced, but I did manage to pick up a few basics at Kathmandu factory outlet (most things were 50-70% off, with an extra 20% off). I got some thermal socks, ear muffs and a day pack, for about $50 for the lot. I already have enough thermals I think and an amazing $5 fleece jumper from Kmart. It's amazing. Definitely keeping my eye out for stuff online, but I'm being cautious with shoes as most of them seem too small (for my big foot). Might have to try some men's.

  5. Oh fun! Day hikes are great, you'll enjoy it. As for boots, it's the one purchase I wouldn't recommend buying online as they definitely need to be right. I bought mine at one of DFO's many outdoors outlets for about $50 and they have served me well. I'm in melb for Easter but will check the brand for you when I get home tomorrow.

  6. @my name is jane - qn, what do you recommend for bottoms? I've got my tops sorted (thermals, fleece and a windbreaker/rain cover jacket but what do I wear on the bottom??

    And any o/s website links are also welcome.

  7. I use and

    They are great. I usually ship via HSG though. Both sites package really well so it doesn't end up costing much. For example, I got my heavy ski boots shipped for $35! Bottoms and clothing in general will be really reasonable. But compare with shipping direct through the website with HSG to see which works out cheaper. It's very fast too.

    As for pants, I'd recommend taking a pair of thermal bottoms, a standard pair of hiking pants made of nylon or something so that it won't matter/absorb too much if it gets dirty, and a pair of shorts.

    When are you going? If it's in winter (ie snow and very cold), then wear thermal bottoms and hiking pants. If there is no snow and it's just cold, depending on how cold it is, you could wear thermals and shorts (I wear shorts over thermals not for warmth but because it's more decent not to have my butt hanging out in thermals only). If it's during the day and warm, then you can take your thermals off and just wear shorts.

    Here are some good options:

    And for your...errr... two in one needs:

    I quite like these:

    None of them are terribly trendy unfortunately.

    You're not going in full on snow, are you? Because if you are, you may need waterproof ski pants instead (if the snow is deep - if not, pants and thermals will do)

    I find that I start off really cold so wear thermals and shorts/pants, and after walking for a while, I tend to strip off the thermals, but keep them close just in case.

    HTH. On my first hike (3 days hike and it POURED the whole time), I wore my old sass and bide misfits. Ha. I still get laughed at today over it.

  8. I am going during the winter (July) so it will cold and probably will snow. I'm not much of a skier as I'm very bad at it and I have no patience for something that I can't do (lol) so I plan on doing a lot of driving and hiking and sight seeing while the rest of the group will probably ski.

    It's a bit weird buying "non trendy" things for holidays, but I do need to be practical. I do like the look of those pants trousers....

    I did wonder if a pair of compression gym leggings would do under a pair of track suit type pants, but I figure if they get wet they wouldn't dry so would be cold and heavy. Hmmm. I might just bite the bullet and get some cargo looking pants *horror* (pardon my vanity)

    and lol @ misfits.. at least you would have looked better than the others :D

  9. Thermals will be fine under pants. They sell them down to mid calf to avoid wettage too. Then all you need is a good pair of socks and sturdy boots. I can't imagine you'll be going walking in knee deep snow so buying cargo trousers will be totally fine - you might get the hem wet but who cares.

    You should try skiing. As irritating as it is while learning, it's amazing once you shoot down the mountain!

  10. I've been a few times and I feel that the more times I go the worse I am. I think I think about it too much and just get frustrated.

  11. Btw, my boots are Wild Gear. A no name, I think, but they've held up incredibly well through snow, rain and mud.

  12. Might get these shoes - they're cheap and fit me!

  13. Looks great! Hiking only. Ha.

  14. Last qn, I promise! Other than a ski jacket, what sort of jacket do I aim for? A rain jacket? To wear over thermal and my $5 k mart fleece.

  15. To be honest, if you're going in the middle of winter, I would just take a ski jacket. NZ tends to get pretty damn cold and you never know what kind of weather you'll get hit with unexpectedly. It can be freaking freezing, and if there is a wind chill, it's 100 times worse.

    Most decent ski jackets (Backcountry is awesome for this - but you might get decent bargains here as well as the ski season is a while away yet) are waterproof so that's really all you need. I got my North Face one from Backcountry for $55 and it has lasted me a ski season here and in France and kept me toasty warm. I wear a thermal top, fleece vest and my ski jacket and it's plenty.

    Anytime you get warm, you can unzip a flap under the arms, or just unzip the jacket completely, or stuff it into your backpack.

    Being cold in the snow is miserable so always err on the side of too warm! You can always strip things off. You definitely want thermals as your base in snow.

    Oh and something with a hood is a lifesaver. If it snows, your beanie will get soaked, and then you're stuck with a wet head and a cold. Doh.

    Also you can buy lovely little hand/foot warmers. They come in tiny packets and keep your toes and fingers warm for hours!

  16. Why is this so cheap!?!?

  17. Is it water proof? I don't normally trust new sellers, but I just checked their website and it's on sale there too.

    Maybe buy through their store?

    I can't see anything about it being waterproof, just weather resistant... Hm.

  18. Oh here it is. It says it's a soft shell, so it's not a ski jacket, it's a mid layer. You don't want a soft shell, you want a proper ski jacket with insultation. This one says it's insulated but if it is classified as a soft shell mid layer, I don't believe it's fully insulated.

    Have a look at this for comparison:

    You can see the differences between actual bulky jackets and soft shells.

  19. You can only get away with a soft shell if you have proper layers underneath. Ie. Singlet, thermal top, and a serious fleece with arms.

  20. I emailed that ski jacket company and this is what they said...

    Hi Milijana,

    Thank you for your enquiry,

    Yes all our ski jackets are properly insulated and waterproof,

    Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have further enquiries.


  21. Fair enough! I guess get it and even if it is just a shell, it should be fine if you layer properly underneath. And if they guaranteed it's waterproof, then it must be.

  22. I'm so excited for you. If I lived closer I would be coming along!!


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