13 Dec 2015

16cm Carbon Fiber Tent Stakes

These tent stakes are made with a Carbon Fiber shaft with a metal tip and metal end cap. 
The individual weight is 6grams - I pack 8 into a cuben fiber stake sack for all up weight of 52grams. 

The thick diameter allows them to grip the ground better than the thin titanium. These stakes are excellent in loose soil, and they have also proven to be very functional in typical dirt.

Because of the thick diameter they can be harder to drive into compacted ground. Never hammer these in. Hold your foot in both hands for stability and press the stakes into the ground at an angle. If you can't press them into the ground all the way, anchor them with rocks.

Joe at Zpacks also reports these stakes are 'Airplane Safe'. Never thought of this benefit. Joe says they have carried these stakes through US airport security a dozen times with no issues as they are not particularly pointy.

Cost is $US3.50 each - stake stuff sack $US5.45 - go to Zpacks accessory page 

12 Dec 2015

Mt Brewster - A Weekend Tramp

Last weekend my good tramping buddy, Lee McKay came down from Auckland for a breath of fresh South Island air and to give my new 'bionic' back and general fitness a workout in the hills.

See more on Trips Report page

Mt Brewster Hut - Mt Brewster i background

8 Dec 2015


I was given a sample pack of this full replacement sports meal to try.

What a wonderful product at 85 grams a meal. But, the taste is less than desirable. Reminded me of Farax baby food (if you know that NZ taste you are too old to hike :-)

My friend John Abela has written a great post on this product. I agree with his prognosis, my negative is the taste.

Log on here for review http://hikelighter.com/2015/12/05/ambronite-a-hikers-thoughts/

5 Oct 2015

Rob's Progress

Hi Guys - I feel so guilty about my lack of interesting input on gear and trip reviews - my passion.

As you all know I have had major back surgery. Quite depressing for an active guy!

Anyhow, I am now 4 month post op and seeing the surgeon next week in AKL for 'sign off'

I am walking about 7 to 8 Ks every second day and pain free although I get a bit of tiredness (muscle fatigue) in the back. Looking forward to doing some gym and yoga work.

I am planning hitting the hills over labour w/e and with my tramping mate Lee McKay (no relation) first week of Dec.

Also doing the Motatapu over Xmas with a few ATC stalwarts. May be continuing on to the Greenstone?

Although not gear testing over the last 12 months, I am always active in the lightweight gear blogs, so feel free to contact me for any suggestions on how to tramp light weight and where to buy best lightweight gear for NZ tramping

14 Aug 2015

Greenbelly Hiking Bars

A few months ago I was alerted to a guy called Chris Cage, an American with a tremendous amount of global hiking and biking experience (yup he has been to NZ). He wanted to develop an all-round lightweight food bar for his adventures (and ours!).

He needed to raise capital and through kickstarter.com he posted his appeal. I loved his entrepreneurial spirit and threw some bucks into the kitty.

He has now launched Greenbelly. I have tasted the new product (see pics below) and they are bloody fantastic! Comes in three flavours. I love the re-seal-able packaging. This and the design was developed via surveys on his kickstarted site.

Greenbelly is organic, gluten free and 1/3 daily food balance.

I am a great fan of Em Bars (Emily Miazga), but these new bars from Chris well and truly match.

They are not available in NZ yet (watch this space!) and I guess if you like Em Bars and do get to taste Greenbelly, nationality may prevail (the later being American and given current exchange rate may be more expensive).

You can order online and Chris will send to you. Check out his website at http://www.greenbelly.co/


7 Aug 2015

I'm 'Back', well Partially

Hi to you all.

I have been away for awhile - no, not in prison :-)

My back finally threw a wobbly after years of wear and tear and after much medical consultation the decision was made to operate.

I am now eight weeks post operative and going great. No more pain in the legs etc and I am 3 inches taller as I can now walk upright again.

I had a L3/4 decompression and fusion with bone graft and benign cyst removed that was also pressing on nerves. 5 hour operation.

I am back walking and averaging about 7 Ks every two days. I did my first day tramp last Saturday. It was the small section of the TA Trail between Albert Town and Wanaka, about 12Ks that I knocked of in 2 hours 15. Pulled up well and no after effects.

I expect to be back into the hills proper end November. As I now live in Wanaka (paradise!) I am planning a lot of trips over summer around this area.

PS: I hope they used titanium for the rods and screws - I don't want to be carrying around too much extra weight :-)

6 Mar 2015

Outdoor Beer

OK how many of you have been in the bush for a few days and at the end of a days slog, sit around the camp fire and yearn for a cold brew? Your dreams have come true. Now you can have a cold beer kilometers from a pub with Pat's Outdoor brew kit.

Check Pat's purchasing kit and flavours HERE 

I am just hanging out for the wine version. Although being a 'wine snob' feel this will be nothing like a fab 1998 French Burgundy :-)

4 Mar 2015

New Meal Bars from Greenbelly

I discovered these new Greenbelly Meal Bars via John Abela's blog. I currently swear by Em Bars but Chris the founder of this company is on Kickstart raising funds to gear up production. I love his entrepreneurial spirit so I've Kicked in a few buck and get a sample tasting and help him on his way.

You can check these meal bars at:

24 Feb 2015

Patagonia Houdini Hiking Pants

They've arrived! Can't get these in NZ and US sites will not ship. But I used the the https://www.nzpost.co.nz/tools/youshop site. What a great service. Suppliers will ship free to this US address and they on ship to your NZ address. The freight was $US17 and I got the pants on sale at $US67 - usually $US99. I'm wrapped.

I never hike in long pants, but in preparation for my TGO Scotland hike I purchased these (apparently lots of ticks there) . 

They are deigned for trail running. They fit true to size (M) and are so light at 90grm on my scales (Patagonia say 87). Fabric is more robust than my Montbell wind pants that I occasionally use around camp in shoulder seasons.

Web research is full of praise for these pants. Looking forward to trying them in two weeks on the Able Tasman (if weather is cool)


19 Feb 2015

Wind Jackets

Once again John Abela hits a home run. He has just posted a great review on the difference between three of the markets leading UL wind jackets - Montbell Tachyon, Patagonia Houdini and Zpacks.

It make interesting reading Check it out HERE

13 Feb 2015

Lightweight Shelters

Hi - Lightweight blogger, John Abela has put a ton of effort into building a comprehensive list of lightweight shelters. It's organic and John is constantly updating this.

This will save you a heap of research time - Thanks John!

See the list at http://bit.ly/1gzDky6

25 Jan 2015

Gear Update

Hi All - It's a lazy long anniversary w/e here - happy 175 Auckland. I'd love to be tramping, but the back is still keeping me 'grounded', a bloody nuisance! So I spent some time today on my blog putting links into my gear list. This will help you with your gear research.

I also posted some new photos of the Xmas trip on TA Trail

Christmas 2014 - Canterbury Section of the TA Trail

Donald, Lynda, Kathy and I knocked off the Canterbury Section of the Te Araroa Trail. I started with a bad back and was fortunate enough to survive the first two sections from Cora Lynn car park through to the Ragitata River, albeit scoffing 'vitamin i' tabs all the way!

We had great weather except one day. Missing the Two Thumbs Range was a blow. Don, Kathy and Lynda went on. After I left at Potts Bridge they crossed the Rangitata OK. Their confidence boosted by meeting Carol and Matt who had just crossed. Brent drove in with our re-supply and to pick up Matt/Carol. I was very lucky in being able to get a ride through to ChCh airport with Matt.

I am sorry to report as of today, the back is no better and I have the ATC trip on Great Barrier to lead in two weeks!