How to Travel More Sustainably: Tramping in NZ
Make Your Next Tramping Trip More Sustainable With These Five Eco-friendly Tips
On a warm and sunny Spring afternoon, my friend Lulu and I headed into the hills for an overnight tramp to Kapakapanui – a backcountry hut in the Tararua Ranges. With the promise of one of the best viewpoints in the Tararua Range we weren’t put off by warnings of how steep this advanced tramping track is. The tramp was incredible but unfortunately we found a pile of rubbish left in the hut by previous visitors. That's what inspired me to write this blog post so those who want to make their next tramping trip more sustainable can do so with these five eco-friendly tramping tips.
- Use plastic-free sunscreen
- Buy dehydrated meals in home-compostable packaging
- Support local, sustainable businesses
- Buy outdoor gear that comes with a life-time repair warranty
- Drive less, hike more
What Tramping More Sustainably is Like
The hike started with some exciting river crossings before heading straight up into the bush for a 2.5 hr climb over 1000m. First things first, we both applied Seasick Sunscreen to our faces and exposed body parts. This plastic-free sunscreen is not only a great sustainable alternative to plastic bottles but is also lightweight and compact making it perfect for tramping packs.
We got to the hut (nestled in a beautiful little glen) as the light turned golden as it filtered through the forest as the sun set – truly majestical.
While we didn’t need dehydrated food for one-night trip, there is only one brand I will be using on my next trip. I discovered Local Dehy in the Wilderness Mag in the hutt - they make plant-based home compostable dehydrated meals. I find it really hard to avoid plastic and other packaging waste on long hiking trips but these delicious meals can be used to collect food scraps and then into your compost bins, worm farm or garden at home. Putting these bags in landfills will release methane, so please do compost them!
Our Local Dehy journey began back in 2015 when we were looking for lightweight vegan meals to take to the hills. We found limited options and none that tasted good. So we started making our own meals full of flavour and dehydrating them. Two years, many trials, hundreds of tastings sessions and recipe adjustments later, Local Dehy was born.
- Emily and Frankie, Local Dehy Founders
The temperature plummeted but our attempts to start a fire were defeated by the very damp wood. So into our sleeping bags we went while we ate our dinner and enjoyed a glass of well-deserved red wine. It was almost a full moon and the moonlight was so bright that we didn’t need torches outside even in the middle of the night!
Day 2 started with a hearty breakfast of porridge and Fix and Fog Everything Butter before a 200m climb to the summit. Fix and Fog is a local business that is Certified B-Corp. Meaningful, sustainable, and delicious, Fix and Fog live up to their claim of making the world’s best nut butters!
The views from the summit did not disappoint! We saw Kāpiti Island, Pōneke/Wellington CBD and as far as Te Wai Pounamu/South Island as well as looking across the Tararua ranges. The summit was exposed to the sun and wind so we were both grateful for the protective layer our Seasick Sunscreen provided against the elements. Then we had a rather brutal 1200m descent over 3 hours. The cool river crossings on our way back to the carpark were a welcome relief on my sore knees and feet.
Did you know Osprey and Patagonia will repair any damage free of charge? They make it easy to get repairs done such as my backpack that needed a new belt strap recently. Buying outdoor gear that comes with a life-time repair warranty is more sustainable as repairing is much less wasteful and has a lower carbon footprint than buying new gear.
Drive less, hike more! We chose a hike that was within 1 hour of home which meant we could leave on a Friday after work and get home midday Saturday in time to start the weekend!