New Zealand is one of the most diverse countries here on Earth where the landscapes offer endless adventures.  You may find yourself enjoying the clear ocean on a kayak one day, climbing an icy summit on the following day, and bungee jumping in between these days.

With tons of fun things to do in this fantastic country, most tourists share the same problem – how do you pack? The different adventures need their own set of gear. This article will teach you how to pack like a pro on your New Zealand adventure.


New Zealand has fast-moving and often furious weather which means layered clothing is a must for hiking. Wear polypropylene thermal top or merino (and bottom if you are planning a visit to high mountain country) as your inner layer clothing. You can wear a softshell or fleece jacket as the mid-layer, and then a waterproof, breathable rain jacket as the outer layer.

Hiking often gets the hikers on the craggy side of the country. So, whether you end up among the Tongariro National Park’s volcanoes or icy tips of Southern mountain range, you should expect cold nights. Make sure to pack a warm hat, down jacket and gloves.

While most walkers prefer wearing shoes, New Zealand is predominated by mountain hikes where you can see some of the world’s most difficult hiking terrain. Boots are advisable for crossing boulders and scree. On the other hand, if you are planning just to enjoy the coastal hiking trails like Cape Brett Track and Abel Tasman Coast Track, a pair of quality hiking shoes should be enough.

The backpack is essential in hiking. If you are planning to get a hut, which New Zealand has plenty, carrying 50L to 60L pack is enough. For camping, you will need to increase your pack to 70L or bigger. Meanwhile, if you are going for day hikes, you should bring a 22L to a 35L daypack. Don’t forget the waterproofing for your pack and some even come with attached rain covers. If rain cover is not available though, get a dry bag for your valuables.

Huts on well-known trails like Routeburn and Milford Tracks have gas cookers, so if you are going to stay in one of these, then there is no need to bring a stove, although you will need it, along with some pots if you are planning an overnight hike. You can check the lists of huts and its amenities on the Department of Conservation’s website.

Snow Protection

When you get to the snowy mountains of New Zealand, it is wise to choose lined boots over hiking boots. For you to keep your body warm in the snow, the same layered clothing as for hiking is needed. Although, the third or the outer layer will be replaced with waterproof and windproof clothing, such as ski pants and ski jackets.

Remember that your extremities – head, hands, and feet – get cold first. You should invest in insulated gloves, good quality warm, thick socks, and a knit hat. It is wise to wear thin liner gloves before putting on your winter gloves to keep your hands warmer. You could also bring some pocket warmers, which create heat in flexing, for an easy access source of heat that would keep your hands and fingers mobile and wear a buff around your neck to keep it warm.

Sunglasses or snow goggle are also essential if you are going to wander along a snowy area. Also, if you are going to stroll on the slopes for hours, bring a 20L to 30L day pack where you can keep some layers that you might need and don’t forget the sunscreen and some snacks.


Cycling is one of the best things to do in New Zealand. The country has a network connecting 22 routes called the New Zealand Cycle Trail, which extends 2500km across the country.

Wear some padded or cycling shorts if you are looking to enjoy the sceneries along the trail without getting saddle sore. On the other hand, if you are planning a long ride and worries about saddle soreness, “shy shorts,” or double shorts are a good choice. Double shorts are like a regular short, but it has padding on the inside.

Don’t forget to pack some padded gloves to keep your hands comfortable and protected under the heat of the sun. It will also protect your hands from cold mornings of New Zealand, especially when you are cycling along the trails of South Island. Also, bring along a good quality cycling leg and arm warmers as these can quickly be taken on and off when your body and the day gets warmer or cooler.

Pack some cycling shirts that are made from breathable, woven material that dries fast. Consider bringing some long-sleeve shirts to protect your arms as biking for hours exposes you to the heat of the sun. To protect you from rain, bring a lightweight, breathable rain jacket or a soft shell jacket that can protect you from warmth, wind, and rain. If you are taking the trails along the West Coast, bring a rainproof jacket as the area has the potential for robust rain showers.


Packing for a kayaking trip in New Zealand varies depending on where you are planning to go paddling. The icy water of Tasman Lake is way different from Abel Tasman National Park’s sunlit, bright ocean. Although, they have one thing in common: both areas can get you wet.

Bring along some that are quick-drying for ultimate comfort, and a long-sleeve and a wide-brimmed hat can give you the best protection from the sun. You may also want to pack a pair of kayaking gloves to protect your hands from blisters. While wetsuit booties are perfect kayaking footwear, outdoor sandals would be a wiser choice as it dries fast and doubles as walking shoes, thus, saving some space on your pack for some essential items.

Packing for Multiple Adventures

If you are planning to visit New Zealand for multiple activities, multifunctionality is the key for easy packing. Pack for different circumstances such as a morning on snow, a day paddling on the water, and a night in the mountains. Merino warm clothing is known for its versatility as outdoor clothing that provides different options along with a windproof and waterproof breathable rain jacket that can survive the unfavorable conditions. Being overprotected is better than being under-protected from the conditions of the country’s wilderness.

Multipurpose hiking shoes are a smarter choice over a single purpose hiking boots in case hiking is just one of the adventures you are planning to take. Fast-drying shirts and a pair of shorts will be useful for every activity you have in mind.

What Not to Include in Your Suitcase

You need to save space for most important stuff for your adventure in New Zealand. So consider excluding some items to lighten up your suitcase.

You don’t need to bring lots of fancy clothes as you visit New Zealand for outdoor adventure. One or two pairs are enough if you have plans on visiting some museum or probably a night out before going home. Consider leaving valuable jewelry at home; you don’t want to lose them while exploring the country’s wilderness.