Product expert Daan Dijkstra knows his gear. With more than 20 years in the outdoor industry, he’s the Kathmandu guru for what to pack for every weather condition and activity. We caught up with Daan this week to get his two cents on what to pack for a winter trip to New Zealand. Here’s his top picks to help you stay warm while you’re here — and maybe hike a glacier or two...
The weather in New Zealand can change depending where you are. But there’s one thing you can count on — it’s going to be cold. But with a few layers and some clever accessories, you’ll be ready to experience one of the world’s most beautiful winter landscapes.
First, select your base layer.
The base layer is the next-to-skin layer that manages moisture. When it comes to material, we’re big fans of polypro – affordable, functional and a little bit old school.
Merino wool is another excellent choice for travellers. Merino’s natural knack for regulating body temperature means you’ll stay warm in the cold, and cool when you heat up — a smart choice if you’re using your muscles to hike up a glacier. Its natural odour resistance means less washing too.
Bring a couple of mid-layers.
It’s an idea to bring two mid layers – one thinner one and one thicker one. Two mid layers will give you more options, especially if you’re travelling between the north and the south islands.
You’ll want something made of wool or fleece. Like merino, fleece is breathable, making it a versatile layer to use in outdoor activities. With its excellent warmth-to-weight ratio you’ll stay nice and cosy but won’t feel weighed down.
Bring a no-nonsense waterproof jacket.
No surprises here — it rains more in the New Zealand winter. But if you combine your layers with one awesome waterproof, windproof jacket it won’t even matter.
Make the investment with high-performance materials like GORE-TEX®, NGX®, and Pertex Shield®. These will protect you on this trip and for many trips to come!
Jeans are alright for your everyday wandering in New Zealand, but if you’re considering alpine adventures, think again. Not only is denim slow to dry — not great if you’re on an icy glacier — but it will restrict your movements. Chafe, anyone?
Luckily, there’s a range of hiking pants out there that will give you a full range of movement and won’t keep you cold. Keep your eyes peeled for abrasion-resistant material with a bit of stretch, or hiking pants really built for purpose.
Cold weather accessories.
Here are a few clever winter accessories that will help you make the most of your time in New Zealand.
Sunglasses: Yes it’s winter, but if you’re interested in mountain climbing or snow sports, it’s essential you grab some sunglasses. Snow and ice reflect light, so sunlight is far more intense — especially on a glacier.
Gloves: You can’t put your hands in your pockets if you’re grasping a walking stick, holding an ice pick, or taking a photo of your surrounds. Pack yourself some windproof gloves for those nippy days.
Socks: Socks are a make-or-break piece of hiking gear. Choose a sock that is at least the same height as your hiking shoe. If the sock is too low, it could slip down in the shoe, causing discomfort and, potentially, blisters.
Beanie: If the wind chill hurts your ears, consider a nice wool beanie to pull down over them. And if it doesn’t, consider one anyway. This lightweight layer will make you feel extra cosy.
How do I know all this? Kathmandu have been designing, testing, and adapting our gear to the ever-changing needs of traveller’s right here in New Zealand for the last 30 years. We’ve got you covered. Quite literally, really.