Packing list for the Routeburn

Packing list for the Routeburn | Solo Hiking New Zealand

emilysintransitMarch 18, 2022

There is a downloadable packing list for the Routeburn or any other 3-day hike at the end of this post. It is intended to be a guide and you should always double-check the requirements of the specific hike you are going on.

Recently I completed the Routeburn track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks. The track is 33km and split up over three days and two nights. The Routeburn was my first solo-multi day hike, so when deciding what to take, I wanted to ensure I had everything I needed without adding any unnecessary weight.

What you take will always vary on the track you are doing, and the time of year you are going. So make sure you always double-check to see if there are any special requirements for your specific trip.

Here is my complete packing list for the Routeburn track

Things to wear

Regardless of what the weather forecast says, you should always be prepared for any weather. Conditions can change quickly in New Zealand, and it’s possible to experience all four seasons in a day.

I recommend taking one base set of walking clothes and one base set of clothes to relax in at the end of the day, then use layers to protect yourself from the cold and rain.

  • Walking t-shirt
  • Walking legging
  • Walking shorts
  • 2x thermal tops
  • 2x thermal leggings
  • Polar fleece
  • Down jacket
  • Raincoat
  • Rain pants
  • 2x Warm hiking socks
  • Hiking boots
  • Warm hat
  • Sun hat
  • Gloves
  • Sleeping/hut t-shirt
  • Sleeping/ hut pant
  • Slip-on shoes
  • Underwear
  • Sports bra

What to Eat

You will be doing a lot of physical activity on a multi-day hike, so make sure you properly fuel your body. I like to focus on taking food that is high in calories, lightweight and something I know I’ll enjoy eating.

Dehydrated meals are a great option, and my personal favourites are the ones from Radix Nutrition. They’re easy to make, taste great and cater to various dietary requirements.

  • 2x breakfasts
  • 2x dinners
  • 2x lunches
  • Hot chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Lots of snacks
  • Emergency food

How to cook

Some of the huts on New Zealand’s Great Walks all come equipped with gas stoves, sinks and washing up liquid, but not all of them so you should double-check what they supply, and you may need to take some extra things along with you.

Most of my cooking involved boiling water for noodles, soup, hot chocolate, coffee and dehydrated meals, which allowed me to keep my cooking kit simple.

  • Pots
  • Mug
  • Knife, fork, spoon

A good night’s sleep

The huts on the Great Walks have dorm-style bunk rooms, and each bunk comes with a mattress. If you want your pick of sleeping spot, try to get to the hut early; however, you will always be guaranteed bed as you have to book.

Also, take earplugs. Unfortunately, when I did the Routeburn, I forgot this essential item and had to endure some loud snoring from the other walkers.

  • Sleeping bag
  • Inflatable pillow
  • Earplugs

Staying healthy & safe

Keeping yourself safe is super important. As well as making sure you have all the right gear you should also educate yourself on what to do in an emergency and avoid unnecessary risk.  

  • First aid kit in a waterproof bag
  • Head torch
  • Hand torch
  • Spare batteries
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Medication (antihistamines and pain killers)
  • Lighter
  • Matches
  • Paper map
  • My emergency contact details on a piece of paper in a ziplock bag.
  • Personal locator beacon, if you don’t own one, you can hire them.


When you’re walking 5+ hours a day, you need to stay hydrated. There is water available at the huts, but it is not treated, and the Department of Conservation recommends that you boil or treat the water before you drink it.

Some tracks have waterfalls and streams along the way, and it is possible to drink from these, but there is a risk associated with doing this. Some people feel super comfortable drinking from natural water sources, and others are more cautious.

  • Camelback
  • Drink bottle
  • Water purifying tablets

Staying clean

Hygiene on the track probably isn’t going to be up to the standard that it is at home, but there are some things you can do to help yourself feel clean. There are no showers, and while you can wash in rivers or lakes, you should never use any kind of soap or shampoo etc in New Zealand’s waterways (even if it’s labelled natural or eco friendly)

Baby wipes are great to help you freshen up, and if you want to feel extra clean, you can use a washcloth and boil some water.

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Contact lenses + spares
  • Glasses
  • Baby wipes (a few in a zip lock bag rather than the whole pack)
  • Deodorant
  • Period products
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Hairbrush
  • Hair ties

Capturing the adventure

When I hike, I love taking photos. While carrying my camera gear does add extra weight, I try to keep my kit as lightweight as possible. If your phone is your only camera, then take a power bank to keep it charged and keep it on aeroplane mode to help save the battery while you’re out of signal.

  • Power bank
  • Phone
  • Phone cable
  • Camera
  • Spare battery
  • 2nd lens
  • Tripod
  • Camera clip

Where to put it all

You’re going to need somewhere to put all your stuff. Having a backpack that is the right size and comfortable to wear will make a massive difference to your enjoyment on the track.

Also it’s worth getting a waterproof pack liner and rain cover for your bag to make sure all your possessions stay nice and dry.

Finally, there are no rubbish bins on the track, and you are responsible for taking all your rubbish off the trail, including organic material such as leftover food or scraps. I like to take a large zip lock bag + a spare and store this in a separate pocket in my pack.

  • Backpack
  • Pack liner
  • Pack rain cover
  • Rubbish bag

(in the Great Walk huts, there are rubbish bins in the toilets for period products only)

Downloadable Packing List

Here is the complete packing list for the Routeburn or any other 3 day. Right-click and save the image or take a screenshot

Packing list for the Routeburn

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