The information below is meant to be a guide if you’re planning on joining one of our trips, i.e. what to pack and how to be safe in the outdoors.
If you’re leading the trip, or heading out in your own group, check out how to run a trip—that page includes tips on things like understanding the weather.
Guide to Tramping
Rather then us rewrite things that have already been written, FMC and the Mountain Safety Council (MSC) have written guides on how to go tramping.
FMC: Visit the wilderlife website for an e-version of their Safety In The Mountains publication.
MSC: Have a read of their guide Mountain Safety Council guide to multi-day tramping and visit their website for more details:
Recommended Gear Lists
Remember “cotton is rotten”. You should never go tramping with cotton clothing (e.g. T-shirts, sweatshirts, jeans), as it easily soaks up water and can become very heavy and cold. Ideally wear polypros or merino instead, you can often pick these up cheap at second-hand shops (‘op-shops’).
If you’re not sure about what you’ll need, check our recommended gear lists (day, overnight) These are somewhat comprehensive and don’t take into account the particulars of your trip or the weather at the time so do apply a bit of common sense when checking these lists.
If you’re unsure, please talk to a committee member!
Whilst tramping has inherent risks, the Canterbury University Tramping Club seeks to undertake its activities in a safe manner. Check out our safety page for more information, including on what you need to do to ensure a safe trip.
Note as described in our Code of Practice a trip leader reserves the right to not take you on a trip if they conclude that the trips safety will be at risk (e.g. wearing cotton clothing).
Trip Difficulty Explained
Judging the difficulty of a trip can differ significantly from person-to-person. Often a person’s experience, skills and fitness can influence how difficult they think a trip might be. Trips vary in length, terrain and conditions. For example, an easy track during good weather could be very technical in ice or poor visibility! Likewise a 2km ‘track’ could be an easy walk down a 4WD track or a multi-hour bush bashing route finding activity.
It’s important you select a trip that matches your ability—it’s part of our club’s Code of Conduct (see the safety page) to ensure trips are safe and enjoyable. Remember you are ultimately responsible for your own safety! The difference in difficulty of trips is HUGE.
Here is a short guide to how we rate our trips. Of course a trip may be a mixture to multiple levels. If you’re unsure, have a chat to the trip leader! A trip leader may ask what is a similar trip you’ve done to help them gauge your ability.
*Example trips are in good weather: the trip may jump a level in bad weather conditions.
An easy trip:
- Follows a well-defined path, with a surface suitable for sturdy running shoes.
Shouldn’t require any technical navigation skills (but always good to print a map ☺).
- Is typically rated as a 1 – 4 hour journey per day; however the trip may potentially take regular breaks and walk in a pace that fills out a day.
- Has less than 600m of elevation gain.
- Remember to talk to the trip leader and other members if you have any concerns and bring the appropriate gear!
- Example trips*: Great Walks, Mt Herbert, Anti-Crow Hut, Bealey Spur, Hawdon Hut, Woolshed Hut, Nina Hut.
A moderate trip:
- Typically follows a defined path, or route.
- Participants should be able to read a map and assess the elevation gain involved, and read previous route descriptions to understand the general terrain features.
- Elevation gain can exceed 600m.
- Typically the journey roughly matches the rated time, this is normally 3-6 hours. This requires a moderate level of fitness (participant regularly participates in weekly sport or tramping).
- Example trips*: Otehake Hot Pools, Cass Lagoon, Edwards Hut, Black Hill, Comyns Hut, Mt Fyffe, Cedar Flats, Moa Stream Hut, Upper Poulter Valley, Potts Hut and Mt Brown Hut.
A difficult trip:
- Is very challenging. You should have done many trips and be experienced in New Zealand conditions.
- Requires a high level of fitness.
- May potentially involve uneven terrain under foot, bush bashing or snow skills.
- Talk to the leader to see if your skills are a suitable match for the trip!
- Example Trips: Ivory Lake, Avoca via Avoca Col, Pfifer Biv, Back Basin Hide, Ranger Biv, Top Olderog Biv, Zit Saddle, Koropuku Hut, Whitcombe Pass, traverses like East Hawdon to Worsley biv and remote peaks like Mt Alexander, Rolleston.
A few tips
If you haven’t been on any trips in New Zealand try a easy trip first to work out how tramping works here and what level you are at (other countries have quite different environments—in New Zealand it’s often the weather and rivers, terrain that are the biggest risk factors).
Easy and intermediate trips are still fun—in fact possibly more fun than difficult trips. There is a reason why even the most seasoned leaders love leading these trips!
Trips are difficult for different reasons: weather, terrain or require specific skills (some of which the trip leader or other members may be willing to teach you). If you are in any doubt talk to the trip leader—leaders love questions, particularly ahead of time and would be happy to advise you!