New Zealand is a beautiful country with amazing landscapes and beaches just waiting to be explored, by tourists and locals alike. Unfortunately, people die and are injured every year in New Zealand, while exploring, having a fun holiday or day out. Poor judgement, lack of knowledge & complacency, more often that not, play a part in these deaths & injuries.
The weather & conditions in NZ are very changeable even in the summer. So it pays to be prepared for the worst, as the saying goes “Shit Happens” when you least expect it, a day trip can turn into an overnight trip, very easily.
So here are a few safety tips and advice I personally follow and use, whenever I go out anywhere, with my pack. Otherwise, I have similar gear that permanently lives in my vehicle, along with a few extra bits and pieces.
- Tell someone where you are going, what time you are leaving your home/accommodation and what time you hope to arrive back at home/accommodation. Say you will text or call, when you get back.
- Check the weather forecast/conditions. I use and find AccuWeather quite reliable. No weather forecast is 100%. Accu, gives you a lot of information, including cloud cover percentages, wind chill & rain information etc. If I am heading towards the coast I also check Surf-forcast.com for the latest tidal information, such as high/low tide times, wave height, energy & wind. Lastly, I also take a look at the Department of Conservation, for information on track conditions, permits, wildlife etc.
- Know where you are going, write down directions, take a map, I don’t rely on my cell phone because coverage can be sketchy in places. Its is also very easy to lose, drop/break your phone.
- Dress for the conditions: take extra clothing & a first aid kit, including any medications you may need.
- Water & food, make sure you have enough, always take extra.
Here is a quick run down of what I have in my pack, all year around.
- First aid kit, I make my own, saves money and I get what I want in my kit including any medication. Always have your first aid kit, accessible, don’t have it buried at the bottom of your pack or bag. I use a zip lock sandwich bag, which is also waterproof to keep it in.
- Clothing: pair of socks, rain poncho/rain jacket, hat, gloves, scarf & spare top.
- Emergency: sleeping bag & blanket (mylar or the like) tarpaulin (shelter) cordage, 2 x black plastic bags, (bags can be used for insulation. fill with leaves, for example), torch (with spare batteries), fire kit, 1 litre water bottle, with cook mug, a knife/multi tool & compass. Sleeping on the bare ground for the night, isn’t a good idea, as the earth can sap a lot of your body heat, you need to have some form of insulation or be off the ground.
- Food: coffee, soup, energy bars, boil in the bag meal, can be eaten hot or cold.
- Personal hygiene kit: Baby wipes, hand sanitizer, toilet roll/tissues/handee towel, sunblock & insect repellent. (all are put in to small containers) except for sunblock and repellent.
Common sense plays a big part in what anyone chooses to do, or not do. People often see things differently, what is important to one, may not be to another.