Te Araroa: the start

Dreams are sometimes fleeting. Throughout life, goals and desires change and morph, especially as you grow into adulthood.  Kadi and I have discovered this, however: our love of the outdoors, seeded by our families in our youth, has taken root and flourished as we have grown together.

I (Cameron) have always desired to do a long hike; hearing about someone’s experiences on the Appalachian trail while I was a Boy Scout, or watching trail documentaries about the Pacific Crest Trail, the long wilderness experience had always called to me. Unfortunately, I kept it behind a wall in my mind. I guarded myself against this dream. I knew it was logistically difficult, I had a career in Electronics just started, and I was afraid to even hope it could ever happen.

Enter Kadi.

Kadi has an amazing skill that I lack: organization. Though I often complain that she writes too many lists, she has the logistical gumption to move mountains.

I have a New Zealand visa through my parents, and I always thought ‘it would be cool to go live there someday, since I can’.

Kadi came in and said ‘we’re moving to New Zealand when I get my partnership visa’. So she jumped through two dozen hoops to make that happen, and now we’re here.

As we began our New Zealand #vanlife, Kadi started reading a book about NZ’s long trail, Te Araroa. We were hiking (called tramping here) more often, and living in a van puts you very close to the outdoors at all times. On one of these hikes she told me that she wanted to do the TA.

Needless to say, here we are, 9 months later, on a shuttle to the south tip of the South Island. Starting tomorrow, we are planning to hike north, eventually making it to the north tip of the North Island, 3000km later. Most people do it in 3-5 months, so we’re aiming for 4, two months per island.

North Island trail
South Island trail

Another fun part of this trip is that we will be doing it with gear that we have made ourselves! We have a heavy duty sewing machine in the van, and have made our ~35L backpacks, organizational packing cubes, rain mitts, pot coozies, polartec alpha mittens, first aid kit pouches, and others while we’ve been here! We also made our tent, but that was back home when we had more space to sew.

We’ve started our own gear business, The Very Least Ultralight Gear, but we won’t truly start making anything to sell until after we torture test our gear along the trail! Check out the (WIP) website at TheVeryLeast.co.nz, and follow us on Instagram if you want at @theveryleast_ultralightgear. We plan to keep updating this blog with posts as we go along, but we also have a crazy backlog of posts from elsewhere in NZ, so we will likely be working on those as well if we have time in camp.

Thanks for reading, and we will likely be pretty isolated while we’re out there. It would be a treat to hear from anyone with questions or comments that we can read when we get into service! Reach out!


One thought on “Te Araroa: the start

  1. How exciting- and what a challenge! Looking forward to hearing about your adventures. We can live your travels vicariously. Hugs and love!


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