7 Winter Tramping Safety Tips – New Zealand

winter tramping safety tipsTramping or hiking in New Zealand is a very popular pastime, even in the winter. The beauty of the land is worth exploring, however, recent news in the Gisborne Harold featured a couple “lucky to survive” from their night spent in the snow. The 70-year-old man and his wife were stranded in Te Urewera National Park and were fortunate to have been able to call and reach someone for help. With the snowy conditions and a cold front moving in, rescue could not come right away and the couple ended up staying the night in the snow until the next day. They are now recovering. Stories like this remind us that we should keep some winter tramping safety tips in mind.

7 Winter Tramping Safety Tips

  1. Check the Weather – It’s a good idea to postpone your tramping trip if severe weather is moving in.
  2. Dress in Layers – Temperatures may vary along the trail and you’ll want to be prepared for adverse weather. Include layers which will keep you warm, as well as outer waterproof shells to keep out the moisture. Keep your feet well-insulated since your feet will have the most contact with the ground.
  3. Set Reasonable Goals and Start Early – If you’re a less-experienced tramper, keep things simple and work your way up to more difficult trails. Tramping in the snow is much more dangerous if you aren’t able to make it to your checkpoints. Remember also that the days are shorter during these winter months, so you’ll have less daylight. Seize the day and start early.
  4. Bring Trail-Appropriate Gear – Consider the type of trail you’ll be tackling and bring along appropriate safety gear. Always pack a first aid kit, a map, a compass, a headlamp, hand-warming packets, and a multi-tool or pocket knife. With snow, you may also want to consider crampons, hiking poles, camp stove, knee-high gaiters, wrap-around goggles, and a camp stove.
  5. Go in Groups – This not only helps keep track of each other, but also helps to share the burden of carrying heavy items. An even better idea is to take along people who are more experienced than you are, especially if they have winter tramping experience. They are a great resource for trail-specific winter tramping safety tips.
  6. Pack Plenty of Water – Other nice-to-haves include hot tea or cocoa in a thermos.
  7. Mentally Prepare to Turn Around – Mountains will be there later, and reaching the top doesn’t mean much if you can’t make it down to tell about it.

These are just a few winter tramping safety tips to consider. Tramping in the winter not your thing? Check out our blog for other fun things to do around the Hicks Bay/Gisborne region!

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