new zealand climbing packing list

From December to February, I spent 9 weeks in New Zealand, mostly on the South Island. My goal was to do as much sport climbing as possible, work and live as cheaply as possible. I was on the Working Holiday visa. During that time I was backpacking by myself without a car, but met up with other travellers/climbers along the way. I’d like to share with you what I packed in my bag, in case someone else is thinking of doing a trip like this!

I carried my pack on my back with my dry bag strapped on to the bottom of it and whatever I couldn’t fit in it on the outside. I carried around my small knapsack on my front.

Throughout my trip, I got rid and obtained a lot of stuff. Here is what I ended up with at the end:


  • down sleeping bag (0 degrees C) in compression sack
  • 3/4 length thin thermarest
  • 1/2 a large PackTowel
  • Gortex raincoat
  • small fork, knife, spoon set
  • swiss army knife
  • REI clipper 2-person tent and footprint
  • 15L sturdy dry bag
  • 50L crag pack
  • headlamp

Climbing Gear:

  • two pairs of climbing shoes (only needed one)
  • 66 m duodess 9.8mm rope (it was 70 m at one point…)
  • climbing helmet
  • 1/2 a small sized blue tarp
  • South Island Rock climbing book (don’t get this one, get rock deluxe or buy guide at each stop)
  • homemade chalk bag with chalk
  • harness
  • 10 quickdraws
  • 2 slings
  • belay device and large locking biner
  • 3 carabiners
  • 5 locking carabiners
  • prussik
  • daisy chain


  • wide-brimmed hat
  • 4 tshirts
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 11 pairs of underwear
  • 6 pairs of cotton socks
  • 2 pairs of thin wool or synthetic socks
  • 2 bras
  • tank top
  • one pair of pants
  • one long sleeve shirt
  • one pair of 3/4 sport leggings
  • one thin fleece sweater
  • sport jandals (I would bring sturdy sandals like Chacos next time)
  • running shoes
  • bikini
  • one pair of jeans
  • one bulky knit cardigan


  • lip balm x2
  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • floss
  • shampoo
  • hand moisturizer
  • polysporin
  • ziploc with a few advil in it
  • feminine products
  • tensor bandage
  • daily contacts (i think i only used ~10 pairs)
  • retainer


  • two cell phones (long story, but you only need one, preferably one that you can get on WiFi with) and chargers
  • mp3 player and earbuds and charger
  • 2 sets of rechargeable AA batteries (for camera) + battery charger
  • one north america to new zealand plug converter
  • SIM card
  • camera


  • NZ/Australia on a shoestring Lonely Planet book
  • small over the shoulder purse
  • small MEC knapsack
  • folder full of important paper(s)
  • sunglasses (prescription and not)
  • paperback book (would exchange at hostels)
  • 1 small tupperware
  • re-usable grocery bag
  • notebook

There ya go. Luckily I met people along the way that filled in the blanks (especially the car blank). I wish I had a better pack, one that was more comfortable and a bit bigger. I had to ship a bunch of stuff back to Fiji before I could fly because there were too many things hanging off my bag.

16 thoughts on “new zealand climbing packing list

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