I am usually buying my gear as I am never satisfied with what I am able to produce with my own hands! However, there are a few items that are non existant on the market or too difficult / expensive to organize. So over the last few days I have worked out a few items for my 3,000km hike:
Being visible by cars & forrest workers – High visibility backpack
Hiking the Te Araroa also means to conform to some requirements. Forestry partners are requiring that hikers wear some form of hi-viz clothing (pack cover and/or vest) when walking on road edges or in commercial forests. I gave it some thought, especially concerned about the road walking bits. I have already done some in Europe and it can get a bit scary at times. A vest isn’t visible from the back if you wear a backpack and I am not taking a cover for my backpack because it’s pretty heavy (and I am having my drybags anyway). So I came up with the idea of sewing a high-visibility cloth to my backpack. With my very basic (almost non existing) sewing skills I still managed to come up with a satisfactory result (at least if you don’t look at it closely).
Instead of a vest I am having a high-visibility wrap to put on my arm or leg plus my clothes are in pretty flashy colours anyway.
When I tried to cut down my gear weight further, I had a hard time considering that I will have to leave out my Kindle. but with a weight of 330g that’s pretty heavy for a luxury item. Then I weighed my Kindle case and it’s 100g just the case! So I have taken some bubble wrap and some tape to create my own ultralight Kindle bag. Just cut about the size of the Kindle (leaving a little space around to be able to tug it in easily. However, don’t make it too loose otherwise it will not hold your Kindle safely). Some tape on all sides and ready was my 5g Kindle case. I made a second one for my bounce box because really, it feels so light that I cannot imagine it to not break at one point.
So many people in the hiking world use a pot cozy, basically a thermo-layer for your mug or pot. It keeps the heat and let’s you simmer your food in there, saving fuel (that is heavy to carry). Most people use Reflectix tape (and yes, most of the videos, DIY etc out there are made in the USA). It seems great but is very expensive in Germany if you find it at all (besides, I don’t need a big roll of it so it’s just not worth ordering). Research shows that other German hikers advise taking a sun reflector for glass windshields of cars. So that’s what I have tried. It’s just not as “fluffy” as the reflectix and I have no clue if and how it will work out 🙂 As tape, I used this one on Amazon: https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B004Z61YLO/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1 (It has to be heat resistant).
Finally, to put it together I followed the description in this video by Sintax77: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FTln2_5Pgo
I will keep you posted how these things work out on the trail! Keeping fingers crossed they will last 🙂