The other thing is we crossed 200+ rivers on the South Island. We typically switch to our camp shoe or go barefoot, but when you are crossing 50+ rivers sometimes in one day, that’s just not realistic. So we crossed in our boots. Sometimes, it would take a few crossings before our feet would get wet, depending on how shallow it was. This wasn’t true for our hiking partner who had trail runners … his feet were soaked after the slightest moisture on the ground. And his shoes were torn up quicker from all the crossings than ours were. Amazingly, our boots almost always dried out overnight, which surprised us.
We mentioned this in our midpoint gear review, but J’s favorite piece of clothing is his Mountain Hardwear convertible pants, which now have 6,000+ miles on them and are STILL going strong. These pants may be indestructible. With all the trudging through rivers, mud, Spainard grass and tussock on the South Island, I’m not sure how they are still going strong.
I have 2 favorite pieces of clothing: my Big Agnes Shovelhead Downtek jacket and Buff Headwear. I am a sucker for getting to camp and getting comfy. Nights (and sometimes days) on the South Island were much cooler than the North Island and I got my use out of this poof jacket. Amazingly, it shows no wear and tear for the 50+ nights I wore it. I love 2 main features: the hood and Downtek material, which can (and did) get wet, but still keeps me dry. As for my Buff, it goes on every backpacking/hiking trip I take. It is so versatile (hat, headband, etc.) and I literally can’t live without it in the backcountry.
We blogged along the way and when we did the AT, I used my iPhone, which was perfectly fine. But, we decided at the last minute that having a second Internet-capable electronic device would probably be important in NZ since hostels didn’t have community computers to use like hostels on the AT had. So either only one of us could use the Internet, or we should bring the Apple iPad Mini. Turns out, that was a killer choice. Not only did it make blogging easier (I used to type up my blog posts on the iPad in the tent a little each night, then share photos from our iPhone to the iPad when we got to town and upload). You have to buy Internet cards from the hostels, so usually we would each buy our own. Occasionally, we would just buy one and share it.