So you’ve got a rainy forecast: packing for a day tramp in the rain

14 Oct 2020

When you have booked a day walk around Te Anau, Fiordland – keep in mind it is the wettest corner of New Zealand – so do not be surprised if your forecast is for rain. However, this can be one of the best times to walk. Waterfalls start pumping full force, with many temporary ones springing spontaneously from the cliffs, and the mists that shroud the forests add a mystical air to the place. Come prepared and embrace this awesome wild experience!

When you plan and organise your day pack for wet weather, your day is going to be more enjoyable. At Trips and Tramps we’ve put together a list of extra things you must pack/consider to keep yourself warm and your spirits high (in addition to what you’d normally take, see blog how to pack like a pro for a day hike) when you’re out hiking in rainy Fiordland.

View of a forest covered valley with clouds on the mountains

Misty scenes on the Routeburn Track on a rainy Fiordland day.

1. Pack liner

This is a waterproof bag to line the inside of your backpack – there is nothing worse than a wet clothes, soggy sandwich, or drowned phone! You can pick a pack liner up from any outdoors shop, or simply use a sturdy, plastic shopping bag and zip lock bags for the smaller items. Alternatively, if you want to take it to the next level, you could buy various small drybags, which are made from a tougher material than a regular plastic bag, and let you separate your items, which might make them easier to find.

2. Waterproof clothing – a good rain jacket with hood

To stay snug and dry, a decent rain jacket is a no-brainer (one that is breathable, is ideal, and most are nowadays, whatever your budget). A larger hood that extends out past your face to shield your eyes is the best, and hiking specific jackets tend to be longer in length, providing more cover. Some people like waterproof pants, but kiwis tend to go with the thermals with shorts over top. There are some lightweight options out there for waterproof pants, so it is up to personal preference. In torrential rain, nothing really keeps you totally dry in Fiordland!

Group of trampers on the Milford Track in the rain

A good jacket is a must for Fiordland tramping, as it is one of the wettest places in the world. 

3. Hot drink in a thermos

Whether it is a rejuvenating cup of tea, an energising coffee or a sweet hot chocolate, any hot liquid whatsoever will do the job of getting you toasty from the inside out – bliss! This is what makes day tramps so great compared with multiday tramps: you can afford to take the weight of a flask for that instant, easy cuppa. Your Trips and Tramps guide will always carry one for the group, if you are on one of our guided walks.

4. A change of clothes

If your clothes get wet, you are likely to stay warm just by walking, but if you have to stop for any reason (for example you’re waiting for your return transport after your tramp), a set of dry clothes is a godsend. You can put your wet clothes back in your pack – but on the outside of the pack liner. If you are on our Milford Track Guided Walk we recommend you take a spare of clothes, including shoes, for after the tramp, and as you will be a long way from home.

5. Visit the best waterfalls

Make sure that if there is a waterfall in the area, you are seeing it now that it’s pumping in the rain! Check out 4 options here for chasing waterfalls in Fiordland.

Person taking photo of waterfall

With plenty of water you get the most amazing waterfalls and epic photographs!

6. Check alerts on rivers, creeks and the weather

In Fiordland, during and after heavy rain, often tracks will flood, so check whether there are any alerts A characteristic of Fiordland is that the rivers will rise and fall very quickly, so you need to plan your day walk for the conditions. Keep an eye on weather updates too, just in case that forecast light rain is about to turn a whole lot wetter And of course, don’t forget to check those rivers for Whio (Blue duck), that weird and wonderful, rare bird that surfs Whitewater rapids like a pro!


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