New Zealand has been a favourite tourism destination ever since the epic Lord of The Rings film series cast it as the “real life” Middle Earth. The tiny Kiwi nation is indeed fantastically stunning.
If you are visiting planning to New Zealand and wondering what you need to bring with you, then you’ve come to the right place.
New Zealand’s conditions vary greatly, and the country spans different climatic zones – so figuring out what your New Zealand packing essentials are can be challenging.
Once you get through this guide you’ll have this what to pack for New Zealand thing in the bag! So, take a deep breath, sit back and read on – and soon enough you’ll be on your way to adventures of a lifetime. Doesn’t get much better than that!
The Ultimate New Zealand Packing List
Packing for New Zealand is made easier than ever thanks to our list. We’ll help you choose what to bring to New Zealand and offer up some choice picks on what to wear too,
The Backpack and Luggage: Nomatic Travel Bag
Before you even take on the task of figuring out what to pack for New Zealand, you’ll need an amazing backpack to pack it all into. For all types of travelers and destinations, our number one recommendation is the Nomatic Travel Bag.
The Nomatic travel bag covers every detail to make backpacking travel the best experience. Because of its smart design, it manages to provide loads of packing space in a convenient, carry-on size package! Its handy built-in pockets make plenty of room for all the necessities on your what to pack for New Zealand checklist – you’ll find separate compartments for important items like shoes, water bottle, electronics, underwear and socks. As an added bonus, there’s also an RFID-safe and cord management pocket.
You have a choice between backpack or duffel bag carry, and extra carrying comfort for your back thanks to its innovative strap system and detachable sternum strap. And its black, waterproof material is every bit sleek and modern as it is durable and tough. There is a reason why most Broke Backpacker staff swear by this backpack.
A Suitcase: Nomatic Carry-On Pro
Backpacks not your thing? That’s ok. Our friends at Nomatic are back again with a great alternative to their badass Travel Bag; the Nomatic Carry-On Pro.
This suitcase is ultra-durable, sleek, and comes with a handy tech compartment for transporting your laptop and other electronic bits. Nomatic has been an industry leader when it comes to travel gear and that reputation is reflected in the quality build design and functionality of the Carry-On Pro suitcase. However, this may not be big enough to pack all you need for your New Zealand adventure so is more one for short trips to the cities.
Check out our Nomatic Carry-On Pro review to learn more about this epic suitcase.
The Camera: GoPro Hero9 Black
For most of us, our smartphones now feature cameras with stunning photo capabilities.
But… if you are an aspiring photographer who wants to take next-level photos and video beyond iPhone selfies, I recommend going with an action camera like the GoPro Hero9 Black.
It does deliver pro-quality video and gives you a bunch of a different angle options and shooting speeds to work with for photos (including a selfie-mode).
Think of a camera purchase like this as a long term investment that will have you capturing epic shots well beyond your time exploring here.
If you are looking for something cheaper for video specifically, check out these epic GoPro Alternatives.
What To Pack For New Zealand: Personal Gear
There is a lot to think about when packing for New Zealand. Firstly, the country does get proper seasons and can be hot in the summer and snowy in the winter. Then you need to factor in what kinds of activities you will doing whether it will be trekking & camping, surfing or camper-vanning.
And of course, New Zealand is an outdoorsy kind of place so you may also need to pack in some proper terrain and camping gear too.
New Zealand Checklist
This checklist is not intended to micro manage your packing and we are not going to tell you exactly what to wear in New Zealand. However, we are going to make some choice suggestions about some some top notch adventure gear.
Good Shoes – Salomon X Ultra 3 Low Aero
Your New Zealand trip will probably involve a hell of a lot of walking. Therefore it is important to make sure you have some good quality footwear.
I admit that most shoes that are also good for hiking are not the most attractive pieces of footwear. But they are some of the most comfortable and deliver good ankle support for a long day of walking about town.
If you plan to do some serious hiking in New Zealand, then you may wish to consider getting some boots instead.
Check out the women’s Salomon X Ultra 3 Low Aero.
Good Boots For Winter: Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boots
If you are visiting during the winter or simply doing some hardcore treks, then the above mentioned shoes may not cut it. If it snows or rains a lot, (which it probably will) then you will much better off in good quality boots. These ones are awesome being warm, comfy, and enduring. They are suitable both for day hikes, the golden circle and for checking out the museums and bars in Wellington.
A Down Jacket: Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody
Even in summer months, New Zealand can get pretty cool especially at night It is therefore essential to bring a little something to keep you warm. This is especially true if you’re going to be camping or heading out in nature overnight.
This is our top pick for summer wear it weighs just under a pound and provides an excellent weight to warmth ratio. If you don’t go for one of the super bright colors, it is pretty stylish and city-worthy also.
If visiting New Zealand in the winter, then you should check out the next item instead.
Check out our best travel jackets article for more inspiration.
Good Rain Jacket – Arcteryx Beta AR
Did you know that the surface of the earth is over 70% covered in water? And you know how that water got there? Yep because it tends to here rain here on planet earth quite a lot! New Zealand can get seriously drizzly especially in autumn and winter.
There is no such thing as bad weather, only the wing gear for it. Don’t let a bit (of a lot) of rain ruin your trip and make sure you are ready with some top notch rain gear.
This is our pick of the many rain jackets we have tried. It’s reliable & stylish and looks good worn out in the mountains or in city bars.
Sun God Sunglasses
A reliable pair of sunglasses is undoubtedly one of your NZ packing essentials. Our favorites are SunGod Sunglasses because they deliver on quality and style.
They’re built tough with triple-layer scratch-resistant lenses and trademarked Adventure-proof Frame Material. You can also customize them with your choice of lense and frame colors to reflect your own style. Plus they’re covered by SunGod’s lifetime guarantee of free repair. Check our in-depth review here.
Money Belt – By Active Roots
Whilst New Zealand is not particularly dangerous, crime can still happen and tourists are sometimes targeted.
Therefore it is always a good idea to use a money belt to hide your cash just in case something does go wrong.
Tent – MSR Hubba Hubba 2p
New Zealand presents some of the best camping ops you will ever come across and it would be a real shame not to take full advantage. Don’t miss out and pack yourself a tent so you can get sleeping under the stars.
This is a high quality, and LIGHT tent. Granted it may not quite make the cut as ultralight backpacking gear but think of what you’re getting! The MSR Hubba Hubba 2p is mega-roomy and has multiple of pockets for keeping your self organized when settling in for the night.As far as budget backpacking tents go, this is one of the best. It’s a happy medium between the ‘prepared for anything’ mode and the ‘I wanted to go for a trek so I bought this for 2000 rupees’ afterthought.
Sleeping Bag – Nemo Disco 15
At some point in your trip to New Zealand, you will probably go camping. Whilst you can probably buy or rent over there, it makes more sense to invest your pennies in a good peace of gear that will serve you for many a trip to come. Therefore bringing a sleeping bag is often a great investment.
There are a LOT of sleeping bags on the market today and we have tried a lot of them. The quality and standards varies and not always in correlation with the price – pricey does not always mean better. The Nemo Disco 15 is a great all rounder sleeping bag packing in warmth, durability and a reasonable price tag.
Waterbottle – Hydroflask Vacuum Bottle 32 oz.
Packing a reusable water bottle is probably the best thing you can personally do to combat single-use plastic bottle use whilst traveling. There is simply zero need to buy plastic water bottles. The tap water in New Zealand is good to drink so you can fill it up each morning before you head out.
We love the Hydroflask Vacum Bottle for its quality and because it keeps cold water cold for many hours and vice versa for hot beverages. This bottle is the ideal water bottle to get not just for your New Zealand trip but for daily use. Please don’t be that person buying plastic water bottles. We are all judging you…especially mother earth.
If you go with the Hydroflask, you’ll probably never need to buy another waterbottle again.
If you’re gonna be spending a lot of time outdoors away from following taps, then maybe the Grayl is more of what you need.
Single-use plastic bottles are a huge threat to Marine Life – Be a part of the solution and travel with a filter water bottle.
The GRAYL GEOPRESS water bottle is the ONLY all-in-one filter water bottle setup you’ll need. Whether you need to purify the water from a hostel sink in Kathmandu or a stream trickle in the Andes, the Geopress has got you covered.
Read our full review of the GRAYL GEOPRESS!
A Good Daypack for Hiking – Osprey Daylite Plus
If you intend on doing any hiking then you will need a daypack. They are great for carrying water, hat’s and gloves and for packing sandwiches for lunch. We love Osprey products and this daypack is our personal pick.
The Osprey Daylite Plus has a mesh-covered panel to keep your back cool and fresh by minimizing contact with the back of the pack itself and allowing air to get between you and the pack.
Check out our full review of the Osprey Daylite plus for more details.
Additionally, you can attach it to other Osprey packs in case you want to add more capacity and carry just one piece of luggage… but the reviews on this feature are mixed.
Final Thoughts on What to Pack for New Zealand
There it is, mates! You’re now equipped with all you need to know on what to pack for New Zealand with our complete New Zealand survival guide. Remember to refer back to the top-23 needs packing list, our tips on what to wear and how to dress in New Zealand, a detailed look at Kiwi seasons and how to pack accordingly for varying weather conditions. You also have our recommendations for women and men for their own packing lists – plus, what NOT to pack for New Zealand.
We hope all of this information has sparked your fire for your travels and eased your mind about the preparation part. Just think – the next phase is all the fun stuff! You’ll soon be submerged in all of New Zealand’s splendor and living it up Kiwi-style. You’re in for a magical ride!
Also – don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for backpackers, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.
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