How to get fit for big multiday tramps

As Aucklanders, we’re most fortunate to live in a land abundant with bucket-list multiday tramping destinations. Getting fit enough to be able to enjoy these destinations, be they in the Kawekas, Tararuas, Nelson Lakes or Aspiring country can be a challenge for us though.

A reasonable cardio base is never a bad thing and can be got in many ways, but pack fitness (the ability to walk up and down a sustained hill with a 10-15kg on your back) is a specific tramping fitness and added to it is a requirement for stamina.

Fortunately getting tramping fit is easy for the keen tramper: just go tramping!

The issue for Aucklanders is that our local tramping, such as it is, isn't sufficient training to prepare us for bigger southern hills no matter how much we do of it.

What is needed are sustained climbs and descents of 700 vertical metres or more, and the occasional 8+ hour day to build stamina. Don’t go too nuts on pack weight or you’ll wear yourself out. Try a 7-10kg pack including 3-4l of water, some of which you can tip out at the top to make the descent easier on your knees.Trampers cresting a climb in the Tararuas

If you’re interested in joining one of our extended tramps to the North or South Island Mountains, consider adding some of the following (or similar trips) to your tramping/training regime in the 2-3 months preceding.

This is definitely a good idea for Medium multiday trips, and vital for those graded Med-Fit or Fit. If no suitable club day or weekend tramp is running and you don’t have anyone to train with, maybe put up a post on the club’s Facebook page.

The following training tramps are all within 2-2.5 hrs drive from Auckland:

Day Tramps

Mt Pirongia: Grey Rd loop: up Mahaukura, down Tirohanga & Link tracks

Mt Te Aroha loop: up Te Aroha track (Bald Spur), down Tui Mine Road & Tui Domain Track

Waiorongomai loop: up on to the main Kaimai range via Pylon Peak Track, hang a left and head north along the range to  Waipapa Track, hang another left and head to Waiorongomai Saddle then head down the valley by one of the various tracks and inclines

Pinnacles loop: drive up to the top of the Kauaeranga Valley behind Thames, up Webb Creek Track, down Billygoat Track

If you don’t have a full day, get up early and do the Te Henga Walkway, Bethells Road to Constable Road return – that’ll give you 20-odd kms of upping and downing over 5 or 6 hours

Overnight Tramps

Mt Pirongia, Limeworks Loop Road loop: up Bell Track, down Tahuanui Track

Kaimai North: Day 1 up Pylon Pk Track, Waiorongomai Valley, down to Waitawheta Hut, along tramline to Daly’s Clearing. Day 2 up Mangakino Pack Track to Waiorongomai Saddle, down valley back to start

Kaimai North/Central: Day 1 up Pylon Pk Track, south along main range to Te Rereatukahia Hut. Day 2 Wharawhara, Waitawheta, Waipapa Tracks to Waiorongomai Saddle, down valley back to start

The Kaimai offers a wealth of other good options for overnight / weekend trips

A Bit Challenging?

Some of the tramps suggested may be challenging (that’s the idea really) but they'll sure help get you fit. And it’s always going to be a good idea, even on a day trip, to carry a decent amount of food and water, a hard shell, insulation, a reliable means of navigation, a torch and a plb.

Don’t be the muppet tramper that ends up getting avoidable negative media attention or worse.