Clothing To Wear On The The Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Here’s a list of things you should wear (and a few things you should avoid, when working out what to wear while you walk the Tongariro Crossing.
  • Appropriate socks – avoid cotton and go for polyprop, as cotton socks will be cold, heavy and uncomfortable if they get wet.
  • Dress in layers such as a Merino or polyprop underlay. Don’t bother with cotton t-shirts or jeans – this is not a normal walk in the park! Layers mean you can also take items on/off as you experience different temperatures during the day.
  • Waterproof/windproof jacket
  • Waterproof/windproof pants
  • Hat and/or beanie
  • Sunglasses – the glare can be intense!
  • Gloves
  • Hiking Poles – optional, but they will make the downhills more manageable.

Shoes For The Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Good quality footwear is a must have. You CANNOT do the Tongariro Crossing in sneakers.

A normal pair of sneakers or trainers will not be sturdy enough on rugged and/or loose terrain. 

You will need shoes that can:

  • Support your ankles and give you better stability – important when you head downhill
  • Be waterproof – walking on heavy, wet socks and shoes is not fun!
  • Have  good grip. Slipping on the track is a risk, so hiking boots with good grip are recommended.

Bonus Tip: Cut your toenails. This sounds weird to mention, but long toenails will result in an uncomfortable and even painful walk – especially as you walk downhill, where there is more pressure on your feed.  Keep ‘em short!

Other Things To Take On The Crossing

  • Sun Protection. You can’t escape the New Zealand sun while on the crossing. Aside from a few kilometres at the end, there is no shelter or shade. So bring sun protection of your choice.
  • Your phone
  • Torch (consider a head torch) and spare batteries
  • Toilet paper
  • A map of your walk. The track is actually well marked but you should take a map anyway – it will weigh nothing and may come in handy.
  • First aid kit – pain relief, band-aids, bandages, pain killers, etc
  • Hand sanitiser

Food and Drink needed for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

There are no cafes or vending machines on the track. 😄

This means you need to bring your own kai (food) and wai (water).

Everyone has different dietary preferences, but ultimately you want to bring food that is

  • Easy to carry in your pack without getting damaged/squashed.
  • Give you energy – either a hit of energy or a slow release depending on your preferences
  • Needs no preparation – hence why snack/chocolate bars are popular

It’s crucial to bring at least two litres of water, and it’s worth noting that there is no drinkable water anywhere on the crossing.