The Long Stroll – Part 2

[vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” text_align=”left” css_animation=””][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Journey of Jory

“While some people may see a jobless, barefoot hobo in a flax coat, I see a chance for survivalist craziness.”

The idea of walking 3000 km’s is something most of us would never contemplate, let alone do. Yet this is exactly what Jory Akuhata is going to do, and FLINT is going along for the ride (or walk) as Jory makes his way down the Te Araroa trail in New Zealand.

Te Araroa spans the length of New Zealand, from Cape Regina (the northern tip of NZ) to Bluff (one of the most southern points of NZ) passing volcanoes, mountain ranges, beaches and cities and all sorts of other wild shit.

Barefoot and armed with only the most basic supplies and mostly self made equipment, Jory will survive by hunting his own food and in general will be looking like a hobo after the first five minutes.

Before the journey even begins, Jory has been preparing himself for whats ahead. Completely changing his lifestyle. Welcome to the world of Jory.

In part 1, Jory explained his preparations and why the heck he is doing it. Part 2 discusses the self made gear he will use. 

The self made gear

After spending a few days in the bush recently, trying to figure out how exactly I will be hiking on my journey. A common theme arose with my home made gear… It’s heavy!

Here is my 5 major bits of gear.

 1. Pack frame

My pack frame was one of the first things I made. It seemed straight forward, a few bits of wood put together with some straps. It would also give me the flexibility to make flax bags of any size depending on what gear I had to carry. 

What I learnt:

  • Make comfortable straps!!! (I know this is common sense but seriously when you have spent half a year weaving rope you really get sick of it).The first night I went out to a DOC camp site (2 km of easy road walking) the straps I had woven instantly started cutting off important blood supply to my arms.
  • Balance your gear weight low and even around your hips. The discomfort was worse as I walked and I shifted my pack around trying to make it bearable until finally the whole thing came apart breaking to pieces. I ended up making camp on the side of the road with the pack frame not even lasting 20 mins. Luckly the next morning I found a chopped down gum tree with the perfect size and shape for a frame and some long pieces of flax for thicker straps and ended up with a much better frame.

2. Cooker

In terms of cooking I have two burners. A twig burner and a gas burner, both made from tin cans.

  Regrettable: Man Snorts Line of Cocaine Before Interview

What I learnt:

  • Nothing you make is perfect the first time around.
  • The gas burner is very good and super small though its a little heavy on gas for my liking.
  • And the twig burner is good in theory using gasification it needs only a handful of sticks or leaves to cook a meal. But my design isn’t perfect so it will take a bit more tinkering to workout what I am doing wrong.

3. Eel trap

The eel trap is made of bamboo and is a dual purpose tool. Most of the time it will store my tools and cooking gear and sit at the top of my pack. But if I make camp by a stream or river it will catch my breakfast.

What I learnt:

  • Use what is avaliable.
  • Willow beats bamboo hands down when it comes to making baskets. It’s easier to work with but I never found a good source in Wellington so  I settled for bamboo.

4. Fishing net

Another dual purpose bit of gear the fishing net, made of flax rope it will be used to catch fish allong the sea sections of the trail and a hammock to sleep in the rest of the time. My sleeping blanket and fly are wrapped in the net, it’s tied to the frame as the first thing to come off for easy set up.

What I learnt:

  • You can never have enough rope.
  • I never got to sleep in the hammock as it was too short and the sections of rope I made were too thin and broke under my weight instantly. So I ended up sleeping on the ground staring enviously at the hammock, wondering what could have been.
  • I am so sick of making rope.

5. Cloak

Pre colonial Maori used to make simple cloaks from flax called pake. These were used as a basic shelter when sleeping outdoors.

What I learnt:

  • No matter how much time and effort you put into something sometimes you have to compromise to achieve the larger goal.
  • Pake is heavy, takes a lot of flax to make, and too big to pack nicely yet too small to sleep in. It will take a tougher person then myself to give up my modern Shelter for the old school version. So sadly it will be left behind. Lots of tourist wanted photos with me though.

In general I am feeling confidant about using self made gear to hike. Adaptability and imagination are required when it comes to making this gear. Each project, though not perfect has given me a lesson on how to improve the next version. With a few months to go I still have a lot to overcome but feel ready for the challenges ahead.

Jory Akuhata is hunting, gathering, and making his way across New Zealand. Check his blog here: journeyofjory