Welcome to the Log Book – a new space to share your stories, and our stories as we get out and experience the best of the outdoors in New Zealand, Australia and all around the world. You’re wondering “why the Log Book?” – it’s simply because this is more than just a blog, it’s a place of collaboration, a place where experiences and knowledge are shared, and a place we hope visiting is an adventure in itself.
Our name takes its inspiration from the humble hut log book – an iconic piece of New Zealand tramping history. Anyone who has visited a backcountry hut in New Zealand will have seen – and hopefully contributed to – a log book. These books have a simple purpose: they form a valuable record of who has visited a particular hut, the conditions in the area, and any general observations that other visitors should be aware of. Over time, this information becomes a substantial, useful and often witty collection of information on the hut and the surrounding environment.
Here in New Zealand, Log books have a long history – they’ve been around for decades, and are as much a part of the huts as the materials that hold the buildings together. Most came into existence around the expansion of backcountry recreation in the 1960s and 1970s. Our cousins in Australia don’t have as many huts as we do here – due to the differences in climate. They do, however, have a similar concept at some iconic summits where visitors can check in.
A look through any Department of Conservation New Zealand hut log book reveals a treasure trove of stories and information. Books that look as old as the hills are scrawled with notes from visitors detailing their trip so far, their planned route forward, and little anecdotes from their travels. When you’re offline, enjoying a night in a remote hut, it can be a lot of fun to flick through the pages of the log book, discovering stories from other adventurers.
While there are plenty of fun, interesting and humorous entries in log books, their original purpose was safety – to track peoples’ journeys so that in the event of anyone going missing, search and rescue teams can refer to the information in log books to get a better understanding of the person’s potential location, and the conditions they were facing at the time.
Even now, with the advances in modern communication, police, emergency and SAR volunteers still swear by log books as a valuable tool – especially to find people who have not recorded their intentions elsewhere. Even when people who let their friends and family know their intentions, plans do change in the hills, and weather conditions tend to interfere, so log books are an incredibly important source of information as they prove a person has reached a particular site.
As with the log books found in backcountry huts, we hope our Log Book will provide an interesting glimpse into our adventures – and your adventures, too. From tips and how-to guides, through to news, events, reviews and inspirational stories, the Log Book is a place to explore, experience and discover #whateveryouradventure
Tramping in NZ – before you go:
As keen adventurers ourselves, Macpac fully supports safe practices when exploring in the outdoors. Because many outdoor locations are beyond the realms of mobile phone coverage, and often with very few people around, if something doesn’t go to plan, the only way emergency services can assist you is if they know you haven’t returned. Telling people where you’re going is part of the ‘Outdoor Safety Code’, and in New Zealand, it’s part of our outdoor culture. It’s expected that you’ll always let a trusted contact know – before you go. For those who have no options in terms of letting others know their intentions, there are online tools such as AdventureSmart run by NZSAR where intentions can be logged.