Tramping Glossary

Tramping in New Zealand has its own peculiar language. Here is a list of common tramping terms 
I often use and their meaning:

A.S.L/asl: above sea level, a measure of altitude above the coast
backcountry: either private or public land removed from roads, centres of population

bach: (bat-ch) a small (or not so small) holiday home, usually in some mecca of tourism (holiday home, crib)

basic/standard/serviced: These are DOC hut ratings- basic: no charge, very few amenities, standard: $5 per night, will have mattresses, toilet, water source but that may be all, serviced: $15 per night, will have  mattresses, heating, toilets, water source, firewood  and some have a hut warden

BCC: Back Country Cuisine, one of the freeze dried meal ranges available in New Zealand

benched: A track that is benched has a discernible shape as they were usually cut for pack horses and wagons. There will be a bank on the up hill side of a benched track

billy: a pot, traditionally aluminium, for boiling water/tea in

biv, bivvy, bivouac: a small rough shelter or a sheltered camp-site

bluff: a cliff, or steep hill

brew: a hot drink, traditionally tea made in a billy, but... (a brew)

brew kit: your equipment for making a hot drink, it is an old military term

bushline: line above which native forest stops growing, usually between 1000-1500 metres asl

cairn: a man made pile or mound of stones which signal the course of a track/route/river crossing

camp site: a location either formal or informal for pitching a tent

clag/clagged in: fog or cloudy conditions

cooker: New Zealand name for a tramping stove (stove)

CTC: Canterbury Tramping Club

DOC: Department of Conservation

dunny: slang for toilet (see also long drop) 

fire box: a metal enclosed fireplace in many back country huts (wood burner, log burner, pot belly)

FMC: Federated Mountain Clubs, an umbrella organisation consisting of various tramping/climbing clubs which advocates for outdoor users and the environment

gaiter: (gay-tor) nylon, Gore Tex or canvas covering that stretches from the bottom of the boots to just below the knee, designed to prevent debris from entering the boot

giardia: a protozoa that infects the intestines of mammals causing sickness 

GPS: Global Positioning System. Usually a hand held device which will provide navigation information such as latitude, longitude and elevation

Great Walk: A special designation of track, with a superior track/hut quality. All need to be pre booked and all have track/hut wardens from October-April. There are 10 Great Walks in New Zealand

hut pass/ticket: there is a small nominal charge for using DOC huts, these are paid for using pre purchased tickets or 6-12 month passes

long drop: a back country toilet, consists of a basic shelter with a toilet seat and hopefully an empty hole underneath

MSC: Mountain Safety Council, an independent body which co ordinates safety messages and training in New Zealand

NZDA: New Zealand Deerstalkers Association, a local hunting focus group

Permolat: a disused form of track marking consisting of small reflective metal strips, a volunteer organisation that maintains huts and tracks in New Zealand

pit: a trampers sleeping bag

pit day: a day spent in your sleeping bag or 'pit', either a rest day or bad weather day. Normally involves copious cups of tea...

PLB: A Personal Locator Beacon

road end:  see trail head, the end of a road and start of the track

route: a possible passage from location A to location B but not necessarily marked, they are often difficult

saddle: a low passage over a ridge. Usually the easiest route between two valley systems

scree: loose soil or stones inclined on a slope

scroggin: (scro-gain) A snack mixture of nuts, dried fruit, ginger and chocolate (trail mix, GORP)

scroggin thief: The villain who steals all of the chocolate from the scroggin. Don't be a scroggin thief!

SH73: State Highway and the number of the highway. SH73 is the road from Christchurch to Greymouth over Arthur's Pass

sidle: In New Zealand this means to follow a track or walk along the same contour line while tramping (sidling)

slogging: walking in a manner without conviction, usually at the end of a long hot day on a uninteresting track (plodding, yomping, humping)

swing bridge: suspension bridge usually constructed from wire, rope and wood

'swing the billy': go heat some water for tea and or coffee 

switch back: a zig zag path up a slope

tarn: small mountain pond or lake, often glacial in origin

tops: the top portion of a ridge or mountain range. They are often covered in tussock or low scrub

tramp/tramping: In New Zealand we tramp, we do not hike although they mean the same thing (hike, ramble, bush walking)

tussock: a type of long native grass, present from sea level to over 2000 metres asl

three-wire bridge: a type of bridge which consists of three cables, one for the feet and two for the hands

trail head: start finish of a track