A small handful of Kiwi outdoor clubs publish an annual journal.  It takes a fair amount of effort from the editors, but the production of a quality club publication each year seems to be well worth it for those clubs that do.

Encouraging contributions

Keep a record of the club trips through the year, including names and contact details of participants and leaders.  Remind leaders to nominate someone before the trip to be responsible for writing a contribution, or failing that, chase the participants and leaders afterward for content. Other reminders in club newsletters or other communication may help, but often it takes direct communication with an individual to get them to produce something for the journal.

Find ways of contributing that work for people. If they aren’t interested in writing a story, consider asking them for a poem, photographs, artwork or opinion piece.  Hand out pen and paper on long journeys back from the hills and run a poetry competition about the trip just completed.  Or bring along art supplies to one club night, and encourage some artwork contributions for the journal. For those who aren’t willing to write but do like to talk, consider recording an interview with the person for the editor to turn into a text; either a transcript or as inspiration for an article. For some, “Trip reports” sound a bit intimidating; try asking for a “few memories or reflections” from the trip, or anything that gives the contribution a feel that is more like a pleasant task than a onerous one.

Club photo competitions are an ideal source of imagery for journals, perhaps even the winning photo could become the cover of the next journal.

Laying out the journal

For a significant publication like a journal, professional software is strongly recommended. Adobe InDesign is the industry standard publishing software. InDesign requires a paid licence, and has a steep learning curve. However it is very well documented, with numerous online tutorials.  Most printing companies will be using InDesign, so they can often help you with templates, or during the final pre-print stages of the project.

Have a browse through past issues from other clubs for inspiration on layout and content.

Most editors feel quite passionate about their journals, and will likely to be happy to help with specific questions if you reach out to them through their clubs. You can download the InDesign template used by OUTC for Antics to help get you going.

Why print a hard copy of the journal?

Many people still get satisfaction from reading a hard copy publication.  In a world where you can be online anywhere, having a print version of a journal to take on a trip and leave in a hut, provides a meaningful way of sharing your club stories with others from the outdoor community and helping to enrich the NZ back country hut culture.

Printed journals: how much will it cost, and many copies should we print?

A full color club journal will be likely to cost nearly as much as the retail price of comparable published book.  Shop around for quotes from printers. Many clubs seem to get better service and support from university printers, who frequently print small run, unique publications for students and staff.

In bigger clubs, the cost of printing could well be covered within the membership fee, or from other sources of club funding making the journal free to members.  For smaller clubs, its probable that members would need to pay for each journal. If members need to pay for the journal, make sure you do your research and get a good committment from members before putting the effort into a printed journal.

Attempting to sell the journal to non club members may be an option for some clubs (notably the NZAC Alpine Journal) but for most, the interest in the document will be primarily for club members. The Otago University Tramping Club published a collection of journal content, called “45 Years of Antics“. This book was made available for public purchase, but public sales were limited.

If finances allow, you should consider printing additional copies for club members to take to favorite club huts for the hut library.


If you have any other advice or knowledge to add to this page, questions to ask on this topic, or are aware of other annual journals which are available online, please get in touch with us..