Police and LandSAR volunteers have finished searching today for the two men lost in Tongariro National Park, on the edge of Kaimanawa Forest.
The men are still missing, however a couple of items have been located, which have been identified as belonging to the missing men.
The men, aged in their 20s, abandoned a stolen car near the Desert Road before legging it into bushland in the Tongariro National Park on Saturday, police say.
But they are not equipped for the cold weather and during a 111 call with emergency teams on Sunday, the men reported being cold and numb.
Since then, they have not made contact with authorities but searchers on Monday afternoon located a campfire, a shoe and two piles of clothing before a shirt and matching shoe were found separately.
Bay of Plenty operations manager Inspector Kevin Taylor says the discovery of discarded clothing is alarming.
"That's consistent with them being hypothermic," he said.
Hypothermic people sometimes experienced euphoria or delirium in which they take their clothes off despite this being the worst thing they can do.
Searchers from Tauranga, Taihape and Whanganui have assisted with the search today, with further police and volunteer personnel due to join the search tomorrow.
"Tonight we will assess all the information and items we have found so far and plan our search tomorrow," Inspector Kevin Taylor said.
"The likelihood of a positive outcome is diminishing. The two men were ill-prepared to spend time in the bush and are likely to now be in a critical condition.
"Police are supporting both whanau who are understandably concerned as the search looks to enter its fourth day," he said.