Author

Pushkar Bisht

Yes, it’s time to add Andaman and Nicobar Islands to our bucket list because guess what, Andaman and Nicobar Islands will soon get its first ever railway line. And no we are not kidding!!! If you too have dreams of enjoying a vacation in the much-loved islands and are planning to visit Andaman and Nicobar Islands, traveling might soon get more convenient to this destination. 

Andaman and Nicobar Islands have been a famous destination among travelers for its scenic and antiquated beauty. But we have seen more craze in couples and honeymooners about these exotic islands for pristine beauty, calm seas and bounty nature. 

I know you all have started visualizing the scenic beauty through the window of your seat, so here’s everything you need to know about the dream rail route of all travelers.

WHAT IS THE PROJECT

The Indian government has given green signal to the 240 kms broad gauge railway tracks in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, connecting Port Blair and Diglipur. The link is expected to run parallel to the coast through a number of bridges and stations. This line will connect Port Blair with Diglipur, becoming the first railway line in the country to get the archipelago i.e the group of islands on the rail map. 

So if you are someone who suffers from sea-sickness then fret no more. You can now avoid those bumpy ferry rides, all thanks to the first railway line in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. 

Currently, there are only two ways to reach Port Blair, the capital of Andaman and Nicobar Islands either by Air or by Sea. Port Blair and Diglipur are well connected by road and sea. The distance between Port Blair and Diglipur via the 350kms Andaman Trunk Road (ATR) takes nearly about 14 hours by bus while the ferry takes a whole day. But once the railway tracks are laid, the journey then will be covered in ONLY 3 HOURS.

WHAT’S THE COST OF THE PROJECT

The rail line will be built with Rs 2,413.68 crore with a negative rate of return on investment of -9.64 per cent. Though a rail line is considered commercially viable if it is at least a positive of 12 per cent yet Railways has approved the plan due to its “uniqueness and strategic importance”, as per documents reviewed by The Indian Express.

Planning and Finance directorates of Railways said that the project “is unique, away from the mainland, and has tourism potential.”

BENEFITS FOR TOURISM

It’s clear that the main agenda of the railway line is to boost tourism. Andaman already gives you a feel of an exotic foreign island while Port Blair and Diglipur are both great locations for tropical vacation. If you visit there you won’t feel that you are in India. We really are super excited and super anxious about the rail route, and just wish it starts soon.

As soon as the line is commissioned, tourism will see a jump from the current 4.5 lakh visitors a year to around 6 lakh a year, as per our estimates. So even though the railway survey shows a negative return, our assessment is otherwise. However, we have agreed to share the operational losses, if any,” Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Jagdish Mukhi told The Indian Express.

The Ross and Smith islands are the major tourist attractions in Diglipur. “These are just two of the main attractions. Lakhs of tourists take great pains to reach there from Port Blair every year. With the railway line in place, that part essentially becomes a part of the capital, beneficial to tourists, local residents and the defence forces,” said Mukhi. The region is also famous for its serene sea-side experience at the Lamiya Bay Beach and the Kalipur Beach.

”If they get trains to our island, travelling will become much easier. Diglipur has about 40,000 people, so it will make the to-and-fro travelling much easier,” Tufan Kishen, a native of Port Blair was quoted as saying by International Business Times.

THE IMPORTANCE TO DEFENCE FORCES 

It’s very clear that the railway line of Andaman and Nicobar Islands will play a vital role for the defence forces also. As per the Railways’ Planning wing, the project can help build the strategic lines for Defence ministry like those in the border regions of the Northeast. In fact, the Finance arm can be taken up as a national project much like the famous Kashmir link. 

The Union Territory administration too pitched for the tourism potential of the rail line claiming it is of “immense strategic value” to the defence forces as Diglipur is only 300 km by sea from the southern coast of Myanmar.

Let us know who all are super excited to visit Andaman and Nicobar Islands through the rail. And if you already have been to these exotic destinations, do share your experience with us.

HAPPY TRAVELING 

Pic Credit for Thumbnail image- Travel Earth

Pic Credit for Instagram images – andaman_nicobar

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Tourists from India, Maldives and Bangladesh were considered as Regional Tourists and these three countries were exempted from the fee and could enter without a visa. But not any more. 

On Monday 03 Feb 2020, Bhutan’s lower house of Parliament passed legislation that makes it mandatory for visitors from India, Bangladesh and Maldives to pay a fee of 1200 Ngultrums  per day (equivalent to 1200 INR or USD 16.85 per day) from July 2020. Indians don’t have a free entry visa to Bhutan anymore. 

This fee will be collected as Sustainable Development Fee (SDF). The decision was made because of the increase in the number of regional tourists and its effect on Bhutan’s ecology. The Bhutanese government said, the SDF will directly go to the government and will be contributed towards the government’s initiatives regarding social welfare of Bhutanese citizens, according to the Tourism Council of Bhutan. According to the news report, there have been instances where some tourists have disobeyed the local laws and orders. Also disrespected their traditions and local customs. 

Last October, an Indian biker caused outrage by climbing on top of a monument to pose for a photograph. 

According to the Tourism Council of Bhutan’s Annual Report, India is the main source of visitors to the country. Indian visitors to Bhutan is more than 69 per cent with more than 19 lakh tourists visiting the country. 

While other nations tourists still continue to pay a USD 250 charge per day to the government, which includes $65 sustainable development fee.  Tourists from other nations have already been paying the fee as a part of their Minimum Daily Package – including meals, accomodation and transport. The Minimum Daily Package is priced at $250 during high season and $200 during off-season for foreign tourists.

In 2018, Bhutan received 200,000 tourists from countries in the region, approximately 10% from 2017, which means Bhutan was becoming another mas tourism destination and for many Indians it was an affordable international destination, UNTIL NOW.

Last year in November 2019, it was our Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli’s 31st birthday, which he celebrated with his wife Anushka Sharma in Bhutan. They did a two weeks vacation in Bhutan and have publicised Bhutan on his social media account.  While India’s foremost celebrity couple, nicknamed collectively as “Virushka”, behaved themselves, others have not.

The chairman of Bhutan’s hotel and restaurants association, Sonam Wangchuk told AFP – “We have shared our concerns and sentiments to the government. But despite that they still went ahead with the decision.” He was worried that newly built budget hotels accomodating the Indian tourists would go bust. 

The Bhutanese foreign minister Tandi Dorji had discussed the country’s decision to implement the entry fee during a visit to India with external affairs minister S. Jaishankar  in the month of November 2019.

The Director General of Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB), Dorji Dhradhul, told TOI that the idea to extend the visa fee to India and other nations in line with Bhutan’s high-value-low-impact tourism policy. The policy draft has been prepared for four years.

Well this is surely bad news for those who were planning to visit Bhutan towards the end of this year 2020. Although we cannot ignore that the fact that increase in tourism does create chaos and to maintain that government definitely needs resources. Although, ,me as a traveler will definitely be unhappy with the SDF fee but again as a responsible citizen I won’t mind contributing to a noble cause. Bhutan is such a beautiful destination which has the last excessive Himalayan kingdom, covered in mystery and magic, where a traditional Buddhist culture carefully holds global developments. I would really not mind paying the fees for saving the culture and tradition of Bhutan.  

Credit – The Times of India and The Wire.

Picture used in the thumnail – Credit – https://www.tourism.gov.bt/

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Hurrayyyyyy finally a good news for all the wanderlust, you are going to get rewarded for traveling and guess what you don’t need a blue tick or millions of followers for that. So if you are a travel enthusiast who loves to explore the culture and diversity of the motherland. It’s time to tick all the places in your bucket list now! The government of India has decided to reward the travelers who will visit 15 places in a year by funding their expenses. Not only this, you will also be honored as the ambassador of Indian Tourism. How cool is that? Let’s find out how.

When it was announced? 

The Indian government is surely taking an extra steps to give more power to Indian travelers, hence not only this will motive US as a traveler but will certainly showcase the diversity and culture in our country. On Friday, Jan 24, 2020 during the concluding ceremony of the National Tourism Conference that was organized by the Odisha government in association with FICCI at Konark, the government decided to sponsor your travel expenses as a reward. You need to visit 15 domestic tourist spots in a year and you can be the lucky one. 

“Tourism Ministry will fund the travel expenses of tourists who visit 15 destinations in the country in a year and submit the photos to our website,” Union Minister Prahlad Singh Patel said.

The campaign is called Dekho Apna Desh.

What is the criteria?

I am sure by now you all must be curious to know the criteria to follow to become eligible for the reward. Well it is very simple actually and for someone who is a travel enthusiast, he or she doesn’t need to do anything extra because I am sure this is what they are already doing.

How to be eligible for the reward:

  1. You need to travel to 15 destinations by year 2020 within India (duhhhh only 5 places to visit every year, easy peasy)
  2. Click picture while you are traveling (huhhhh this is what I always do)
  3. Submit your photos

Is that it? Yes, that is all.

But wait, what about the limitations or are there any conditions attached which we should know.

Yes but only ONE, make sure that all these destinations are out of your state.

Anything else I should be aware of, NO THAT IS ALL. 

How to apply?

For applying all you have to do is to go to the official website (https://pledge.mygov.in) and take a pledge. Once you click on that you will get a form to fill out and once you will in the form you will get a page to click on pledge and will send an OTP on your registered mobile number. As soon as you hit the submit button, you will receive your Pledge Certificate.

Once you have taken the pledge, you need to submit your photos supporting your claim. And once you have submitted the details, the ministry will fund the trip of the qualified individuals.

I have taken my pledge, when are you taking yours?

I would hate for you to miss on their awesome opportunity. Start planning and let your travel stories speak for you. We all can participate in this and show our passion and inspire others also. You never know when you can get lucky.

Follow us on instagram – World Travel Feed 

Follow me on instagram – Pushkar Bisht

HAPPY TRAVELING TO ALL

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India as a country provides you with countless opportunities to explore the diversities of the country. India is one of the best trekking places because of the existence of mighty Himalayas, fascinating contour of the various regions and the kind of diversities and cultures offered to the trekkers.

Probably, this is the reason since last decade trekking in India have gained a great pace. Trekking is becoming very promising in future. The increase in the list of trekkers is not only limited to Indian citizens but to the foreign people as well. It was actually in the 1970’s and 1980’s that trekking started gaining its popularity as an adventure sport. A lot of new places are being discovered regularly which are untouched and unheard. This is another reason we have an increase in the number of trekkers day by day.

Millions of people do trekking every now and then in India and it is taking trekking to new heights. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, Western Ghats, Eastern Ghats, contains major trekking locations. These treks maintain some low and great altitudes ranging from 2000 feet to 25000 feet. These treks that can be conquered if you hold great passion and determination. You can start from Shivalik Foothills and trek to the highest points of the Himalayan ranges. It will give you a chance to gain insight into different places. Also you can explore a variety of fauna and fauna during your trek.

There is no limitation to the number of treks being offered. According to the ability and strength of a person, be it a beginner, intermediate or an expert, India provides you the best of its treks. You can choose from numerous treks based on geographical location, physical strength, weather conditions. Without taking a lot of risk, one can do many treks in India.

Keeping in mind that India as a country is full of treks. For our better knowledge we have divided them into three types based on the difficulty levels.

Easy Treks: 

A trek which is for a couple of days. It involves decent terrain without having much highs and lows is usually termed as Easy Trek. It has a walking of around 5-6 kms. You can complete the trek in a day as well if you are someone who even does walking everyday for 15-20 minutes. Also easy treks are often described as low altitude treks. It has reasonable ascent and descend.

Some treks which fall under this category are Nag Tibba, Triund Treks, Kheerganga Trek, Prashar Lake, Chopta, etc. All these treks are short and beautiful and can be done in 2-3 days depending upon your speed and strength.

This picture was taken on the mid way of Triund Trek. You will find a shop there which is from 1984. The trek is fun to do and can be done with minimal requirement of trekking gears however these gears can certainly make your trek easy. This was his first trek.

Moderate Treks: 

These treks usually involves 5-6 hours of walking every day. They include some sharp ascent and narrow trails. Moderate treks continue for a week and requires a good level of stamina as it has a high degree of challenge. You need to have a good fitness level hence regular workout before the trek is a must. It will pass through lush green forest trails and will land you in ascending trails or in boulders and on top of trail in no time. It will also pass from areas secluded from popular habitat. You will be camping in the deserted places in the middle of nature.

Few examples are Hampta Pass, Kedarkanta Trek, Kashmir Great Lakes Trek, Har Ki Doon, Brahmatal Trek, Indrahar Pass, etc

This picture is taken at Indrahar Pass Summit. Relaxing after a good trek is a must, we can see the trekker in normal shoes.

Hard/Difficult Treks: 

This trek demands walking 6-8 hours every day. It will continue for 8-10 days passing through steep inclines, big rock boulders, frozen river, snow covered fields. They will not only required a great stamina but will also be testing your mental strength as well. Before taking such treks you have to take extensive physical preparation. Sometimes you might need to take the help of technical tools to climb the mountains. You also need to have a good knowledge of the gears as well. Treks going above the 14,000 feet are usually considered in hard or difficult treks.

Rupin Pass, Bali Pass, Pin Parvati, Chadar Trek, Gomukh Tapovan Trek, etc are few examples of difficult treks.

This picture was taken during Pin Parvati Pass. A trek which offers you such a variety within. Starting the day from bright sun to rain showers in between and ending the day with freezing cold nights. 

However Chadar Trek is about 11,100 feet from sea level. Yet it falls under the difficult treks because of the intensity. The complete trek is over a frozen river which requires great skills and knowledge.

The almighty Himalayas has so much to offer for your trekking experiences. The mountains does not create the partiality between humans. They have the same to offer to a beginner or an expert trekkers. Trekking in India will offer you with all kind of treks and now further it will depend upon you, where you are willing to start your journey from.

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WHAT IS TREKKING:

We all have always wondered what exactly the meaning of trekking is. Well trekking can be defined as a walking activity for multiple days. It includes passing through untouched trails and mountains. The purpose trekking is exploring and enjoying the diversity of nature and culture of mountains.

Or else you can even define Trekking as –

Walking for long distances through the unexplored trails and mountains with a purpose of exploring the natural scenery is what we call trekking. So you see how simple it was and we all have been thinking what the actual meaning of trekking is.

Trekking is an outdoor and adventurous activity which test one’s ability and endurance. Trekking requires a person to be fit and prepared for the challenges during the trek. Although many times we confuse it with hiking, which is a different affair. But, Hiking is more of a leisure activity which is for a single day. Hiking requires less preparation and planning and involves well-made trials by humans. Whereas trekking is more challenging. Trekking is a rigid activity which takes many days on unspoiled and untouched wilderness trails.

How exactly do you differentiate between the two is actually very easy. The major factor which decide is the length of your activity or trail.

TYPES OF TREKKING:

Going through the research and books, trekking can be categorized into two categories. Let’s keep it simple and say there are 2 types of trekking:

Teahouse Trekking / Lodge Trekking:

Teahouse trekking allows trekkers to stay at a local lodge with a comfortable bed and wholesome food. It is said that trekking in this way minimize the cost and offers a good amount of comfort in the harshest terrain. The lodging can be very similar to a hotel or something natural. A porter is also arranged if necessary to carry relevant equipment or a trekker is in mood to carry his or her back crushing rucksack. The cuisine will depend on the menu of the teahouse or lodge.

Teahouse trekking is available in regular and popular routes like Har Ki Doon, Deoriatal Chandrashila, Valley of Flowers and Pindari Glacier in Himalayas. Likewise it is available in Annapurna Base Camp, Everest Base Camp in Nepal.

Now a days as per some new studies, there is another type of trekking which is HomeStay Trekking. Homestay Trekking is the third type of trekking but it is quite like Teahouse or Lodge trekking. We are not sure if it is will fall in the Teahouse trekking category or become a new category all together. Home Stay and Lodge sounds somewhat similar and serves the same purpose. Well let’s see what will happen, if there will be a third category or there will be only two.

Camping Trekking / Full Organized Trekking:

This is the classic style of trekking throughout the world. It is completely organized with a team of guides, porters and cooks to go with you during your trek. The equipment are also provided like sleeping mats, tents, sleeping bags, kitchen tents.

Camping trekking is definitely expensive. It offers a great experience to visit remote regions with no infrastructure. Most treks in India where you can go trekking will fall in this category. You will be trekking for the whole day and at the end of the day they will fix the campsite. The porter will pitch the tents and prepare the food. In the morning you will have breakfast and continue with your trek. The food menu is pre-planned after consulting with the group. Trekkers can decide the cuisines before starting the trekking or at the time of booking.

Camping trekking is more popular. The main reason behind the popularity is, we don’t have enough Teahouse Trekking on many treks. Hence it limits our choices. Treks like Pin Parvati Trek, Rupin Pass Trek, Indrahar Pass fall into camping trekking.

Since the above two are the only types of trekking. A few travel companies have further categorized it into two more categories now-a-days. These categories are Long Days Trekking and Short Days Trekking. The major difference between these two types is only based on the number of days the trek consumes. For example, if a particular trek takes more than 7 days or a week then it is Long Days Trek. If the trek takes less than 7 days, it is a Short Days Trek. As such, there are no more differences between the two, like we have in Teahouse and Camping Trekking.

Try both the trekking types experiences and share your story with us, about which one you liked and why. Both have their own pros and cons but we are not going in that part because we wanted you to know these categories. You can experience both these trekking types on a single trek as well.

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Trekking in Himalayas is an addictive experience. It varies in terms of daily distances, ascent, descend and altitude, but all require specific preparation to ensure you get the most from your trek. I can never wait for my dose of adventure. There are many things to keep in mind when venturing out to forest trails and mountains which I learned the hard way. When you want to explore the mountains for the first time, it is always an adrenaline pumping experience. But if you are not prepared then it will land you in trouble in hills. If you mess around with the mountains, then it will be totally unforgiving.

Hence that’s why it is said “Better be safe than sorry.” For all the first timer’s, here are a few tips or a comprehensive beginner’s guide to look through when you decide to get away from your busy and chaotic city life.

COMPREHENSIVE BEGINNER’S GUIDE / TIPS FOR BEGINNERS

WHERE TO GO:

The first and foremost step and this is where the game begins. Always choose a trek which fits you and also with your timeline. You might be able to complete a trek in 5-6 days and find it easy but the same trek can be strenuous if tried in 3-4 days. You can check here for your best decision on choosing your place “HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR FIRST TREK.”

It is sane to first look up on the web for the information where you want to go. ‘Let’s pack and go’ – it might sound cool and give you a feeling of adventure but some research and general information will definitely help your budget and you. Find a place which is suitable for you and your group according to each other’s fitness level and experiences. Being physically fit will definitely help you in trek. And yes being a beginner always select a trail which is popular so you can get comfortable. Many people choose hard treks just because they fail to understand some basic points and later regret it.

WHAT TO PACK:

People have different views on What to Pack. It is actually true as well because it solely depends on how long and where you are going. A little preparation and you will not be tired and enjoy the trek to the fullest. Never overload your rucksack with unnecessary items. It only makes the bag heavy and crush your back.

I have experienced these situations myself wherein I used to pack like crazy almost a pair of clothes for each day. Trust me it did not take much time for me to get my thoughts straight. Now my favorite style is to pack less required items at the bottom like medical kit and spare clothes i.e. one extra pair of clothes in case of rain or emergency. Keeping middle portion for food and the top one for quick bites and water of course. Pack jackets as per the weather conditions and how can you know is by checking our blog.

CHOOSING THE GUIDE AND TRAVEL PARTNERS:

Now this can be of great help or a tip for all the beginners. No matter how easy or difficult the trail or path is, which you are trekking, always have an experienced guide who can save you in many ways. If in case you are considering going solo on a trek for the first time then I personally wouldn’t suggest it. For a start, you can actually choose a group which will ensure a great helping hand along with companionship plus you’ll enjoy your best. The group need not be a travel agency one, you can find a group offline as well. Groups or partners can be important for a beginner or first timer. If you are enjoying the trek then you will be taking memories with you and encourage you to trek again.

Remember a hectic and back breaking trek will never motivate you the next time. Some people avoid guides and consider themselves one after completing a couple of treks. But you never know when you can suffer some life crisis due to AMS (Acute Motion Sickness) or get lost in the mountains. Try to avoid these problems.

Refer to our article to learn HOW TO PREVENT MOTION SICKNESS.

KEEP BUFFER DAYS:

Keeping a buffer day is actually good, it keeps help you in numerous ways. Things don’t move to your plans always. Bad weather conditions, landslides, getting hit by AMS, not able to complete the daily target in terms of reaching the desired destination. All these factors can come up since nature can be unpredictable and same human plans. If in case you are able to complete everything on time and everything went smooth, the buffer day will let you rest. I know it gets a little hectic to return to the office life the very next day on your arrival. Adding a couple of days should be always in your itinerary.

PHYSICAL AND MENTAL PREPARATIONS:

As I have always stressed upon the physical preparation more but you need to equally prepare mentally as well. A lot of people actually don’t take trekking seriously and go unplanned. Lack of preparation can make you give up just before the summit. And somehow this is the worst thing that can happen to a trekker and this will ruin your whole journey.

Start preparing for your trek at least 10 to 15 days in advance. If not more, do basic running and exercise and increase your stamina. You can train your legs and body with exercises like squats, lunges, running and cardio. Also apart from this you will need mental strength too.

There will be times when you will feel the soreness, tiredness and pain in your muscles but you will have to move forward, unless too important to rest. You will get very basic living conditions with limited necessities. Someone who is trekking for the first time might take time to get used to living inside a tent or sleeping in a sleeping bag. In the beginning it will definitely stress you out. It is honestly uncomfortable to sleep inside a sleeping bag. Be prepared and don’t let it stress you out, take it in stride and enjoy the experience and scenery all around you.

PRE, DURING AND POST THE TREK:

These are some tips which you will need start from the beginning to the complete end of your trekking. What all includes are pretty basic and common things. You actually should follow these

In Pre-trek things comes your physical preparation and mental status. Check yourself if you are really ready for the trek, if not then postpone your trek and give time to these factors. Remember they will play a vital role. Pack your bags wisely and don’t load a ton. Keeping a checklist handy is always the best thing to do while packing. Do a little research. Check the weather conditions and temperature before you are going on any trek.

Inform your family or friends about your itinerary before going. You will not have access to any network in almost all the treks. Ensure they are not worried while you are enjoying in nature, away from technology. Make sure on the last point where you are getting the network, just call them. Let them know about your schedule and for how many days you will be out of network. You can ask your guide or group leader about the last point where you can get the network.

During the Trek, take things easy on you since it is your start to the trek and you have a long journey ahead. Enjoy the breathtaking landscapes and the beautiful journey. Don’t overdo or over-exert.

Always help your travel partners and pump them up with encouragement whenever needed. Talk to your fellow group members and smile and greet when you pass someone. They will feel good and probably energize their mood.

Also listen to your body, pushing too hard might lead to serious injuries. Adjust your pace and acclimatize properly. Trekking is not a race and completing first would reward you the same way as last. Keep your guide or group aware if you are moving slow and always be in their insight to avoid any sort of risks.

Most important, please do not pollute the nature. You all are aware about the condition of our mother earth. Carry a garbage bag or keep all the plastic waste in your bag and dump it at the end in the dustbin. Leave mountains as pristine as you saw them, it is our duty to keep the mountains clean. Don’t think what harm this little candy wrapper can do. If we all start throwing these wrapper then the mountain will be covered with the plastic in no time. Little steps in preserving ecosystem will take you and future generation a long way.

Now since you have completed the trek. So in Post-Trek, the first thing to do is to call your friends and family and inform them that you have completed the trek successfully. Give them a sigh of relief. Secondly, dump the garbage or plastic used by you during the trek in proper channel so it can be disposed properly. And most importantly, give yourself rest before rushing into your regular corporate lifestyle.

Well a complete smooth trip is a myth, and the same rule applies for trekking as well. It will bring you out of the comfort zone which you are used to, hence the above tips will help you to open up and handle the situation in an efficient way. Below are a few extra tips which you can refer.

FEW EXTRA TIPS FOR TREKKERS:

Trekking Shoes is actually a really basic of trekking. I have seen many people wearing sports shoes while trekking assuming it won’t make a difference. Never be hesitant to spend on trekking shoes specially. I personally have made this mistake while I was trekking in Dayara Bugyal and learned the importance of trekking shoes (link buying guide for trekking shoes). If you don’t wish to buy new shoes, then now a days a lot of options are available wherein you can rent them.

A good trekking shoes will ensure comfort and support in rough terrains and protect during rain and low temperatures. Choose a shoe which fits you snugly with socks on. But make sure you don’t wear a brand new show straight on trek, wear it for a week and adapt it. Wearing new shoes can result in shoe bite and blisters.

Layers of Clothing needs to be packed keeping in mind the altitude and temperature. You will have long days or cold night and as we all know weather in mountains changes in a moment. Always ensure you are wearing comfortable clothes and also breathable. Keep dry fit t-shirt, trekking pants will be must and fleece are great options for every trekkers. Wear a hat or cap to protect from sun and sunglasses for your eyes.

Trekking Poles actually work as your third leg and provides you with constant support. This is one of the most useful trekking gears, and also the most ignored. A lot of people take these gears with their ego and show great confidence without them. But trust me during a good ascend or descend, these will give you so much support and prevent major injuries. I myself have ignored them for so long. Touché.

First Aid Kits, few simple stuff does the trick. Band-Aids, gauze tape, a small squeeze bottle to irrigate wounds, scissors, antibiotic ointment, anti-inflammatory and pain relievers are the basics. You cannot predict the weather in the mountains, hope for the best but prepare for the worst. This implies perfectly here so carry basic aids which you can use in an emergency. Acute Mountain Sickness medicines are must.

Sunscreen and Insect Repellants, since you will exposed to sun all day and insects at night (not everywhere). UV protection becomes important if the skin is exposed to long periods of sunlight which can happen in trail with less trees. Always apply sunscreen even if the trail is covered with trees because you don’t want to have sunburn on your neck. It will hurt whenever your burned skin will come in contact with your t-shirt or with rucksack straps. I personally have suffered from these burns. Use insect repellents for mosquitoes and bugs at night.

Water Bottle, mountains are sources of clean and fresh water, just carry a bottle and refill it. Don’t spend the money in buying new bottles every time, it will increase your budget. You won’t get these bottles on MRP at such high altitudes, you might have to pay 50 to 60 bucks. Also all the bottles which you have consumed will be difficult for you to carry back. If you throw them after one use, it will add to the garbage and hamper our environment. Make it a habit of carrying atleast 1 Litre water bottle in your rucksack.

Miscellaneous, a pocket knife, flashlight with extra batteries, fire making tools, navigation tools, biodegradable toiletries etc can be very helpful. Don’t forget to carry your ID card and necessary permits (if required for specific treks). Lastly, one golden rule of trekking never rely on plastic money, carry extra cash always.

By now I am sure you all have learned a lot and this guide will come in handy when as a beginning you will be going for trekking. Choose your trek according to different factors. Refer to the guide above about where you want to go, what you need to pack, what extra precautions you need to take and so on. An easy trek can also become challenging if unprepared.

HAPPY TREKKING TO ALL

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Trekking is smooth and enchanting but trekking clothes is a completely different affair. If you are someone who is new to trekking, the choice of clothing can be confusing and complicated. You need appropriate clothes to feel comfortable on treks, irrespective of the weather condition. The thumb rule for choosing the best or right clothes for any trek is, to do broad research of your trail and avoid cotton. You will need a few basics to stay safe and comfortable rather than buying a completely new wardrobe before hitting the Himalayas. Many of us face the uncertainty about what clothes to use and how to use them properly layer them, no matter if we are new to trekking or some experienced one.

Break-up with your fashionable jeans, cotton t-shirts and your brand new sneakers. Go for synthetic layer, it will dry quickly and is stretchable and breathable. A good research will offer you to select few clothes yet more appropriate and keep you well equipped for extreme weather conditions and emergencies.

There are some key points when picking up the best trekking clothes. Factors like types of fabric, the weather, and how you’re going to layer each cloth for great adaptability. A good layering of clothes is all about a small number of products that can serve a wide range of functions in all-weather conditions. While purchasing, two products can exactly look the same but there is a big difference between a product of 500 bucks and 5000 bucks. From my personal experience, my advice is to invest in quality gears. It is not only about branding- it is the fabric, design, technical features, durability, and overall quality. Purchasing a new fleece every 6 months is far better than purchasing one quality fleece which last for 5 to 10 years. At the end when we do the calculation, it will turn out that buying a good product in the first place is actually profitable.

LAYERS OF CLOTHING:

The versatile and functional three layer garment system consist of base layer, insulated or mid layer and shell or outer layer. A nature activity like trekking where you cannot control the weather and temperature, it becomes really important to layer up your upper body clothing as well as lower body. But it is important to have proper insulation of the upper body than lower because human body tend to lose less heat in lower part. The activity definitely make you sweat and everybody else. It is the natural body function to any action or activity. A proper layering of clothing will help you choose the clothes which will dry the sweat quickly and let your body breathe rather than leaving you soaked in sweat and sticking it to your back. The classic three layers of clothing are:

BASE LAYER:

The Base Layer of clothing sits next to the skin with or without other layers on top of it, depending on the weather. They are meant to absorb the sweat and help you keep either warm or cool. The base layer should always have wicking properties. Base layer protects your skin against chafing. Wicking property of cloth is actually important for long treks. Base Layer Clothing includes t-shirts, long sleeved shirts, tank tops etc. The layer should also manage moisture and protect you against UV rays. Base layer can differ by material, fit and sleeve length. We have discussed about these below:  

Worn: Next to the skin

When: With or without other layer on top

Function: Absorb sweat from the body and keep you warm or cool

Material: Polyester or natural fabric like Merino Wool but a strict NO FOR COTTON.

The common Base Layer Materials used are polyester and Merino wool. Although it can be also made of nylon, silk or cotton. But cotton is not recommended for activities like hiking and trekking. Cotton absorb too much moisture and become uncomfortable to wear.

Polyester is actually the best and most commonly used fabric. It is very light, absorb little moisture and dries fast and efficiently wicks away from the skin. But there are few cons, lacks odor resistance and offers less breathability. The advantage of polyester fabric is that it is easily available and relatively affordable. Whenever trekking in India, polyester is the best option for you.

Pros: Inexpensive, quick drying, durable, light weight, absorb sweat

Cons: Odor resistance, breathability

Merino Wool is increasing its popularity in the outdoor clothing activity. It offers great comfort, soft, odor resistance and breathability. The cloth retains warmth even when wet. But this doesn’t suit the Indian market since the product is pretty expensive.

Pros: Comfortable to touch, provide warmth, odor resistant, breathability

Cons: Expensive, Dries longer and less durable than polyester

FIT: The base layer has two types which is tight fitted layers and loose fitted layers. Loose fitted base layers are best for warm temperature since it increases ventilation. On the other side, tight fitting base layers are best for cold temperature.

Sleeve Length: Again in this category we have short sleeves and long sleeves. Short sleeves are used in warm weather. And long sleeved layer in cold weather.

You can visit a Decathlon store or shop online for some good base layers. Here is one example;


Source: Decathlon

MID OR INSULATED LAYER:

The Mid Layer is an insulated layer that retains body heat and worn over the base layer. It includes fleece jackets, down jackets, woolen sweater and fleece sweaters. The main function of this layer is to keep you warm by trapping the body heat in its fibers. Also the mid layer should also be breathable otherwise the moisture will be trapped to your body. The mid layer needs to be quick drying and well packable which means it should not take too much space inside the rucksack. The layer is tight fitted to increase the thermal efficiency. The Mid Layer differs by materials and design including pullover, hooded jackets, zip jacket, etc.

Worn: Over the Base Layer

When: Moderate and Cold temperature

Function: Thermal Insulation

Material Used: Polyester Fleece, Goose Down, Merino Wool

The common Mid Layer Clothing Materials used are polyester fleece, Merino wool and goose down.

Polyester fleece is commonly used fabric for mid layer. It dries quickly, absorb little moisture from the base layer. But it lacks compression which means it takes more space. The advantage of polyester fleece is that easily available and relatively very affordable.

Pros: Inexpensive, quick drying, durable, retains warmth, moisture wicking

Cons: Less compressible, breath-ability

Merino Wool is less popular since it is less thermal efficient. The cloth retains warmth even when wet. But this doesn’t suit the Indian market since the product is pretty expensive and have more cons.

Pros: Retains warmth

Cons: Expensive, Dries longer, less compressible and less durable than polyester fleece

Goose down or also called down jackets. It is the best insulator and comfortable. It can keep a good amount of warmth because of its fluffy clusters. But lose its warmth when exposed to moisture or water. This material is actually best and efficient if used in dry conditions. Consider it the best option for trekking in mid layer and can also be worn casually during winters.

Pros: Compressible, Lightweight and soft,

Cons: Loses warmth when exposed to water/moisture

 Below is one good example of the down jacket which is very light weight, durable and comfortable from Decathlon. However you can search online on their website and get more options.

Source: Decathlon

SHELL OR OUTER LAYER:

The outer or shell layer will protect you from water and wind. While it allows the moisture to evaporate from the base and mid layer at the same time. It is worn over the base layer in normal weather conditions or over the mid layer when in cold weather. But it needs to be worn only in windy and rainy weather as it reduces the breathability of the cloth. The more the fabric or layer is waterproof, the less breathable it is. The upper layer consists of rain jackets, soft-shell jackets and insulated jackets.

Worn: Over the mid layer or directly over the base layer

When: During rain and windy conditions

Function: Protects from rain and water

Material Used: Gore-Tex, Gore Wind stopper

However there are a large variety of products available now a days in Mid Layer section which can serve the purpose of Shell Layer as well. The products are water resistant as well as wind resistant. The jackets which are offered by Decathlon, 3in1 Waterproof Jacket. It offers you with 3 layer of protection which can be worn over base layer and mid layer and outer layer comes attached. In this jacket you can remove inner layer as per the weather condition.

Source – Decathlon

Here below is the breakdown of clothing as per the layering and how you can select the best clothes which you can pack on your next trek.

INNERWEAR:

First and foremost thing is choosing what kind of innerwears you need to take. This depends upon your trek’s conditions and duration. For short hikes or trek which are for a day or two, then your normal boxers, briefs, panties and bras will work. But then if you are considering a longer trek then you will definitely need to consider the ones which are exclusive for active outdoors.

Source: Decathlon

The key to select the underwear or bra is to go for the same qualities as base layer because these will be the first to be worn, even before the base layer. Hence they need to be moisture wicking, quick drying, breathable, comfortable and odor resistant. The material used will also be same- polyester or merino wool depending upon the weather conditions. Also during more cold conditions you can use long underwear bottoms as they will provide the warmth. The material will be polyester fleece. Avoid cotton always for both underwear and bras because they trap moisture and is slow to dry. Regular chafing with skin will make you uncomfortable. You can easily find good inner-wear online. If you are not able to find then you can search for running underwear or briefs. Likewise for bras also you can pick the running bras.

TOP WEARS:

When it comes to the upper wear or top wear then a trekker will need three layers in his rucksack namely light weight and quick dry t-shirts, thermal layer and shell layer. You will have to consider the weather and type of trek you are going for.

T-Shirt or Shirt: The primary or basic of top wear is the base layer. It can include either t-shirt or shirt depending upon your personal preference. Yet the material of the fabric should remain the same for both, either polyester or merino wool. Avoid cotton as much as you can. When you are buying a new pair of t-shirts then always check the fabric used and buy the recommended ones only. They will keep your core warm and cool as per the temperature. Study the temperature of your trek because in some, you might need only a couple of t-shirts and a jacket to keep you warm. If you are going for t-shirts then take both full sleeve and half sleeve. In case the weather turns out to be a little chilly then you can go for full sleeve which can provide you with good warmth.

Down Jackets: As discussed before, the mid layer should be the one which should be providing you with the insulation and warmth you need during cold weather. Down jackets have been our personal favorite because of their so many features; durability, light weight, breathability, fluffy cluster to keep warm intact, easy to pack, takes less space and much more. Down jackets are perfect for cold and dry conditions but make sure you keep them dry to keep the insulating ability. Nonetheless if you trekking is mild conditions meaning hot during the day and cold during the night, then probably you can opt for some polyester fleece material which will do the work.

Shell/Rain Jackets: The outer layer will have the jackets which can protect you against the wind and water and also snow. They need to be wind resistant and water-proof. You will need these in extreme cold or rainy conditions otherwise the first two layer will be your best pick for most of the treks during summer and autumn weather treks. Also you can go for 3in1 jackets being offered by Decathlon to cover both the mid and shell layers.

TROUSERS/PANTS:

Just like all other trekking clothing, trekking pants or trousers are no different. You will have to consider the weather for sure before choosing to wear them. Trousers protects you from rocks and bushes. During warm conditions you can definitely select shorts but for cold conditions, trousers are best. Many trekkers use trousers as it gives them plenty of pockets to stash their accessible items like granola bars, knife, candies etc. The pants should be lightweight, stretchable and quick drying. The fabric which you can use can be either nylon or polyester for warm weather and woven nylon for cold. Nylon (spandex blend) provides great durability, insulation and better stretch but is less breathable than polyester. But during cold temperature, you should always use woven nylon. It offers better insulation, protection from wind.

Source: Decathlon

During rain, you will need rain pants which are worn over trousers. These are windproof and waterproof and also breathable. If you consider buying them, consider the weight before choosing or buying one.

Many trekking trousers now a days are available in a convertible style, where you can unzip and remove the lower portion, and your trousers turns into shorts.

SHOES:

A good trekking shoe is a very important thing on your trek. They protect your feet and ankles, along with giving support for carrying a heavy rucksack. The quality of a study shoes should be providing you support, protection from rocks and traction on wet and dry trails. Trekking boots are used for multi day trek and a regular trekking shoes are used for couple day trek. The difference between the two can vary from ankle length, water-resistance level, weather conditions which you are trekking in. You can refer to our blog on trekking shoes to select the best.

Source: Decathlon

You can go for mid ankle shoes. They offer protection, traction on dry and muddy terrain, durability, breath-ability, good cushioning and is waterproof. The shoe will actually work for all the treks except the snow covered treks which requires specific shoes, otherwise this shoe will be your best pick.

SOCKS:

Socks should transfer the moisture from your feet to the lining of your shoes. Therefore the socks which you will be using should be moisture wicking, quick drying and breathable. In addition a minor cushioning and insulation is good for extra comfort. The fabric or material used in socks is actually a mix of fibers, although merino wool and synthetic fibers are usually used in socks. Just like we have to avoid cotton in all the other layers of clothing, similarly we should avoid the cotton in socks as well. How exactly you can differentiate or choose what type of socks to pack while trekking? It will again be dependent upon the weather conditions of the trek. Cold weather means thick socks to provide the insulation and warmth and in warm weather you should use thinner socks to give your feet the breathability and comfort.

Source: Decathlon

You will be able to find synthetic fibers like polyester, nylon or spandex fiber socks easily available and also fairly cheaper than merino wool. But are more durable and dry faster, however lacks retention of warmth/insulation when wet unlike merino wool socks.

Following are few other categories of layering which is essential but are easy to select and only used in certain conditions.

HEADWEAR:

Just like you are protecting the complete body, similarly it is equally important to protect your head as well. During summers, a hat which can protect you from the sun and sunburn is useful. Moreover you can also use bandana for the same purpose. If purchasing hat then look for material which is quick dry and breathable. Likewise during winters, a fleece cap or woolen cap will provide the insulation and will help in retaining body heat. You can also pair the cap with a scarf just to keep yourself warmer.

Also a normal hat or cap can be used during rainy conditions will keep the rain off the eyes and make your view more visible. Plus items like a hat or a woolen cap does not take any space in your rucksack. Try to keep them always since mountains are unpredictable.

Source: Decathlon 

EYEWEAR:

Sunglasses are again essential for a trek or hike. They are helpful if your trail involves walking through grasslands with no shade or walking through ice fields or glacier. Yet you can use them in all-weather because our eyes are so delicate that you shouldn’t be taking any risks. Exposure to UV rays or to dust or sand, all these can cause irritation to the eyes. Try to carry one pair of sunglasses as default in your rucksack. Make sure they are of good quality, UV protected and should cover your eyes completely.

Source: Decathlon

And in case you didn’t get a chance to use them while walking, then you can use it for taking pictures. A picture of yours wearing sunglasses will give you more likes on instagram.

GLOVES:

As humans our hands are the first to come in contact with the outside world. Lifting something in snow, setting up the tent in ice field, crossing the glacier using rope, all these activities we use our hands. Thus, it makes our fingers most prone to frostbite and that is why it is essential to protect our hands using gloves. The gloves are used only in winters so you need to make sure that you are using all-in-one gloves. These gloves are best and provide insulation and protection against rain and wind. Gloves are not necessary in all winter conditions, but if there is a risk of frostbite and rough terrain which requires using of hands then you should always reconsider packing the gloves.

Source: Decathlon

GAITERS:

I am sure this could be the first time you are hearing this term ‘Gaiters’. Well it is not your fault because they are actually overlooked by most of us. Only the professional trekkers use these, hence makes it less common. But we thought to include it in our list because this is again a part of layering for trekking. Gaiters are strapped over the trekking shoes and around your leg to provide protection from branches and thorns. They prevent mud, snow, water etc to enter into your shoes. They usually are inexpensive and usually one gaiter can last for a lifetime, in case you are not using it on your every trek. 

Source: Decathlon

By now you all will have a good knowledge about what kind of clothes you need to carry with you. You can either buy these from many online platforms like Decathlon, Amazon or else visit stores. However you need not to necessary buy all the products because if you are someone who will be doing probably 2 or 3 treks in a year, in that case you do get an option of renting these out. You can try Sharepal or Unwind Life. Carry the clothes according to the trek requirements and after checking the weather conditions and temperature.

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This is a detailed backpacking checklist which we have created. It will cover everything from essential items to extras. So whether you are a first time backpacker or a veteran, everyone likes a good backpacking checklist. We have organized the list to ensure it will be easier for your next trip.

Trekking Gears:

  • Backpacking Tent – Waterproof, wind resistant and lining net
  • Rucksack or Backpack with Rain Cover – sturdy, durable and comfortable on shoulder with water resistant. Can buy a bag which has detachable day back but it is an option and only work for summit day.
  • Sleeping Bag – Ensure protection at -10 degree Celsius and water repellant
  • Sleeping Mat or Pad – soft and comfortable
  • Trekking Pole

Footwear:

  • Sturdy and comfortable pair of good trekking shoes
  • Pair of slippers or slip-ons

Clothing:

  • Quick Dry T-shirts (both half and full sleeved – keep 1 t-shirt for every 2 days interval)
  • Waterproof, breathable and comfortable trekking pants/trousers (1 pant for every 2 days)
  • Pair of Thermal Body Warmer
  • One Fleece Jacket
  • One wind-cheater
  • One down jacket – waterproof
  • One Sweatshirt or sweater
  • Woolen socks (1 pair for every 2 days)
  • Undergarments (1 for each day)
  • A Pair of Gloves
  • Quick Dry Towel
  • RainCoat or Poncho
  • Woolen cap or sun shielding hat
  • Scarves (optional)

Utensils:

  • Small size and leak proof lunch box
  • One each of plate, bowl, fork/spoon and mug
  • Stove and fuel
  • Small Lighter
  • Spices (optional)
  • Cooking Pots

Toiletries:

  • Hand wash or sanitizer and soap
  • Face wash
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Biodegradable toilet paper or wet wipes
  • Sunscreen and Cold Cream
  • Lip Balm
  • Moisturizer
  • Feminine hygiene products / Men’s care products

First Aids:

  • Fever, Cold and Headache
  • Diarrhea / constipation
  • Band-Aids
  • Painkillers
  • Antiseptic
  • Pair of small Scissors
  • Cotton and Bandage / Gauze
  • Antibiotics
  • Personal Medication for any existing conditions
  • Acute Motion Sickness Medicine – Diamox or Dexamethasone

Snacks and Food:

  • Granola Bars or Energy Bars
  • Dry fruits and Nuts
  • Digestive biscuits
  • Ready to eat food
  • Poha or Dalia
  • Bread and Peanut Butter
  • Maggi or Oats

Extras:

  • Sunglasses
  • Camera
  • Torch or Headlamp
  • Extra Batteries
  • Power Bank
  • Necessary Permits and photo IDs
  • Water Bottle and water purification tablets (optional)
  • Garbage Bags
  • Gaiters or Snow traction Cleats
  • Insect Repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Knife or multi tool
  • Navigation Tools – compass or maps

So this is my ideal backpacking checklist for most of the treks. Somehow the list will definitely get modified depending upon your trek. While reviewing it for the first time, it might look a lot to take but it becomes easier once you get into the habit of trekking. Now before we conclude this blog I would like to bring some common tips which everyone should follow whenever you are on a trek. I follow these 7 principles of Leave No Trace which are very basic.

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare: Know about the place/trek you are planning. Prepare for extreme weather conditions. You can plan your trek during low-use times. Try to go in small groups and repackage food to reduce waste.
  2. Camp on Durable Surface: Now by durable surface we mean established campsites and trails, dry grasses, rock or snow. Camp at least 200 meters away from lakes or rivers to protect both plant and wildlife habitat. Do not change any site and focus in areas where vegetation is absent. “Good campsites are made, not found”
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly: Pack all your trash, tissues or toilet paper with you in a ziplock bag. Check your campsite again before you leave for any leftover food or trash. While washing your utensils or plates, collect the water and wash at least 100 meters away from the river. And in case of human waste, if there is designated washroom, use it else try to dig a hole of 6-8 inches 200 meters away from campsite as well water streams.And cover the hole once you are done with your business. 
  4. Leave What You Find: Don’t leave anything in nature that doesn’t belong there. Don’t take anything away. Leave the plants and rocks in nature, they look better in the wild rather than on a shelf at home. 
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts: Many people do campfires even when it is not required. Campfires should only be done if required and use established fire rings. Try to keep the fire small. Always use wood which you find on the ground, do not attempt to cut the tree. And once the wood and coal is turned into ashes cover the area with soil/dust.
  6. Respect Wildlife: Do not approach wildlife, just observe the enthal beauty of nature. Never feed animals, it can lead to an attack. Always protect wildlife, do not cause harm to flora or fauna. Avoid wildlife during their sensitive times like mating, nesting, etc.
  7. Be Considerate Of Other Visitors: As I have also mentioned in my other blogs to respect other visitors. Be courteous and always greet. Avoid loud noises/music. Always give way to others, step to the downhill side. Camp away from the other visitors, let them enjoy their quality of experience in nature. 

It will be great initiative if we all follow these basic principles while we are on our next trek. It will preserve the nature and improve the quality of experience for others. Trekking is the best way to immerse yourself into the Mother Nature and by following these we are helping our environment. This will add more nature into your life and make you a better human being. I hope you will follow these and will help others to experience the same.

HAPPY TREKKING.

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Trekking is a rigorous adventure activity which takes you closer to the beauty of nature. Every one of us wants to get away from the monotonous daily schedule but every individual has their own definition of this ‘break’. For some, it is a leisure time meaning resting at home or some hotel and for some it is the time for some adventure. Trekking is one of the most common adventure trip and getaway. Trekking is fun. If you are smitten by the adventure bug and making a plan to explore the snow capped mountains. However before you pack your bags, there are some essential items which can be helpful while backpacking.

Further there are some basic things which you need to keep in mind before start packing, or you can say these are few basic principles.

  • The items should always be packed in order of accessibility. Now what actually it means, the items required by you more often should be on top or else on outer pockets. And items required only at day end should be at the bottom. For example, sunglasses, caps, gloves, etc should always be on top or outer pockets. Items like utensils, medicines, toiletries, camera etc can be in the middle. Items like your sleeping bag, jackets, night clothes, should be at the bottom.
  •  Focus on the basics. Clothes which are packing for your trek should be light, comfortable, layered and breathable. Packing these clothes will take less space and that space can be used to fill the gap in your rucksack. Thus it will compress your bag and make it balanced. For example quick dry or dry fit t-shirts, towels and thermals can be used to fill in the gap between your heavy items in the bag.
  • The camping equipment are important but not a must to carry. Every time while trekking, if you are going in a group then there is no use of your own tents or compass or navigation. Try to carry only the required items. If going in a group, always consult your group or trek leader about things which are essentials for you to carry. Avoid carrying extra loads since this will hamper you only. While doing a solo or trekking with friends, don’t carry unnecessary items. Plan and prepare accordingly.

The Backpack or Rucksack:

Before anything else, the first essential which you will need, will be a good rucksack or day-pack since they will be carrying all your required items. The ideal rucksack should not make your body part hurt majorly your back and shoulders. It should be sturdy, durable, comfortable shoulder straps and easy weight distribution. Plus the bag should be water resistant if not waterproof. Always carry the RAIN COVER for your bag no matter where you are trekking and what season it is. 

And the main rule for packing your backpack is to create a checklist. Don’t carry extra luggage and only stick to the basics required for your trek. You really don’t like yourself to give that extra luggage. If you are tired while trekking, then even the empty bottle will feel heavy to carry.

The Tent and Sleeping Bag:

Most online groups like India hikes, Bikat Adventure, Adventure Nation etc provides you with all these equipment like sleeping bag, sleeping mats and tents already with the package that you are booking. But if you are traveling solo or with your friends (without an online organized group), then you will for sure need these. A sleeping bag which can keep you warm even in a very low temperature. And nevertheless a good tent. If you are not in a mood to buy, then for sure you can rent them, there are many options available online.

The tents should be strong. It should not be able to blow away with the wind. It should also behold you against rain or snowfall and protect your from insects. Try to go for those which are wind resistant, waterproof and lined with mosquito net. A sleeping bag should be one which can withstand a temperature of at least -10 degree Celsius and water repellent.

The Clothes and Shoes:

The climate in the Himalayas can be very unpredictable. Within moments the climate can change from bright sunny to chilling wind flows. Thus it is very essential to take your woolen clothes. If trekking to high altitudes irrespective of the weather. And the best which you can take for trekking will include quick dry t-shirts both half and full sleeved, trekking pants, wind-cheater, trekking jacket, thermal wears and woolen socks. Always carry extra clothes for sleeping at night. Your clothes which you used whole day will be covered with dust, sweat and smell. Let them dry for the whole night and sleep in extra pair. It will ensure you will get a sound and good sleep.

You can refer to our blog section of “BUYING GUIDE FOR TREKKING JACKETS” in order to know your best suitable trekking jacket. And “BUYING GUIDE FOR TREKKING PANTS” for selecting the best pants.

And as far as your choice goes for shoes, then these will actually be a lifesaver during the trek. A solid pair of comfortable ankle length will prevent your ankle from twisting in rough terrains. And the shoe should be waterproof at the same time. But you can decide the ankle length of your shoes depending upon the trek which you are taking.

Also make sure you carry a pair of flip-flops or rubber sandals. You can use them while crossing rivers or water stream. Also they can be used at the end of the day to give your feet some rest from all day walking.

You can refer to our blog section of “BUYING GUIDE FOR TREKKING SHOES” in order to know your best suitable shoes.

First Aid Kits and Toiletries:

There are chances that during your trekking you may suffer some injuries like body pain, fever, tiredness and most important high altitude sickness (also called Acute Motion Sickness). Trekking drains your energy at every step, no matter it is ascend or descend or a smooth walk in grassland. That is why it is better to be prepared for the worst. Keep various first aid medicines and other items in your backpack. It will be next to impossible to find a market or a medical store nearby. Keep a few from all the categories like medication for cold, fever, headache, painkillers, antibiotics, Band-Aid’s and any specific medicine you need. Learn HOW TO PREVENT AMS (ACUTE MOTION SICKNESS).

You should also carry toiletries as well. For example biodegradable toilet paper, toothpaste, toothbrush, hand sanitizer, pads/tampons, soap, sunscreen, lip balm etc. You will not find them on mountains. Even the online organized groups do not provide such amenities so make a habit of carrying it always.

Food and Water:

Although your guides or group will provide you with the cooking essentials unless it’s a private trek. But even if you are provided with the meals and don’t have to make on your own. But always carry your own utensils though like a lunch box, a bowl, a plate, a spoon and a mug.

It is always a good option to keep some snacks handy like nuts, energy bars, and peanut butter. You can eat them in between you trek to energize yourself and fill your stomach between meals.

Don’t buy chocolates or cream biscuits since they contain a high sugar level. They tend to make your throat sore. Moreover, many chocolates available are compound chocolates which takes time to digest and lead to increase in cholesterol level. But dark chocolates are good option. Instead of seeking chocolates as a source of energy, I would suggest go for granola bars or energy bars. They will not only provide you with the energy but also with carbs which will fill your stomach too.

Water is very crucial and important for our body to function. We all know how bad dehydration is and what dehydration can do? While packing your rucksack, make sure you by default put at least 1 Litre bottle on each side pocket of the bag. It is always a wise decision to carry enough water for your trekking. If you are doing a trek which have limited water source then it becomes very important to carry enough water till you get the next water source. In case you are doing trekking during winters, then you might have to carry enough water which can sustain for the whole day of activity.

Other Trekking Essentials:

Apart from the above categorized items, there are few more which you might need depending upon your individual needs. The above are the ones which are mandate and need to be packed or used by every trekker. In addition you can keep these also:

·         Sunglasses

·         Camera

·         Power Banks

·         Headlamp or Torch

·         Trekking Poles

·         Gaiters and Snow or Ice Traction Cleats

·         Hat or Cap

·         Extra Batteries

·         Insect Repellant

·         Emergency Shelter

·         Knives

·         Navigation

·         Necessary Permits and ID Proof

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Actually it is not easy to choose your first trek. Although we all know that trekking in Himalayas is a dream for all backpackers around the world. Keeping all the different aspects on one side, picking the correct or right one can be A Challenge. The trekking in Himalayas with its mesmerizing scenic wildlife and beauty is itself a different kingdom of wonder altogether. If I were also thinking of my first trek, then for sure I will also be puzzled and tangled. There are over thousands of treks in India. To choose which is perfect or suitable for you as your First Trek can be strenuous. But by the end of this article I am sure you will be able to narrow down your choices and choose the one for you.

And yes being the first trek, don’t choose because it is easy or mild on some websites or articles. Most of these treks are done by physically fit and mentally capable person. Your level might differ from them. It can be less or it can be more but it is never a bad idea to get perfection on the basics and move ahead gradually.

Trekking cannot be done with ego. A person whom you follow on instagram, and did Chadar trek or Nanda Devi Trek and you were amazed by his or her pictures posted there on social media. It doesn’t make sense for you to choose the same trek, make sure you are keeping your ego aside and choosing the trek wisely.

The key factors on How to Choose Your First Trek are:

HOW MUCH TIME I HAVE?

The duration of the trek can actually be the main factor. Keeping in mind the number of days your trek will consume plus your travel time. A couple days buffer will actually help you in figuring out your trek. The base camp or starting point of all treks are well equipped with road and transportation by the government. Still it takes almost 8-12 hours to reach there and further starts your actual trek. Being your first trek you should avoid the difficult trails and adhere to lower height portion, simple treks.

Now let’s say, you have only 3 to 4 days of time then as per the time. Keeping in mind it is the first time you are trekking then Triund or Nag Tibba can be the perfect one for you. These treks will need 4 to 5 hours of walking. You can reach on top the first day and do overnight camping and descend the next day.

Similarly, if you have got about a week’s time then I would suggest you can trek for Valley of Flowers or Bead Kund. These treks offer mild trails and less ups and downs. These treks requires walking of 5-6 hours daily and will consume 3 to 6 days depending upon your fitness level.

Keep in mind that determination and passion is really good but if you book Everest Base Camp or Nanda Devi or Pin Parvati as your first trek, then you definitely need to sleep over it.

HOW FIT I AM?

As we all know that fitness is a must no matter what we are doing. Even if you are someone who is just doing a 9 to 5 job or a freelancer who is working on the couch, fitness is really important. It plays a vital role when it comes to sports and yes trekking does need you to be fit both physically and mentally. You cannot assume a normal days today and suddenly tomorrow you decided to go for a trek, it’s a big NO.

Even the easiest of treks like Triund or Nag Tibba requires some level of fitness in you, in reality we cannot even walk for 20 minutes if we lack fitness. Once you have made up your mind try to hit the gym or go for a run every day, at least 15 days before you start your journey. To be very honest we should actually be doing these physical activities daily but somehow we find the excuses. But trust me if you are going there without being fit then it will be really difficult for you.

I have had a personal experience when I choose my first trek and it was Triund which I did, so we had a group of 8 people in total. I was going for a run everyday like 10 days before only and trust me it helped me like anything. There were three of my friends who joined us out of the blue, just because they heard trekking. They thought how hard it can be and they paid the price. But actually, they were stopping after every 3 to 4 minutes. And when the trail started to ascend they started to rest on every turn. This trek usually take 3 hours for a fit person and 4 hours for reasonably fit but imagine what it took us was 6 hours to reach there. Thankfully we started the trek like 5 in the morning because of which we still managed to reach by noon. I was wondering if we would had started the trek by 10 or 11 in the morning which is actually the usual time when people starts the trek because of the short length of trek, we would have reached there at dark. And as you all know in mountains the daylight is gone by 5 or 5.30 max in the evening.

So to conclude this point I would recommend you to not be over confident with your fitness. Even if you are fit and engaged in all sorts of activities. Remember it will benefit you only and not others. What is the point of trekking when all you are doing is breathing heavily and just sitting after every turn. To add on, when you are tired, you will not enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature. I am sure your first trek will turn into your last if in case you went un-prepared.

Stay fit and make your trek easy.

WHEN I AM GOING TO TREK

You got to choose the time of the year when you want to accomplish your goal by completing your first trek. India as a country has so much to offer to all the trekkers across the world. Right from Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh lies the great almighty great Himalayas, the Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats. Plus the geographical location which makes us experience these different weather winter, summer, autumn and monsoon. You will find so many treks bifurcated with different seasons which again help you to narrow down the choice. Every season provides you with its charm and mesmerizing scenery.

Summers are more of reviving new flora and the lush green, snow will begin melting. The sun will be pleasant and there will be summer breeze with a mint of coolness and warmth of the sun. Summers in mountains is considered to be the rebirth of life for both wildlife and vegetation.

Autumn is considered to be a weather which brings all the beautiful colours of great Himalayas into canvas. Just like other weathers, autumn has got its own charm. Trees turning into brown and orange shade and leaves falling apart. The moment you step on them you can hear the crisp sound of crunching. The sky becomes clear and the horizontal stretch of mountains can be seen clearly.

Monsoons in mountains are considered to be risky and tricky at the same time because of the risk of heavy landslides. But what nature has given the trekkers is of immense value. There are so many treks which are done during monsoon. Monsoon turns the nature more green, clean and beautiful than ever. The flowers blossom, the sound of birds chirping, what else can you ask for?

Winters are actually my favorite. It offers you with snow capped peaks, frozen lakes, knee deep snow and a complete white sheet of snow all around. The best time for snowball fights with your friends. The mountains are actually at its best during this season and increases the beauty.

Yet the treks in these categories are also have difficulty level from easy to difficult. And you got to choose the right one which suits you and your body. Don’t be glorified with others post on social media. It is actually not a mandate thing to do that you start from one day trek and move to two days trek and further on. Test you fitness and time and your passion. For example to witness the layers of snow Triund is also a good trek but Chopta Tungnath or Kedarkantha is much better but requires you to be fit.

Here is the blog we have includes list of top 10 treks of different weather or season in India. Keep in mind these treks have difficulty level from easy to strenuous. So choose accordingly.

WHAT WOULD I LIKE TO SEE?

Look for the variety which you are expecting from your trek. Himalayas has everything to offer with blends of landscapes from woodlands to desolate mountains. It is now on you to decide what exactly you are looking for. What is your area of interest , Does big mountains draws your attention? Or how about high altitude grasslands or a thrilling adventure on snow? What about lakes on the top? How about crossing a river on foot or climbing boulders with ropes?

There are so much for you in trekking and depends upon how adventurous and of course how fit you are. You should always look for such trek which can pack in as much variety as possible. Think of your interest first and once you figured out how much time you have for your trek and where you are going. Keep in mind about physical fitness. I am sure your searches must have been narrowed down by now to limited and with this you will be left with only a couple to decide.

WHAT IS MY BUDGET?

Last but not the least, the budget also plays some role in the decision making. It is actually a smart thing to do before you head out, just like we always budget our trips. Likewise this need to be treated the same way. Although it is a truth that trekking always end up being a cheaper vacation or getaway as compared to other activities. You should set a gauge of the amount which you are willing to spend on the whole occasion. Keep in mind about the cost of travel and stopovers in between both during and after your trek. Spend wisely and on appropriate stuff, like having a full stomach meal during the start will only slow you down and make it difficult. So rather spending on such meals, keep some candies or energy drinks or bar which will boost your energy level and speed you up. Be smart and think from the perspective of trekker and not foodie. Also don’t keep purchasing new water bottles. If you got one then try to get it refilled. There are many water streams during the trek which you will find. Else on few treks shopkeepers tend to have water which you can use for refilling. It will hit your pocket less and save the environment as well.

These were some factors which can help you choose the trek you are looking for during your next travel. I hope by now you would have narrowed down the list and have made your mind. Still if there are any doubts, you can always get in touch with us and KEEP TREKKING.

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