Author

Pushkar Bisht

Just a few months before, 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 anymore.  If you are planning to travel to Bhutan after the novel epidemic, then as an Indian citizen you will have to pay for a visa.

Bhutan
Bhutan


On Monday 03 Feb 2020, Bhutan’s lower house of Parliament passed legislation that makes it mandatory for visitors from India, Bangladesh, and the 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. 

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

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

In 2018, Bhutan received 200,000 tourists from countries in the region, approximately 10% from 2017. It 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 publicized Bhutan on his social media account.  While India’s foremost celebrity couple, nicknamed collectively as “Virushka”, behaved themselves, others have not.

City of Bhutan
City of Bhutan

Sustainable Development Fee (SDF)

The visa 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. According to the Tourism Council of Bhutan, SDF will be contributed towards the government’s initiatives regarding the social welfare of Bhutanese citizens. According to the news report, there have been instances where some tourists have disobeyed the local laws and orders. Also, they disrespected their traditions and local customs. 

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

The chairman of Bhutan’s hotel and restaurant 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.

Surely, this is bad news for those who are planning to travel to Bhutan after the novel epidemic or probably towards the end of this year 2020. Bhutan is such a beautiful destination that has the last excessive Himalayan kingdom, covered in mystery and magic, where a traditional Buddhist culture carefully holds global developments.

Buddha Statue
Buddha Statue

Although, we cannot ignore that the fact that an increase in tourism does create chaos and to maintain that government definitely needs resources. Nevertheless, as a traveler, I will be unhappy with the fees. But again as a responsible citizen, I won’t mind contributing to a noble cause. I will be ready to pay the fees for saving the culture and tradition of Bhutan.  

Credit – The Times of India and The Wire.

Read how to book cheap flights.

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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 

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HAPPY TRAVELING TO ALL

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Trekking has become a popular activity for many nowadays. And it won’t be incorrect to say it is fairly one of the cheapest adventures. But still, most of the trekkers end up spending bigs on treks which they could have done on a lower budget. Trekking can both be confusing and expensive when you are deciding where to trek and what gears to invest in. By the time you purchase all your gears and get ready to hit the trails, you will be amazed at how much money you have actually spent. 

Here are some crucial tips that will help you make your trekking experience less expensive and if you are someone who is the first timer then you should always use these budget-friendly tips.

TIP#1: Plan Ahead

We all know how crucial planning is for everything you do in your life. In trekking, planning is again the crucial step for beginners and experienced trekkers. This is actually the thumb rule in trekking which will cut the cost. You need to learn the layout of the trek, weather, and pack accordingly. Planning will help you to overcome potential obstacles. 

Start planning in advance
Start planning in advance

A well-planned trek will include stays, transportation, gears, etc. If you are planning a trek during the off-season or making advance arrangements can certainly reduce the cost. You can go for the option of dorms or hostels or homestays and save money on your stay.

TIP#2: Rent Gears

Because of its popularity, we have many companies that are renting out their trekking gears at a very minimal cost. We all know the trekking gears are no more than an investment. If you are a beginner or intermediate, you should consider renting them out. This is actually one of the best ways to budget your trek in case you are not a regular trekker. You can use these companies for that Sharepal, Unwind Life, or Shoesonloose for renting out the equipment. They have everything starting from a headlamp to tents to oxygen cylinders to Gopro. When I went on my third or fourth trek I myself had used Unwind Life for renting out the tents, sleeping bags, and mats. It saved a lot of money and moreover I didn’t know whether the group would be doing their next trek. Hence I advised them to rent and not to purchase.

Rent your trekking gears
Rent your trekking gears

Although you really need to call them or visit them in order to save the right pair of shoes for you or a tent or any other gears. Ofcourse, you don’t want to have 1 single tent of 4 people and rather take 2 tents of 2 people. It becomes easy to carry and you get more space to relax. Likewise going early will certainly give you many options to choose from and you can enjoy quality gears without breaking your bank account. 

You can also ask your friends. If you have any trekking enthusiast in your friend list, ask them to lend you the gears. It can save you a few extra thousands.

Read how you can prepare for the trek.

TIP#3: Pack Lightweight 

It is said that the one who travels happily must travel light and we can’t agree more with it. Always pack your backpack as light as you can but make sure to carry all the essentials required. Packing light does not mean to avoid the essentials but to avoid the unnecessary items. Carry what you will need and not what you want. Although your backpack packing will be dependent on certain factors like the type of trek, temperature, and weather. Pack optimally so you can carry your own backpack and avoid any cost indulged to porter for your backpack.

Also, many first-timers buy every layer of clothing required for trekking, little do they know that half of this will not even be used. Always do research about your trek temperature and conditions so you know what clothes you will need. Buying those unnecessary items will definitely result in exceeding your budget.

Pack necessary items
Pack necessary items

I have seen a lot of people packing heavy and later they have to do porter in order to carry their backpack, which adds a lot to your budget. When you are renting out the equipment please check for the proper clothes and shoes depending upon your trek. Carrying a different jacket for cold weather and different in case of rain makes no sense, carry one water-proof jacket which can serve both purposes. The lighter your backpack will be, the less number of porters you will require which results in saving.

TIP#4:  Ask Your Friends/Group Travel

Trekking is becoming very popular so chances are someone you know is willing to trek along with you. Sharing expenses is always the best way to lower down the budget. You can follow this tip during your regular vacation or during trekking. Also, you can post on Facebook to make a group for your trek.

You can also join a group and do the trek with them. Trekking in groups as compared to solo can save costs. You will share expenses, from transport to food to camping. It is always a good thing to ask a few people with the same interest, you might get lucky. Also going in a group gives you a chance to interact with like-minded people and mountain enthusiasts. Trekking in groups will always be a factor to budget your trek.

Check with your friends/people with the same interest
Check with your friends/people with the same interest

Read how you can prepare for the trek.

TIP#5: Make Your Own Food

Sounds confusing? But it is true actually. If you are someone who is planning to trek in the Himalayas on a budget, learn to cook your own food. You will need pre-cooked food for a multi-day trek. There are several options available in the market for pre-cooked food. Preparing your own food will substantially cut costs. You can invest some money in foods like energy bars, nuts, and ready to eat food. It is common that the higher you go, the costlier the food becomes. Keep in mind to have food which has high calories to weight ratio. Pick more carbohydrates than protein. This is the catch while buying food for trekking. For healthy reasons, carry as many unprocessed foods as possible. 

Make your own food
Make your own food

TIP#6: Use Public Transport

Although this might not draw your attention like other tips, it surely saves a lot. Try and use as much public transport as you can like trains and buses. Hiring a taxi would dig a hole in your pocket. The best about the Himalayan trek is that they are very well connected to the roads, which means you can use public transport to get there. If not comfortable, you can also use the shared cabs/taxis to reach the base camp. 

Use public transport as much as possible
Use public transport as much as possible

For example – if you are doing a Kheerganga trek then you can take a Volvo or a roadways bus till Kasol and from there you can take another bus to reach Barsheni which is the starting point of the Kheerganga trek. The fare from Delhi to Kasol will be starting from 1200 INR per person whereas if you hire a taxi will take around 12,000 INR plus the toll taxes and state permits plus driver charges. Even if you are 4 persons, one side travel will not cost you anything less than 4,000-5,000 INR each. So it’s clear that using public transport can lower your travel cost and is a simple way to budget your trek.

No matter if you are doing your first trek or second or third, you don’t need to empty your wallet. So you need to take your own sweet time and do your proper research and preparation before hitting the trek. Pick a destination according to your physical fitness and get your gears on a budget and you are all set to go. Trekking is the easiest part of all, the planning is the one which is time-consuming and confusing, so follow these tips and you will be able to handle the hard part without any problems. These tips are easy and following these, you can learn how to budget your trek.

Read how you can prepare for the trek.

Do share your experiences and stories with us if you find these tips have helped you in getting you a budgeted trek.

HAPPY TREKKING TO ALL

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Exploring the great almighty Himalayas is a dream for all the trekkers. And we all have our own reasons, probably some do it for the thrill, some like to discover new places and cultures, some try to find peace and some want to get closer to nature.Whenever you are trekking in the mountains, it is best to come with proper preparation and the right spirit. But with wrong preparation and bad attitude you will have an adverse experience.  And in extreme conditions, it can even lead to casualties. It is in your hand to take your own responsibility and to trek responsibly without harming nature. The reasons for listing the do’s and don’ts of trekking is to make all the trekkers aware that we are not the owner of nature, rather we are just care-takers. We need to learn about these to reduce the number of casualties. 

LET’S START WITH THE DO’S

Check For Route and Weather

Well there is nothing more to say to this, planning a trip to Goa or a short vacation to Manali is completely different from a trekking trip to the Himalayas. Always check for your trek terrain and weather conditions. Everything changes with these factors, dry and rough terrain during summer conditions will have a different packing list and snow and winter conditions will have a difference. Plan your way ahead and do not just rely on others for the same. Read about the place, culture, weather, etc beforehand so in case of any emergency you can handle the situation calmly. Never think as a beginner but as a pro whenever planning your trekking trip. 

Learning about the terrain and weather will help you pack accordingly. You surely don’t want to get wet in the rain or get caught in snowfall without having a raincoat or down jacket in your backpack. Make an itinerary and follow the weather forecast of your trail, gain as much information as you can. Remember, weather can be your best ally or biggest enemy on the trek.

Follow Trek Leader

Always make sure you follow and listen to your trek leaders instructions, it is necessary and helpful. They are very well aware about the path and the trail. So they know where it is risky and where it is not. I would advise you to follow their footsteps literally when it comes to snow treks. They are the one who know everything about the place and situation of your trekking destination. Moreover, learn to trust your fellow trek mates as well. You will be spending your next few days or a week with them. You will share your food and tent with them. Remember in the worst situations, they will be the one to help you. Ensure you consult with your trek leader in case you feel uneasy or uncomfortable at any point during your trek. Ignoring this might lead to a worse condition. Being cooperative will bring respect, happiness and carefulness in you during your trek. Always help each other in need.

Never go for any trek alone unless you are 200% sure about your safety. Although it is not necessary that you would lose the path, chances are there you might fall and twist your ankle or some other muscle pull. If you are a beginner and doing any short treks like Triund trek which is said to be the easiest but even on this trek many casualties have happened and even deaths. Always take a guide or least go with some friend who has done trekking before. 

Moreover another thing to maintain is a positive attitude. Nothing can happen to me or I don’t care attitude could cause a disastrous moment. Always think positive and listen to your leader.

Carry Your Own Backpack

Carrying your own backpack is the basic in trekking. Plus it tests your physical strength. So make it a habit of packing light. Carry only the required clothes for your trek. A fleece jacket and down jackets will be the perfect combo for all the treks. You will be carrying your bag and the heavier it will be, the more exhausted you will feel. Carry the essentials which will be used during the trek. Packing 4 jackets, 3 pairs of shoes and unnecessary utensils and food will be useless.  Whenever making a purchase for your clothes, go for polyester or dry-fit fabrics, buy clothes which can be packed easily and are lightweight. 

Pack basics like change of clothes, first aid box, some ready to eat food and energy bars and a water bottle. However the list would differ depending upon your trek conditions and whether you are going on your own or with some private trekking companies. We have a backpacking checklist which you can follow but make sure you double check the list with your trek leader. 

Carry Proper Trekking Gears

Trekking gears are the essential part of trekking. A good quality trekking shoes, jacket, trekking poles and sleeping bags comes in handy and plays an important role to make your experience enjoyable and comfortable. You need proper water-resistant with comfortable ankle support shoes to keep your feet warm. Likewise you need snow grip spikes or crampons during your winter trek. As a tip make sure you buy one size bigger whenever you are going for long treks, it will accommodate your swollen feet and reduce the chances of blisters. 

Many of us underestimate trekking poles and think they are too fancy to carry. Actually it’s not. Trekking poles are there for a reason, they become a third leg and provide support while ascending and descending by sharing your body weight and pressure.

Similarly a good quality trekking tent and sleeping bag are very important. It will make sure you get a sound sleep and your body gets properly ready so it can be ready for the task on the following day. Same goes for your trekking jackets, a comfortable lightweight down jacket will keep you warm. Pack proper woolen socks, caps and gloves to keep you warm and dry. 

Always Keep Yourself Hydrated

It is difficult to realize that you are dehydrated. High altitude and cold weather conditions can make you feel less thirsty, which means you will end up taking less fluid than required. You need a minimum of 4-5 litres a day and if possible drink only warm water. Keep a water bottle in your backpack and refill the bottle whenever you get a chance. Make it a habit to sip some water after every 15-20 mins of walk. If you are going on a winter trek, you can carry a thermos which will keep your water warm for a long time. Water can freeze up during such conditions. You can also go for some alternatives in between like hot soups, tea or sports drinks to give some taste to your taste buds. Ensure you are taking enough fluids at regular intervals.

Although water in the mountains is clear and pure. But it is always a good option to keep water purifying tablets so in case if the streams are dirty or contaminated, then it can purify the water. Drinking pure water will also save you from infections and other diseases. 

Pack First Aid On Priority 

Don’t you ever dare to leave your first aid because it is as important as your mobile phone. First aid is a necessity on trek. The first aid box should contain basic medications to treat acute mountains sickness, cold, headache, diarrhea, vomiting, etc. Do include bandages, cotton and band-aids. Trekking can result in major and minor injuries and keeping the first aid will prevent getting infected. Consult your trek leader before taking any medicine. He will have better knowledge about what and when to take. 

Bring Reusable & Eco-Friendly Products

Well this is pretty self explanatory, but still many trekkers ignore this. Whenever trekking always carry your own utensils like a plate, a bowl, a fork and a spoon and that is all you need. Many trekkers find it very inconvenient to carry them and wash them after every meal and prefer disposable plates but that actually harms the environment. Similarly a lot of people don’t like to refill water and rather buy new water bottles and follow use and throw technique. It is advisable to refill the water bottle. The plastic actually takes hundreds of years to decompose and are a threat to nature. It will be a good practice to bring reusable utensils like plates, cups and water bottles to save our mother nature. 

Also one thing to make sure which is added to your to do list is to bring eco-friendly products to your bag. Carry biodegradable soap and detergent. Use biodegradable toilet paper. Using common toiletries like lip balm, toothpaste, face wash etc carry chemicals and harm our environment. Likewise for female hygiene, carry menstrual cup, tampons, reusable cloth etc. Sanitary pads take years to decompose. Be smart and pack your products accordingly.

Take Your Waste Back

Don’t be ashamed to take your waste back with you. Carry a bag with you where you can keep all your waste from plastic bottles to packaged food wrappers. For female travelers, they should put used sanitary pads in a zip lock bag. We all know there are no municipal departments in mountains and the waste which you dispose there cannot find its exit. Dispose all the waste in the proper place so it can be either recycled by segregating the waste. Because of the excessive pollution by trekkers, Uttarakhand High Court banned trekking and camping in some parts and this was because of us. We will have to preserve these treks for our future generation as well. However you can minimize the waste by using reusable and eco-friendly products in the first place. Don’t wait for others, you will have to make the start. If you really want to experience the adventure and want your future generations to experience the same, then we would have to start the contribution right away.

LET’S START WITH DON’TS NOW

Do Not Litter

We have seen that mountains have turned into a dustbin and this is heartbreaking. People go to the mountains to get detox physically and mentally but in return they pollute them. Buying packaged food and throwing the wrappers anyone thinking no one will see them. The main reason why we have turned out mountains into garbage bins is because we think what this one wrapper of chips can do. Please do not throw these wrappers/packets anyone, find a proper dustbin or take them back with you. Unless and until we ourselves don’t take actions, no one will. Because of the increase in waste a lot of treks were being banned for camping and trekking, and if we continue to litter then all the treks will be closed soon. You can use water instead of tissue papers and towel instead of wet wipes, because we tend to throw them away after use, resulting in polluting the environment plus they take years to decompose . Several times these are eaten by wildlife and as a result it leads to their death.

As a responsible citizen and trekker, it is our duty to keep our mountains clean. Remember we owe nature. Next time on trek, bring the waste with you and if you happen to see anyone littering around stop that person and educate him/her about the consequences of the same. We have seen so many changes in our climate and this pollution is the only reason for it, it won’t be long enough before our environment gets destroyed completely. 

Don’t pollute the water and environment

The rivers are the main source of water for the villages in mountains and even in cities too. And this water is used for drinking purposes by thousands of people. This is pretty common sense that we should not pollute the water. We all know that the water found in these streams is pure and clean however if you pee or wash or bathe in these streams then the water becomes contaminated. This further can lead to numerous types of diseases. We all know the human body consists of 70% water, and likewise on earth 71% is water but the fresh water is only 2-3% which means we have a scarcity of water. And if we happen to contaminate it and pollute it then it won’t be long before we won’t have water to drink. Look at the population and the amount of fresh water sources we have, this drastic climate change is already diminishing water quantity, so next time make sure you are not polluting the water or the environment.

Make your business atleast 200-300 meters away from the water source and campsite, likewise if you need to wash your clothes or take a bath, fill the water in a bucket or some vessel and take it 200-300 meters so you don’t end up polluting. Because it is consumed by thousands of people living below without even filtering it so conserve our water source while on a trek. 

Don’t underlook physical fitness

Trekking is all about walking and for which you need both mental and physical strength. Trekking isn’t completed on the basis of psychological strength, you will need physical fitness. Even the small treks like Kheerganga or Triund trek require some amount of stamina. You cannot take a whole day to complete a 2-3 hours trek. And this happens when you underlook your fitness. I have seen a lot of people making the trip for trekking without doing any fitness and later they regret it, some even won’t return. Your friends were going trekking and just because you said yes in excitement doesn’t mean it will be easy. They may have been regular workout people or probably following the fitness plan from last month or so, and moreover every individual strength and stamina is different. Never say you don’t need fitness just because your BMI is perfect and you don’t have much fat. Still you will need to strengthen your legs, shoulders, arms and entire body to finish your trek in enjoyment. 

On high altitudes the quantity of oxygen decreases which means your body will pump more blood and this situation leads to AMS, pretty common isn’t it. But how you can sustain or fight, only if you are physically fit and mentally stable. Many professional trekkers have collapsed and resulted in death so never underestimate the importance of physical fitness. You can follow the fitness guide to achieve your goals.

Don’t take too many breaks

Yes, breaks are important while your are trekking no matter which trek it is. Our human body tends to get exhausted with the walking, and taking breaks releases that tiredness and make the body normal to walk again. However talking breaks on every turn or after every 5 minutes of walking completely overrides the purpose of breaks. Ofcourse you are not a superhero who can finish the trek in one go but taking breaks in a planned manner will help you to be one. Taking too much breaks only makes you more tired and lazy. Also whenever you are resting or taking breaks place your legs on a rock or on your backpack to make the blood circulation running. Else if you are making small breaks then don’t put your backpack down and keep standing to slow down your breathing. I have experienced that small break turns into long ones if we tend to sit down and remove our bag. Taking too many breaks will result in incomplete target and many times you might have to keep trekking at night to reach campsite. Avoid breaks and avoid trekking after sunset, it becomes dangerous to trek in the dark.

Another basic etiquette of trekking is to walk in groups. Do not walk too fast or too slow. It is said that the faster you walk, the more tired you will be and if you are a slow walker then you will be left behind. Remember it is not a competition so walk in a natural rhythm and concentrate on your breathing. Avoid doing anything silly or jumping on the trek, it can lead to twist of your feet and end of your trek in between. Do not take trekking as a competition, there are no rewards for the one who is reaching first at the camp. Leave this competition to your professional life, it will only harm you if done while trekking. Walking easily on your trek and enjoying the beauty of nature. 

Avoid packaged food

We all know packaged food is the main cause of pollution, be it in the mountains or in the cities. But the only difference is, in the mountains this waste cannot find it’s exit and remains there, taking years to decompose. In the city we have dustbins where we can dispose of them and it will be recycled. And this is the reason I recommend you to carry the waste with you but how about if we can minimize that in the first place. How can we do that? By using less packaged foods. No it doesn’t mean that you should not eat your favourite chocolates or chips, rather buy them and store them in a reusable box, which can be used for multiple purposes after you finished them. Another way is to eat the local food like dal, rice, roti, sabzi for your meals because this will encourage local cuisines and the packaged food will be minimized. Plus this food is healthier than packaged one.

What else can you avoid? To consume these foods in an adequate proportion. Do not bloat your stomach with a heavy lunch that makes you lazy and vulnerable to trekking. Yes adequate proportion and nutritious food is the key to maintain a good balance in your diet. Yes we all love maggi on the trek but that shouldn’t be your main course meal. Rather eat it in between and during the day time and don’t make it a habit to eat it daily. 

Don’t create noise

We humans are used to living in a noisy city life but the wildlife living in the forest is not used to it. And whenever we visit the mountains, we are just visitors. Animals and birds stay away from these noises and sometimes these loud noises results in changing their natural behaviour. And this change can really cause some risk to the trekkers passing by. Loud noises are also a part of noise pollution and creating such noises is totally unacceptable. So let’s make a point to not disturb them and let them enjoy their homes. Don’t carry bluetooth speakers. Loud noises disturb the other trekkers as well. 

Don’t forget to pack essentials

Always make a backpacking checklist before you head out for your trekking trip. However to make sure you pack with is required and don’t just overload your backpack. One good way to create a checklist is to check the weather forecast for your trek beforehand. Essentials should be kept and places in order with sleeping gears, jackets, trousers, t-shirts, shoes, socks, hat, personal hygiene products, first aid etc. These things should never be missed because you don’t get stuck in the rain without a raincoat or waterproof jacket. One big NO will be for cotton, whatsoever the situation is, during your trek cotton will be strictly avoided. It takes forever for cotton to dry and plus they are not breathable and moisture wicking. Rather go for merino wool or synthetic fabrics since they are more breathable and wicks moisture plus dry quickly. 

Also whenever you trek, the body gets warmed up very fast resulting in sweating. So my suggestion during your trek is to avoid excessive clothes. Use polyester clothes as they are lightweight and easy to dry, even if you sweat while walking they will get dried up fast. Do not bind your body with a warmer, t-shirt, fleece jacket and a down jacket during the day time. It will result in too much sweating and will make you uncomfortable, you will feel cold in case it becomes windy or you rest under shade. Moreover you can get sick if you suddenly drop your body temperature by taking a bath after being completely covered in sweat. Avoid warmer during the day time, use it at night to keep your body warm. 

Avoid smoking and drinking

Smoking and drinking are not the best things to do when you are on high altitude treks. Yes you are used to your cigarettes and drinking rum will make your warm at night but understand at high altitudes the air is thinner which means you will need more air to breathe. Drinking also makes you dehydrated and you might think it will help you sleep but actually it’s quite the opposite. You might be able to sleep well initially but later you will wake up searching for water or for using the washroom. Cigarettes are no good again, smokes fill in your lungs when you smoke and later when you try to breathe heavy, it clusters around your lungs and fails to generate enough oxygen. You are going on a trek to detox so why not to do that, these things can definitely wait. Atleast you can avoid it on high altitude treks and just enjoy the peace. 

Here are the points in brief in case you are lazy to read(just kidding)

Do’s Of Trekking

  • Plan ahead & prepare for your trek
  • Check for weather conditions
  • Carry your backpack & pack light
  • Fitness is important – Read the fitness guide
  • Sleep well at night before and during the trek   
  • Bring reusable and eco-friendly products
  • Follow your trek leader strictly
  • Pack your first aid with basic medicines
  • Help your other trek mates or who are in need
  • Ensure you are hydrate during your trek
  • Bring a good quality shoes and jackets
  • Take proper planned breaks during the trek
  • Take your waste back
  • Carry water purifying tablets/electrolytes/glucose

Don’ts Of Trekking

  • Do Not litter
  • Don’t pollute the water and environment
  • Do Not compete with any individual
  • Don’t take too many breaks
  • Avoid packaged food
  • Don’t create noise
  • Don’t forget to pack essentials
  • Avoid alcohol and cigarettes
  • Do Not consume any medicine without consultation
  • Don’t buy, when you can rent
  • Don’t walk to fast
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of fitness
  • Don’t travel solo 

It is our duty to protect mother nature. We have got so much from nature and now it is our turn to protect it. Have a conservative approach towards trekking and understand your body and your limits along with nature. A logical approach and proper preparation will always come in handy and will make your trek doable and enjoyable. Whenever you are on your next trek make sure you follow these do’s and don’ts. Lets pledge to protect our nature and save it for future generations as well.

HAPPY TREKKING TO ALL

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Experiences like trekking trips in India will stay long in our memory and these treks can vary from easy to difficult and beyond. Trekking requires a certain amount of preparation both mentally and physically. One needs to understand the difficulty levels and the type of terrain he/she is trekking on. Although we all know without preparation, trekking is hard work. You need to put your time and sweat while you prepare for it. To accomplish your trek/hike, all you need to do is to work on your skills. A little bit of extra effort will work wonders during your trek. I know we never give importance to the preparation but actually it is a crucial part. It not only helps you from injuries but ensure you enjoy every moment at the trek. 

Here are a few of my preparation guidelines which I follow before my treks.

Start Your Training Early

Sounds quite dull? Actually yes but no matter even if your trekking trip is 6 to 8 months away, it’s never too early to get started. Start with a small amount of training and proceed gradually. Your trekking terrains can be rough and uneven but training will help you to deal with these terrains, weather, temperature, altitude and physical exertion. You just need to build your stamina and train your legs. Just like training the muscle is important, likewise recovery is also important. Give your body proper rest and train regularly to build stamina. Usually 3 months before your trip is the right time to start the training. Although you can start it even 1 or 2 months prior, the only difference will be the amount and intensity of training/exercise will be more.

The best way to train your body is by walking. And the irony is trekking is nothing but walking with the differences in terrain. Walk as much as you can and wherever you can. There is no definite amount of sets or reps which you need to follow. Avoid unnecessary usage of escalator, lifts and transportation (if you only need to go within a distance of 1-2 kms). 

If you have made up your mind for trekking, make sure you adhere to a well-defined fitness schedule for your preparation. 

Mix Cardio and Exercises

Mix your cardio with exercises. Cardio is a great way to build stamina and lose extra fat from the body. Although for trekking, doing leg based cardio and exercises more is better. You can do normal or inclined walking and jogging on the treadmill. Cycling and jumping rope are few more great cardio exercises for legs. Exercises will help in increasing your strength and help you body to adapt to a new environment.  Squats, lunges, planks and deadlifts are few of them. Initially you can do them with your body weight and once you get used to that, switch to weights. 

Along with these exercises you can also include your favourite outdoor sports as well like swimming, football, cricket, etc. The more you enjoy the sport, the more motivated you will be to do them. You can also do yoga and zumba if you enjoy them. 

Build your leg strength, this is the key for your trek. The more strengthen your legs are the less tired you will be. If you are a gym person, you have plenty of options but if you are not then you can stick to basics like squats, lunges, pushups, planks and stair climbing. 

Doing some weight training again is a plus point for you. It will give you more strength to carry things on your shoulders or arms without getting tired easily.You will be carrying your backpack on your shoulder for long and continuous hours and it’s definitely not easy. Use light weight dumbbells and plates when performing exercises. Do not only train legs, your other body parts shoulders, back, arms will also play a role during your trek. Try to indulge more into compound exercises rather than individual body parts.

 Mix Your Training Terrain

Trekking includes walking on different terrains and in extreme weather conditions. Whenever you are preparing yourself for the trek, try to mix your training with similar kinds of terrain. It is always a good idea to read about your trek and the weather conditions beforehand. You will not be walking on plain roads and footpaths during your trek so try to walk on stairs more. You will get trained on uphill terrain. Prepare your feet, ankles and knees for the stress they’ll experience on the trip. It will make your trek easy and ensure you will enjoy every moment. 

Also try to practice in the same footwear and clothes which you are planning to wear on the trek. Using the footwear will make your feet adjust to the shoe and would reduce the problems like shoe bite and blisters. 

Choose The Correct Footwear

It is another very important aspect when it comes to the preparation for trek. How to choose the right pair of footwear for your next trek is an important part of trekking. Your feet are the most important body part on a trek, so investing in a good pair of waterproof trekking shoes is highly recommended. Remember your shoes can make it or break your trek. Choose the shoe with the right amount of ventilation and waterproof quality, a good ankle support with a good sole is always a plus point. You should go to the store to buy them, take the right size and walk a little when you are trying the shoe. However if you have been using a particular brand and are aware about its sizes then definitely you can order it online as well. 

And once you have bought the shoes, wear them daily so you can avoid injuries. You might feel uncomfortable and stiff at first but once you get used to it, they will mould to your foot shape. Always wear the shoes with socks. Start with various exercises in them like walking, jogging and running, the sooner you get comfortable with the shoe, the better your trek will go. 

Use Backpack During Practice

During your trek, you will be carrying your own backpack which will include food, drinks, clothes, sleeping bags, tents and much more so choosing a backpack becomes important. When it comes to buying the backpack then go for the one which gives you extra padding on shoulders, adjustable chest and waist straps and is waterproof. After you purchase the backpack, you will need to practice with it too. Remember you will be carrying all the essentials in your backpack. The bag can weigh 25lbs or 40lbs, you will have to carry it no matter what. So why not start practicing it? 

I understand it will be a little awkward to walk around like a trekker with the clothes, shoes and backpack. However you can definitely practice like when at home or maybe your terrace or how about on stairs inside the house. This will help you a lot. You won’t be surprised at the last moment when you pick your backpack before starting the trek. Nonetheless, practicing with a backpack will strengthen your shoulders, back and arms.

Make Your Diet Plan (MYDP)

 It won’t be incorrect to say abs are made in the kitchen, likewise to maintain a good fitness level, it is your diet that plays the major role. When you are increasing your fitness level by high intensity workouts but at the end you are eating parathas, butter chicken, pizzas, burgers, etc then it won’t help. And no I am not asking you to completely quit them and only eat boiled food (for those trying to reduce some weight before hitting the trek can surely stick to boiled food for a month and later switch to zero fat food). Rather I would say eat them but keep a track of your calories, once a week will work for you. Stick to the basic indian food like dal, roti, rice and sabzi because this is all you will get in your treks. Make your taste buds adapt to them so it will be easy for you. 

Eat in small quantities because with a full stomach diet you won’t be able to walk, also don’t remain hungry. Fuel your body in such a manner that it can perform the task without making you lousy. Eat light and carry snacks in between meals. Consider eating more carbohydrates instead of protein. You can practice eating on the move so your body is used to it. Think of food which gives you enough energy to finish your day and accordingly make your diet plan. 

Keep Yourself Hydrated

As we all know how important it is to keep yourself hydrated in our daily life and the same rule is followed while trekking as well. Whenever you are trekking, your fluid requirement will increase significantly and if not hydrated properly can lead to dehydration. Your fluid intake will certainly depend upon the weather condition too. Carry a water bottle with you always and refill it whenever possible at water sources. We have an article on how you can stay hydrated during the trek where we have talked about some tips and we should follow them on our trekking trip. During your preparation, when working out or jogging carry a water bottle and take small sips in between reps or sets. Try to increase your daily water intake to 4-5 litres minimum because when you are on trek, you cannot just increase it. Bloated stomach will make you slow and uneasy. Make it a habit or start the quantity before you hit your trek.

Don’t wait for your body to signal with a dry mouth and then you drink water, try sipping a small amount of water after every 20 mins(depending upon the intensity of your trek). You can keep checking by monitoring the colour of your urine, a pale straw colour indicates you are well hydrated and darker colour means you need to drink more water.

Use Trekking Poles

Walking poles actually make a difference to your trek, they are saviour once you get used to them. They are lightweight and do not take much space in your backpack however they ease the pressure on your knees on descents. Nevertheless, the poles give extra support and can be used as extra hands while you are on steep climbs. While you are preparing for your trek, try to use the walking poles. They will become your friends during your trek. Trekking poles can certainly make the trek easier and more enjoyable. 

Consistency & Persistence

Since we have already discussed the factors above, which can help in preparation for your next trek. However, we all know how difficult it is to follow these routines along with our professional and personal tasks. And this is the reason why consistency and persistence comes in picture. During your physical training, aim for a consistent amount of exercise for each day and for each week, forget about the different excuses which will come into your mind for not going to the gym or park. Maintain an exercise schedule on a piece of paper or on phone and mark complete to give yourself the honor for same. Be ready at the same time, each day and every week because I know once we pass our daily time of activity we tend to think about one or the other excuse for not doing it and leaving the same for tomorrow.

You should be persistent enough to control your mind and follow your daily routine of exercise, no matter what. Remove all the possible barriers so you can’t come up with excuses not to train. Take some extra efforts like keeping your gym clothes the night before, set an alarm on the phone or keeping a workout progress report. Actually, consistency and persistence does not only play a role while you’re preparing for your trek but we can actually have these two qualities in ourselves for our daily work/tasks.

Mental Preparation Is Equally Important

Physical fitness is really an important factor which decides the trekking experience, the fitter you are, the more enjoyable it will be. But if you’re not fit then trust me it can turn out to be your worst nightmare. But we should never forget the mental preparation as well. Because if you think in the beginning only that trekking is not for me, then for sure nothing will work. Never underestimate yourself, just put in some extra effort and remember you can do it too. Your efforts will definitely pay you off and will guide you through on your trek. Losing without trying is definitely worse than trying and failing. Always have a positive approach and I can do it approach.

WHY YOU NEED TO PREPARE YOURSELF

Now definitely it will come in your mind why you need to prepare? I am perfectly fit and I even workout everyday. Alright sounds good but have you trekked before? If no then surely you need to prepare and if yes, then you need to prepare too. See what basically I am trying to say here, never let overconfidence take place in your mind. It is good that you are a professional trekker and take care of your food and health, but if you think that and stay in bed for the whole month surely it will affect your stamina and weight. As per me anybody who can walk and breathe is reasonably healthy for a trek. 

There are chances that even if you go prepared with all these guidelines you might still face some or the other problems. It is not mandatory to follow these tips blindly, I know there might be some point which I might have missed above. These are only to make you aware and educated about the same. Don’t let your ego and I don’t care attitude ruin your preparation for trek, while you are on trek, you are on your own. There won’t be any scenario wherein if you get tired, your trekmates will carry you till campsite. Irrespective of how tired you are, you have to reach the camp, you can walk or crawl, your preparation will decide that. 

I myself have faced a lot of difficulties during my initial days of trekking wherein I went simply unprepared and later realized how stupid I was. Definitely there will be many more factors which will determine your trekking experience but atleast with these you can come closer to the good experience line. The main reason behind the preparation is to have a good trekking experience and return home without any injuries. But I am sure that if you are someone who is passionate about trekking then it won’t be difficult for you to follow these guidelines and make the best out of your trekking trip.

HAPPY TREKKING TO ALL 

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Trekking is a good way to stay healthy and happy. And a hydrated trekker is a happy trekker. Although drinking plenty of water during the trek is no rocket science. Human body is about 60% water and even a little exercise can deplete that percentage. We have seen trekkers struggling with dehydration. The crucial part of trekking is to ensure proper hydration. 

Level of your activity and the temperature you are at decides the amount of water you should drink to stay hydrated. High altitudes and warm temperature makes us thirsty. During summers we tend to sweat more which reduces the percentage of water in our body. Thus requires the human body to drink more water and water helps in keeping the mind alert and body energized. Likewise, higher altitudes means thinner air as you climb high, and in order to maintain the level of oxygen, you need to hydrate yourself at regular intervals. The lungs try to pump more oxygen when there isn’t much oxygen which results in a drier mouth. Remember, you are losing water while you are just breathing. In order to maintain a healthy balance in your body you will require more fluid. 

It is a fact that senior trekkers need 10% more fluids in their body as compared to the young trekkers. But every trekker should stay hydrated before, during and after the trek.

Let’s first understand what Dehydration is. Well I am damn sure we all know about it, but will cover it. So dehydration is nothing but deficit of total body water which occurs when water loss exceeds water intake, usually due to exercise, disease or warm temperature.  

In this article I will share some tips on how to stay hydrated during the trek. Afterwards I will tell you signs of dehydration and how to treat them. Let’s get started then. 

Drink Water Before Hitting The Trek

Before beginning your trek, you should drink one or two cups of water. Don’t wait for the body signals, your body feels thirsty when the water level is low. Instead keep your water level from dropping in the first place. Develop habits for hydrating your body, it helps you stay fit and give your best during trek. Always make it a habit to hydrate yourself before starting the trek.

How Much To Drink

 The amount or quantity of water you need to drink depends upon a number of factors like age, body type, activity level, exertion level, weather, altitude and duration. One good practice to follow, drink atleast half a litre of water on an empty stomach, drink another half a litre before you hit your trek. Your aim should be to drink 4-5 litre of water each day, and have regular sips of water in brief intervals. Although on a strenuous day the amount of water intake should increase. Instead of chugging a litre after every 2 hours, drink small amounts frequently, it helps to maintain hydration level. 

Carry Water & Make Them Accessible

Make sure you carry ample amounts of water during the trek. You need to plan how much water to carry in a day. I would recommend carrying 2 bottles of 1 litre each on each side of your rucksack. Replacing a portion of fluid with a carbohydrate or electrolyte sports beverage will help retain fluid and maintain energy and electrolyte levels. You can pack some electrolyte tablets or a sports drink to your bag. You can buy them from Amazon

Just like water is important to keep you hydrated, you also need food for same. Food are rich source of electrolytes and helps equally to prevent hydration. Make potassium rich food as a part of your diet including.

  • Bananas
  • Lemonade
  • Orange/Orange Juice
  • Tomato/Tomato Juice

Remember to balance your food intake with fluid consumption to avoid dehydration. Also keep your water bottle accessible, pack it on the top or outside of your backpack. 

Listen to Your Body

You should not wait for your body to tell you that you are thirsty. Keep in mind to take a few sips after every 15-20 minutes while trekking. Like it is said prevention is better than cure, so it is better to be conscious of drinking water on a regular interval than being hit by hydration. You need to drink more water depending upon the temperature and the intensity of your trek. Replenish fluids and electrolytes properly, consider alternating between plain water and sports drink. A balanced electrolyte and energy level makes trekking more enjoyable.

Refill at Water Source

Refill water when you can. Trekking trails are filled with plenty of water sources and it is good to know what are your water-points on the trek. Drink water every time you stop to refill your water supply. It will make you hydrate and you can avoid carrying extra water. Because of the availability of water sources, you cannot always rely that it is the cleanest and purest, make it a habit to carry water purifying tablets which will clean and kill the germs. Otherwise look for running water as these are most likely to be clean. You can buy these tablets from Amazon.

Few treks may not have enough water sources like winter treks, in that case carry enough water beforehand. Make it a habit to carry 2 water bottles of 1 litre each and refill them whenever possible. 

Start You Trek Early

Trek when it’s cooler. Start your trek early in the morning, find some shady area to rest. Take the rest during the noon time and when the sun is no longer at its peak, trek again till sunset. Walking in the sun will result in water loss through sweat so try to walk in the shade if got an option. Always apply sunscreen and  wear a cap or hat during the trek, it helps to avoid water loss. Remember sunburns can speed dehydration.  

Stay Hydrated After Trekking

Once you finish your trekking, do not stop drinking water. You should continue to intake fluids even after completing the trek to replenish water and electrolyte loss. Always drink more than you think is necessary but not while trekking, you can complete the water intake before and after the trek. 

So these were the main points to cover basic measures to take care of dehydration. But apart from these there are few more which you can take.

  • Drink irrespective of the weather. Maintaining proper hydration is equally important in cold weather, just like in hot weather. You can pack an insulated bottle to keep the water warm. Before starting your trek, you can keep tea in an insulated bottle to replace water with tea.
  • Consuming alcohol is a strict NO. Alcohol significantly contributes to dehydration. Try to avoid during or night before the trek.
  • Start building your water intake capacity two weeks before the trek. Most people are not used to drinking the required amount of water. 
  • Keep checking for your pee. Yes, you heard it right. Your urine should be light yellow and should be done after every couple of hours. Dark colour or taking 4+ hours to urinate are signs of dehydration. 
  • Take assessment of your hydration by looking for few signals like
  1. Rapid Heart Rate
  2. Dizziness
  3. Weakness
  4. Painful or Dark Urination

HOW TO TELL IF YOU ARE DEHYDRATED

How you can tell if your body is dehydrated and trust me this is very easy but also a serious thing. If you think you are hit by dehydration, don’t wait longer to treat it. You can follow the above tips to prevent dehydration but you should be aware about the symptoms so in case you or your trekmates get suffered from it, then you can take proper measurements.

Early Signs of Dehydration

Now to determine the early signs is easy and can be cured instantly.

  • Dry Mouth (Drink water immediately once you felt it)
  • Thirst (Don’t wait for the stop, drink water the moment you feel thirsty)
  • Decreased Energy (Don’t assume it is the tiredness of trek, if felt low drink water with some protein bar or drink some sports drink to boost your energy)

Severe Signs of Dehydration

Now with these signs or symptoms, the process of treatment is followed by some rest. Take time once you get hit by these below and do proper hydration.

  • Muscle cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dark Urine
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness

How to treat Dehydration

You can follow these basic steps in order to treat early symptoms or severe ones. Although for severe ones you may need some more time to determine if the suffering person needs some medical attention.

  1. Stop and look for shade. The moment you feel any of these symptoms above, stop right there and look for some shady area probably a tree or a big rock. 
  2. Take a rest. Once you find the shade, sit down and rest. You need not to force your body until you feel a little better.
  3.  Rehydrate. Drink water or a sports drink to replenish the water loss. Also you can mix some salt to the plain water to maintain the salt level. Take protein bars as they will give you extra energy.
  4. Cool down your body temperature. Hydration speeds up with high body temperature so soak a bandana or face towel and apply it to the head and back of your neck. Cooler body temperature will resist the water level more. 

Pro-Tip : Always pack Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) in your first aid kit because they are proven to help your body absorb and retain fluids more efficiently. 

Remember, continuing to trek in a dehydrated state can lead to some serious consequences like heat stroke, muscle breakdown and sometimes kidney failure.

However many times we get involved into this practice so blindly without considering the fact that, there is something called overhydration. Overhydration is also known as hyponatremia and can be just as dangerous as dehydration but is a rare condition to occur. Basically during overhydration sodium level in the blood gets diluted that cell function becomes impaired. In some extreme cases hyponatremia may cause coma and even death.

Some common symptoms of overhydration are headache, nausea and fatigue. But how you can differentiate between the two is simple, the colour and volume of urine. If the colour is clear or near clear and the volume is large every 30 minutes to an hour, you’re overhydrated. 

Avoid overhydration by paying attention to how much you are drinking. Don’t drink too much water and add electrolytes to the water are 2 basic things to follow.

How to Treat Overhydration

  1. Don’t over drink. Try not to drink more than you sweat and take some rest.
  2. Add salt. Increase the sodium level by adding salt to plain water or eating a salty snack. You can balance it by drinking a sports drink with electrolytes.

Trekking has many benefits like reducing the risk of heart attacks, breast cancer, and diabetes along with increasing overall physical function. And that is why trekking should be done safely and correctly. Make sure you stay hydrated adequately before, during and after the trek. 

SO STAY HYDRATED AND HAPPY TREKKING 

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Trekking in the Himalayas is fun if you can walk and enjoy the beauty but not to mention it is physically challenging too. Just like any other sport activity, trekking also requires stamina and strength even though we walk everyday for our errands but still we need to prepare our body for trekking. The old saying ‘Health is Wealth’ is something we can’t argue about. Nevertheless trekking is not only about physical fitness but requires mental preparation as well. You will need to start your preparation atleast three months prior to your trek. However the first thing is mental toughness. The professional trekkers are not athletes but are average people like me and you with just some great determination and dedication. You will be walking 5 to 7 hours everyday and trust me even a person with good level of fitness can fail to complete the task, he or she also requires preparation and a positive attitude. 

Trekkers need a balanced approach while training, and complete body strengthening. Only then he or she will be successful and injury free during the trek. It is important to maintain a slow, steady and enjoyable regime. And remember along with all the training, a proper diet and rest is a must. Your stamina and strength will improve gradually, nothing will happen overnight. Just make your schedule and exercise daily and regularly. 

So Why do we need to be fit before a trek?

Well answer to this question is very simple, the more fit you are, the more you will enjoy your trek and it won’t turn into a nightmare. But the main reason is because of two simple reasons. First, as we go on higher altitude the air becomes thinner. So to cope up with the decreasing amount of oxygen, we need to build Aerobic Fitness. This decreasing level of oxygen leads to AMS – Acute Mountain Sickness which is extreme condition turns into HAPE OR HACE and causes death as well. Hence being fit becomes very important.

Secondly, walking for long durations on ascend and descent topography with backpack on, requires good level of Strength and Endurance training. Many people don’t actually realise that walking downhill is more destructive to the body because there is more force on the body with the weight on back when on descend. So we require the strength and endurance to climb uphill or downhill without any injury.

However these are the following points to concentrate on while building endurance, stamina and strength.

Aerobic Fitness 

What exactly is Aerobic fitness/exercise? Well it is nothing but what we call commonly as cardio or cardiovascular, any physical exercise of high or low intensity. As discussed above, aerobic fitness helps you to fight against AMS and decreasing level of oxygen at high altitudes. But how you can actually increase your fitness level is simple and can be completed in two phases. Yes, it won’t come overnight and you will be required to have discipline and dedication to finish your training.

Phase I

You can start with the basics, Walking. Trekking is nothing but walking on the terrains in different topography. So no need to rush into the training from the first day unless you are someone who is already working out. Your body needs time to adjust with the exertion. If you straight away walk for 5kms on the first day, trust me you will be in bed for the next 2-3 days and will completely ruin the purpose. Hence, take it slow for the initial few days or a week, walk 4-5kms everyday and maintain a steady pace. Give a day rest before you move on to the second phase. Follow the phase I for atleast 2-3 weeks depending upon how much time you have before your trek. 

While you are completing your daily target, at the end make sure you do some stretching. It will help you to recover your muscle soreness. Free hand stretching of arms, legs, shoulder, neck and waist will also save you from injuries.

Phase II

Once your 3 weeks of walking and stretching is done and you have gained some fitness, it’s time to move on to the next phase, Jogging or Running. You can do any of these or mix them up on alternate days. These exercises can be performed inside a park or on a treadmill. Make sure you are wearing proper cushioned shoes. One thing which you can do here is to use your trekking shoes, you will get used to them and feel more confident on trekking. If you have made a new purchase of trekking shoes then you should definitely use them. Start with 3kms and gradually move to 5kms within 30 minutes. And don’t forget to do stretching at the end.

Also you can do cycling as an alternative with jogging or running. It is a very effective way to increase your aerobic fitness and helps to lose weight. You can use the cycling machine in the gym as it offers different resistance modes which are a little more efficient as compared to cycling outdoors. However both are equally efficient. Start with 5kms and move to 8-9kms within the same amount of time say 25 mins. Again stretching will help your muscles to recover quickly. 

Follow these exercises for the next 3 weeks and make sure you push yourself everyday because that will be the only way to increase your capacity. The time or distance mentioned is minimal, if you have achieved this before time, go for another km or two before you stop. 

Some other exercises which you can perform:

  • Stair Climbing
  • Incline Treadmill Walking
  • Brisk Walking
  • Rowing (if machine available in your gym)
  • Swimming (in case you have access to a swimming pool)

Benefits of Aerobic Fitness:

  1. Increases the efficiency of respiration
  2. Strengthens your heart and reduces the risk of strokes or heart attacks.
  3. Improves blood volume, distribution and delivery to muscles.
  4. Strengthens bones and muscles.
  5. Helps body to acclimatise at high altitudes
  6. Strengthen the immune system and regulates weight

And there are many more….

Strength and Endurance training

Your strength training will start from the second phase of aerobic training, wherein you will focus on the whole body. It is equally important to build endurance because you don’t want to give up just before the summit. Your endurance training will help you to go on without giving up. And for that you need to prepare your whole body, legs, arms, back, shoulders and abdominal muscles. One hour of exercise is more than enough which you can divide between cardio and strength. You really need that stamina to finish your trek. 

Although you are already preparing your legs by the aerobic training, understand you are only using your bodyweight. You will be walking 5-7 hours daily with your backpack on, so just running will cover your entire exertion of legs on the trek. NO, you will need to build your leg strength and increase your endurance by using extra weights while you are performing any leg exercises. 

I know repeating the same exercises everyday can get boring and your body will definitely get used to that. Try and alternate your exercises, suppose you are doing squats on barbell today so change to squats on leg press machine for the next week. Likewise there are many alternatives for all other exercises which will make your workout session interesting. 

Also never underlook stretching. You need only 5 mins post and pre workout session. Stretching not only helps in avoiding injuries but also recover your muscles quickly and reduces soreness.

Some exercises which you can perform for strength training.

  • Squats 
  • Leg Press
  • Calves 
  • Hamstring Curls
  • Pull-ups 
  • Push-ups
  • Shoulder Press
  • Bicep Curls
  • Tricep Pushdown
  • Walking Lunges or Standing Lunges
  • Crunches, Leg Raise
  • Dorsal Raises or Hyperextension 

There are varieties of exercises to perform when it comes to strength. Not necessary you need to lift heavy because you are not competing in any body building competition. Just some extra weight with 3 seats will be more than enough to gain some muscle mass. In case you find the weight light then yes definitely you can pick little heavy or increase your repetitions. Make sure you are taking proper rest in between your sets and train for 5 days, it’s more than enough. Do maintain a proper diet even on rest days.

Stay Hydrated

It is very important to keep yourself hydrated during your workouts and during your trek. Your body needs fluid to perform a high intensity activity. Low fluid level will decrease your endurance and results in fatigue, and during trek it can lead to altitude sickness. We have explained how you can stay hydrated during the trek in our article, you can go through that. Never wait for your body to give signals rather make it a habit to sip some amount of water after every 15-20 mins while on trek. During your workout, you can sip water after every exercise and in between the sets. If you don’t maintain the fluid level, it can cause injuries and you might even faint while you are lifting heavy weight. It even slows down the process of building muscle mass. A lot of studies even claim that water helps in reducing body weight as well. 

Take a proper amount of fluid whenever you are working out, this will eventually develop your habit of drinking water regularly even while you are on a trek or in office. We need to drink 4-5 litres of water everyday, which will increase during workout sessions or during summers. Focus on staying well hydrated during your training. 

Rest Is Important Too

Yes, rest is very important, rest in between and after the workout plays an important role in building stamina and strength. And remember to focus on optimizing the sleep, 7-8 hours of sleep is important. People often have problems sleeping at high altitudes and if you don’t sleep properly at night then you won’t be able to focus on the next day. Learn how to have a sound sleep during trek on our article.

Preparing for trek is no different than preparing for a long distance run, the only difference is there is no competition on a trek. You can walk at your own pace and enjoy the beauty of nature. As a caution, never go overboard with the training. Trekking is all about walking and maintaining a slow and steady regime. Don’t push your body during the initial days of training to an exertion level where you are not able to proceed with the routine further. Crazy workout can lead to many minor and severe injuries, you might get cramps or maybe muscle tear. Prepare an exercise chart, and during the initial few days make the workout little ease and increase the intensity as you move ahead. Also keep in mind about your capacities. Each and every time you go to the mountains, you should have the fitness level to deal with. Even the experienced trekker needs to maintain his or her fitness level. So maintain a positive attitude and eat well and drink plenty of water to prepare for your trek. Exercise regularly and include your rest days as well.

HAPPY TREKKING TO ALL

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Indrahar Pass is in the Dhauladhar ranges of Himalayas. Indrahar Pass trek starts from Mcleodganj (near Dharamshala). The trail passes through the famous Triund, Ilaqa Pass and Lahesh Caves. Final destination, Indrahar Pass. Although for the trek lovers the pass continues to Chamba Valley that would need a guide with you. The trekkers on this trek explore the natural beauty and the charm of Indrahar pass and enjoy camping around the Lahesh Caves. The panoramic views of the Dhauladhar range and other Himalayan peaks are the extra perks of this trek.

Duration: 4 Days

Trek Type: Moderate – Difficult

Altitude: 4,324mt or 14,245ft

Best Season: May-June & Sept-Nov , For snow lovers March and April are the most suitable months.

Base Camp: Triund

Indrahar Pass is a pass in the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas, located 14,245 ft. above sea level. The pass forms the border between Kangra and Chamba districts of Himachal Pradesh. 

Indrahar Pass trek will take you through green pastures, dense deodar,, and rhododendron forests and rocky ridge boulders. The trek is well marked by the Gadi Shepherds who use the trek to gaze at their frocks in summers. 

Initially, the trek will begin with a steady climb through the Himalayan region and later turns into a steep climb, walking through rich wildlife areas. The pass offers you an ultimate adventurous experience as it comprises continuous climbing often over boulders. 

Arrive at McLeodganj: 

Arrive at McLeodganj a day earlier and give yourself a little rest before you start the trek. You can take the AC Volvo or HRTC buses, it will be an overnight journey. You can even travel by your own car. A parking facility is available at McLeodganj bus stand which costs around 300-400 INR per day. 

After the overnight journey you will reach McLeodganj by 7:00 or 8:00 am and then you can rest. The entire day you can relax or go out to explore the small town which offers you a rich Tibetan culture. Also, you can pay your visit to Bhagsu Shiva Temple and waterfall. Other popular places are St John’s Church, Dal Lake, Naddi Naddi Village and many more.

Later in the evening have your dinner. Go for a sound sleep because tomorrow would require extra effort.

Day 1: McLeodganj – Triund via Galu Devi Temple: 6184ft to 9760ft: 09 km

The trekkers should start the trek by 8:00 or 9:00 in the morning after a good healthy breakfast. The trek is 09 km. If you are willing to shorten the distance on the first day then one can take a taxi to Galu Devi temple. This would cut your trek to approximately 6kms. The total time from McLeodganj to Triund would be about 4-5 hours. But starting from Galu Devi temple would reduce the time to 3-4 hours. The trek is one of the most popular trekking routes. 

Mcleod Ganj View
Mcleod Ganj View

The trail till halfway is a gentle rising one through the trees and traverses the steep and rocky section of the ridge. Past the Magic View cafe (which is the halfway point till Triund), the trail gets steeper. It continues with steep switchbacks as it climbs the altitude. Although the last couple of turns brings the extra efforts and lands you on a grassy ridge that stretches a good amount of area. You have some shops here for refreshments, serving tea, coffee, honey lemon tea, Maggi, etc.

The tough work for the day ends here and you can pitch your tents here for the night. Relax on the grassy ridge or take a walk and in the evening eat properly and sleep for the fresh start the next day. 

Midway of trek
Midway of Triund Trek

Day 2: Triund – Ilaqa Pass: 9760ft to 11200 ft, 5kms

Wake up in the morning by 7:00 or 8:00 am. Take a deep breath and absorb the view of mighty Dhauladhar ranges because the morning view from Triund is fascinating. After breakfast, start your trek to Ilaqa pass. The next stop will take 3-4 hours but the trek will be quite similar to Triund till Snowline Cafe followed by a plain meadow of greenery. 

Laka Got or Snowline Cafe is 2kms from Triund which is mostly uphill and the next 3kms to Ilaqa pass is downhill or flat plains. Once you reach Ilaqa Pass unpack the bags and put up the tents here. Have your lunch and explore nature. One can easily see the Indrahar pass from the Ilaqa pass yet the pass seems to be untouched from below because of the boulders trail. In the evening, you can notice many constellations if the weather is clear. But the best view comes with the sunset, when the red rays touch the top of the pass. This image which is drawn by nature is inexpressible. Though a little bit of clouds at that time would do the wonders and add to the beauty of the scenery.

You can easily notice from here that the pass would not be easy to trek on. The trail is full of boulders. Moreover, the trek gets difficult to walk on since the trek is not marked for the first couple of kilometers. After which it is marked but doing it the first time is not advisable without someone local or a guide. In the evening you can have your dinner and go to sleep because tomorrow is not going to be an easy trek for you. Trek till Iaqa Pass is considered easy to moderate but things change beyond this point. So get ready.

way to ilaqa pass
Way to Ilaqa Pass

IMPORTANT: If you are traveling for the first time it is advised to go with a guide. Do not even try to go alone, the trail is filled with boulders and the wrong path may lead you in the middle of nowhere. Hiring a guide from McLeodganj would cost you about 1000 INR a day but you can avoid that. You can ask a local person in Ilaqa Pass or at Snowline cafe for the same. They would be happy to take you there for 500 INR per person. 

Day 3: Ilaqa Pass – Lahesh Caves – Indrahar Pass – Ilaqa Pass, 11200 ft to 14.245 ft, 12kms

Today is going to be a tough day so be prepared for it mentally. Wake up in the morning as soon as possible because the trek needs to begin early ofcourse keeping in mind the light. You can start your trek by 7 am at most because the weather might get rough later on the day. And you don’t want to get stuck there at any cost. The distance is also the longest today and also the most difficult of the entire trek. 

way to lahesh caves
Way to Lahesh Caves

Starting from Ilaqa pass and coming at the same point, you would cover a distance of about 12 km which means it would take around 8-9 hours that totally depends upon your speed. One important thing to keep in mind while climbing pass, make sure you take an adequate amount of water and some glucose biscuits or glucon-d with you. Water will not only protects you from dehydration but also helps from altitude sickness which is pretty common at this altitude.

The route from Ilaqa Pass to Indrahar Pass is steep and is completely uphill. The difficulty level varies from moderate to strenuous because at some curves you might wanna crawl and climb up because of the angle elevation. The vegetation on this trail is only during monsoon. Otherwise, it is completely dried out and terrains are rocky or boulders during summers. Likewise, the whole trail is covered in white with snow during winters. 

While climbing you would come across Lahesh Caves which is about an hour away from Ilaqa Pass, you might wanna see how it is. The possibility of putting up a tent there is complete no because there is no space to do so. You might have to move on hands and knees to get inside the cave and be in the same position till the time you are inside. If you are planning to make a stop at Lahesh Caves instead make sure you don’t do it near monsoon season because of the risk of insects and ofcourse rain. You only need sleeping mats and sleeping bags for the cave as it does not have the area to pitch a tent.

Boulders
Boulders during Indrahar Pass

Another hour from caves is steep uphill but not that difficult. The difficult part starts after that where you might land up crawling and climbing at the same time which continues for 2 hours in bits and pieces. Once you reach the pass you would witness the Chamba Valley and the complete Dhauladhar range. All you can see would be the Himalayas all around and if going during the month of May can catch your eyes with snow on these peaks. After reaching Indrahar Pass, spend some time there and experience the majestic views and rest for some time. 

Summit of Indrahar Pass
Summit of Indrahar Pass

While you are on top, make sure you start coming towards Ilaqa pass by 1:00 pm maximum since the weather at this height is completely unpredictable. You definitely need to take extra precautions while descending. It is advised to take some extra time instead of rushing down. The steep descent almost makes the angle of 70-75 degrees which is dangerous even for experienced trekkers. You have to maintain a gentle pace and make sure you watch your steps because few of the rocks are pretty loose and might fall down with extra weight on them.

Once you reach Ilaqa Pass have some water with sugar which would balance your low sugar level and if in case you suffered from altitude sickness then it would benefit that too. After a while, have your food and remove your shoes and wear slippers it would make you comfortable after 8-9 hours of struggle inside the shoe. Later in the evening take your dinner and today you would get one of the best sleep because of the hard work you did today. Take a sound sleep as tomorrow it will be a little easy but tiring too.

View of Chamba Valley from summit
View of Chamba Valley from the summit

Day 4: Ilaqa Pass – McLeodganj 11200 ft – 6184 ft, 14kms

This the last day of a mesmerizing and wonderful experience. The trek today is all about the downhill experience. It will be easy but can get a little tiring because of the risk of twisting the ankles increases. You will go through a descendant and rocky trail so maintain a steady pace. The trail is for about 3-4 hours before you reach Galu Devi temple. Now from here either you can hire a taxi which costs around 400 INR. Else you can continue walking till McLeodganj which would take another hour at most. Once you reach McLeodganj, the trip comes to an end, you may decide to rest here for a day or may take an overnight AC Volvo or HRTC buses from here. You will find buses from 4.30 pm till 8.30 pm to Delhi. 

Preparing For Trek

Planning a trek is exciting and needs complete preparation to make sure your trip goes well and you enjoy your days on the trek. We try our best to provide important generic essentials required on the trek for trekkers. But there are certain things that you need to carry with you in your backpack. You can find a list of personal essentials you must carry with you. Make sure you don’t overpack your bags by keeping things not useful on the trek. Check out your fitness to make the trek comfortable for you and eliminate any chances of health issues.

What To Carry?

Trekking Shoes:

As we pass through rugged mountains and rocky trails it’s really important that you feel comfortable while walking. A good pair of shoes can do exactly the same for you. Try avoiding new shoes and if you have to buy one then make sure to wear them for some days in advance to get used to it.

Backpack:

Get a good backpack 40-60 Lt’s with a supporting frame and good quality straps. Carry a small day pack in case you need one to offload your primary backpack while exploring nearby spots around the campsite. It is recommended but not mandatory.

Clothes:

Avoid wearing jeans on trek, carry at least 3 trek pants for the complete journey. Carry warm clothes such as a light jacket, thermals (2) to wear at night. Full Sleeves collar T-shirts (3-4) to avoid sunburn.

Accessories:
  • Sunglasses
  • Cap
  • Balaclava or a warm scarf
  • Socks (sports socks and a pair of woolen socks)
  • Gloves
  • Led torch
  • Trekking pole
Personal Essentials:
  • Toiletries such as sunscreen, sanitizer, soap, moisturizer, lip balm, toothbrush and toothpaste, and a light towel
  • 2 water bottles – 1litre each
  • Plastic cover for wet clothes
  • Toilet paper
Medical Kit:

We advise you to carry a personal medical kit for yourself. Here is what all you should carry:

  • Avil 25mg – 4 tablets
  • Combiflam – 4 tablets
  • Disprin – 10 Tablets
  • Eno – 6-8 sachets
  • Digene – 10 tablets
  • Crepe bandage – 3 to 5 mt
  • Band-aid – 10
  • Moov spray – 1
  • Betadine
  • Cotton rolls
  • ORS – 5 Packets

IT IS A HUMBLE REQUEST TO ALL, DO NOT THROW ANY PLASTIC WHILE YOU ARE ON TREK. SAVE NATURE. BRING BACK ALL THE PLASTIC YOU USED AND DUMB IT PROPERLY.

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Triund trek is a calm and enticing trekking destination, embraced by the fascinating charm of the Dhauladhar range. It is considered to be one of the most popular trekking destinations in Himachal Pradesh. Triund trek proves to be a soothing destination. The trek offers with the views of the Dhauladhar ranges on one side and the charismatic Kangra Valley on the other. Triund Trek is actually one of the best treks for beginner trekkers.

Duration : 2 Days and 1 Night

Trek Type: Easy

Altitude: 2,875mt or 9,435ft

Best Season: March-June & Sept-November

Base Camp: McLeodganj

Triund trek is one of the easiest and most stunning treks in Himachal Pradesh. Triund is popular among enthusiasts of all ages. You have got the most amazing panoramic views at different times of the day- Sunset, moonrise and sunrise all present at the same place, highlighting the unique beauty of Triund. The trek starts from McLeodganj which is near Dharamshala. By the way, it is said to be the place where the Dalai Lama stayed when he came to India. Ofcourse, the place itself will showcase the vibrant Tibetan culture, monasteries and the monks.

Considered to be a small trek Triund is accessible in all the seasons. It looks like a paradise when covered with snow and in summers it is all about grassy meadows. During the trek one can easily witness the panorama view of the valley, along with the famous Dharamshala Cricket Stadium. The Trek comprises steep but well defined trails through the lush green forest of oak and rhododendron trees.

Arrive at McLeodganj:

Arrive at McLeodganj a day earlier and give yourself a little rest before you start the trek. You can take the AC Volvo or HRTC buses, it will be an overnight journey of around 10 hours.

After the overnight journey you will reach McLeodganj by 7:00 or 8:00 am and then you can rest. The entire day you can relax or go out to explore the small town which offers you a rich Tibetan culture. Later in the evening have your dinner and go to sleep.

You can even do the overnight journey and after reaching McLeodganj, head straight to the trek and probably stay in the town on the second day. Both works pretty well so choice is yours.

Day 1: McLeodganj – Triund 6184ft to 9435ft : 09 kms

You can start the trek early in the morning around 7 or 8, after a light breakfast. The trek is 09 kms and could consume 4-5 hours.

Triund trek trail is a beautiful walk through a mixed forest of rhododendron and oak trees. Some steep ascents will offer amazing views of the valley below. The trail till halfway is a gentle, rising one through the trees and traverses the steep and rocky section of the ridge. Past the Magic View cafe, a small shop considered to be there since 1984 (the halfway of the trek), the trail gets steeper.

oldest chai shop
Oldest Chai Shop

After Mid-Way Halt

It continues with a steep switchbacks as it climbs the altitude. But the last couple of turns brings the extra efforts and lands you on a grassy ridge that stretches a good amount of area. Relax on the grassy ridge or take a walk and witness the Kangra Valley and Dhauladhar ranges covered with snow on the peak.

With the steady amount of pace, you will reach Triund around noon at most. And don’t worry you will have ample amount of time to explore. Post some rest, have your lunch. You can stay in the tents which are easily available and will cost around 800-1000 bucks for a 2 person tent. Yet if you choose to pitch your own tent then you can do so, you have to pay a fee to the forest officer.

When I went there last time the officer did not pay the visit so we did not pay. But usually they give a visit around 6 or 7pm to collect the fee. You will find a lot of people pitching their own tents. The only hassle is that you have to carry them, if you can do so then I would advise you to take your own tent and pitch the tent. The view of town from Triund looks like this (although it is not a good photography skill).

Mcleod Ganj View from Triund
Mcleod Ganj View from Triund
Note:

The sunset and the sunrise are the most beautiful times of the day at Triund. You definitely want to capture such moments. It gets better with the reddish rays during sunset touching the Dhauladhar ranges and it just takes your soul away. However, there is another moment which would take your breath away and that is the night. If the weather is clear, one can see the sky filled up with stars completely. You can spot the constellations as well. Surely you would not have seen so many stars before, it would surprise you.

Post dinner, get inside your tents and go to sleep.

Look at this beautiful sunset picture at Triund. Although it is not as good as I was expecting because I asked my friend for a wide angle. But friends are actually there to ruin your photographs.

Sunset at Triund Top
Sunset at Triund Top

Extra Information:

If you have the energy left after you reach Triund. Then you can trek to Laka Got or Snowline Cafe which is extra 2kms trek from Triund. This little stretch will consume time and energy but is definitely worth it. From the snowline cafe you can witness the Indrahar Pass and Lahesh Caves.

The landscape of Dhauladhar ranges from Laka Got is much more clear. But make sure if you are going to Laka Got then you need to descent on time. Don’t miss the sunset at Triund. Taking into consideration going to Laka Got and descending to Triund would consume another 2-3 hours.

So it is advised only go there if you really have that energy left. The weather in the evening might get tricky and you don’t want to get stuck up there at that time. If you are lucky enough then you can see that the weather can be totally different at both places. But the distance is only 2 kms, the altitude plays a role so get down to Triund on time.

When I went there the first time, we actually did not continue further on the first day. Rather we planned to stay in Triund for 2 days and go back on the third day. We visited or trekked further on the second day instead. And yes we definitely witness differences in weather at Triund and Laka Got. At triund it was sunny and a little hot and when we started to go up and reached Laka Got the weather changed. The passage got covered with the clouds and it started to drizzle. We actually went there with t-shirts and pants and we regret it. Since we were feeling cold we had to descend back to Triund.

green meadows in triund trek
Green Meadow at Triund Trek

Day 2: Triund – McLeodganj 9435ft to 6184ft, 09kms

So it’s time to say goodbye to Triund trek.

Wake up in the morning and get ready to descend. Ordinarily, if you really want to witness the sunrise make sure you are awake before 6am. Also before the sunset, you would experience a cold breeze so you might want to take your jacket out when coming out of your tent. As soon as the sun throws its light then the warmth eliminates the cold. Pack your things and get ready for breakfast, post that it will be the downhill walk only.

Most people consider descend to be easy but in reality it is not. You really have to watch your steps and the pressure will come to your knees. Maintain a steady pace as there is no need to rush because you don’t want to twist your ankles on the way back. The trail is for about 3-4 hours walk till McLeodganj. Once you reach McLeodganj, the trip comes to an end. You will reach McLeodganj in the afternoon providing you with ample amount of time to explore the place.

Midway of Triund Trek
Midway of Triund Trek / Oldest Chai shop since 1984
Explore McleodGanj & Dharamshala

You can even take a walk to the cascading Bhagsu Waterfall. If you feel like exploring the town more or go to Dharamshala. You can choose to rest in some hotel or you can take an overnight AC Volvo or HRTC buses. You will find buses to Delhi easily.

I would recommend either you come a day early or stay for a day after you finish your trek. The town has so much to offer. You can enjoy the different cuisines. Visit some bar where they are playing live music. Pay your visit at Shiva Cafe in Dharamshala, you will definitely love the place and will visit again. Likewise many other cafes and waterfalls are all around the city. Take a day extra with you.

Preparing For Triund Trek:

Planning a trek is exciting and needs complete preparation to make sure your trip goes well and you enjoy your days on trek. We try our best to provide important generic essentials required on trek for trekkers but there are certain things that you need to carry with you in your backpack. You can find a list of personal essentials you must carry with you. Make sure you don’t over pack your bags by keeping things not useful on trek. Check your fitness to make the trek comfortable and eliminate any chances of health issues.

What To Carry?

Trekking Shoes

As we pass through rugged mountains and rocky trails it’s really important that you feel comfortable while walking. A good pair of shoes can do exactly the same for you. Try avoiding new shoes and if you have to buy one then make sure to wear it for some days in advance to get used to it. You can rent them also from Sharepal.

Backpack

Get a good backpack 40-60 Lt’s with a supporting frame and good quality straps. In addition to regular backpack, carry a small day pack in case you need one to offload your primary backpack while exploring nearby spots around campsite. It is recommended but not mandatory. You can rent them also from Sharepal.

Clothes

Avoid wearing jeans on trek in the first place. Carry at least 3 trek pants for the complete journey. Also carry warm clothes such as a light jacket, thermals(2) to wear at night. Full Sleeves collar T-shirts (3-4) to avoid sunburn.

Accessories

  • Sunglasses
  • Cap
  • Balaclava or warm scarf |
  • Socks (sports socks and a pair of woolen socks) |
  • Gloves
  • Led torch
  • Trekking pole

Personal Essentials

  • Above all carry toiletries such as sunscreen, sanitizer, soap, moisturiser, lip balm, Toothbrush and toothpaste and a light towel
  • 2 water bottles – 1litre each
  • Plastic cover for wet clothes
  • Toilet paper (bio-degradable)

Medical Kit

We advise you to carry a personal medical kit for yourself. Here is what all you should carry:

  • Avil 25mg – 4 tablets
  • Combiflam – 4 tablets
  • Disprin – 10 Tablets
  • Eno – 6-8 sachets
  • Digene – 10 tablets
  • Crepe bandage – 3 to 5 mt
  • band aid – 10
  • Moov spray – 1
  • Betadine Cotton roll
  • ORS – 5 Packets.

IN ADDITION IT IS A HUMBLE REQUEST, AVOID USING ANY PLASTIC WHILE YOU ARE ON TREK. SAVE THE NATURE. BRING BACK ALL THE PLASTIC YOU USED AND DUMB IT PROPERLY.

On top to Triund Trek
Here is a picture of me that was taken on Triund Top.
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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 in India 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.

Diversity of India as a Trekking Destination

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 a trekker can do. 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 can be 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.

The 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

The picturecaptured 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. In this case, they will not only required a great stamina but will also be testing your mental strength as well. But before taking such treks you have to take extensive physical preparation. Also 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 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 captured 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. Also 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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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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WHAT IS TREKKING:

We all have always wondered what exactly the meaning of trekking is. Well trekking meaning 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 meaning 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. You can read what are the essentials for camping trekking here.

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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This is a detailed backpacking checklist which we have created. The backpacking checklist will cover everything from essential items to extras. No matter if 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.

Backpacking Meaning:

Backpacking meaning is a form of low-cost, independent travel. Once considered a marginal activity undertaken by society’s drop-outs, it has gradually entered the tourism mainstream. backpacking leads to acquired capabilities like effective communication, decision-making, adaptability, and problem solving, all of which contribute to an increase in self-efficacy. Althoug the backpacking can be done for your regular travel needs and also to trekking. Usually trekking is backpacking only, but includes covering long distance by walking.

Backpacking Checklist

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. You can buy a bag which has detachable day back. And 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:

Clothing:

  • Quick Dry T-shirts both half and full sleeves. 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

Here is my ideal backpacking checklist for most of the treks. Somehow the list will definitely get modified depending upon your trek. Obviously while reviewing the backpacking checklist for the first time, in fact it might look a lot to take. However it becomes easier once you get into the habit of trekking.

In conclusion to 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.

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.

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”

Dispose of Waste Properly:

Pack all your trash, tissues or toilet paper with you in a ziplock bag. Always check your campsite again before you leave for any leftover food or trash. Likewise while washing your utensils or plates, collect the water and wash at least 100 meters away from the river.
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. Thereafter cover the hole once you are done with your business. 

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. 

Minimize Campfire Impacts:

It is a fact that during trekking 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.

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. Please avoid wildlife during their sensitive times like mating or nesting.

Be Considerate Of Other Visitors:

As I have always mentioned in my other blogs is 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. Also it won’t be incorrect to say that 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 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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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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