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:
· Power Banks
· Headlamp or Torch
· Trekking Poles
· Gaiters and Snow or Ice Traction Cleats
· Hat or Cap
· Extra Batteries
· Insect Repellant
· Emergency Shelter
· Necessary Permits and ID Proof