Well this a quite common question that comes while trekking for the first time. How to trek? And you might find a different answer on the internet but here I’m giving you basic and mandatory tips. It is very important to know, how to do your backpacks? What you should be carrying and how long is it going to complete the trek?
1) Prepare Yourself
It is very very important that one must have minimum physical requirements before trekking. You have to train your body at least a month ago. There is less amount of oxygen at high altitude so your body won’t be able to produce much energy. So you have to do cardio-muscular exercise and train your body for stamina.
Simply you can start by jogging half an hour for daily. You should be able to jog 4 Km in a maximum of 30 minutes duration without any break. You can do some squat or climb the stairs up-down for strengthening your leg muscles.
Trekking requires lots of strength and stamina, as you would be carrying your clothes, food and all your basic stuff. I have seen people cursing the path and themselves while trekking. Trekking can be fun only if you are capable of doing it. Otherwise, you might find this torture.
2) Know Your Trek
Most people start their trek without any knowledge or prior research and end up in trouble. You must have minimum basic knowledge about your trek. Do some research on google, read the blog of travelers and watch some clip on youtube. You will get a rough mental image of your destination and path.
Duration of the trek can vary from single day to a couple of weeks. So you must know how long your trekking will go. Where would you stay during the night? Some trek have hotels available after a couple of Km, some don’t have. Sometimes you have to carry your sleeping tent or have to stay in the tent house.
You must know where to camp, there is some fixed place for it. If your camp is isolated from the group then you are making big mistakes. Anything can happen in the night as there will be no night guard. Everybody will be tired and in deep sleep. So you might lose your life in alone if you are in a wild animal area.
3) Cost Of Trek
If you’re a budget traveler like me or a college student, trekking on pocket money then this is for you. The total cost of trekking varies from season to season for the same trek. If it’s a busy season then everything will be costly. Hotels cost you double, porters cost you high and your overall budget will go up. If you run out of money then you may have to return back before finishing the trek.
I have a budget calculating formula called 1.5. Add transportation fare (both ways), hotels charges, food, your extra expenses and multiply the whole by 1.5. Now, this is the minimum budget you must have for your trek. You can even carry more if you want, extra is always good.
4) Must-Have Things
Before going out, you have to have everything that you will need on your trek. If you needed something while trekking you can’t even buy there. As you will be on the mountain or jungle with no shops. So here are the few must have things.
- First-aid box: You must have some basic medicine. Paracetamol for fever, Kaopectate for nausea, ORS for loose motion, Acetazolamide for altitude sickness, Digene for digestion and thermometer for measuring body temperature.
- Toiletries: You have to do your personal stuff somewhere behind the rock or bushes. So you must carry toilet paper, tissue paper, hand sanitizer, sun’s cream, Colgate, brush, vaseline etc.
- Power bank: In order to keep your accessories like camera, cell phone alive, you must have a good power bank.
- Slipper: You should carry a lightweight slipper that you can use while bathing or going to the toilet.
- Towel: A lightweight towel comes very handy when you have to dry yourself.
A good trekking bag can save your energy up to 20%. I have seen people carrying a laptop bag with all their stuff in it. Bags looks like it is going to explode at any minute. There are many trekking bags available at reasonable price. The weight of the bag should be distributed uniformly on your back. If it is unbalanced, you might have to bend forward or backward which drain your energy much faster.
Having a good trekking bag is also not enough, you must know how to pack your things. You don’t want to unpack your whole stuff in order to access something. This will make you tired easily.
You have to divide your stuff into four categories.
- Most needy stuff: All your toiletries, power bank, camera, cell phone etc should be at easy access. You can put them in the side pocket or upper pocket.
- Sleeping gear: Your nightdress, sleeping bag, sleeping tent etc should be at bottom of the bag. As you will need this only at night.
- Emergency gear: Your bag’s rain-cover, rain-coat should be at the top if the weather is changing drastically. Since you would be moving continuously, you can find different weather conditions on your way. Mountains weather can vary in the range of 2 Km.
- Food and utensils: You need to access this stuff only twice or thrice a day. So you can put this stuff in between your emergency gear and sleeping gear.
6) Common Mistakes
Most of the mistakes are common within first-time trekkers. Some carry too much stuff, some too less while few wrong kinds of stuff. The main reason behind these mistakes is different weather condition of the different trekking place.
So, here are the few things that you should avoid while trekking.
- Avoid jeans: Jeans are quite inappropriate for trekking as it is heavy, takes time to dry and lack flexibility. You can carry trekking pants specially designed for trekking. They are lightweight, fast dry and occupy less space.
- Avoid sneakers/sandals: Sneakers and sandals are meant for fashion, not trekking. There are many types of hiking/trekking boots that you can buy. Trekking paths are uneven full of stones and slippery mud. Trekking boots will save your energy, provide comfort and good grip to avoid an accident.
Here are the few things that you must have while trekking.
- Rain gear: You must have your rain gear for your backpacks as well as you, even if there is no rainfall. You can’t predict mountains weather so it is better to be prepared for the worst situation. It will help in keeping your stuff dry. You can buy a simple raincoat, breathable rain jacket or ponchos depending on your budget and terrain.
- Hats and arm sleeves: Hats and arm sleeves help your face and arms from sunburn and harmful UV rays. Hats even help you during rain, it avoids rain falling directly on your face.
- Layering: If you are hiking at high altitude the temperature could fall very low especially during nights. So you must carry three layers of clothes.
- Base layer: Light-weight and moisture-wicking clothes.
- Mid layer: Insulating clothes made of fleece which can prevent heat loss but breathable.
- Last layer: Waterproof jacket in the rainy season to keep yourself dry and soft shell jackets for winter to keep you warm.
If you find this article helpful then please share and comment. You can put your queries in the comment box regarding any trek.