Every nature lover dreams of trekking – grabbing a bag, setting off, see what the world has to offer. And while the thought of exploring the wilderness and uncharted terrains is thrilling, it can be rather overwhelming to plan it all; especially if you are a beginner. This is where a trekking checklist comes in handy, helping you organize the trek essentials you need.
When planning, first study the place you are going to. Do your research about the location, its typical weather, the available resources and general details of the surroundings. If traveling through an agency, make sure you discuss with them so you aren’t running in blind. This will keep you mentally prepared for your journey ahead. With the right mindset, you are now ready to get packing.
Your main motto here is ‘Less is more’. Only pack the important trekking requirements. A trek tests the limits of your strengths; carrying unnecessary bulk is not only strenuous but also unsafe.
The Trekking Essentials:
Here is a list of things to carry while trekking, depending on the number of days of your trek:
One of the most important necessities for a comfortable trek is the right bag. Choose your bag depending on the number of days your trek is, and whether you plan to camp outdoors. Your bag will be carrying all your trekking essentials and should be sturdy, spacious, comfortable and possibly with a rain cover. For instance, a 40-50L bag is sufficient for a 5-7 day trek, excluding the camping gear.
If camping outdoors, you will require a solid and durable tent. You may carry it or if available, rent it. Consider the number of people and choose a spacious and light tent. Choose the right material for warmth and protection. Buy waterproof material covers for the rainy seasons.
A good trek requires you to be well-rested, hence when outdoors you will need good sleeping bags. It should be light, warm and compressible. A better quality bag has a longer lifespan and is recommended. Make sure that you are comfortable with your sleeping bag before you begin the trek. You can also keep a pair of earplugs if you are a light sleeper.
Dehydration is one of the main concerns of a trekker. It is important to carry ample drinking water with you. Carry strong bottles that are less prone to breakage. To save space, you can also choose leak proof water bladders.
For longer treks, you may need portable water purification kits. Refill your bottles from clean sources and purify them before drinking. Take smaller drinks and carry breath-mints to reduce your thirst.
Away from good restaurants, you will have to survive on your own supplies for your hunger pangs. Hence it is important you pack the right stuff. Pack food that has a greater shelf life and is nutritious. Carry chocolates, energy bars, nuts and dry fruits for snacks. If you are cooking while you’re out there, you’ll need a portable stove that works on an easily available fuel. Use insulated boxes to store your food.
Trekking shoes or hiking boots
Shoes are the most important things you need to invest in. Buy comfortable shoes with a good grip. Having done your research you’ll have a fair idea of the terrain you are facing. It is unnecessary to choose the heavy boots unless you have weak ankles. Sturdy shoes that can bear a tough terrain are your best bet. After purchasing them, break your shoes in. Wearing new shoes directly to treks can cause discomfort and shoe-bites.
Carry a pair of flip flops or sandals for the campsites.
Choose your clothing depending on the number of days. Carry light long-sleeved shirts for the warmer days. Full-length trekking pants pair well with them, protecting you from the twigs, weeds, and bugs. You will also need a warm jacket and good socks. For higher altitude or winter treks you will have to pack layers and warm thermals. Let your clothes be comfortable, warm and light. For trekking in rainy seasons, pack in raincoats, gloves and warm thermal inners. You may also carry a deodorant and travel towel for the sweat.
Toiletries: Pack the basic toilet kit for trekking such as toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, chapstick, lotion and sanitizer in a Ziploc to keep them organized.
Torchlight or headlamp: Carry a torch with a strong beam for night times and areas with poor lighting. You can also use headlamps instead, to have a reliable source of light in case of emergencies. Also, keep a spare set of batteries.
Lighter or matches: Keep a lighter or matchbox for the stove or in case the torchlight fails.
Multi-tool: Having a good pocket knife or a multitool consisting of scissors, pliers and other basic tools is very useful in emergencies.
Rope: A coil of strong rope comes very handy for climbing or similar situations.
Skincare and Protection
Carry a pair of sunglasses, a cap and sunscreen with high SPF to protect yourself from the sun. Pack a good quality raincoat and gloves for wetter climates. You can also carry bug repellent creams to keep the pests off.
For steeper climbs use ankle supports and knee caps. Buy good trekking poles as they support your weight on rough terrains especially in the downhill regions.
Pack a standard first aid kit for your journey, consisting of band-aids, cotton, antiseptic, gauge, and pills for fever, headache and other common ailments. Carry anti-allergens if required and ORS or glucose packets for rehydration. You may also need a roll of crepe bandage to treat minor sprains. Consult your doctor for any other necessary medication. It is best to be well prepared.
Make sure you know where you are, at all times. Despite being well trained, there are chances of getting lost in a trek. Carrying a compass and having a hardcopy map of your journey can help you determine your location. For longer treks, you may carry a GPS and walkie-talkies to stay connected with the group. Consult your guide for additional safety measures.
To capture your memories carry your camera with an extra set of batteries, memory cards, USB cable and your phone with a charged power bank. If you’re the type that cannot stay away from your gadgets you may carry your tablet or laptop with the necessary battery backups. But remember, lesser the bulk the better.
Keep a box of tissues and a stock of old newspapers to use for cleaning or packing. Carry a plastic bag to store the waste so you don’t litter the surroundings.
For a great experience, it is important to be well prepared beforehand. Knowing how to pack for a trek is the first step to a successful trip. Trekking requires you to be physically and mentally strong, with the necessary orientation and survival skills. With the essential gear, you are one step closer to having a safe and wonderful adventure.
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