Not all of us are fortunate enough to live in hilly regions and experience the mountainous terrain. Most of the cities and towns are on the plains or near the coastal areas. One often feels like taking a break from the mad rush of city life. It is lovely to be surrounded by lush green trees, fresh air, chirpy birds, and gregarious animals.
But why climb hills when you have other means to reach the summit? People begin to hike as it gives them a chance to be more closer to nature and take some Instagram-worthy photos with friends and family. But when the terrain is rocky/slippery, and the slope gets steeper, many tend to give up. It is not comfortable to trudge through unknown paths with dangers lurking in every step. So, trekking is a challenge that requires both physical stamina and mental grit. It can take days, and one has to brave the weather elements as well.
However, it is rewarding to endure the tough journey as you learn essential life-skills like teamwork, adaptability, and risk readiness. Trekking sets the adventure mood and boosts your fitness level and confidence.
As trekking trails are long and often strenuous, you need to prepare and carefully plan the essential things that you need to carry on your backpack.
1. Cooking Essentials:
In an organized trek, the food may be arranged. If you are going by yourself, you need to carry essential cookware and food. There are several options for ultralight pots and cook-sets. The advantage of cook-sets is that they come as a package that mostly includes pan, kettle, cups, knife, etc. Easy-to-carry food items like nuts, seeds, fruits (that do not require refrigeration), energy bars, frozen food, purees, canned items, shelf-stable meat, poultry, etc., are preferable ones. Those who wish to have a campfire by night can have chocolate bars, marshmallows, and small bottles of drinks like Paul Masson brandy. The quantity of the food that you take depends on the number of days and the outside food that you can consume. It is a must to have plenty of fluids as the journey can be exhaustive, and dehydration can set in.
2. Trekking gear:
While trekking, you might move across deep forests, snow-clad hills, and slippery surfaces. It is better to anticipate a treacherous path and prepare accordingly. You must check the weather forecast before starting. Non-skid hiking shoes, headlamps with spare batteries, quick-drying clothes, rainwear, ropes, trekking poles, carabiners, pitons, compass, and maps are compulsory for all types of terrain and climatic conditions. The clothes that you wear differ for the season when you plan to go. You might require thermal wear, warm, waterproof socks, and gloves for winter, and in summer, lighter and breathable clothes are the best. Sunscreens, moisturizers, and UV protection glasses also help in keeping your skin and eyes safe. Though many modern GPS devices and cell phones are available, it is no harm in taking a lightweight compass too.
3. First Aid kit:
Getting into the wilderness and camping in places with almost no human settlements is risky. So, a first aid kit is indispensable for trekkers. The first aid box or pouch should be in a waterproof container. Medical tapes for cuts and blisters, cold packs for strain relief are a few of the things that we often forget. Pain-relief and anti-inflammatory tablets like ibuprofen and antihistamine tablets for allergy suppression are a must. Medical gloves, hand sanitizers, mosquito repellants, moisturizers, and sunscreen lotions are required. One should also have utility tools like a knife, scissors, sewing needles, safety pins, etc.
4. Camping Essentials:
Most often, trekkers need to carry their tents on their trip. Though there are various types of sheltering equipment, one needs to check that the tent is sturdy and lightweight. You could go for a double-stitched tent with metallic poles that can withstand strong gusty winds. It is advisable to have tent repair kits in case there is a leak or tear. In rainy seasons, one has to take tarps or groundsheets that prevent standing water from entering into the tent surface. You might also require sleeping bags and insulation layers if you trek to cold places.
5. Hygiene kit:
First aid and pills are for emergency purposes. Personal hygiene is more important. When you know that the trip is going to take several days, then you must stay clean and healthy. Hand sanitizers, biodegradable soaps, toothpaste, and toothbrushes are a must-have in your hygiene kit. If the weather permits, then you can have a swim in a lake or a river and get rid of the dirt. You should have a camp towel or a bandana. With it, you can have a sponge bath quickly. If water is scarce, then you should have wipes or moist towelettes too. With them, you can help in cleaning your utensils. You can apply the sanitizer on dry wipes and use it for disinfecting purposes. Deodorants are a big no as they not only harm the environment but also attract insects. It is advisable to carry backpacking water filters and purifiers as you cannot bring sufficient drinking water for the entire trip.
The clothes that you choose to pack for trekking depends on the local weather. In humid conditions, you can opt for synthetic garments that can dry quickly. You might need some warm woolens if you are climbing to higher altitudes. In a cold climate, one requires to wear a layered garment. A moisture-wicking material at the base, lightweight wool in the middle, and a waterproof jacket for the outer layer are necessary. One can choose between shorts and hiking pants, based on the temperature. However, quick-drying pants are recommended as they protect you from insect bites.
People either wear hiking boots or sneakers. Boots are sturdy and are more suitable for rough terrains. They offer better protection to your foot but are heavy. Shoes are more flexible and give support to the arch and ankle. The footwear should be snug fit and waterproof. It should be simple to remove and wear as the foot skin cells need some fresh air.
Camping and trekking holidays can be enjoyable and rewarding. One gets the much-needed break in their monotonous lives. Unknown trails amid wilderness and lack of mobile signals can clear your mind by facilitating a digital detox. Careful backpacking and a little bit of preparation ensure a safe and comfortable trekking experience.
Author -Rebecca Siggers
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