Now if you’re reading this, then you’ve probably made up your mind for your first trek. Right? It’s funny remembering how I packed for my first ever trek to Sandakphu. It was a total disaster. I literally shoved all the things I thought I’d need on a high-altitude trek. But while trekking I was kind of having a hard time carrying. I felt the weight was double the actual weight of my backpack. That’s when I learned that packing for a trek is completely different from the usual packing style. If you don’t pack right, you will have a terrible experience but don’t worry. We’ve got your back! We are giving you a checklist for the things to carry in your backpack for your trek. But before you go any further, I’d like to state a fact that the treks in different parts of the Himalayas stretch from short to medium to extended long durations. For the short trek, backpacking is easier but for the long trek, you need to pack thoughtfully. Let’s begin!
Choosing a backpack with rain cover
Now rucksack comes in various sizes and capacities, each fitting for a different purpose. Make sure to choose the right one along with a good rain cover. You don’t want your things to get wet! Well, if you are planning to go for a day hike or two then you can go for a medium-sized 30-50 Litres rucksack to hold all your supplies for your journeys like a sleeping bag, tent, and food for the overnight. If your trekking plans last for more than five days, a rucksack capacity of at least 70 Litres is recommended so that you don’t miss out on any necessary items which you may need on the mountaintop.
Your shoes play a vital role when you go on treks. From a day trek to the high altitude treks, good trekking shoes are the most crucial gear for a trekker. A normal sports shoes would work too but it will not be suitable as it gives no ankle support and is not meant for rough terrains with longer hours of trekking and if you suffer from blisters or twisted ankles, it can completely ruin your trekking. So don’t be stingy while buying one because choosing the right pair of trekking shoes that provide good ankle protection and a firm grip on slippery surfaces is a must. Also, don’t forget to look for waterproof trekking shoes while purchasing because waterproof trekking shoes can essentially prove to be an important factor in successfully completing the trek.
Talking about the trekking pole, now this often slips off of people’s minds whenever packing for the trek. A trekking pole is as important as carrying other essential things, it helps you to prevent injury as it elevates all the pressure on your feet, ankle, knees, and transfers it to the trekking pole. With a trekking pole, you can also move bushes, poison ivy, spider web etc. away from your way. While walking on uneven terrain, due to your backpack, it might get difficult for you to walk; this is when you need a pole as they provide extra stability and greatly improve your balance.
Gather your equipment
Now is the time to gather your equipment, be minimalistic when choosing the things to carry. The fancier things you pack, the heavier your backpack will be. It might be extremely tempting for you to bring your cameras, extra clothes and your favorite pillow on a trek but remember what I said in the beginning, the weight of your backpack feels like double on the mountains and the weight that you are carrying determines how easily you can pull the trail off. Do some research about the trek, its altitude and the weather before starting to pack.
Clothing is the most essential thing to pack for your treks. Carry one extra pair of clothes apart from the ones you are wearing while taking the trails that could be muddy and change into another pair when you will reach the place where you decide to stay overnight. Extra clothes always help whenever you get dirty or drenched crossing a stream and it is often said that “Mountains make their own weather” and that is kind of true. The weather in the mountains is so unpredictable. One moment it’ll be sunny and the next it’ll start pouring like crazy. Heavy clothes are not recommended at all, as they would make it hard to carry around while trekking. Here’s a mini list of clothes for you to bring on the trek.
- TREKKING PANTS AND T-SHIRTS
- FLEECE TEES AND JACKET
- THERMAL INNERS
- WINDPROOF AND WATERPROOF JACKET
- WATERPROOF GLOVES
One of the most essential things is the water bottle. Water is a vital ingredient to life and you should consume plenty, especially while doing some activities on the trek. Carrying at least two litres of water is mandatory. Using the bottle along with a thermos for hot water is recommended. If you happen to find any water sources on the way of the trail, you can also carry water-purification tablets or filters to treat the water before drinking.
If you’re planning to go through the trek operators, you may ask them about the accommodation during your trek as it can be arranged by them at a trekkers hut or they can provide you tents along with sleeping bags. If you’re on your own, it is safe and better to bring your sleeping bag kit on the trek since no one knows what would happen while you are going on a trek.
Now, this isn’t necessary but it makes your task a lot easier than carrying a flashlight around. Always choose a good quality head torch over flashlight because it helps you to go hands-free while going to the toilet or setting up a tent in the dark. Don’t forget to take extra batteries with you as well.
You may not get food at every point on the trek. It is important to carry high-nutritional foods for the trek because starving on a trek can make the situation worse especially when you’re exhausted. It is best to carry energy bars, dry fruits, quick snacks and other food items that don’t require cooking and can also help you keep going.
Expect to have a lot of insects on the way during the treks, some may be irritating and harmful than the others. Be prepared and carry a repellant that will help you prevent yourself from them but during the dawn and dusk, it’s better to cover yourself entirely with clothing to avoid the bite of insects especially mosquitoes.
Personal Medical kit
Safety comes first before anything. Before going on the trek, make sure to have your personal medical kit like your prescribed medicines ready. Basic wound dressing kit e.g. antiseptic, cotton wool, Band-Aid, medicines for the treatment of diarrhea, headache, cold, flu and painkillers would suffice.
Sun protection is most important whenever trekking at high altitudes since most hikes are done in daylight. Even on a cloudy day, the rays are still there and it can burn your skin. To avoid that, SPF 30 or above sunscreen is recommended and you can also carry a hat and sunglasses for full protection from the sun rays.
At the end of the day, it is important to maintain your health and hygiene during your treks every day. Carry your toiletries with you like hand sanitizer, toothbrush, paste, paper soap, face wash, tissue rolls, toilet paper and towel.
Now create your checklist with these essentials tips above and start packing. Always remember that “Lighter the backpack, the better your experience will be”.