Here we are again and this time, it is essential trekking tips we are covering. After seeing a number of people go wrong on this one and making the most “not-so-obvious” mistakes, we decided to put these valuable eight together. Trekking is all about wilderness and basic means of existence which means you can not afford to commit any of the common trekking mistakes (and uncommon too!). So whether you are a beginner or an expert, it never hurts to be cautious, safe and a listener to some good advice. These eight valuable tips on trekking come from people who spend more than half a year treading paths that we are a little scared to think about. So hear it from the experts.
Panting and passing out
This one is definitely the first on list of trekking tips for beginners. Let us face it, not all of us are born BOND. So deciding that your first trek has to be 100 miles long and about 12,000 feet high is really a decision you would not be proud of, later. Nothing wrong with aspiring to do something big but you have to give training and physical fitness some time. So if you are a beginner, start with shorter and easy treks. Promote yourself to more difficult terrains gradually as your body gets fitter and more accustomed to harsh environs. “Panting and passing out” is not going to help anyone….yep you might become food for some wild animals- A charity we don’t think you are interested in.
Physical fitness is an area you simply cannot take lightly when it comes to trekking. Trust us, your life depends on it especially on isolated and wild tracks. Know your weaknesses and work on them. Build endurance and get those legs moving! Walk for long distances, work on your stride and try to train on a terrain which is similar to the kind you are going to trek on. You will be surprised how easy trek becomes when you practice and train on similar terrain. Remember all backpacking tips will be useless if you just can’t walk the track! As the time for trek nears, train with your backpack and equipment just the way you would walk on the trek. Go out camping just like when you would trek. This is a great way of knowing what works and what does not. Also if the equipment is faulty or inconvenient, it is probably the best way to discover it.
Talk, Research and Note
Nothing beats research. Find out about the trekking trail from well established and reputed sources online. Talk to people who have been there and never assume anything without information. When we covered Kokoda trail in Papua and New Guinea (PNG), it was only after researching we realized that it is one of the most unique and difficult treks in the world. There have been fatalities too! The pictures of the trek did not show this facet of the trail but it was research and mails to PNG tourism that enlightened us. Otherwise, it simply looked like a really long trekking trail. We hope you get the point!
We always say this- invest in good quality equipment and gear. Trekking involves a lot of camping and so your essentials need to cover you when you are walking and also when you want a shut eye. If multi-day treks are what you love, then you will have to camp regularly. We highly recommend reading our tips on camping for some expert guidance
No camping trip is complete without a suitable tent. Surprisingly, many people dont know what to look for while buying a tent.Our article on tips for buying a tent will help you tremendously.
As a rule, go for lightweight but sturdy items and definitely ensure that if any equipment has fabric then it is either waterproof or dries up real fast. Trekking pole tip has to be given here- yes take them along if you expect uneven path or mountainous inclinations as they really lend great support to your legs and back.
Check out our guide on essential camping equipment given below which covers trekking equipment also for detailed information.
Your feet need love
Blistered feet are your worst enemy on a long trek. Being in the wilderness also leaves open wounds vulnerable to infections. So unless you want the whole trekking deal to come crashing down on your foot, get proper trekking shoes that are made for the terrain you are planning to negotiate. Yes, there are special boots for mountains, snow, rain, mud etc. And practice and train in them so that the new material does not cut and bruise you. Do not forget socks as they keep your feet comfy while walking. Did I tell you about a blunder with my walking shoes en route on a Himalayan trek to Kheerganga when I decided that my mom’s one size bigger shoe would be alright for the trek? Read this one and shoe is the first thing you will shop for!
Water is your god
Though we are mentioning only water here, but let us include food in there as well. Keeping yourself hydrated can hardly be emphasised. When you are researching about the trekking trail, do determine the location of water bodies you would be passing by. Check beforehand if the water is safe for drinking. Keeping location of nearby populations is also an important check since they can really help you if you fall in trouble.
Leave extras home
So you are not going for a wedding extravaganza, it is a trek. Leave all your non-essentials at home. Pack items that are multipurpose and have some utility in a trek. Just because it is tiny does not mean you should pack it. Carry your prescription medicines, mosquito repellent and general cough, cold and fever medicines. You can certainly do without 3-4 moisturisers, extra footwear, deos and I have not even begun the list of stupid things people get along on a trek. While we are at it, do check out:
Apps is the word
Getting to be in the wilderness and so close to nature is okay but being safe is equally important. Hell! It is more important. Let your trek not end in a nightmare where you end up like those people in the “Wrong turn”. There are plenty of apps that work offline and are custom built for trekking and camping in the wilderness. Motion X GPS, MapmyHike, AllTrails are some of the best-known trekking apps around. You can of course, research and explore on what suits your requirement the best. Do checkout our article on best travel apps.
So these were our eight trekking and hiking tips that aim to keep our “trekking readers” alive! If you liked this article, let us know in the comments. And if you have something to add then we would definitely like to hear from you! If there is certain gear you feel is particularly helpful in treks then let us know.