Yearning to explore the forbidding peaks of the Himalayas, but not sure where to start? Here is the list of 15 must things to do before the trek. No matter whether you are going for a guided or self-organized trek these are the must things to do before the trek. These tips will help to avoid newbie mistakes and ensure your journey exceeds expectations.
1. Physical Fitness:
Though it is important to be fit all the time, treks demand a little extra. It is highly recommended to follow a well-defined fitness regime at least 3 months prior to the trek. To prepare for the trek you need to work on three major areas and they are:
a) Aerobic fitness – As we gain higher altitude in a trek, the air becomes thinner. To cope with the decreasing level of Oxygen we need to build Aerobic fitness.
b) Strength and Endurance training – Defying gravity and walking for a long duration on a steep slope with a rucksack/day-pack require a moderate level of Strength and Endurance training.
c) Trekking Specific Training – Hike Steep Hills, Practice with Loaded Backpack etc.
2. Planning your trip/trek:
Does your interest lie in centuries-old culture or is it the remote mountain passes that appeal to you more? For ancient monasteries, Ladakh or Little Tibet are the places to go. If you want to trek through luxuriant forests then consider exploring Sikkim. For spectacular mountain views, the little-trekked trails of the Garhwal are on par with the best in the Himalayas.
3. Never plan to go on trek without a guide when it is your first time:
It’s always better to go with an experienced trekking guide. As Himalayan trails are tricky, it is advisable that you don’t go solo for your first attempt. Choose the right company/group of people or take a local guide along.
4. Thorough Research on your trek:
It’s mandatory that you do your thorough research about the trek. You need to know about the place you will be trekking, weather conditions, the terrain, average trekking distance between camps, difficulty level, altitude, best season to visit etc. and plan your trek accordingly.
5. Carry the Right Trekking Equipment:
No one can predict the weather on mountains especially when trekking in the Himalayas. So hope for the best and be prepared for the worst. Hence carry proper gear and trekking equipment. Rain-wear, torches, trekking poles, caps, gloves, sleeping bags or tents being some of the essentials. When trekking in snow do carry proper snow boots, crampons & Gaiters. Check here for the list of trek essentials.
– Backpack (Min 60 ltr): A good quality backpack from reputed brand and try it before buying.
– Day-pack (30 LTR): (if you offload your main backpack)
– Floaters or Sandals: When you are at the camp they help to move freely
– Trekking Shoes: Always invest in a good quality trekking shoes
– 2 Pairs of Quick Dry Tees and Track Pants
– 1 Pair of good Thermals
– 3 Pairs of Socks
– Full Sleeve Sweater or Fleece
– One Heavy/down Jacket(-10 to 0) or intermediate Jacket(0 to 10) depending on temperature.
– Waterproof Gloves
– Sun Cap
– One Scarf
– Water Bottle- 2 bottles of one liter each
– Headlamp or Torch with extra pair of batteries
– Personal Medicine Kit
– Dark Sunglasses
– Trekking Pole (1 is must)
– Toiletries (Sunscreen – SPF 40+, moisturizer, light towel, lip balm/chap stick, small soap, toilet paper, wet tissue)
– Camera: Carry all accessories – spare batteries, charger, etc.
– Cutlery: Carry a plate, spoon, coffee mug & a lunch box(kitchen staff is not equipped to provide them).
– Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalize things and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.
6. Pack Proper Clothing:
It’s rightly said that “THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS BAD WEATHER, ONLY BAD CLOTHING”. By wrong clothing, footwear, and trekking equipment you are inviting trouble during the trek. These things can lead to injuries. So pack as advised.
7. Carry a personal medical kit and know how to use it:
Must be the first thing you should pack for your trek. Needless to say, you should always carry basic medicines and ointments while trekking. This will avoid you from stopping in the middle of the trek due to some injuries!
8. Pack your backpack correctly:
Got all your stuff ready for the trek? Packing your backpack properly can make your trek comfortable, efficient and can even save your life!
PC: Tortuga backpacks
9. Avoid Alcohol & Smoking:
Avoid alcohol and smoking during your trek. At 6000 feet above sea level, you exhale and perspire twice as much moisture as you do at sea level and alcohol further dehydrates the body.
10. Keep yourself Hydrated:
Your fluid requirements will increase significantly when trekking because in the Himalayas the climate is Cold and Dry. Drink good amount of water before you feel thirsty. During your trek, you should have water stops every now and then. Make it a habit of drinking at least 4 to 6 liters per day.
11. Keep it light on stomach:
Take extra care, avoid eating heavy meals, have small meals every 2 to 3 hours while on the trek. Carry simple and easily digestible foods, snacks(energy bars, dry fruits, electrolytes) so that you get instant energy.
12. Lack of electricity:
Electricity in the villages is unpredictable. There is no electricity at the campsites as you trek up. So carry all spare accessories like camera batteries, power banks. Headlamp or torch with a fresh pair of batteries, else you won’t have any memories to show.
Tip: Keep batteries close to your body, that will make them last longer.
13. Understand the Basics of Altitude Sickness:
Altitude sickness is also known as
acute mountain sickness (AMS). Every trekker should understand how to recognize, avoid, and treat high-altitude illnesses. The website altitude.org
is a great place to begin your education.
14. Know Your Limits:
If you don’t have the habit of walking long distances, you can try to cover short distances and take breaks. Fatigue is a common problem that most people usually face while on an excursion. You are the only one who is aware of your physical strength and endurance, so always keep your limitations in consideration. No matter how hard it is during your trek in the Himalayas but once you return you will come to know how enriching experience you had.
15. Green Trails:
Make a commitment to leave the trails, campsites, water bodies and mountains in a better condition. Take your own water bottle and some water purifying tablets. Refill in the water streams. Do not throw trash (like food wrappers and bottles) on the trail and campsites. Always carry an extra bag to collect and keep your trash to bring it back to the capital to dispose it properly.
So get ready for your first Himalayan trekking. Hope this helps to plan your trek.
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