Ever wondered before your first trekking expedition what to carry in your rucksack. With every grams of additional weight in your back adding to your pain while walking uphill, knowing what to carry what not will make your life a lot easier.
I am not a very avid trekker, but I do have done some trekking. I will try to pen down some of my experiences here of things to carry and what is a waste which might be a starting point for an armature trekker. I would still advice you to talk to few experienced people to get more insights. This will not be sufficient for trekking to the Himalayas though J
The kind of things that you carry depends on what kind of trekking you are planning to have. Does it include overnight camping and campfire, what time of the year, how is the landscape of your trekking spot.
Lets start with few must haves:
- Water: Basic thumb-rule, carry as much you can. Every liter of water adds an additional kg of weight to your luggage. So it is always good to check if there are any sources of water available in the trekking route (and what are their locations). Is the water potable? In one of our trek (to Kumar Parvata), we had prior knowledge of water spots and we saved lot of pain by carrying limited water. Walking without water is not advisable (you keep sweating) and with overnight camps, you have additional needs (cooking, washing, bio-needs). An average human needs 2 liters of water per day, so carry accordingly and share the load. You will soon figure out that water makes almost 1/4th of your weight at rucksack.
- Rucksack: Its good to have a good backpack. A rucksack (can be rented out from some adventure shops) is a good thing to carry. A balanced load at your back can make your life really comfortable.
- Medical kit: Carry your medication. Basic must haves: Pain balm or spray, Band-aid, Cotton, Antiseptic. A cramp bandage comes in handy. A sunscreen.
- Eatables: Carry some energy bar (low volume and weight), fruits, and biscuits. Anything you are comfortable eating is fine. For night stay things like ready-to-eat (MTR) and Maggi is comfortable to cook.
- Shoes: Wear shoes for the trek. This is basic I know, but a bad pair of shoe will make your life horrible. If a shoe does not fit well or cuts, don’t ever think of wearing it. Have some good grip.
- Dress: Comfortable clothes. Warm ones for night stay (hill tops are colder then the valleys). It is not really important to carry additional pair of clothes and the space can be used effectively otherwise. An additional pair is advised for wet trek (water bodies on the way, rainy days).
- Camera: I don’t think you want to miss your moments. Carry spare batteries.
- Light source: A torch is a must if you expect an overnight stay. LED ones are small and bright.
Luxury takes, or things to carry depending on the type of trekking:
- Tent and sleeping bag: If you are planning for an overnight stay, it’s a must. Camping location should be at a place where there is not much wind (there are instances of tent being carried away by wind, with peoples inside).
- Small tool: A Swiss knife would be a good enough tool. A dense jungle might require a bigger knife.
- Cooking tools: For overnight stay, you need to have food. Take one utensil for cooking. Paper/plastic plates/glass/spoons is a good carry. You typically get firewood at trekking spots, but carry some kerosene/petrol, matchbox/lighter and newspapers for assisting in starting the fire. Block the fire from wind.
- Guide: There are some treks that are not advisable without a guide. Check for guides in local peoples. Some blog posts by previous visitors might be of help.
Some dos/don’ts before, during and after the trek:
- Tune yourself for the trek. Go for some brisk walks/jogging in the morning at least a week before the trek. If you are an active person it will be okay, else you will end up in severe cramps. You will not only spoil yours but also others trek.
- Make a to do list a day before the trek (things you need to do or carry for the trek, like tents, food etc). You won’t end up forgetting things at the last moment.
- Always try to start your trek early in the morning. Its comparatively colder and your body can be active.
- During trek keep yourself constantly hydrated. You also reduce the weights you carry by drinking your water.
- Start your camping at least 2 hrs before sunset if possible. You can also collect firewood’s at this time. Things become doubly difficult after dark (though with sufficient torch lights supporting you, its okay).
- Give yourself time to enjoy the sunset and sunrise. Waking up early one day does not do any harm J
- Check for animals in camping locations.
- NEVER put up your camp in very windy place, or very close to end of cliffs. Being safe is more important than being adventurous.
- Keep viewing distance between team members. Important specially in dense jungle treks.
- Walking up is safer then coming down. Watch for loose rocks. Have good shoes.
- Know your limits before trying extreme stunts.
- BE SAFE.
There must be some things that I might have missed. I will try to add them up at a later date in a different post. The one thing to remember is its always fun to trek with zero weight at your back. So carry the limited necessities.
Happy trekking and HAVE FUN…