Tips for Trekkers

If you wish to be with nature, want to have an adventure and the will to endure, then trekking is the activity. It is an activity embarked on foot for a long duration hand in hand amidst nature. You do not need to have previous experience nor any special equipment to enjoy a good trek. All you need are a good pair of boots, long socks, a good waterproof backpack, a simple camping tent and a thin raincoat. Some other essentials that would make the trek more comfortable include a torchlight, a good length of strong rope, waterproof matches, some candles, a body spray or a pest repellent and something to keep you warm during winter or in the evenings. 

Many people struggle and have a miserable trip because of the backpack they carry during trekking. The weight should be distributed equally over the shoulder pads. Adjust the straps in such a way that they do not sag behind, but take care that they are not too taut either. Always use a hip belt to stabilize the weight around the waist. 

Never take off with a brand new pair of hiking boots however great they feel. Use them regularly for a couple of weeks before embarking upon any expedition. Any problems like blisters or sore feet can be taken care off in the urban jungle itself.

You might have a Master of Geography degree, but there is no replacement for a timely magnetic compass and a map. Many a times in the wilderness or when we are lost, they are the best help at hand. 

Always carry matches in waterproof zip lock bags. To be doubly sure, coat the tip of the matches with a thin layer of candle wax. The coating can be scraped off at the time of lighting. 

It does not make sense wasting a complete matchbox to start a fire during wet conditions. A handy candle can come to your rescue. Remember to carry one. 

If you are carrying a stove to prepare a warm meal, double-check it to see if it is filled with fuel. Always carry some spare fuel. You will never know when it might come handy. 

Carry a light waterproof sleeping bag and a tent. Learn how to pitch a tent and in good time. It does not help if it is raining hard and you take all the time to set up the tent. 

Carry a raincoat, big enough to cover you and the backpack from the intermittent rains. Place it strategically at the top of the backpack so that it can be worn in a flash.

Overestimate travel time. You might be fighting fit; the others might not. Start out slowly and try not to set deadlines. Take everything in good stride.

If you are traveling in groups, make sure there are enough supplies for every one. Try not to go past feeding time. 'A horse is only as good as his last feed.'

Talk to the locals and read information in guidebooks about the place you are going to trek. Try to speak to people, who are experienced; they might have some good pointers. 

At times, everything takes longer than it should actually take. Longer to cook, to build a shelter, or to even move around. Have patience.

Neeraj Malve
Bangalore, India
[email protected]