Exploring the outdoors is always a fantastic experience. And when it is trekking or hiking or camping in the lap of nature, the quotient of all excitement and adventure simply doubles. However, sometimes, instead of enjoying the mountain exploration, people end up feeling all uncomfortable and distressed. And the root cause of this discomfort is simply casual and unplanned packing.
When you are venturing into the wild, it will be a smart idea to pack wisely. Leaving behind some accessories or even some toiletries may lead to unlikable and undesirable experiences in the mountains. So here I am with a detailed basic insight into what you need on trek and why. Read on to know about the 10 essentials you should take on a trek.
First Aid Kit
Need I say about the importance of first aid kit on a trek? Well, the majority of the trek routes take us through such regions, where getting any kind of instant medical assistance becomes almost impossible. And in that case, it is the first-aid kit that comes super handy. From dealing with bruises and infections to patching up wounds and cuts, the first-aid kit turns out to be the most useful. Even, carrying some necessary medicines can also help in taming the mountain related sickness and their symptoms in situations, if not cure it.
Flashlight or Headlamp
In order to find your way through the dark and dense wilderness at night, a flashlight or more preferably, a headlamp is necessary. Yes, carrying a light source is a must when going on a trek. Compared to a flashlight, a good headlamp always has more advantages since it lets you keep your hands free to perform all kind of works. Carrying extra batteries for your light source is definitely a plus.
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Map & Compass
When you are amidst the wilderness, in unknown terrains, navigation becomes of crucial importance. Whether you trek with a guide or with a team or simply on a solo trek, maps and compass are must-haves. A compass and maps of the trek routes don’t only tell you how far you’ve come but also in which direction and how far you need to go. From finding campsites to the nearby water source or even an emergency exit route in case of a crisis, maps and compass can be your best backup against getting lost.
By waterproofs, I don’t only mean the waterproof jackets to cover yourself but rain guards for your backpack also. The weather in the mountains is always unpredictable. You may never know when it may suddenly start raining, even after planning for months and choosing the best season for the trek. Hence, it is wise to not take nature for granted and carry your waterproof gears with you. After all, no matter how much layers you wear or how well you pack your bags, if the rain gets them, you won’t have much to do except shivering in freezing cold and eventually falling sick.
Safety items on a trek include a knife, a lighter and a whistle. While a multipurpose knife can help you perform a whole lot of cutting, repairing and fixing tasks; a lighter or a box of matchsticks can assist you to set up a fire really quick. And, when you’re on a trek the importance of fire is crucial. Because from cooking your food to staying warm, fire can be used for various purposes, let alone using it as a signal to call for help in case you get lost. And when it comes to a whistle, no, it’s not an extra burden. A whistle can be used to call for help or signal your location or let others know whether you’re okay or if there’s a danger ahead.
Hand Sanitizer & Soap
While on a trek, coming in contact with unwanted spots is unavoidable. Be it for climbing or looking for support, your hands will continuously come in contact with soil, stone, plants etc. And to save your hands from becoming the picnic-spot of germs and dirt, make sure to carry hand sanitizer and soap.
Here is a small tip: carrying a facewash can serve both as a hand wash as well as a face wash. Plus, it will be easy to carry, easy to use over a soap bar.
Protection Against the Sun
Trekking at high altitude takes quite a toll on the skin as the sun rays are extremely powerful there. Therefore, remember to wear a cap or hat during the daytime as it can save your neck area and forehead from sunburns. Take the highest SPF sunblock or sunscreen with you and apply after certain intervals. To relieve your eyes from the glaring sun and its rays, wear shades. Don’t leave your lip balm behind as it is the best way to save yourself from dry and chapped lips.
Water Purifying Solutions
When you fail to drink enough water that your body needs, the organs, and the muscles fail to perform the way they should. Therefore, it’s important to drink plenty of water while on a trek; but make sure the water is purified, for which carrying water purification tablets or drops are must. Suffering from diarrhoea due to the intake of impure water is the last thing you want on a trek.
Food and Water
There can be a number of situations that may keep you out longer on the trekking trails than you’ve expected, such as bad weather, injury, getting lost, difficult terrains etc. In such scenarios, carrying food items with you such as energy bars, biscuits, dry fruits, chocolates and extra water will certainly keep you going. When you trek, you lose energy faster than you can think. Even when you aren’t in any complex situation, munching a few food items now and then can boost your energy level to maximum.
Apart from the backpack of around 40-60 liters that you’ll carry on your trek, make it a point to take a small 20-liter daypack as well. Because once you reach the campsite, you won’t be exploring the site with your heavy 60-liters on your back. Yes, you may need to carry a few essentials like a head-torch, a knife, a waterproof jacket etc. with you even when you’re exploring the nearby areas of your campsite. And it is exactly when the daypack serves its purpose.
Remember, depending on your trek altitude, the trekking terrains, the expected weather condition and the duration of it, you may need to consider taking some other trekking essentials. The above mentioned 10 trekking essentials are, however, the minimum basics you must carry in your backpack. So, pack wise, pack smart and don’t wander off to the forests and mountains unprepared. As long as you are safe and sound, numerous trekking trails are awaiting your footsteps.