On my first trek, I was totally ill-equipped. I wore the wrong pair of shoes(1 size smaller at that), did not carry enough water, and came back badly tanned. After having completed many more, I think now, you would find these bare essentials in my bag for sure. So, here’s the list for anyone trekking for the first time and a checklist for someone already hiking regularly!
1. The right pair of shoes: This is probably the most important investment for any trekker. Pick up the right pair and you will love trekking forever. Pick up the wrong pair and it will make every experience of yours horrid. I started with a pair of PUMA shoes. I lost track of the number of falls in my initial treks. I accepted it as a part of treks until I got myself a pair of Army Shoes from Russel Market, Bangalore. It truly changes the way you look at treks. I take my steps more confidently because the grip is great, it supports your ankles well and dries up real quick. I have done over 40 treks in this one pair and it’s still in great condition. And here is the best part. I spent Rs. 275 on this pair. So, Bangaloreans, go to Russel Market to get your pair of Army Shoes
2. Camera: I cannot start a trek without my camera. And i love the sling-pouch my Canon has. It helps to capture every candid shot of nature and creates memories on the go. My camera: Canon Powershot SX 230 HS
3. Sunscreen: Unless you want layers and layers of tan(which I have carelessly worn), you MUST carry a sunscreen. I have read, you should use it 30 minutes before you go under the sun. Of all the sunscreens I have used on treks, there are 2 I like the most – Biotique and Ayur
4. Shades: I am not too much of a shades person in the city. But on treks it’s a MUST have. It gets really hot at some points and wearing a good pair of shades decreases the stress on eyes and hence the fatigue. It may be a good idea not to carry your expensive pair because you have to account for some fall on some rock, some wear and tear and chances of it getting lost. A good Fastrack pair should do!
5. Cap: Cannot stress more on the importance of using one. At 12 in the noon, trying climbing a mountain without a cap and you will know what I am talking about. It has saved me from getting giddy many a times. I am still heartbroken about having lost my Nike Nadal Cap at Dhak Bahiri 😦
6. This one’s for girls: I cannot step out without my lip-balm/gloss, kajal and hair-brush, why make an exception on treks eh? 🙂
7. Jacket: It may be a little heavy but it always helps to keep a jacket handy. The journey to the mountain maybe cold, you may feel chilly while on top, you may need a pillow to rest for a bit, The sunscreen is not working – One solution – A good jacket
8. Water: This one is a no brainer. Always keep atleast 2 litres of water. Sometimes the organizers specify the right amount. When you are in the sun, nothing satisfies you as well as a few sips of water
9. Boiled Eggs: This one is a life saver. Boil some eggs and without removing the outer peel, pack it in a box. It fills you up quickly and helps your muscles recover faster. The only thing is, it may get messy if the shell breaks
10. Dry Fruits: This too is a must have on any trek. It helps gain energy instantly and is a good form of snacking
11. Salt: Sometimes, while descending because of change in altitude, apparently our BP fluctuates? Salt comes in handy. Not only there. You can use it if the food provided by the organizers is bland, if the leeches are bugging you too much or you have carried a fruit that needs some zing
12. Candies: Glucose helps gain energy and makes sense to have some of them in the front pocket of your bag
13. Paper Soap: I love this idea. Single sheets of soaps – No fuss of packing up your soap after
14. Flip Flops: There is no pleasure like getting out of your trekking shoes after a long day of hike. Flip flops help your feet breathe and relax. Also, if you are camping, you would want a pair to just walk around the camp site. You can replace this with a good pair of Crocs too. They are way too comfortable ( even the fake ones 😉 )
15. Sanitizer: It gets really messy on treks. If its raining, then your hands will be full of muck, if it isn’t raining then full or dust. Also, there may not be enough water to wash your hands. A small bottle of sanitizer always comes handy
I hope this list helps. Most items are from the perspective of a one day trek. The are must carry items even for a 2 dayer but, you need better preparation for a 2 day trek – Sleeping bag, thermals, a warm cap(kind of skull-cap), toiletries, head torch, some wet tissues. I think I’ll save this up for another blog.
Here’s an interesting image for all backpackers. Thanks Pradeep for sharing 🙂