Can anything beat the absolute joy of trekking? The pure burst of happiness when the chill breeze brushes your cheek, that absolute satisfaction when you reach your destination after a long, hard climb-cannot be explained, it can only be experienced! But trekking isn’t just about reaching the summit right? It also about the journey. So for your trek to be good, you need to be well-prepared. Things like blistered feet, waterlogged phones, and wet clothes can take away the fun from the experience. Worry not! Here are some excellent tried-and-tested trekking hacks to help you stay safe and well-organized throughout your adventure:
1. Know your trail and its conditions
It’s better to know about the terrain and the weather before just going on a whim. Plan with a map if possible, research information about trail conditions, safety tips, or suggestions about a scenic viewpoint or special spot just off the path. During the trek, look at your map regularly, align it to the terrain so that you get a much better understanding of what’s going on should you later get lost.
2. Pick the right shoes
As you have to wear the same shoes for the entire duration of your trek, your trekking shoes come under one of the most important gear essentials. While the right pair will help you glide down the trail with a smile on your face, poor-quality shoes will have you gritting your teeth with every footfall.
Remember: Do not dry your shoes by fire or heat sources as it degrades the glue and can cause your (shoe) sole to delaminate and come off completely. Loosely stuffing your shoes with newspapers can do the trick. The fibres in newspapers will help absorb the moisture in your shoes. You can also carry extra shoes or you can pop them under your sleeping bag for the night. It will help make sure that they’re nice and toasty for the following day.
3. Try to pack efficiently
You have to excel at packing just like Hermione, guys! It should be lightweight but yet magically holding all the essentials for the trek. Every little pound makes a difference on the trail. Remove anything unnecessary that can burden you along the way. Less is more. As space is at a premium in your rucksack, you must take advantage of every last inch. Pack to the corners, and you can even utilize the outside of your pack for equipment such as tent poles.
4. Learn to DYI fire starters
During long treks, if you are planning to rest for a while or even for the night, fire helps to keep you warm, give light and cook food. You can use collected wood, a handy pocket knife, and starter accessories to get a fire going but it is even better to bring along a DIY fire starter. It not only saves money but it also doesn’t take up much room in the rucksack either.
East to make: Cotton pads dipped in wax or cotton balls coated in Vaseline until saturated and stored in a Ziploc Bag are the best examples of DIY fire starters.
5. Carry a head strap torch
Of course, it’s necessary to carry torches on a trek. But while you can use your cell phone light or a regular torch, you won’t have your hands free for movement. So, it’s better to use a head strap torch. That way you can have one hand to balance yourself and light-both!
Lantern Hacks: As you wind down inside your tent, create ambient light by pointing your headlamp through a Nalgene bottle (or similar bottle) of water to create an instant lantern. The light simply needs something to diffuse in. Therefore a glow will be created instead of a harsh beam.
6. Learn to save battery
While using your torch or your headlamp, there is a possibility that the switch gets accidentally pushed into the ‘on’ position in your bag. To prevent the exhaustion of your battery power, turn one of the batteries the wrong way round in your torch when you’re not using it.
7. Carry soap or wet wipes
You can either carry a biodegradable soap cake or store the cake of soap in a handkerchief instead of plastic (it’ll get soggy otherwise). Another option is to carry a pack of travel baby wipes. You might be surprised by how much fresher you feel with a quick wipe-down at night.
Remember: ensure that you aren’t polluting natural water sources with the soap.
8. Know how to set up your tent
It can be tempting to let your tent stay nice and tidy, planning to unpack it when you’re on your trek. It’s better, however, to learn the intricacies of tent setup (the knot system) in the safety of your backyard first, instead of risking all of it in the wild. Tip: Pitch your tent’s entrance facing into the wind to discourage mosquitos from flocking together and attacking you.
So, are there any other trekking hacks and tips that you think are useful to know? If so, do share them in the comments below.