An effective trekking experience begins right from the day you prepare your packing list, followed by gathering relevant gears. Well-equipped preparation leads to a rich experience. Any trek irrespective of difficulty level requires well thought of plan and specific gears to experience the most of it through harsh climatic conditions of the Himalayas. It is necessary that you carry right things that will help you keep your backpack lightweight.
Clothing is one of the most important essentials that occupies most of the space while packing. For Himalayan trek it is important to consider altitude, location and the month of travel. Here is some basic information that may help you while gathering resources for a journey in the Himalayas.
Rucksack- For any tour in Himalayas that may exceed more than 3 days a 65-liter backpack is great along with a 10-15 liter day pack, before picking up a backpack, consider these properties for a long lasting and comfortable backpack; 65+10 liter volume, adjustable shoulder strap, torso adjuster, multiple compartment (convertible), rain cover (optional), back support cushion, outer polyester material, shoulder strap cushion, good quality butterfly locks, metal frame support (removable). Deuter is a premium brand with a great range of quality products.
A basic and simple day pack will come very handy on short hikes of acclimatization and even on normal hikes between camps. It should not be bigger the 10-15 liter and should be easy to fold and compressed into a small size.
While packing up resources for your head, consider the fact that head contains the most delicate and vital part of the human body that is the brain.
For upper head Sun protection and cold protection are very important, direct sunlight or direct cold winds on the head can cause rise and drop in temperature of the brain that can cause a lot of problems even for the healthiest people. It can be avoided by packing a Sun protection hat and woolen cap that can cover the ears too, if required.
Face is generally exposed to all kinds of things such as cold winds, dry air, dust, even extreme sun rays and snow, all this adds up to a lot of problems sometimes if not taken care of. For the protection of face, you must consider the altitude you are going to for any altitude higher than 4000 meters it is very important to keep a sunscreen with UV protection and SPF 30+, for altitude over 6000 meters SPF 50+ can help against harmful sun rays.
Also, UV protection Sunglasses or goggles are most important on any trek as the sun rays at high altitude are less diffused by air molecule making it more harmful. Additional things to carry are Lip Balm and Moisturizer, for very high altitude a lip balm must have SPF.
For neck protection a balaclava or scarf can be very useful against cold winds and sun rays too.
Main section- In the main section of our body we need multiple layers of clothing and the number of layers would depend upon the climatic conditions. For temperature at zero degree centigrade a comfortable layering would be 4 that would be-: Thermal layer-> Full sleeve T-shirt-> Full sleeve sweater or Fleece-> Hollow fill jacket.
Now for every 10 degrees decrease in temperature, one layer should be added that could be a sweater or T-shirt. Now, according to the number of days of the trip you may decide how many Inner layers are required.
Keeping your personal hygiene in mind you must add toiletries that can help you take dry bath.
Lower Section- For the lower section of our body we need 2 layers in low temperature that could be Thermal layer-> track pant. For 15 degrees decrease of temperature you may add one layer.
For toes a very specific approach towards what to pack is important, if the location and the month of travel is in such a way that it receives a lot of rainfall and chances of getting your feet soaked are more, keeping a pair of socks (with anti-bacterial properties) for each day can be a good choice and an additional warm pair of sock to keep you warm while sleeping.
If the location and the climatic conditions are dry and cold you may add a pair of warm sock for every two days and a pack of dusting powder to keep your toes in good health, and a warm pair of socks for sleeping.
A good trekking shoe is very vital for any kind of mountain tour as it will protect your feet from rough terrains, cold, and provide you with comfort and traction. Before buying a trekking shoe, you may check for these properties; A shoe labelled with Gore-Tex technology, High ankle shoe or Mid ankle shoe are good for trekking, Breathable mesh lining keeps it dry, check for the quality of shoelace.
A good and durable trekking or hiking shoe is a mandatory for any Himalayan tour and one of the brand that has recently been introduced in India is Solomon, though the price is a little more than other brands they provide a great range and good quality product.
Additional gear- Rain Poncho, Headlamp or torch, Batteries, Small tool kit containing needle and strong thread, multi tool knife, small waterproof kit, 2-4 meters of thin and durable cotton Dori, Durable water bottle or a thermosteel bottle.
Utensils made of steel, because they are easy to wash. Plastic utensils are a bad choice because they retain a lot of oil and fat from food in cold weather.
Energy bars and a personal medical kit with some basic medicines for Headache, Nausea, Vomiting, Gastric problems, Hand sanitizer, Diarrhoea, Bandaids, Pain relief spray, Crepe bandage, and your personal medicines if any.
These are the essentials for any Himalayan trekking tour, keeping the weight of your rucksack in mind you may add more thing as per your needs.
Story by : Kirti Verma
Department of Tourism, Government Of Uttarakhand
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