While preparing for a trek, we all have set of important things in mind. We do our rigorous search to see what all to pack for a trek, how to prepare for a trek, what the terrain would be like and what type of gears one should buy.
But there are certain lessons that we learn only through the experience.
I have been trekking in Himalayas over past several months and during every trek, I would learn something new. These are common mistakes that almost every trekker makes and realises only after the trek finishes.
Therefore, I am listing out here few small yet very essential things that one should keep in mind while trekking.
- Not Carrying a Daypack
Initially even I never use to carry a day pack because I knew I am not going to offload my bag but during my Parang La trek I got a bad stomach infection. There was no way of going back and I was just fine enough to walk but I had to offload my bag in between the trek. Luckily only for that trek I had fitted a small daypack into my rug sack and it was a life saver.
Quechua basic daypack cost just 149/- rs and occupies minimal space. It is so compact that measures even less than your fist.
For those who don’t know why daypack is used, well to carry the water bottle, lunch and rain coat, basically the items that you need to keep with you all the time while walking.
- Not applying sunscreen on neck
It is a very small thing but very important one. We all apply layers of sunscreen on face and hands but often ignore neck which bears the direct sun rays for most part of the day. I ignored it during Sar Pass and results were, I got blisters and my whole skin got peeled off from the neck. So, make sure to apply sunscreen on every exposed body part.
- Not carrying a UV protected Lip balm
We all understand the necessity of carry sunscreen for our skin but what about the lips? The layer of our lips is very thin and hence is very sensitive. You might have noticed that our lips are the first thing to get affected due to cold. Chapped lips hurt a lot and become problematic while eating spicy food. Why I am stressing on buying a UV protected lip balm is because, firstly it reduced the chances of skin cancer and secondly, lips too get black due to harsh sun rays.
I learned this lesson during my Pin Parvati Trek, I didn’t care much and by the end of the trek, my lips were black as if I have been smoking for years!
- Boys must carry Sunscreen
Lot of boys/men think that sunscreen is for girls and they don’t mind getting tanned. The thing is, it is not about a tanned skin but it is about the skin cancer. The harsh sunrays at the high altitude cause damage to the skin cells resulting in skin cancer in severe cases. Therefore, from medical point of view, everyone should apply UV protected Sunscreen while trekking.
If you want some suggestions on which one to buy, drop a comment and I’ll help you out
- Must carry a Sun Hat/Cap and a separate woollen cap
Lot of people often miss calculate the importance of Sun Hat or Sun Cap but again, it is not just to prevent the tanning but also covering your head minimizes the loss of water through scalp area. You can’t use your woollen cap to serve the purpose as it will become wet with the sweat and then will be useless during cold night.
- Must carry a HEAD torch
Lot of trekkers carry only the hand torch or some even rely on phone torch. But for how long you think your phone battery is going to last, even after backed by power bank? Hand torches are enormously uncomfortable while using toilets, washing your utensils after dinner and during the late night climb for the peak of the D-day!
Head torch makes walking in the night and doing your chores extremely comfortable
- Do not carry woollen socks
Lot of people carry only the woollen socks thinking it will keep their feet warm. You can change to woollen socks once back to the tent in evening but while walking prefer the normal running socks which are comfortable and are also quick dry. Woollen socks generates lot of friction while walking and thus higher chances of getting blisters and moreover, if they get wet, it will take lot of time to dry them
- Prefer Rain Coat over Ponchos
I have discussed this point in my other article as well, alternatives to make your trek smoother.
This is the common mistake that lot of trekkers make. They think that ponchos might be more convenient to wear and remove but ponchos are not at all effective in mountains. They do not provide coverage to legs, half of the arms and moreover are totally useless if it is windy. Walking becomes really cumbersome while wearing ponchos. Therefore, switch to rain jacket and rain pant, it would take a little effort to wear it but it is the most comfortable thing.
These are the few things that I learned over my period of trekking in Himalayas. These might seems to be trifle, but while in mountains, everything counts.
I hope you find these tips helpful and will incorporate while going on the next trek.
Let me know in the comment box if you too had such experiences, mistakes that lot of us make, might help the trekkers out there in their next trek.