Essentials to pack for an overnight trek by someone who simply cannot travel light!
Last week I went on my first ever ‘real’ trek to Triund – Himachal Pradesh. It was a good experience, fun but tiring with a total trek distance of 19 km (give or take). We also camped overnight and I wanted to share my experience from the perspective of what to pack and what things can be avoided. Hope this is useful to first time trekkers!
- Shoes – The right shoes are critical for your hike/trek. I learnt from experience during a downhill hike using regular sports shoes where it was all damp as to how slippery and dangerous it can good. Therefore you must select a good pair of shoes with the right tread that will give you a good grip. Additionally the upper material of the shoes must be waterproof. A lot of shoes at Decathlon came with ankle support – something that looked restrictive and uncomfortable. However many people told me that it will ensure that your ankle doesn’t twist in case you slip. I however, opted for Redmond Hiking Shoes from Columbia. These were really good and I didn’t have any issues with them until the 10th of the trek when they started chafing slightly during a difficult downhill section of the trek.
- Good quality backpack – you will need to shell out for a decent bag that won’t break and end up being a liability. You get good options in different sizes at your nearest decathlon. You can also try Amazon for some decent trekking bags – mine in the picture is from a generic brand on Amazon and I was quite happy with it. It didn’t have a lot of separators but it is really roomy and has a lot of pockets outside for easy access. You should select the size of the bag basis the amount of things you’ll need to pack.
- Retractable walking stick – if you’re young and reasonably fit – this may seem like something for the elderly (no disrespect) – you don’t have to purchase it. However, in my opinion it was a lifesaver! It helped me navigate stony steep steps with ease. It was equally useful for uphill and downhill descent – wherein many a times you might feel like you could lose your balance and slip! I picked up mine at decathlon for INR 899 which is their mid-range. Make sure when purchasing the stick that you get the right ‘tip’ attachments along with it. There are separate ones for snow and for rocky/dry terrain. Ask the staff.
- Waterproof jacket with mesh lining – depending on the season you trek in, you could go heavier or lighter on the jacket for added warmth. Ofcourse it gets warm since you are sweating throughout the trek – however if it rains, then combined with the sweat it can get chilly fast. Get a good moisture wicking, rainproof material with a hoodie. It can temporarily double up as a raincoat for light/brief showers.
- Moisture wicking clothing – top and trousers. Ensure that the fabric of your clothing is fast drying for the reason mentioned above – sweat coupled with cold weather is not a good thing. Having an additional change of clothes for an overnight stay is important. As soon as you reach your campsite, it is a good idea to change clothes right away to prevent yourself from freezing in the evening and falling ill.
- Essentials: The usual suspects – you’ll need high SPF Sunscreen which is not too oily. I would recommend Neutrogena Ultrasheer Dry Touch Sunblock. Hand sanitizer, soap strips, lip balm (lips can get chapped fast and hurt), small bottle of moisturiser, toothpaste & toothbrush, tissues wet & dry. Since the weight of these items can add up quickly – it would be a good idea to pool these items with your fellow trekkers and share at the campsite.
- Pain relievers – apart from your first aid kid, you might want to carry to pain reliving oils, volini gel and pain relief patches such as Nu Patch which comes in packs of 2 and 4 which I found quite helpful when resting overnight as it relieved all aches and pains and I was fresh for the next day’s trek with minimal discomfort.
- Sunglasses with UV-A & UV-B protection. Make sure you carry a light and comfortable pair – even your eyes can suffer from excess sun.
- Cap is a must to shield the face from sun damage even though I did get a massive tan inspite of taking all of the above precautions!
- Power bank, USB port plugs (in case your power bank runs out). If you’re a phone/instagram addict like me, you will need these things to stay connected to civilisation. Network connectivity throughout the trek was pretty decent and I was able to post pictures and videos on instagram on the 3G network.
I think this concludes my list! If i think of more things I will add on here. In case you’d like to see pictures of my trek and generally see what i’m up to, follow me on instagram: @prit_fitstyle Please share your thoughts in the comments!