The feeling of going on a first trek is really awesome. As a newbie trekker, there is a feeling of excitement and nervousness together. You have to walk and sweat a lot if you want to see the snow capped peaks and walk through the lush green and beautiful meadows. One can fully enjoy their first trek and make it a memorable one as much as the experienced ones do. All you need is to be prepare yourself and keep some important things in mind. I have done a few treks and have learnt a lot about the trekking world from my experiences. Here are some trekking tips and guidelines that should be kept in mind for all of your trekking adventures.
25 Important Trekking Tips For Beginners
1. Planning and Research – Research about the place you are going to go for a trek. Have a depth knowledge about weather conditions, your staying options, tour company and guide. Make a proper schedule/ itinerary depending on the place of your visit and days you want to plan it for. Keep enough time for sightseeing and acclimatisation if it’s a long trek and takes more than a day. Plan your trek thoroughly, do not stick to guidebooks only. Try to contact people who have already gone on that particular trek that you have planned for. Other’s experience will definitely help you.
2. Choose an easy trek – The first trek you plan on going for, should be of an easy grade. This will help you to get an experience of what trekking is all about. Also, you will get to know about your stamina and strength to do a trek. Beginning with an easy trek will help you gain confidence for the next ones.
3. Budget your trek – Take out the costing of the accommodation, porters, guide, food and transportation. If you have a fixed budget and low on the pocket, it will help you to plan accordingly and prioritise things. Apart from all this do remember to carry some extra cash as you never know it can come in handy. There are unforeseen costs on every trip and it applies to trekking as well. Even if you have booked your trek from a travel agency, there will be extra costs incurred.
4. Health First – Trekking is not a child’s play. If you suffer from any serious illness or have a strong cold, asthmatic, your stomach pains while eating outside food, or have mountain sickness, you should avoid doing it. Firstly get a proper health check and get all fit before you venture out. Even while doing a trek, if you feel unwell due to any reason, do inform your trekking guide. They will handle it and will give you the best advice and solutions. Remember to take a small first aid kit with has some general medicines or the ones if you have been prescribed.
5. Make a Checklist – Make a list of all the items you want to carry. One for your trekking equipment, one for clothes, one for food and others. After doing this, sort out the essential ones that you think you cannot do without and are useful for the trek. After having decide, pack them in layers in your backpack.
6. Carry Light – Don’t overstuff your backpack while going on a trek. The lighter your shoulders, easier your trek will become. Carry only the useful items relating to your trek. Keep your fashion accessories and electronics items at bay if there is not enough space after packing your trekking essentials. It’s not needed on the remote paths of the mountains. Be naturally beautiful and smart in the hills.
7. What to Wear – It’s so important to wear clothes according to the season and weather of the place.
- Wear lightweight and comfortable clothes like trousers, hiking pants, shorts, tees and tops.
- Your trousers should be stretchable and not too tight on the waist so that it becomes easy for you while climbing.
- A full sleeves/ half sleeves synthetic t-shirt depending on the weather. The synthetic material will keep you dry.
- Don’t wear a cotton t-shirt. It will become wet after soaking all the sweat. And when the breeze blows, it nd will make you feel chilly in the mountains.
- Carry 2-3 pairs of socks made of wool or nylon. Having a good pair of socks is important to avoid blisters.
- Do remember to take your rain coat. Weather is unpredictable so carry a jacket to keep yourselves warm.
- Pack your gloves too. They will keep your hands warm during cold weather and thin rubber glove will come in handy while pitching tents and doing other jobs at your camp.
- Dress in layers to stay dry and comfortable. Avoid wearing denim, but you can wear one during a short trek if you feel comfortable.
8. Survival Gear – Whether you are an experienced warrior or weekend first timer at trekking, having a survival gear is essential for all. Some important items are a good waterproof backpack, a knife, a rope, first aid kit, a whistle or any signalling device, a raincoat, torch, binoculars, multi-purpose Swiss tool, fire lighter, a hammer, trash bag duct tape and a compass. There are many other things that you can put depending on the kind of trek and arrangements available at the campsite or not.
9. Join a Hiking Group – If you are trekking solo and this is your first time, it’s better that you join a hiking group. It’s always better to go with someone experienced on your first outing. You can find like-minded travel buddies and solo adventurers on online websites like meetup.com and plan your trek together. You can join various groups and communities related to your travel interest on sites like these.
10. Inform Someone Before Going – Inform your family or friends before you go in the wilderness. Even on your trail, keep someone informed not only to let them know that you are safe but also to share your experiences with them. It will make you feel more joyous and comfortable to have a conversation with your loved ones during your outing. Unexpected conditions can affect your trek and hence I am sure you will want to give your family some relief.
11. Pre-Trek Workout – If you want to become a good trekker and gain stamina for doing all sorts of treks, you have to make your legs stronger. A regular workout will help you develop endurance for all kinds of terrains.
- Walk 3-4 km’s daily in the morning or jog as a beginning routine. Gradually increase the time of walking continuously with minimal breaks.
- Do Cardiovascular workouts daily. It will challenge your lungs and heart to the limit and hence build your stamina.
- Simple exercises like push ups, calf raises and crunches will help you built your hiking ability.
- Do squats, breathing exercises (inhale and exhale), shoulder and back exercises.
- Go for cycling at least twice a week. Use a stopwatch to calculate the time of completing a stretch (eg. 4 miles) and try to improve it the next time.
- A mix of other sports activities like swimming and aerobics will help your body muscles, heart and lungs to adapt to new challenges, thereby building your stamina for trekking.
- Quit smoking as it affects your lungs and can cause breathing problems in high altitudes.
12. Shoe It – There are a large variety of shoes available. You can choose one depending on the kind of trek, weather conditions, duration and the terrain. You ought to have good quality shoes as they are the most important thing you need to invest in, for a trek. Don’t compromise on the quality. Your feet will have to bear the most on a trek and hence you have to take care of them the most. Your feet are your driving engines. Keep some following points in mind while purchasing shoes-
- Good ankle support. For dry terrain use low ankle shoes and for rugged and cold conditions use high ankle shoes.
- Lightweight shoes
- Water resistant
- Flexible soul
- Good Industry made fabric
13. Walk at your own pace – Trekking is fun when you walk at your own pace. Don’t try to rush or race for finishing it first. Walking at a steady pace will help you cover longer stretches. Speeding will only make you tire and reduce your stamina. Cherish the views along the way and live every moment of it.
14. Listen to your Guide – If it’s your first trek to a certain place, you should hire a guide. And if you do and have paid the hard earned money of yours, then do listen to her/ him. On my last Trek to Triund, I observed some trekkers in a group not listening to their guide even when he was shouting and repeatedly making requests to walk on the well-beaten paths. Whatever thing a guide says. is for your own benefit. So respect him. Walk on the well-beaten path if it’s there.
15. No Short Cuts – Shortcuts in life or even in trekking can put you in danger. While trekking, always follow the path generally used. It may be long and there might be a lot of curves and longs bends to climb up the mountains, but just stick to it. The shorter ways to avoid taking extra steps and leaps sounds adventurous, but if you are not a professional or regular trekker, don’t do it.There is no point in hurting yourselves and spoiling your trek.
16. Short Steps – Make it a point to take short steps on steep and uphill stretches during the trek. It’s even better if you keep a constant pace throughout. By this way, you won’t get tired soon. As first timers, there is always an excitement that makes us wanna go faster and complete the trek. But taking short steps is important so that your legs and feet don’t run out of their battery quickly.
17. Share your load – If you are going with a group of friends, divide the luggage equally amongst all. This is the best way to help each other and be fair. It’s a good trait of being a team player. Sharing and managing things while in a group will teach you many lessons.
18. Healthy Food – One needs to consume a lot of protein to keep up the energy while trying to reach the heights. Take with you a lot of chocolates, dried fruits, nuts, high protein oat bars, juice packs, chips, peanut butter. Keep chewing candies along the way as they reduce thirst. Try to take and eat stuff that is loaded with protein and lots of energy. Carry enough food according to your duration of your trek if it’s not provided at the campsite.
19. H2O Formula – Always carry a water bottle with you to keep yourself hydrated. Drink water in small sips at regular intervals. There are many fresh water sources on mountains which you can also drink from and they taste better than your filtered water you usually drink. You can buy a Life Straw Water Purifier which kills all the bacteria in the water and hence you can drink from any water source available in the open.
20. Take Breaks – Have regular breaks during the trek. Give your feet some rest of around 5 mins at least once in an hours hike. Continuous walking can cause blisters.
21. Mind Your Steps – While descending, don’t keep your feet straight ahead. Instead keep them horizontally between 45 to 80 degrees, so that you don’t skid. It helps you to grip the ground properly and you won’t slip even if it’s a wet ground.The tiny rocks on the way can prove to be very slippery. So follow this technique for good. A wrong stride can be painful. Touch your heel first on the ground and then your toe. This makes the movement easy of the next step. Your knees and ankles have to be prepared for any kind of terrain.
22. Keep a Positive Mindset – Having a positive frame of mind is as important as any other preparation you make. There may be tough moments during the trek. High altitudes can really throw tough challenges at you both physically and mentally. Keep your calm, keep your motivation high and cherish every moment of it.
23. Use a Hiking Pole – A hiking pole is really important. Going without a pole or a stick can be strenuous for your back while hiking on steep terrain. The pole/ stick will keep your body posture correct and perfect. Always keep your head up and shoulders level. On steep slopes, you have to bend or slouch forward and push your body weight forward to move which puts a lot of pressure on muscles. That’s why hiking poles are so useful.
24. Interact with the locals – Always smile at anyone you meet on the trek. Passing a smile to other fellow trekkers sends them good vibes and you too get in return. It just keeps the travel spirit high. Also, respect the locals living there. Talk to them and help them if needed. The mountain people like seeing tourists and are very helpful too. Click pictures with them and keep them as a memory.
25. Respect the Nature – Do not throw any waste material/ or litter on the mountains, lakes or rivers or rather anywhere you go. Keep the trail and hills clean. Remember if you protect the nature, it will protect you too and will never harm you. Believe this. Your acts of ignorance can be harmful to the local environment and ecosystem.
After you are done camping, make sure to clean it and not dirty it. Always carry a plastic bag to put all the waste and rubbish things in it and dump when you reach back in the dustbin. You can tie it outside of your backpack or tie it properly and keep it in. Also, don’t feed the wild animals as it disrupts their foraging habits.
Keep these trekking tips in mind for your next venture in the mountains. So if you want to go away from the maddening sounds of the city, need a break from your boring job, want to remain fit loose weight, if you are disheartened on a breakup or want to make up and propose your loved one, then Go On A Trek. You will find all solutions and true joy there.
Dig out your bucket list and share below ‘The Trek’ you would love to go to.
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