If you've never trekked before it can be daunting. But like with all challenges, once you have it down there's no turning back. You'll be enjoying the great outdoors – with no cars and minimum technology – complete with beautiful views, the sounds of nature and adventures by the bucketload.
Hiking is a joy, but by following a few tricks you can make your adventure even more memorable. Do the right amount of prep, be realistic with your expectations, and most importantly enjoy yourself!
What to Wear
- It's better to bring too many clothes than too little, as you can always take layers off. At the top of a mountain the weather can change quickly, so lightweight, waterproof and windproof jackets are vital in a trekker's armoury.
- Wear a hat or some kind of head protection – heat stroke can be fatal to your adventure.
- Remember your sunglasses (preferably polarized), because even in the clouds that sun can shine through!
- Your feet are your greatest trekking asset – so look after them! Get real trekking shoes with a firm tread on the sole and wear thick socks. Waterproof outers with seamed seals are a real plus too.
- Don't unpack your shoes from the box the night before the trek; wear them in beforehand so they won't pinch when you bust them out of the box.
What to Drink
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Whether you are hiking in sub-zero conditions or in the baking heat, you'll be losing water throughout the trip.
- There's no need to rely only on bottled water. Instead grab some purifying bottles and tablets to help you save weight on a long trek.
- Always bring more than you need and make note of the distance and weather before you go out on your trek.
- Each litre is approximately 1kg, so factor that into the weight of your bag.
No Trekker’s Pack is the Same
- Find a pack that fits you and is adjustable to your height and body frame. The more weight you can spread over your chest and waist, the more you'll take off your back. Waterproof is ideal, but a rain cover will do otherwise (most bags come with these).
- Bring a flashlight, first-aid supplies with blister band-aids, your phone (although you may not get reception) and a spare battery pack in case your phone charge runs out.
- If you've got bad knees, bring walking sticks to take the weight off your legs.
What to Eat
- Think high energy, low weight. Snacks like cereal or granola bars, high-energy fruit (like bananas), biscuits, dried fruit and nuts are your friends.
- Pack your bananas carefully or they'll end up as a sticky mess covering the rest of your bag.
- For longer treks, take non-perishable foods like crackers and noodles.
Who to Bring
- Ideally, someone who has done the trek, knows the area, or who has trekking experience. If not, just a good mate with a similar level of fitness to you.
- In terms of safety, a partner is vital. Think of the worst case scenarios; what if you roll your ankle and need someone to go find help? You can also share the weight of your essentials between both of your packs.
- Stick to your route! If the beta says it's difficult, believe it. Check out the reviews of the hike from a few sources where possible. Take note of seasonal variations such as potential heavy snowfall or rains.
- Start early. When the sun goes down, things become much more difficult and navigation on a new route almost impossible.