Woohoo.. it’s time to embark on a new journey uphill. Your first hike might be the most challenging yet exciting one. Besides your mental and physical makeup, there is quite an amount of stuff that you need to take along on your first hike.
Trekking to the Himalayas is no cake walk. The first time could be really overwhelming, especially when you are not prepared for it. Here’s a ready-reckoner of hike essentials that have been segregated into different categories for convenience.
Sturdy backpack: Dump all your trekking gear in a sturdy bag. Your cameras, photography equipment, camping sets etc. are best protected in steady kits with multiple concealed pockets. If it’s waterproof, it’s the best one for you.
Organizers: Use packing cubes to segregate and organize your essentials. That way you just get to open the cube you need without hunting for things in your bag.
Fanny pack: Do not underestimate the utility of this tiny pouch that can store small items that you need every now and then, including a small bottle of water.
Head gear: You must cover your head to protect it from the sun, extreme cold and fluctuating temperatures. Pack caps, bandanas, and mufflers to protect your head, ears, and neck. Maybe a small umbrella could be a good option too.
Jacket: Pack a pull-over that doubles up as a water-proof jacket and wind cheater. Make sure it has a hood that will keep your ears and head warm.
Food: Pack snacks for times when you cannot prepare a meal. Keep bite-sized food items handy and pack a couple of chocolates, energy bars, dried fruits, biscuits high in glucose etc. Carry some water to stay hydrated, along with a water filter and purification tablets.
Utensils: Carry the essentials for cooking a meal. A pot for cooking, small stove, matches, knife, eating vessel and spoon should be just fine.
Map: Be your own guide by banking on a physical map, compass or GPS. Moreover, figure out the route in advance so that you aren’t hiking like a headless chicken, in case your GPS dies on you.
Plastic: The idea is not to dump plastic bags and litter the trails, but to store wet waste from food and soiled clothes. Use zip-locks to store (and later, discard) sanitary waste.
Wipes: You are not going to find a washbasin and soap everywhere except your resthouses. Keep hand sanitizers, wet wipes, and scent-free napkins handy.
Medicine: Carry basic medication along with a first-aid kit. However, always consult a doctor before popping a pill.
Lotions: The necessary bottles and creams would be that of sunscreen, insect repellent, and a moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated during the day and at rest.
Clothing essentials: Besides a pullover, sweater or jacket (depending on the weather), a lightweight raincoat, thermals, gloves, socks, track pants and extra tees must also be considered. The key is to layer up.
Toiletries: Keep small amounts of the essentials – toothpaste, toothbrush, toilet paper, tissue, lip balm, sanitizer etc. You might want to carry a pair of comfortable slippers to change at rest.
Gear: Whether you are passionate about photography, writing, reading etc., you will get some time for all this during your trek. Keep your gear in a separate pouch and pursue your passion as you trek. Talking of gear, do keep your sleeping gear or bag too.
Extras: Extras or essentials – you decide: flashlight, trekking pole, pocket knife, power bank, and chargers.
There you go. You’re set to trek! Feel free to take a print-out or bookmark it for reference.