5 years ago, around this time, I went for a Trek to Manali with Anala Outdoors. Those 10-12 days with my Friends and Cousins turned out to be the Most Fun, Memorable days of my Life! A lot of Good and a few Unfortunate events happend during that trip. But what all it Taught me will always be Cherished. Hence, I wanted to Document my experience in form of this Blog Series. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed Writing it😁!
So, let’s begin with Preparation for the Trek!
TYPES OF TREKS:
According to Facilities:
- Camping Trekking: Organized and fully supported with Stay, guide, Cooks.
- Guide and Porter trek: This includes expeditions like Everest where a Porter Carriers luggage for you.
- Lodge Trek: Food and accommodation is provided.
According to Difficulty:
- Easy Trek: Easy terrain, most treks in Maharashtra ( Sahyadri Range)
- Moderate: Involve steeper terrains and need more stamina. Includes Hampta Pass, Bhrigu Lake etc. Himalayan treks
- Difficult: Streep terrains with Challenging weather conditions. Like Everest Base camp.
According to Season:
- Summer Trek: Har Ki Dhun, Kauri Pass etc.
- Winter Trek: Kedarnath Trek, Chadar, Zanskar Trek, Chopta Chandrashila trek
- Monsoon Trek: Valley Of Flowers, Markha Valley trek
- Spring Trek: Dzongri La( Sikkim), Dodital trek.
Now a days, there are Yoga Treks, where people go for Spiritual and Physical Rejuvenation.
Around Manali itself, there are number of different treks one can opt for: Bhrigu Lake, Hampta Pass, Beas Kund, Chandratal Lake, Sar Pass, Pin Parvati, Chandrakhani and more.
Mine was supposed to be a Trek to Bhrigu Lake. But did I make it? Read the upcoming blogs to find out.
If you are Trekking with a Group/ Camping, they will give you a list of things you need to carry, but when it comes to buying accessories for Trekking, there is a lot of Confusion. If you go to a local shop, it is likely that the shopkeeper doesn’t even know that Capacity or Size of a bag can be described in Litres! This literally happened with me. A middle aged shopkeeper got annoyed at me when I asked if he has 40L or 60L Rucksack😅.. And here you wouldn’t even find a lot of Variety. While if you land up in stores like Decathalon, they will have so many options in one Product that it becomes difficult to choose which one is best suitable for you🤷♀️!In that case, I found that even small tips become so useful. So, what I have written here is what I was advised plus what I learned from my experience.
1: Trekking Bags/ Rucksacks
Honestly, if you are a going on a Trek with a group, as I did,- where they arrange for your Stay etc.- you will not need to carry all your luggage a lot. Such groups usually have arrangements of Vehicles that will carry your Big Bags. In that case a rucksack becomes really unnecessary.
But if you intend to go on solo, tougher treks in the future, then a Rucksack is not a bad investment. Good quality rucksacks are designed in a way that they Distribute the weight of your luggage evenly and properly over your Back, Hips and Legs and not just Shoulders, making it a lot more comfortable that a normal bag.
Some also have a net that allows for Air to reach your Back. Some come with Rod in centre that also aids in Weight Distribution. You can go as Advanced as you want.. but keep following points in mind:
- Choose materials that are tough but Lightweight.
- Wider Shoulder straps and Hip Belts are better for support.
- Straps should be Padded and Adjustable.
- Height of Rucksack should be in accordance with your Height/ torso Length.
2: Trekking Shoes:
Investing in proper shoes is Very Important.
- You would be walking on Rocks and uneven surfaces. There is a huge chance you could twist or injure your Ankle and get a Sprain. To prevent this, wear shoes that provide good Ankle Support.
- Check the Size. While it should provide enough room to be able to Wiggle the Toes, it should hold your Heels in Place. Floating Heels are main cause of Blisters.
- Try them with Socks and Insoles and proper Lacing technique before buying.
- You might step into some puddles or get in snow. If water enters your shoes, it makes feet uncomfortable and cause Blisters and Odour. To avoid that buy shoes that are Water Resistant. Don’t get Water Proof – they won’t let your feet breathe or let Perspiration out.
- Definitely wear them around for a while before you wear them on the Trek. You don’t want a Shoebite.
- To prevent Shoe Bite, apply Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline) before you wear your socks and shoes.
On such camps, you would Not need Professional Mountaineering Shoes. These have an extra insulating layer to protect from the snow and are tough and durable but also quite expensive.
3: Sleeping Bag:
Sleeping Bags come in a lot of Shapes and Insulations. Mummy shaped Sleeping bags are Warmer. Rectangular one are wider and provide a room for tossing around. 3 season sleeping bags, rated -10° to 0° Celcius are commonly used. Also, Light and Compact ones are better.
Sunlight on Mountains is harsh and has more UV rays. So having proper eyewear is important. Do not go for fancy reflectors which have only Aesthetic value. Polycarbonate Lenses are best suitable for mounting treks. Polarized lens will cut off Glare and intensity of Light entering your eyes.
If you do not want a Sunburn, APPLYING AND REAPPLYING of Sunscreen with SPF 50 (atleast) is recommended.
It is best to Layer Clothes. Carry light weight, preferably Cotton clothes, with Full Sleeves, that you can layer. You can add Woolens and Jackets on them. Getting a Waterproof Jacket would be nice because then you won’t have to carry a separate Raincoat (and it does rain there frequently).
6: Water Bottle:
You have to carry that bottle the whole day while you walk. When one takes a Steel Bottle, the Bottle itself is quite heavy plus you have to carry it even after it is empty. Instead if you have a Foldable Water pouch, it is Light, you can Clip it to your Bag, no need to Hold and after its empty, you can just fold it.
Drinking water from Steel Bottles is lot more healthy, and you should do that in your normal life,but it can get inconvenient on a trek.
Tip about Drinking Water:
In the Mountains, in such camps, the water you drink is coming directly from the Glaciers. While its rich in Minerals (and is Heavenly 😇), it can be too Cold. It can damage your Throat and your might catch a cold. You don’t want that on this Fun Trek. So gargle the water in mouth for few minutes till it comes to body temperature and then Gulp it down.
- Take Woolen Headcap, Handgloves, Pair of Slippers, Torch and essential Toiletries.
- Quick Dry Towels come very Useful as every morning, you don’t get enough time to dry them. But its completely Optional.
- Consult your Physician before leaving. Take medicines prescribed by them, motion sickness meds and Sprays for Sprain etc.
- Inhaling Camphor will be useful if you feel difficulty breathing at High Altitude.
- Don’t forget to Carry your Novels, Diary and Pen!😅
The Fitter you are, more likely you are to Enjoy the Trek completely. It’s not advisable to be like Naina from YJHD ki kal raat ko Packing ki aur aaj Trek pe Chale gaye! (She could be Fit even in her normal life, but people like me and you, my dear friend, need some Physical Training before we get into so much Walking that too on rough terrain).
- Aerobic Fitness: To cope with less Oxygen density at Higher Altitude, we should train our Cardiovascular system by Aerobic exercises like Cardio, Jogging or Running. It will build your Stamina.
- Strength and Endurance training: We need to strengthen our Shoulders, Back, Legs to walk on Steep Slopes with Heavy Bags. To begin with, you can do Squats, Lunges.
- Stretching your Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Hip Flexors and Lower Back muscles regularly, relaxes your Tissues, reducing strain on your Back. Gaining Flexibility will prevent Injuries. (Stretch even at end of actual hike each day.
I will be talking about this throughout the Series, but one Important thing ( for first timers) is that You will have to Walk a lot. But it’s all gonna be Worth it. You Can Do It. Oh yes, you would Probably not be allowed to take your Phone, so stay prepared for that!😂
I hope the World normalizes soon and then my tips come useful to you!
Are you ready to come with me on this Virtual Trip to Manali?! Stay tuned for the Upcoming Blogs!
Till then, if you wish to read my Other Travel Blog on Leh Ladakh, you can read it on the Link below:
Like and Share the Blog of you like and comment below your thoughts about this one! Thank youu!😊