EXPERT’S GUIDE: BACKPACKING ESSENTIALS FOR TREKKING (2019 UPDATED)

If you are also planning to embark on a trekking trip, here are the essential items that should be a part of your trekking bag.

We all literally know the definition of  "trekking" but what does it really mean? Do you like to go on adventures over the hills and far away for days or even weeks carrying only your backpack? The autonomy to manage your day as well as your night amidst nature?

 

If yes, then you're already a Trekker!

 

A lot of times, we associate Trekking with Hiking but it's a little different.The word "trek" is an ancient Afrikaans word which means "migration." Today its usage is to describe the activity of hiking, walking in varied environments ranging from mountains to deserts to urban places.Trekking really means to leave your home for several days with your equipment on your back and sleep in a tent for shelter. You might wonder, why would someone do that?  What is the point of struggling to get all the way to the top of the mountain, carrying a heavy load?

 

We can share multiple testimonies and experiences of other people but you'll understand why only when you experience the freedom and feeling yourself. People trek to get away from the constraints of everyday life to find the rhythm of nature.But to make the most of your expedition, you have to prepare it! Hiking several days or weeks with all your equipment on the back is not something that can be improvised.

number 1

BENEFITS OF TREKKING

Trekking is a physical activity with a thousand virtues regardless of the duration of your trek, your location or even your physical level. Let's together discover these benefits.

In the mountains, in the desert or in a more urban environment, trekking allows you to escape, to get away from your daily life, to discover new things, new spaces while doing good to your body!

 

Sport in general is beneficial

 

Like all physical activities, trekking is beneficial for your health: develop your bones, reduce the risk of osteoporosis, increase your cardiovascular and respiratory capacities, strengthen your immune system, improve your muscular capacity.

Not to mention the ventilative quality of fresh air, a change in pace and place promotes the reduction of stress. Disconnection from everyday life really helps to take a step back from mundane worries and connect with yourself.

 

And how exactly is trekking beneficial for health?

 

Trekking has its specific benefits because the majority of trekkers walk long distances, and/or several days in a row, on sometimes demanding terrain in terms of altitude, with a bag on the back often quite heavy and a pair of poles as a best friend.

Slow and prolonged walking is a physical activity that is not very traumatic for the joints, compared to other impact sports. It gently develops a balanced musculature and a cladding of all the muscles of the body:  those of the 4 limbs and the trunk. It also works the motor coordination and rebalances the body areas if necessary.

Why? Because it's asymmetrical activity. Your left side is doing the same thing as your right side. You work both the front and the back of your body.

 

Note - Keep in mind, however, that depending on the location of your trek, the difficulty of the paths, the elevations traveled, or the duration of your trek, these benefits evolve and vary on a different scale!

 

The altitude, for example, several days in a row, "forces" your body to adapt.

Mountain trek encourages the increased production of red blood cells to compensate for the lack of oxygen (more carriers that bring it back to the muscles). This adaptation allows a better oxygenation of your entire body. You inhale less oxygen but you have the capacity to carry more at the same time in the blood. The advantage of this long adaptation and it will benefit you several weeks after the end of your trek, even if you are no longer at an altitude.

 

Do not hesitate! Whatever the duration, the difficulty or the chosen path: it can only do you good! So go trek!

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GEAR AND EQUIPMENT FOR YOUR TREK

Your trekking essentials depends a lot on your level but also on the environment you choose, the weather conditions etc. You will need to adapt your equipment for your trek. Before going into the specifics, we'll tell you about the one common requirement of every trekker which is the durability of the equipment. Wherever you are, your equipment should never let go. Here are some of the basics -

MUNBER 1

TREKKING BACKPACKS OR TREKKING BAGS 

trekking essentials

Primarily, it is important to ask questions and adapt the the trekking bags selection and its preparation to the envisaged activity.

 

Ask yourself:

 

“How much time will I spend trekking?”

“What type of terrain will I be crossing? Are there any height differences?”

“Do I need to carry the equipment of other trekkers (for example, children)?”

“Will I be trekking independently or will I be stopping at hotels/teahouses and making stops?”

 

Once you have answered these questions, you can combine your requirements to make your choice of trekking bags

 

- Single-day treks can be done with day packs. Choose a 20 to  30l backpack which will be able to host your basic essentials like a water bottle, snacks, a rain jacket if needed, camera, midday lunch or any other accessories you need to carry.

 

- If you're planning a multi-day trek which includes overnight, carry a trekking backpack that range between 50 to 60l. It will suffice your weekend or longer trips even if you're looking to carry sleeping equipment like a sleeping bag or a tent.

 

- In the case of extended expedition treks, you'll need more durable backpacks of 75 to 90l. Keep in mind that you'll have to carry multiple pairs of apparel, shoes, accessories, sleep equipment and sometimes even sleep equipment. For more extreme temperatures, your weight will go up with the inclusion of heavy jackets, snow boots, etc.

 

 

NUNBER 2

TREKKING SHOES 

trekking shoes

Your choice of trekking boots will depend on 4 criteria: the terrain on which they will be used, the duration of the outing, the weather forecast and the support.

 

TYPE OF TREK

 

Easy Treks  - For shorter duration treks when you’re walking on vehicle-going roads, your shoe will require built-in cushioning, a crosscontact sole with good grip and traction incase of wet hard ground, ankle support and a soft sole to ease the motion of the foot, ideal for easy treks

 

Suggestion - The Forclaz 500 mens high waterproof hiking shoes

 

Expedition Treks  - Expeditions require boots with highly durable materials and assemblies. Preferably a Vibram sole for better grip and traction on hard and wet ground, a rigid sole to favour foothold in rugged areas and for cushioning, go for a EVA midsole with lower density pad under the heel.

 

Also carry an extra pair of sandals in case of weather changes.

 

Suggestion - Forclaz 700-trekking-shoes
 

 

WEATHER CONDITIONS

 

Breathability - For good weather, breathability is an important feature your boots will require.

A shoe too warm when walking will make sure you sweat and have sticky feet, do not opt for a shoe too warm for a high altitude walk as you will be cold once you have stopped.

 

Waterproofing - In case of different weather patterns,  you will require waterproofing. Whether your shoe is warm or not, it will be of no use if you do not make sure it's waterproof.

 

And if you have good trekking shoes but they are not waterproof, you can use gaiters. They will cover and protect you from moisture from above (rain).

 

NUNBER 3

SLEEPING EQUIPMENT 

Sleeping bag

There are 3 criteria that determine your choice of sleeping bag: the temperature of your sleeping environment, ease of transport & sleeping comfort.

 

WARMTH

 

Warmth corresponds to the external ambient temperature during the night.

Today, there are 3 main temperature categories :

- Warm, which is above 20°

- Mild, which is between 10 and 20°

- Cold, which is between 10 and 0°

 

EASE OF TRANSPORT

 

Ease of transport is determined by weight and compactness.

For hiking, the sleeping bag will be more comfortable so heavier and more compact.

For trekking, favour a lighter and less compact sleeping bag in order to reduce the fatigue while carrying it and for it to take less space in your trekking bags during your trip.

 

COMFORT 

 

Comfort will always take precedence when it comes to camping.

When trekking, your mattress will be thinner so it's easier to carry.

 

NUNBER 4

TREKKING POLES ARE YOUR BEST FRIEND

trekking pole

After trekking bags, Poles are not only for people with reduced physical abilities or balance problems. On the contrary, their use not only allows you to walk longer and with a better position but they will also bring you other things!

 

They increase the strain on all the muscles of the upper back, shoulders, arms, and forearms. Thus, you tone or even build muscles (depending on the physical level of your trek) on all the upper parts by making sure that your back is always straight whether you're on a slope or a climb.

 

These poles allow you to have a more balanced workout for the whole body, continuously soliciting the arms, simultaneously with the movements of your legs. This also helps to avoid wrong movements which are later reflected through back pain especially because you have a big back on your back.

 

number 3

HERE'S A COMPLETE LIST OF TREKKING ESSENTIALS 

trekking essentials infographic

Note - This Infographic is downloadable

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