So you’re heading off on a trek. You have a backpack to fill and truckload worth of things. What do you absolutely need and what can you manage without? That is the question. It is always better to pack the bare essentials first and then squeeze in the ‘good-to-have’ items depending on how much space you have. Do remember that what seems just heavy enough to carry when you try it on may turn into a massive load once you’ve had it on your shoulders all day. So pack wisely. Here’s a quick checklist of all the items a woman must pack on a trekking trip –
1. The Right Clothes
Quite a no-brainer right? You absolutely need the right clothes if you are to have a comfortable trek. Doing regular laundry may not be possible at all times and yet, packing too many clothing changes in an effective way may cost you space. Play a fine balancing act and pack clothes that can be air-dried and recycled (worn inside out) if need be.
- A Pair of Waterproof Trekking Pants – The kinds with many secured pockets are a good choice for keeping phones, Swiss-knives, tissues, money and other tiny things handy.
- Thermal Wear – It’s worthwhile to keep them handy as it might get fairly chilly at an altitude. A warm vest and a pair of warm leggings should do in moderate weather. Choose the good quality ones that are thin and take up less space.
- Inner Vest – If you are trekking in a temperate climate and are sure it is going to be warm, skip the thermal wear and choose cotton vests that absorb sweat and keep you dry.
- Comfortable T-shirts – you need at least three to four lightweight, short-sleeve T-shirts, preferably cottons. Make sure you are absolutely comfortable in them.
- Trekking Shirts – At least one, you can pack two if there’s space.
- Shorts – If the weather is going to be good, you can add on two pairs of shorts.
- Sleepwear – After a tiring day, a good night’s sleep must be enjoyed in comfortable cotton pyjamas.
- Underwears – Thank God these are tiny. Pack as many as you like. Choose light ones that dry quickly.
- Socks – Once again, quality is paramount here. Choose good quality wool or cotton socks that keep your feet dry and relaxed.
- Outerwear – Waterproof outer jackets, fleece jackets, cardigans, windbreakers – these are all essential at some point and be sure to pack one of each.
As a rule of thumb, always dress up in layers so that it is easier to take off a few articles when it gets warm or add one when it gets cold.
After clothes, the next most important item in your backpack must be a few pairs of the right footwear.
Hiking Boots – First of all, invest in a pair of seriously good quality hiking boots. If you’ve never been trekking before, a little bit of research must go into buying these. Mid-cut hiking boots are usually ideal but you can choose high cut if you need extra protection for your ankles from sprains or injury. Either way, they must be super comfortable and strong. Waterproof would be nice.
Do remember to break them in if you are buying new boots. She bites from new boots can completely ruin your entire trip.
Flip-Flops – For when you’ve trekked in boots all day, your feet need to breathe free every once in a while. When you are on a break sipping Chai by the river or visiting the bathroom/nearest bush, a pair of flip-flops with quality socks can be absolute lifesavers.
River Sandals – If your trip involves crossing rivers, river sandals may come in handy. These are however optional and you can skip them if there’s not enough space. Shallow rivers can be crossed barefoot and at other times, waterproof hiking boots can come to rescue.
3. Good Quality Backpack
Packing your backpack is just not possible without, well, a backpack. So be sure to do a thorough research and pick a backpack that can carry enough weight, is spacious enough for everything you need and has wide, comfortable and supportive straps that make it easy on the shoulders as you will be spending most of your day lugging it on your back. It is a good idea to look around at enough stores, try them on, then compare prices online and buy the best backpack for your needs.
4. Other Essentials
In addition to the above, there are just so many miscellaneous things a woman needs on a trekking trip. Here’s a quick look –
- Flashlights – Electricity is rare on trekking trips and a flashlight is super handy. A headlamp may be an even better option as it will light the way keeping your hands free.
- A sturdy walking stick – Especially on down-slope terrains, a stick can really help you balance yourself.
- Reusable Water Bottle – Bottled water may be hard to come by and even if it does, plastic bottle waste is a massive problem on trek routes.
- Medication – If you are on a prescription, just don’t miss it. Even if you aren’t, it is a good idea to carry basic essentials such as antibiotics, analgesics, healing creams and powders.
Here are a few more items –
- High SPF sunscreen, moisturizer, lip balm and wet wipes
- Tissues and toilet paper
- Sanitary napkins
- Band-Aids and other first-aid supplies
- Hat and sunglasses
- Hand sanitizer
- Water sterilizing drops
- High-energy snacks
- Extra batteries and memory cards
So that is a quick rundown of the basic items every woman must pack for her trekking trip. Depending on the length of your trip, you can add or remove a number of articles but in essence, all of the above items must find a place in your backpack.