I have been hiking since 2000: water, ski, and mountain hiking up to category 4 difficulty. For ten years I ran a children’s Hiking trip club, leading sport and commercial Hiking trips for adults and children, and during those years I gained some insight into how to optimize equipment for your first trek. I won’t read out a list of 200 items, but I will tell you the principles of choosing the key elements and what to look for. You will learn more about How to Choose Equipment for Your First Hiking Trip from the LCN Outdoors article.
Where to Start: Questions for Beginners
Before you buy your first outfit, you need to ask yourself a few questions. The answer depends on how you choose your first dress.
A. What can’t I live without?
These days, many people go on commercial hiking trips, that is, they don’t design their own routes, but go with a guide. The problem in our time is that people have money, but don’t have the time to train and bother organizing hikes – it’s easier to join a commercial group. As a result, people often don’t know where they’re going. Sometimes this happens in sporting events as well: when participating in a category of trekking for the first time, newcomers don’t know exactly what it will be like.
Camping reports usually describe positive experiences: we climbed to the top, we overcame ourselves, we saw the views …… But usually, no one talks about a girl who brought a hairdryer but didn’t bring warm clothes or a boy who brought wading boots but forgot to bring them because they were ashamed. So many people don’t know what camping is or what a camping area is like. And that’s all you need to know in order to choose the right equipment.
Before you go, you should ask your instructor, guide or leader – the person who is theoretically responsible for you during the activity – about everything and get a list of equipment from them. And if you’re going alone, you should research the area and season you’re going to: read reports, watch videos, read forums, look at Google Maps and various apps, because conditions change and the more information you have, the better.
B. Will I go on another Hiking trip?
Usually, no one knows this. Sometimes a person buys a lot of equipment with the intention of going all the way, but after the first hike, that desire disappears. That’s what happens to most people. I myself decided after my first hike in the Colorado area that I should sell the equipment I bought, but I’m still walking, and that happened too. And sometimes the opposite is true. I often see customers in our store who say, “I’m going camping once because they gave me a tour to the Himalayas. In other words, this person must know that they will never go anywhere else. And the approach to choosing equipment for these people will be different.
C. How will I continue to use the equipment?
The answer to this question determines the degree of versatility of the equipment you purchase. Most importantly, this applies to shoes, backpacks, and sleeping bags – the three basics that provide comfort. There is no complete all-rounder, but you can aim for that. For example, choose a three-season sleeping bag instead of a summer bag, choose a backpack that’s larger than you need for weekend camping, and so on.
Popular Misconceptions About the First Gear
There are still many myths surrounding the tourism industry. This is mainly due to the strong tourism industry in the United States, where good equipment is easily available, so a stereotype has developed that tourists are raggedy people who throw away what they wear. Hence, all the common misconceptions.
Myth #1: It doesn’t matter what you wear on your first Hiking trip
A story from life. On a summer hiking trip, three participants did not bring short-sleeved shirts. They thought that since we were going beyond the Arctic Circle, it would be cold there anyway. But for three days it was 86 °F (30 °C). One boy got heatstroke wearing a wool shirt and black jeans. It was June in the tundra. He tried to tuck the fleece in, but it kept coming back, he took it off, put the pack on his naked body, the pack rubbed against his shoulders, he put the fleece back on, and it started sticking to his wounds …… This is not good. So what you wear on your first Hiking trip is important, and so is whether the gear is suitable for the conditions of the Hiking trip, otherwise enjoyment will be a problem.
Anything that is not specially made can make camping uncomfortable. You can bring a cauldron instead of a hiking canoe, a cotton blanket instead of a sleeping bag, boots instead of booties, and a gym bag instead of a backpack. Obviously, non-purpose equipment doesn’t work as well camping as you might hope.
Myth #2: Camouflage and military gear are the best choice
A very popular misconception in our country is that military gear (now called tactical gear) is the answer to everything. Sure, there are some things you can wear to camp, like tactical pants with pockets to hold everything. But in general, this gear is not suitable for camping. Here’s why.
- Not everything painted with camouflage is military. Camouflage backpacks are sold in stores that are certainly not for any military in the world. For some reason, we have a soft spot for camouflage, so they produce it.
- Tactical gear is not designed for the needs of travel. A soldier should not have to take it with him on a trek to Nepal, skiing, climbing Mount Rainier, etc. The same is true for shoes. Someone might argue with me that he chose the right NATO boots and that they are great for hiking. But everyone, who has worn hiking boots and gloves, surely knows that hiking shoes are very different. Sure, you can sometimes walk in rubber shoes and be quite successful, but this applies to specific tasks such as hiking in the tundra or the African swamps.
- Clothing and gear issued to the military are designed for one year, which means they won’t last as long as camping gear, which is designed for more active use over the years.
Tips: I once went skiing with a military patriotism club where the leaders were paratroopers. They walked in their uniforms: a paratrooper backpack, a pea-jacket, all that stuff – it looked intimidating from the outside. the 8th-grade girls passed them because they were fully dressed and the paratroopers were not. Every piece of clothing has its place.
Myth #3: The first piece of equipment should be easy to throw away
Usually, to say an item is worth throwing away means it has a low safety margin or no value at all. Both are wrong when it comes to choosing equipment. Disposable equipment can last less than once. For example, if you take a polyethylene mackintosh to the Cascade Mountains for two weeks, chances are you won’t have it two days later. In other words, you don’t regret throwing it away, but you no longer have it. The same goes for clothes, tents, etc.
I once went with a tent that my school gave me with a state grant. One day a participant dropped a tent and it cracked in all its arcs. It was later discovered that all the tents stored in storage had broken arches. Also, the tent lids were leaking. As a result, we had a homeless camp on Cascade Mountain and all the tents had to be covered with polyethylene material in a greenhouse. The result was aesthetically and functionally awful. There was crazy condensation, the wind stirred it up, and we invented new arcs out of willow branches …… Yes, it’s not a shame to throw away this equipment, I would have thrown it away on the spot. It’s just that unreliable equipment reduces safety. This is obvious, but for some reason not everyone understands it. The gear you don’t want to throw away will have to be purchased again.
Myth #4: First gear should be super cheap/super expensive
Both (two sets of equipment comparison) are untrue. The choice of all equipment is not based on price, but on how well it suits the conditions of the hike and suits you personally.
For example, in the first kit, I had a turtleneck sweater under my rashers, but I was wearing mountain boots with normal “iron” and my life depended directly on that. I couldn’t buy a film jacket at the time, but I used what I could.
The second set of gear was used when the level of travel and equipment development was already quite high. I wore a Bask Light backpack, which we have in the store, and it is by far the cheapest 155 lbs (70 liters) backpack we have. I am a manager of a well-known brand and could have gotten any backpack I wanted, but I chose this one because it fit me. And trying to choose gear based on cost often fails. You have to choose your comfortable clothes and the right conditions for hiking.
General Rules for Selecting Equipment
I set some rules when it comes to playing with the kids. With adults, they work a little worse because adults don’t always think that when summer arrives in Colorado, you need a dip in addition to a bathing suit. But here are the rules.
A. Choose your equipment based on the worst-case scenario that could happen on a camping trip
Let’s take a look at the area of Colorado, South Mountain Elbert Trail, and Maroon Bells. Every year, schoolchildren, students, and adults go there en masse for their first Hiking trip: the view of the ocean from the ridge is beautiful. We used to go there in the fall and spring holidays with schoolchildren. There are two transitional seasons: in November one can start there in shorts and end in the snow; in March one can start in a down jacket and end in shorts. That’s why you should expect the worst conditions: low temperatures, high humidity, poor or no trail. Bring light clothing so you don’t look like the guy who got heatstroke at Grand Canyon.
All this snow on Mount Rainier fell overnight; normally, there is no snow in late summer. On any mountain hike, you need to be prepared for sudden changes in the weather and carry equipment that is “stocked”.
The following are reasons for “having room” to choose equipment.
- Increased “passive” safety. We won’t catch a cold, we won’t sprain an ankle, and we have extra backpack capacity.
- It makes up for the lack of experience. An experienced donkey knows what to do if you get cold at night: pull your backpack over your sleeping bag, wrap it in your jacket, unbuckle the inside of your tent to prevent it from sticking to the tent, and many other tricks. And if we do not know how to do anything, the equipment will slightly compensate – for example, a warmer sleeping bag is less likely to freeze.
- Reduce dependence on the leader. If a participant is inexperienced and his/her equipment is not clear, he/she must constantly seek help from the leader or other participants, which is not very pleasant.
- Allow you to use the same equipment in harsher conditions. For example, I bought a sleeping bag with a comfortable temperature of 41°F (5°C), which means I can only take it to the mountains in the summer. For the fall, I have to buy another one. I can buy a sleeping bag with 30 °F (-1°C), which can be used in both summer and autumn.
B.Choose the right one for you
A classic question: Which backpack is the best? The correct answer is: the one that fits is the one that is good. Any experienced backpacker will tell you exactly that, rather than naming a specific model. The same is true for boots and other gear. How should you choose the right gear?
C. Try different packs and shoes
If someone tells you “this backpack is the best”, don’t believe it until you’ve tried a few different ones. Now that you have the opportunity to do so – for example, we have over 1,000 models in the summer – it may take a long time to try them on. What works for someone else doesn’t necessarily work for you. For example, my favorite backpack isn’t very popular because it’s uncomfortable for most people. And the Deuter AirContact is comfortable for 75% of users, but 25% of users wouldn’t be able to walk with it.
D. Choose the comfortable temperature of your sleeping bag according to how you feel
Under the same conditions, different people will feel different in the same sleeping bag. For example, I bring a 37 °F (3°C) sleeping bag for fall camping in snowy mountain areas and I don’t feel cold, while my wife brings my 14 °F (-10°C) ski bag and she doesn’t feel hot. Yes, she brought 1.1 lbs (0.5 kg) more, but she didn’t lose any fun or health.
The comfort temperature of the sleeping bag is what the mannequin felt in the EN test. The sleeping bag has three temperature values.
- comfort temperature (or “female” comfort) – the average age and weight girl can sleep at this temperature for 8 hours without waking up.
- comfort limit (or “male” comfort) – for a middle-aged, medium-weight man as well.
- extreme – the temperature at which there is a risk of hypothermia. Visitors have a wicked joke about this, saying that this is the temperature at which the mannequin is covered with ice.
If a sleeping bag is listed as having an extreme temperature of 5 ° F (-15 ° C), then 5 ° F (-15 ° C) is the edge of death. You can’t choose a sleeping bag on that basis. While I like lightweight gear, the difference in comfort temperature between 200 grams of insulation, or two Snickers bars, is 41-50 °F (5-10°C), which is pretty significant. Two Snickers bars can be eaten in one gulp, and a 200-gram sleeping bag can provide comfort on all days of camping.
E. Take what you can’t live without, even if it’s not on the list.
For example, a pillow is not on your camping gear list, but you can’t sleep without it – so buy one. But not a regular one, but an inflatable one. If you’re going to an area that shouldn’t have any mosquitoes at this time of year, but you can’t stand mosquito bites – bring 100 grams of spray. Of course, you need to be careful not to bring too much – for example, a 0.26 gals (1 liter) bottle of shampoo is definitely not needed, but what you really need that is not on the list is worth bringing.
F. First, buy shoes, a backpack, and a sleeping bag
There are three main pieces of equipment that will ensure comfort and safety while camping. They are shoes, a backpack, and a sleeping bag. And it’s in that order.
If you have bad shoes, they will make you toil for 5 to 12 hours a day. The backpack is the same amount. The sleeping bag for the rest of the day. So when buying your first piece of equipment, you should choose your shoes, backpack, and sleeping bag first, and everything else, depending on your budget, can be bought a second time, borrowed from a friend, or rented.
Choose Shoes, Backpack, and Sleeping Bag
So, we decide what to buy first. The requirements for all this equipment are the same. Boots, backpacks, and sleeping bags must be.
- be self-contained.
- be suitable for your personal and travel conditions.
- be as light as possible according to the first two points.
A. Rules for choosing shoes
Shoes must protect the ankle
For the first Hiking trip, this rule is 100% true. Even if a person is a master of the sport of running, but has never hiked a trail with a backpack – they may not know their ankles with a backpack. There is a trend now to choose trainers over boots because they are lighter and faster. I’m partly an advocate of this idea, but I always say that it’s for people who know their feet and are confident about walking the terrain. We may see some Sherpas in the Himalayas walking on rocks in flip-flops, but they do it every day and they are used to it, besides they have nothing else. And boots in the mountains or in some harsh conditions will protect your feet no matter what. This is the choice of all those who don’t aim for a record, and on the first trek, there is no record to keep.
These are performance boots, for men and women. The front is a one-piece leather with cushioning, aggressive tread, and relatively high lacing. There are boots made of synthetic materials, and these boots are suitable for lighter trails, such as on groomed trails. This example of boots will help you move in the right direction in terms of selection, and then you just need to measure.
Shoes should not be uncomfortable initially
If you put on your shoes and they are a little uncomfortable, after two weeks they will be uncomfortable as hell. Hiking shoes have a certain amount of wear and tear, but if a shoe doesn’t fit your foot originally, you run the risk of “wearing out” underneath it. People often come to our store and ask “give me the coolest shoes”. But what good is the “coolest” boots if the boots are wide and the person’s feet are narrow? This is why the best shoe is a comfortable shoe.
Good socks and insoles add comfort
The difference in thickness between regular socks and trekking socks is significant, and trekking socks take up more volume. They provide a higher level of comfort and are less likely to cause friction on your feet. Therefore, you should try on your boots with trekking socks to make sure they don’t get too big. The same goes for insoles – the right anatomical insole makes for a more comfortable shoe.
Bring a second pair of shoes when hiking
What’s in it for you? There is the possibility of not having to walk off-trail in thick boots and then put them back on for the glacier. You can take off your boots at camp or shelter and let your feet rest. A second pair can be lightweight sneakers, sandals, crocodiles, or even rubber flip-flops. They are also emergency shoes. I’ve seen shoe malfunction, get hit by rocks, and get lost on a slippery slope …… In one case, a man was distributing weight for a flight and wanted to put one shoe in his hand luggage and the other in his luggage. He ended up leaving one shoe at home. I had to take this shoe with me for the entire trip because it was too expensive to throw away. The good thing is that this guy at least had a second pair of shoes and he at least went with something, even if it wasn’t difficult.
B. Backpack selection rules
Choose the one that fits your back
Nowadays there are many backpacks and they are really different: framed, frameless, narrower, wider, in three sizes, with thermoformed foam …… This is because everyone’s back is different and a backpack that fits perfectly on a hundred people may not fit you. That’s why you have to measure backpacks.
There are two extremes: measuring whether a backpack is empty or loaded with 66 lbs (30 kg) of stuff. In the first case, any backpack will be comfortable; in the second case, any backpack will be uncomfortable. To get an idea of how comfortable a backpack is, it should be fully loaded. The approximate total weight of the equipment, you should ask the person in charge of the tour, it is directed. We have special sacks in the store where you can put any weight you want. The backpack should sit so that most of the load is on your hips and less on your shoulders.
Frame backpacks are always better than beginner backpacks
Such a backpack is heavier and more expensive than a frameless backpack, but it is easier to assemble. And until a person packs a backpack 40 times, they don’t know what it should look like. And, unless he carries it on his back for at least a week, he won’t understand how the contents are supposed to fit. That’s why framed backpacks solve a lot of problems and don’t require a lot of packing.
Also, you should never take a backpack without a frame because it is lighter. This lightness on the trail will keep you feeling uncomfortable, and the further you go, the worse it gets.
The margin should be a little too large
You must understand that not everyone needs a 220 lbs (100 liters) or even 175 lbs (80 liters) backpack. Those who don’t do long hikes and those who wear size 38 don’t need it. For example, a girl about as tall as my chest came to me with a 175 lbs (80 liters) backpack on the list given by her manager. And she could fit herself in that backpack twice. Obviously, her stuff would be much smaller and lighter than mine, and I would need a 175 lbs (80 liters) backpack, while she would need 44-66 lbs (20-30 liters) less.
The general rule for sports teams: boys’ backpacks should be larger than girls’. This is because the boys are inherently larger and carry more stuff, but it depends on the level of gentlemen on the brigade. In general, if the equipment list says 110 lbs (50 liters) and you want 132 lbs (60 liters), it doesn’t make any difference at all. However, if it says 88 lbs (40 liters) and you take 175 lbs (80 liters), there’s a problem. While such a backpack can be tightened with side straps to normalize the center of gravity and make it snugger. But if it says 175 lbs (80 liters) and you took 88 lbs (40 liters), that’s too bad – you’ll have to hang your gear out, or let your partner take something.
Backpack should be practical, not aesthetically pleasing
The question is, as is customary, “Is there one with a mother-of-pearl clasp? This one fits well, but looks ugly”. But what could be different is that a nice backpack will kill your back and your face will look bad in photos, messed up by the quality of the backpack. This person wants the backpack to look pretty in the photo and fit under the jacket. That’s fine, but first, the backpack should be comfortable, and then it should be pretty.
I once had to color match a backpack specifically for a backpack. A girl was going to a photoshoot and she needed to look pretty in the photos. I had to choose just that color backpack all at once. You can do this too, but it’s extreme.
Not all girls fit women’s backpacks, and not all men fit men
Women’s backpacks are globally different from men’s backpacks in that they are designed for people with smaller heights and narrower shoulders. Therefore, a tall, athletic girl is unlikely to fit into a women’s backpack. However, it would be a good solution for a thin person who is about 5.2 feet (160 cm) tall. Yes, there will be some flowers on the women’s backpack, but they are easy to remove, and then there is no difference at all.
The smallest size women’s backpack is great for teenage boys. Parents simply cut off the label with the word “female” on it and remove the flowers without the child seeing them. This way he won’t feel uncomfortable because he chose a backpack that doesn’t look like a boy’s, which is very important for 11-year-olds.
C. Sleeping bag selection rules
Not found on the mountain fried
Save weight or budget at the expense of the comfortable temperature of the sleeping bag is an uneconomical approach. Everyone is warm at home, but we still cover ourselves with blankets. And it’s not that warm in a tent in the mountains. Sleeping bags should be warm, although a comfortable temperature of 77 °F (25°C) is also excessive for summer camping on Mount Rainier.
Sleeping bag must fit
The sleeping bag is marked with the length in centimeters or inches. The right size is height plus 6-8 inches (15-20 cm). If you are 6.2 feet (190 cm) tall and take the same length sleeping bag in order to save weight, that’s too bad. Some people think: why not, I just need to tuck it in. It can, but when you straighten it, the insulation crumples at the legs and the bag is cooler. Plus, it’s just cramped and uncomfortable, especially if you need to put something in your sleeping bag so you don’t freeze in the morning. An 11-year-old boy gets an adult sleeping bag in the opposite situation because he will grow out of it. He will, of course, but until he grows up, he will have to carry the extra weight of the sleeping bag and it will warm him up with extra air.
The price is proportional to the quality of the insulation material
Take Deuter Orbit -5 and The North Face Lynx, two synthetic sleeping bags, for example. Their comfort temperature difference of 5 degrees (50 °F (0 ° C) and 41 °F (5 ° C), respectively), while the difference in volume and weight is twice as much.
When we chose our first sleeping bag, we wanted it to be affordable. But you have to know where it’s going to be used. If I’m going on a water trip to the Hudson River, and the sleeping bag will be in a kayak, then choosing a budget is fine. But if you’re going to be camping in the mountains and realize that the bag will be riding on you, then it makes sense to go with a lighter version. And they’ll last for many seasons. Here at The North Face Lynx, I have 3.5 seasons of very active use and multiple washes. The quality of the insulation is, after all, related to the cost.
And the classic question: down or synthetic sleeping bag? Here are two The North Face sleeping bags: synthetic Lynx and down Gold Kazoo. they are almost identical in size and weight, but the down is more than 10 degrees Fahrenheit warmer and has a life expectancy of 8 years instead of 3 years. But the price is the same. But if you are an adult who has dreamed of hiking your whole life and finally started, then why not. It will last you many years. Backpacks, sleeping bags, and shoes are the most lasting investments, with sleeping bags being the least likely to go out of style – mainly to match the temperature.
The choice of clothing is secondary to the first three points. Nonetheless, newcomers still have a lot of questions, so here are the general rules for choosing camping clothing
A. Layers for warmth
There is a theory of layers, the gist of which is that a combination of 3-4 layers is always warmer and more versatile than a combination of very thin and very thick. It can be hot, cold, dry, wet, and windy in the mountains, and having several layers will allow you to quickly adapt to these changes and ensure comfort in almost all conditions.
B. The first layer is a T-shirt or thermal underwear
The T-shirt should be chemical fiber or fine merino wool, but not cotton. It doesn’t have to be a hiking shirt, it can be a running shirt – as long as it dries quickly.
The colder the area, the thicker the thermal underwear should be. I have three options.
- For warm summer days, thin thermal underwear without any embellishments that just wick away moisture and keep the sun out.
- For off-season or winter, warm Polartec Power Stretch or Polartec Thermal Pro underwear (e.g. Sivera Snowy). I often wear this thermal underwear for entire hikes without taking it off because it breathes, wicks moisture keeps you warm, is easy to wash, and dries quickly.
- When sleeping, it is best to have merino wool thermal underwear. This is good because it has no smell for a long time. Imagine three people going on a ski trip for three weeks. We slept there in this thermal underwear, with which all unpleasant sensations were minimized. You can walk in it and sleep in the synthetic. This type of thing is also possible. Everything here is very personal.
C. Second layer – wool or down sweater
A down sweater is a very light jacket insulated with down or synthetic material. It can replace wool sweaters because it is warmer, lighter, and can be packed in smaller volumes. The combination of wool and film is a more familiar and versatile option, although opinions differ in this regard. However, in warmer regions, down will work as a down jacket.
D. The third layer is the film jacket
The main purpose of a membrane jacket is to protect you from heavy rain. The choice of the membrane should not be based on waterproofness, but on breathability – all modern membranes can withstand rain and compete precisely for breathability under high aerobic loads.
Beginners may not feel any difference because the membrane only breathes when there is a pressure difference between the inside and outside. This means that it is normal for it to be hot on the inside before it starts working. But at this point, many people unbuckle the vents, the pressure balances out and the membrane doesn’t work. And you just need to be patient for a while.
E. Fourth layer – powder puff, if needed
If you are going to cold areas, to mountains with snow, to spend the night on a glacier, etc., you need not only a down jacket but also a regular down jacket.
F. Take a hat
No matter what the weather is like, you must wear a head covering. It doesn’t matter if it’s hot, cold, mosquitoes, sun, or tree branches. You can even sleep in it. A water bottle is the most versatile; it comes in thin and warm.
G. Don’t forget rain protection
You will need one whenever and wherever you are, except maybe in the desert in July. A poncho to cover yourself and your backpack is a good choice.
H. Always need separate sleeping gear
You should sleep in dry and clean clothes. Therefore, you should have a set of thermal underwear in your closet and change completely before going to bed.
What Else Can I Carry with Me?
Mat. This is half of the insulation in the tent. We are often colder down there than up there because the cold comes from the ground and we can’t warm the ground. There are many mats available, but there are two choices around the world.
The most popular choice now is a good camping foam pad, which is really warm, doesn’t absorb water, and is light enough. Classic polyurethane foam is only suitable for use in limited conditions, such as hiking in the Midlands. Spending the night in the snow is a bad idea.
A second option is self-inflating mats; they pack smaller but provide the same or better insulation. However, they are more expensive and need to be handled more carefully. For example, don’t wear them on the outside of your pack somewhere in the taiga, although you can do so in the Alps or Nepal. Self-inflating pads are for aspiring adults who know what they’re doing with their gear. In the hands of children, any gear can fall into disrepair three times faster than in the hands of adults.
- a headlamp and spare batteries. A headlamp, because you need your hands free to pitch your tent, collect firewood, and go to the bathroom in the dark, after all. My two most battle-hardened flashlights come from two of the world’s leading competitors. One is lighter and the other is more powerful.
- Hiking poles. Hiking poles are a good idea if you’re not going on a water trip but on foot. They can be clipped in, which is cheaper, easier, and in most cases sufficient, but sometimes the clips can get clogged or frozen with sand. There are poles with clips, and they are much more convenient and reliable. For example, the high-performance expedition pole has been with me for 8 years.
- sleeping bag and pajamas for sleeping. 66 lbs (30 liters) of seal can hold a sleeping bag and spare clothes for sleeping – this is the best capacity.
- personal utensils: cups, spoons, bowls, and water bottles or drinking systems. You can use these utensils as a set, or individually. It is best to have a metal cup or bowl so that you can use it to boil water. In fact, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to warm a glass of water over a fire with frozen hands while hiking in the Alps in order to survive, but it can’t hurt. Whether you need a knife is debatable. It should be in the group, but not every participant needs one.
- hammock. Protect your feet from snow, water, and mud getting into your boots. Not necessary on camping trips where there is no snow, but otherwise very useful.
B. Important little things
- Documents and money. Everything is in one airtight package. Passports, visas, insurance policies, paper contact information for family and friends, phone numbers for local emergency services and embassies – there are a lot of subtleties abroad that you don’t know about. In addition, you can put your wallet, power bank, keys, flashlight, matches, and batteries inside. Everything should be in an airtight package so that it will remain functional in all weather.
- Personal hygiene items (soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, toilet paper, towels) If you go to another country, it’s a good idea to bring your favorite shampoo, because you probably won’t be able to buy it anywhere. And a razor – I went to Indonesia and couldn’t find one for a month. It was hot there and I wanted to shave, but I didn’t think to bring a razor.
- compass and paper maps, because cell phones or navigators can run out of power quickly. Of course, maps and compasses need to know how to use them.
- a rescue blanket. It doesn’t weigh much or cost much, but it can save your life. In a pinch, it can be used as a tablecloth or spread out in the tent vestibule to take off your shoes.
- Matches or lighter. There is also a flamethrower, but I wouldn’t count on it as a primary source of the fire.
- A personal first aid kit. It should contain all the specific medications that help treat your favorite ailments. I have bronchial asthma – I carry an inhaler with me. Many cases happen, especially to children, even though they are sent to the camp by adults. You ask a child, what’s wrong, why are you short of breath? He says he has asthma. He says he has asthma and there’s no medication in the first aid kit for asthma. That’s why it’s important, it can save your life. There have been cases where you can’t save your life because you don’t have the right medication. Even if you are in the Alps, a helicopter may fly in from a resort and you may not make it. Also, allergies, contraindications, etc. should be written down on a piece of paper and the leader, your tablemates and others in the group should know this.
And the most important thing you need to bring on your trek is your mind. Study reports from other trekkers, read our blog and YouTube channel – there is a huge knowledge base of trekkers. For example, read “Hiking School” and “How to choose and use gear”. And go camping more often!