Trekking is certainly an wonderful experience. The wonderful experience comes at a cost. Cost of things, cost of fitness, cost of discipline. There are few basic things to carry, basic rules & behaviour to follow.
Things to Carry :
Once the trekking destination is known, one can list down the things to carry. Here is the list that one need to carry if the destination is near zero or little sub zero climate. If the location is tropical, one need not carry warm clothing mentioned in the list.
Certainly this list does not cover a trip to Antarctica or Mount Everest. This intends to cover the destination for not more than 15000 to 18000 Ft altitude with temperature not below -10 ‘C, for a duration not more than 15 days.
It is also assumed that the trek is organised by an well-known group led by experienced trek leaders. If some one is on a solo, things do change. The few of the optional items become essential, like GPS, Maps, Compass etc.
I have not listed sleeping bags, and tents, assuming that the organising agency provides the same. If not, one must carry own tents and sleeping bags.
If carefully planned the items are not going cost a fortune. Many of these items can be easily rented depending upon the city one resides at.
Over all the weight of back pack must not be more than 5 to 6 kgs. At higher altitude even a 100 gm feels like a kg. At some places one may get a porter or a pony but at additional cost.
If the trekker is also a photographer he / she invariably carries camera bag with additional lenses. Plan, expect what to shoot and carry the lenses only needed. No point in carrying a super zoom 600 mm lens if the destination is not for birding and wild life sanctuary. Carry additional batteries, and memory cards. At most of the higher places, there won’t be any power.
Basic rules and behaviour while on the trek :
Follow the trek leaders advice. Ask questions if not clear and get them clarified. Not knowing the rule is no excuse.
Follow locals rules, regulations, norms and respect local people and their traditions.
Pre arrange & carry all the necessary permits, ID cards. If the trek is organised by an agency then they are expected to arrange for the same. Some locations need prior permission from local authorities. Some locations are out of bound by regulation, even if one likes to enter for a simple purpose of clicking a picture.
Be sensitive while clicking the photograph of people. One may not like to be photographed.
You will be sleeping in a tent on a sharing basis. You will be with many strangers. Little adjustment and cooperation is necessary to make the trek enjoyable. Tent and washrooms will not be as same as your house.
Same goes with Food. Do not expect Italian Pizza. Do not binge. That is not the purpose you came here. A light stomach keeps you fit and healthy through out the trek. Drink lots of water on the trek. Share and consume your dry fruits on the way. Never consume alcohol during the trek.
Never venture out in the night alone. If you need to go out for a nature call, take a torch with a buddy along.
Do not astray on the trek. Stick to the group. You may other wise get lost.
Keeping Fit :
Keeping fit is an universal necessity, not just for trekking. I am sure, an unfit person would not venture out for an Himalayan trekking. Generally a fit person also must prepare for the trek for about a month at least, if he /she is not a regular walker / runner / Cyclist. Practice brisk walk or run for 45 minutes a day with a little weight on your back for a month before the trekking day.
High altitude sickness can happen to anyone, even to the most fit, experienced person. Acclimatisation is key. Never ignore it.
Whatever I have written is out of my personal experience with my previous treks that I enjoyed. I hope this provides a guiding principle to anyone who wants to enjoy the trek. However he or she must take care in all the aspects of the trek by themselves.
All the pictures that I used in this post – courtesy – Internet. Not mine.