According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, trekking is defined as:
The activity of walking long distances on foot for pleasure.
It’s this “pleasure” part we want to help you with. We assume, as a human being, you’re pretty well acquainted with putting one foot in front of the other, otherwise known as walking. And with a little effort and training, scaling it up to cover longer distances isn’t out of your reach either. But to ensure that a trek doesn’t become a slog, we’ve put together this beginners guide. After all, our mission is to inspire and enable more people to walk with nature. So we want you to enjoy your time out there.
Yes, you can walk. But can you walk several days in a row, with a backpack, on uneven, undulating terrain all the while not enjoying a good rest in your own bed at night? With good preparation the answer is yes. Without it, hmm, perhaps not.
Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, Corsica’s GR20 or the Everest Base Camp Trek maybe aren’t what we’d call beginner trails. Not saying that you couldn’t accomplish them. But, to maximise enjoyment and minimise mishaps and misery, we’d say go for something a little less intimidating for your first long-distance trek.
A daily distance of 15-20km on flattish terrain is what we suggest for beginners doing hut-to-hut treks. If you’re camping, you will want to take more breaks, so 12-17km is more realistic. As soon as you start adding hills and mountains 10-15km is a better goal.
Read guidebooks, use online forums, ask that friend that’s trekked through India. Get acquainted with maps. You cannot rely on your mobile phone’s GPS working at all times.
We can’t stress enough how important your clothing is to your welfare and general trek enjoyment.
Then just wrap up or peel off layers as necessary. Remember, when you stop don’t wait until you’re cold to add a layer. Then it’s too late. Put that extra layer on beforeyou start to shiver. And try to avoid excessive sweating. Sweaty arm pits are normal when trekking; but a soaking wet back is not – you’re wearing too many layers. Either slow down and rest or take off a layer.
Short but frequent breaks are best when long-distance trekking, with a slightly longer rest for lunch. We recommend taking five minutes every hour. During this time sit down, take off your boots and backpack, put on your jacket, sip some water and snack on some food. Avoid big meals during shorter breaks and don’t guzzle down the entire litre of water in your bottle. If you’re that hungry and thirsty you need to think about taking a longer rest to recuperate your body a little.
Plan to trek for no more than six hours per day. And get an early start. You don’t want to be rushing to get to your destination before dark.
So that trekking remains a wonderful experience for all, there are a few little rules of etiquette you should follow:
That’s it! Now it’s time to get out and fall in love with long-distance trekking. We’ll see you out there.