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Essential Trekking Advice

By Sean Mahon

Posted: 9th March 2015 14:40

The trekking routes in Nepal contain some of the most challenging and enchanting trails in the world. The sometimes strenuous routes are completely justifiable once you venture into the unexplored world of glistening snowy peaks in the winter at Everest Base Camp, or savour the sight of a dense sea of greenery and beautiful wildlife in the spring of the Annapurna range. Whatever the case, even if you’re a first timer or seasoned traveller, Nepal trekking is for you. The only question is: why aren’t you there already? We have compiled a few essential tips to ensure your once in a lifetime trip is memorable for all the right reasons.

Getting the right equipment

Consult the checklists on the essentials, but more importantly remember that you can rent equipment while you’re out there. In Pokhara you can easily rent a range of equipment, from overcoats to sleeping bags (and of course, mittens). This is particularly useful if you’re travelling to more than one country. Nevertheless, these are some of the highly recommended items to take with you:

·         Windproof jacket and raincoat

·         Water bottles and water purification tablets

·         Quick - dry towel and essential toiletries

·         Batteries for cameras (they’ll be a lot of photo opportunities!)

·         Passport photos for your trekking permits

·         Pack multiple layers and thermals (it’ll get colder the higher you travel)

·         The correct footwear! Even if you’re on a budget, you can afford to spend some extra money on the appropriate footwear.

Get some help

Getting help by hiring guides and/or porters is recommended. Their expertise and experience are invaluable to your trip, providing, of course, knowledge of the route, and also information on various hotspots you will find on the way. Be sure to interview 2 or 3 guides, whether it be through an agency or an individual in the local area, as you’ll be trekking for up to 22 days, depending on your package, and you will want the best experience as possible. Going through agencies is usually your best bet when securing guides and/or porters, although it will be a lot easier and cheaper to contact individuals in the local area. Be sure to find guides for a specific region – the general rule is the Pokhara is best to find guides for the Annapurna region, and Kathmandu for the Everest Base Camp route.

Your Itinerary

Many packages allow you to travel to Kathmandu before transferring to the trails. But many packages don’t enable flexibility on your trip. Itineraries are a structured way of going about your journey. But it is just that: your journey. Fly out a day or so before in order to acclimatise and enjoy yourself in the city. The capital of Nepal, Kathmandu, offers an array of historical temples and cultural attractions.  Our advice would be to open up the Nepali cultural and spiritual vein and immerse yourself in the bustling nightlife before embarking on your journey.

Carb-loading and Water moderation

On some routes, you will be trekking for over seven hours a day, and if you choose to take the Annapurna circuit in the north, altitudes can reach a peak of 5,416m. The night before your trek you should eat large amounts of carbohydrates, including potatoes, pasta and rice, and top up your stores in the morning. These levels of energy can remain at a steady level by eating snacks along the way. These should consist of food that releases energy slowly, such as fruit and nut mixes, fruit bars, and, of course, the all - important bananas.

Water consumption should be maintained, but also regulated. Over-drinking, thinking that you can never have enough, is not recommended. This causes a lethal imbalance of salt and sugar levels - drink only when thirsty. 

Don’t be put off

The central facet to take away from this article is that this is your journey. Don’t listen to keyboard warriors’ scaremongering and putting everybody off their trip. Consult the internet for advice, of course, but avoid looking into internet forums detailing how fit you should be, or how tall you should be, etc. Stick to what you know and what you want to do, take advantage of your incredible opportunity.

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