This is an introduction to the following 7 tips on preparing yourself for a trekking adventure. A trek can consist of backpacking, hiking or just walking through trails from your campsite. But one thing is for sure, if you've never done a trek that involves backpacking or hiking then there are things you should do and learn before you ever go it alone. If you are very fortunate and know a very experienced backpacker or hiker and they are willing to take you with them on quite a few of their treks then you can probably forego the 7 tips as they will be able to teach you in your travels together.
Before we go on let's light touch on what experienced means. It means someone who has engaged in lots of different trekking experiences in all types of weather conditions, in all types of terrain and is very well versed in survival techniques and application. Otherwise you should read and consider following the 7 tips as a basic guide before you ever even think about going on a trek alone.
The first tip to consider seriously is Research. Researching by reading and talking with other people who have done it before you are always a good and valuable way to get the right information about what ever task you want to undertake. Books on backpacking and hiking from the library are great sources of information, internet sites that have information on those topics are also good if you find the right ones that give you quality information. Joining online outdoor sites that specialize in backpacking and hiking can be a wealth of information and resources of such because except for newbies like you there are a lot of very experienced people on them that are more than willing to help with advice and instructions on how to go about it the proper way. There will always be different opinions but they still know what they're talking about because they've done it. Many of them have hundreds of miles under their belt and have deal with all the above references that was made above (lots of treks, weather conditions, terrain and survival. something you would want to do.
The second tip would be equipment and using common sense about it. Travel as light as you can. Backpack, clothing, tent, mat, hydration, backpacking stoves, fuel, pots and pans, medications (perhaps you're diabetic or have severe allergies), personal hygiene items (shampoo, deodorant, etc.) and a variety of other are just some of the possibilities of items that you want to take with you on your trek. The distance that you're planning on trekking can be a consideration for the amount of equipment and type that you need to take with you. The longer your trek the more definite you should be about what items you take with you. You never want to carry more weight than you can deal with in the first place because that can cause undue stress to your body and possibly injure your back in the process. That's why it's a good rule of thumb to only carry the essentials that you will need.
The third tip is take the time to do trial trail treks to get used to different situations, different environments, a variety of weather, and different terrains Anyone can go out and do a little trekking on a gorgeous summer day. But once you get out there things can change dramatically. You can go out on that beautiful summer day and the next thing you know it's pouring down rain, the wind is blowing like crazy and depending on the terrain, branching could be breaking off trees or the path could be getting muddy and slick. This is just one example of why you should do trial treks in different situations. By doing trial trail treks and gaining experience by learning how to deal with these different situations, it can sometimes make the difference between life and death. Ex. If you should trek out somewhere unknown and you have a topographical map but do not know how to use it or a compass and there again you are unfamiliar with how it works then to put it simply you are lost. So not only is it important to learn about weather patterns for the area that you will be hiking or backpacking in or the type of terrain that you will be traversing, it's also important to learn about how directional instruments work if you are going to carry one or how to navigate from the sky or how to read a topographical map along with taking your trial trail treks. It all goes together.
The fourth tip is make a decision. This concerns trying to hike or backpack and wanting to hunt and fish in the process. If you are planning on going on a long trek and take your time doing it then I guess this tip would be insignificant but if you want to make time on your trek to get from point A to point B within a reasonable amount of time then it just does not seem prudent to try to hunt and fish while you're on your trek as these are time consuming activities. If you do have the time then maybe it would be conceivable to hunt some small animals (squirrel, rabbit), along the way providing that you have the appropriate state license and it's the proper season for that particular animal. There are all kinds of great tasting trail food on the market that is very reasonably priced so unless you're just an avid hunter by nature and you have loads of time to kill make a decision which you would rather do. You can hunt at the appropriate times when you're not on a trek.
The fifth tip is make contingencies plans. The old adage states that, “Sometimes even the best laid plans can go awry”. This happens to be a fact of life. So prepare for such occurrences. This tip would involve trying to think of all the things that can go wrong. You know, Murphy's Law. Take along emergency kits in the event that you (and / or you're companions), get bit by a snake, get poison ivy or any number of other things that can happen while you're out on the trail. Plan for the inevitability of the weather by taking along a poncho and waterproof covers for your supplies. Make a plan in the event that you did not take along enough food or water or run short of other supplies. Consider other alternatives to a trail that may now be blocked off by the forestry service if you're traveling through a National Forest. In short make your plans and then think of anything you can that may go wrong and plan for it while still trying to take into consideration the overall weight of your pack.
The sixth tip is considering going with an experienced person. Surely you know someone that lives around you that an an experienced hiker / backpacker. If not, it seems almost a no-brainer that most states have clubs for people that like to hike and backpack. It's great to want to get out there and really take on nature on your own terms but if you're inexperienced that's not a very smart decision. The absolutely best way to learn about hiking and backpacking and camping is to go with someone that has done it numerous times before and takes the responsibility in doing it the right way. That means being careful, preparing properly for inevitabilities like weather, bears etc., knows how to pack all the necessary equipment without overloading with unnecessary items. Someone that knows survival techniques and has the knowledge of implementing them. Someone that knows any governmental regulations on land and waterways. These are all good thing to know when hiking and backpacking. Experienced hikers and backpackers may not know all these things at once but someone that is responsible will know who to contact to find out.
The seventh and final tip is: consider the elements of nature. Mother nature is an enigmatic force to be reckoned with. So it just stands to reason that you must remember that and take measures in accordance with that fact and prepare for any temporaryities. Make rain gear and lightweight tarps part of your essentials as part of your pack. If you're going to be trekking in areas where you may encounter snow and ice plan for that as well. By checking out weather patterns for the areas that you will be traveling in will give you foresight as to the possibilities of what to expect. If you use trekking poles make sure to take along the appropriate baskets and possibly snowshoes which can be very helpful in those areas. Doing your homework can be a pivotal point in the locations that you will be trekking in so plan ahead, do your research, have contingency plans, use common sense, do not take a lot of non-essentials, do trial trail treks if you 're new to trekking or consider going with someone much more experienced so you can learn from them as well as being able to actually participate in a trek. Most of all get out there and see and experience things that you would not by sitting on your couch. Once you have some experience under your belt invite your friends and family along to enjoy nature with you. You've been surprised how activities like that can bring people closer together and how much fun you can have and memories you can create.