If you have gone on a solo trek before, you probably know this already but if you are a trekking virgin, welcome to this crash course on how to pack like a completely solo trekking pro.
First things first, get a 70-90L backpack with padded straps and as many bells and whistles as you like. It could be waterproof, have an in-built battery pack, compartments for everything from bottles, medical kit and slippers to compass, camera and utensils. It could also be a very basic backpack. What is most important is the stuff you are carrying in it.
In some parts of America, if someone asks you if you are carrying or packing, it refers to whether you are armed, but in the Himalayas, if you find someone waiting outside your tent to ask you if you are carrying, they are referring to either sunscreen and/or toothpaste. #HandyTip
Do the right thing. Pack your own toiletries. Transfer some quantities from discount sized bottles into smaller travel sized (100mL, 50mL) bottles.
In terms of clothing, apart from innerwear (to be honest, we are not sure if that goes without saying), carry light, functional clothing apart from heavy outerwear (sub-zero wear) which is mandatory after September in some parts of the Himalayas. Watch our youtube video/ some youtube videos on how to fold roll your clothes to fit better in your backpack. Wear your waterproof trekking shoes, which are necessary for snow, rain treks unless you want to risk having soggy, smelly, cold and numb feet and if you ask us, carry a raincoat too. Here at HW, Help Ponchos will always be given to those who ask for it.
Things to never forget:
2. Spare set of Thermals (No one will judge you if you wear both sets at the same time)
As someone should have wisely said, Better carry a heavy bag than empty stomachs on cold nights. A heavy bag does not mean carrying a week’s worth of change of clothes for a 2 day trip but a bag well stocked for the conditions of the trek. If you are camping, apart from your camping gear, you need to account for the weight of packed food and/or utensils. That aside, it is never a bad idea to carry a couple of spare protein bars in the medical kit, for example.
Always carry a torch at night. 90’s Parents used to say this to their children and the world changed after phones started sporting torches. If you are planning to use your phone as a torch, make sure you have charged power banks.
Another useful thing to remember while packing is to minimise the waste and litter it will generate after use, because we at HW believe in having zero impact on the environment of the place we visit. We make sure to pack the litter and waste to be disposed safely later.
One hack to inflate the number of wardrobe changes you have packed, is to accessorize. If you are travelling in a group, feel free to share (with consent, of course). Now, since everyone has their own favourite selfie pose, they can use a variety of caps, hats, shrugs, goggles, scarves etc. Please avoid the trap of over-packing accessories over clothes. Another HW tip - Invest in reversible clothing.
So, have you packed your bag(s)? Is it too heavy? Look at the printout of our awesome and complete solo trekker kit graphic that you have stuck on your wall. Do the checklist. Now pat the pocket where you have a printout of your ticket and/or phone and set out for the trek, fully equipped with everything you will need on the trek. Packed like this, you will not only Trek once but trek often.