As specialists in walking and trekking holidays, it is our job to make sure we help you get the best out of all of your ventures. Therefore we’ve put together a simple guide on what you should do to prepare for your first trek.
How To Prepare For Your First Trek
Adventure is all about doing things that scare you a little but give you an exhilarating experience and feeling. Trekking is the type of adventure which, if poorly prepared for, can go south quickly.
1. Choose a trek that suits your fitness level
On our High Places treks, we grade each trip based to the terrain, general weather conditions in the area and amount of walking involved. Our grades are as follows:
Fairly Easy – for all recreational walkers
Steady – hill walking and and camping background advisable
Steady Plus – As Steady but with varying extra demands eg. Remoteness, altitude, long days, weather, lack of comforts.
Tough – Regular hill walking background advisable. May involve some backpacking – always stated in trip description.
Expeditions – Experience of mountains in both summer and winter advisable.
If this is your first ever time trekking, we would highly suggest booking a trip with a trekking company. Not only will they be able to best advice you on what to take and insurances etc, you will have constant support from their guide. This option is also great if you plan on trekking alone as group trips are ideal for solo trekkers. Alternatively you can book with friends and still have expertise guidance.
Now, as excited as you may be to get out there, carefully assess your fitness level. Pushing yourself on a trek will only exhaust you and ruin the wonderful experience you could have had. Even if you have hiking experience , don’t underestimate the toughness of some treks. Before booking, research the trail and ask the company questions about what to expect.
2. Research the trek.. thoroughly
So you’ve picked a trekking trail and are eager to read on… but hold on! There’s still a little bit of research preparation to do. Before you go anywhere you need to look into the terrain of the area. Read blogs about the trek and find reviews of trekking that particular trail. Finding out about the weather will also help you know what to pack. If you have booked (or are going to book) a trip through a travel agency, look through all the resources they provide you with. This should be a kit list, detailed itinerary and any other important info (insurances etc). With the detailed itinerary at hand, you should have specific lengths of walking time and altitude heights (depending on the trek grade). Take all of this into consideration when deciding if the it is the best trek for you.
3. Invest in good gear
Before you even begin physically preparing yourself, good gear is a must. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive just equipment and clothing that will help you conquer the trail. These are just the basic, if you choose to trek with a company, they should give you a kit list.
Be prepared for changes in the weather during the trek. To prepare for wetter weather, pack base layers along with trekking t-shirts/trousers and at least 4 pairs of thick socks. Pack a fleece/cardigan, warm padded jacket and a raincoat so you can layer up when it gets really nippy. Don’t pack too heavy, not matter how long your trek is, you usually don’t need much at all (but don’t forget your underwear).
Getting the right footwear is vital (nobody likes walking in wet shoes) so opt for waterproof trekking boots from a recommended brand. Test them before buying and make sure to break them in before the trek to ensure maximum comfort.
What backpack you get is entirely up to you. However, we do recommend it to be medium sized and waterproof. When you start physically preparing for your trek, be sure to practice packing and walking with your bag to get used to the weight. We also recommend using a walking pole as they reduce the stress put on your legs and knees.
5. Physically prepare yourself
Now you can really get into the adventurous spirit! Your physical strength will be immensely important on this trek. You don’t need to be in the gym 24/7 but we do recommend walking at least 10km a day or jogging 7-8km. Once you are comfortable walking long distances, your leg strength and stamina need to build. Start building your stamina with cycling, squatting, lunges etc and begin practice walking on different terrains and in different weather. It doesn’t sound fun when you’re not walking through beautiful scenery, but it will be worth it!
6. Eat well
The last important thing to consider is what you fuel your body with, especially leading up to the trek. Try to not fill up on junk food as this will greatly impact your energy and performance when walking. Instead, fill up on protein, veggies and lots of water. On the trek, you will want to take a lot of small snacks and energy boosters (e.g protein bars). Choose snacks like nuts that will give you energy and fill you up. Plus don’t forget water!
7. Talk to other trekkers – join groups
You’re almost there! You have a trek planned, you’re physically prepared and ready to go! Now might be a good time to reach out to other trekkers. This could be in a local social group or on a Facebook group. Get connecting and ask experienced trekkers if there’s anything else you can do to prepare. You may also meet other people trekking in the same area as you at the same time.
So there you have it! The more preparation you do, the more time you can spend taking in the scenery, culture and experience on the trek. Please leave any questions you have in the comments and if you have experience trekking, what advice would you give to first-timers?