Here is a list of five things you need to take on your next expedition in the mountains:
Comfy worn in boots
The most essential piece of kit you’re going to need is a pretty obvious one; but yes, having a good comfy pair of worn-in trekking boots. You maybe already have a pair of trekking or hillwalking boots that you use every weekend at home. But also take into account the altitude and temperatures you are going to be in when away on your expedition. This might mean you need to go and buy a new pair that’s more suited to the conditions. Do your research before heading into your local climbing / outdoor store. Have a look online at what boots are getting good reviews and why.
I’d always recommend going into your local outdoor store when buying a new pair of trekking boots. A member of staff will be trained with fitting out and checking that the boots you’re trying on are a good fit for you. Try on a few different pairs to see what pair you like best. Another factor to take into consideration is the price. The most expensive pair might not always be the best pair for you. Once you have found a pair that fits well and you’re happy with, its time to wear them in.
Make sure you gave yourself sufficient time to do this as you will no doubt be wearing these boots all day and every day when you are away on the expedition. Wear them at every opportunity, walking to work, at your desk, around the house and out doing some walks at the weekends. I’ve seen some horrific blisters from ill-fitting and not worn in boots and that can really mess up your whole experience away. These boots are the only piece of kit physically between you and the mountain. So they have to be right for you.
You can also choose to walk in trail running trainers, these are super comfy, lightweight and easy to wear in but they do have significantly less support around the ankle which can be quite risky the higher up you get and the ground becomes a lot more uneven.
I’d recommend packing a couple of these into a small toiletry / first aid bag. On each expedition I’ve been on there is always a handful of people that get upset stomachs and this help a lot. Even if you just feel ill and a bit under the weather these sachets will help get them much needed vitamins and minerals back into your body to keep you fighting fit. Water treatment and food sources can be very different in other countries hence why our bodies are not used to the conditions. Even if you don’t end up using them, they weigh nothing, take up very little room and maybe someone else in your team will be grateful for them.
Yeah, another point dealing with every day bodily functions but this one was a brilliant idea that a few people had done on previous expeditions I’d been on and were a bit grossed out with to begin with. It also comes in slightly handier to males rather than females I’m afraid. So you have an old Nalgene water bottle sitting about the house? Take it with you and very clearly mark it saying “Pee Bottle” or something along those lines, also make sure it’s a wide-mouthed bottle (Just makes things easier).
This will come in very handy through the night when trying to get in as much rest as possible, some of the toilets can be very tricky to get to and require you to get a good few layers of clothes on too. Just roll over or sit up, grab your bottle and pee away and id definitely say to practice this a couple of times before going away. Then in the morning just dispose of the contents into the toilet when you are up. If you at a higher altitude and taking Diamox, one of the side effects is that it makes you pee a lot and at any time of the day, so there will be nothing worse than having to get up through the night 2-3 times just to go to the toilet.
Sweets / Candy
You’re now into your 5th day of trekking and coming onto your 6th hour of walking that day. Sometimes you just need a small pick-me-up in these times of need. Take one or two packets of your favorite sweetie/candy and divide it up into smaller packets if needed. I say this because if you have them in one big packet, you will just eat the whole thing in 5 minutes after opening it. It happens. These will give you a nice boost from all the sugar to keep you going. These can end up taking up a big of weight in your backpack. So once you are in the country of your expedition, hit up a local shop and stock up. There might even be some small shops on the expedition route so stock up while you can.
Last but not least, Cash. In this day and age, we use less and less hard cash on a day-to-day basis. But this is not the case up in the mountains. You won’t find many if any cash machines or contactless card payments up there. So bring enough cash with you up into the mountains, maybe even slightly more than you think. You never know what you might have to pay for or need. At the end of your trip, I’m sure you will manage to spend some of the extra pennies on a few well-earned beverages and snacks.
Also, speak to your guide/expedition leader before heading up into the mountains but there is usually a collection/tip at the end of the trip for the porters and sherpas that helped carry equipment and bags up the mountain and back down for you. These folks really deserve every penny.
So that’s my 5 essential things you will need to take on your next expedition. There are a lot more things you will need that are also essential. But these are ones that are sometimes overlooked or you might not even know about. If you are planning an expedition and are looking for some advice/training to get you in the fittest shape possible, then head over to our website Trek & Climb Fitness.
By Stuart from Trek And Climb Fitness