I was lucky to have a friend who had done quite a bit of trekking. This time he decided to take me along with him. I did not have to worry about anything as I had someone to guide me for planning and preparing for the trek.
In case you wish to go alone or with one companion, it is advisable to book through professionals. There are tones of information available online about places and about trekking companies who gives you full support. Even if they only guide you with basic information and their staff will be with you during the trekking, that's enough because the experience that you get from a trek is entirely different and companies can only play a supporting role just to make you feel a little safe.
CHOOSING A RIGHT TREK - If it's the first time, choose easy to moderate.
We booked through Indiahikes - friendly staff, keeps you up-to-date with basic information that would help you prepare for the trek. If you exercise daily, keep it going. Increase cardiovascular exercises a little more before the trek. If you are a person who goes to the gym like youngsters go to the temple now a day, pull up your socks and start running/jogging/walking 2-3 miles every day at least a month before the trek. If you have booked the trek through professional, like India hikes in my case, they will assist you and push to make you trek fit before it starts. It is very important as your body is not accustomed to high altitude, exhaustion, vigorous cardio that to in the mountains. No matter how easy the trek is, it can still be very difficult if your body doesn't acclimatize to it quickly. Even if you have a slight headache, your experience won't be worth remembering.
Don't shop as if you are on a holiday, especially for girls. You only carry the things that you need, I mean really need. You might not even take bath during your trek due to water scarcity and sustainability, due to no hot water or due to very cold water that can be bad for your health.
My trek was for 5 days, so I took a warm jacket, 2 thermals, one pajama, couple of t-shirts, that's it.
But it depends on trek duration and the amount of cold weather you will find. Gather the right information about the trek before you shop. Carry whatever you think you need to use during the trip. If you are skeptical that you might use it if this happens or that happens, don't carry it. You might end up carrying it and not using it which only increase your backpack weight. I can assure you that you can manage to survive and thrive with whatever you have during the trek, no need for extra clutter.
BUYING RIGHT KIND OF TREKKING SHOES
The most important thing during the trek are your shoes. They are life saviors. Having a right amount of information about the trek is very important. If you are unsure about shoes, just go to Decathlon and they will assist you. In case your trek journey involves snow, water proof shoes are must.
I bought the basic decathlon trekking shoes, though my trek involved snow, my shoes were not water-proof. Fortunately, I had to cover only 3-4 kms of the trek in snow but still my shoes were wet and I had to deal with this discomfort while trekking but not for long, so I managed. You don't do the same mistake, I was lucky not to have faced serious problems but trekking while shoes are wet can cause some serious damage to the feet, especially if you wear them for longer period of time.
While buying a rucksack, make a list of things you require and the amount of space you need. It depends upon the duration of your trek and most importantly how much weight you can carry while walking miles and miles. Thus, the quality bag pack and with great padding is essential. It should feel comfortable on your shoulder and you should feel that it is the part of your body weight. If it feels this way, it is right kind.
I got a 55-litre Rucksack from my friend. For 4-5 days' trek, 45-60 litre Rucksack is perfect. My experienced friend was always there to help me with preparation for the trek.
I carried the following mandatory things for the trek (advised by India hikes)
- Snow gloves
- 2-3 pairs of warm socks
- Raincoat/Poncho: It can rain anytime in the mountains
- Shades: as it is mandatory if it is a snow trek.
- Trekking Stick: It is the best companion while trekking, according to me - It saves a lot of energy, makes walking easy - you get used to it in few hours and it will help you during the whole trek.
NOW THE BEST PART