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Essential Backpacking Tips For Absolute Beginners: Backpacking is no more a Challenge

Tourist backpack and sleeping pad on a background of mountains, Georgia (Svaneti)

Johnny took his first backpacking trip. He was an amateur hiker. In this particular hike, he had travelled a long way, hiking over mountains and through some of the roughest terrain known to man. It was a grueling task, one that required stamina, patience, and endurance. After all that way, all that work, and all that effort, surely our hero Johnny deserves a good, long rest. A good night’s sleep, safe from the dangers of wildlife is just what the doctor ordered. The place was pitch black, the night young and quiet. All he needed was the comfort of the big, comfy tent………………………… which was missing! Apparently, amidst all the excitement, he had forgotten to pack it in. Basically, it was going to be a long night.

Moral of the story? Don’t be like Johnny. Backpacking and/or camping requires thorough preparation, physical capabilities and adequate equipment to do so successfully, and without harm. Failing to do so could at best lead to minor inconvenience, at worst……….

Let’s not go there. Instead, let’s talk about how you, our beginner backpacker, can avoid doing as Johnny, and go have a great experience on your first, or early, backpacking experience. We have previously published a post focusing Tips of your first trip.

Preparations For Backpacking Trip

First and foremost, you have to take various preparations before the hike itself. There are several things to consider when preparing, including navigation, travel time, distance and security. Here is a list of things that will be absolutely necessary. Also, depending on whether you are going to a beach or a hike, camping or a backpack, stuff will change.

MAP and GUIDEBOOK

Tourist backpack and sleeping pad on a background of mountains, Georgia (Svaneti)

This one is a no-brainer. The map is the best way to navigate across the hike. It will show you the way, help you plan your route and indicate the direction of the nearest town if something bad happens. In today’s world, many people use smartphone map apps, which could be a more portable, water-proof option over bulkier, paper maps.
The guidebook will give information that will help alongside the map in deciding how to plan the travel, such as easier ways to go, shortcuts that may be harder to pass through versus longer, easier routes, and so on. It will also give details on campsites that are popular, frequented backpacking routes and rules specific to a particular trail.

GEAR

There are two basic questions to answer when deciding what to take.

  1. Do I absolutely, positively, most definitely need it?
  2. If I don’t need it, will it make my journey any easier?


If either of the answers or both, is a no, then you don’t have to take it with you. Even though it is understandable if you want to bring certain familiar items from home, carrying as little as possible will make it easier to travel, organize and pack/unpack. Basically, anything that does not help with traveling, food, organizing, or disposing of waste can be left back home.

FOOD

Arguably the most important on the list, taking the right type of food is essential in having an easy travel. Obviously, it is impossible to cook extravagant, fulfilling meals on a campfire. It is also impossible to carry very many items to cook (and cook with!) on your travels.

The best approach to food is having ones that are simple and easily cooked and cleaned. The easiest choice is having meals that need boiling water, such as instant noodles. All you do is add boiling water to it, and soon enough you have edible noodles. If that isn’t good enough, most one-pot meals such as ramen noodles or angel hair pasta is a good alternative, since they require very little work to be put in. Lastly, if you are willing to put
in the work and time, take food that can be easily cooked over a campfire. Marinated chicken can be grilled over a fire, and so can vegetables like tinned mushrooms.

SKILLS

Finally, you will need to learn some basic skills before you set out. Whether you plan on going alone or with somebody, you need to learn how to pitch a tent. Nehru Institute of Mountaineering offers an Adventure Course which will teach you basics for you adventure trip. While this may seem simple, trust us when we say, PRACTICE! Practice, so that you can do it fast. This will save plenty of time for doing other things and also save you from potential embarrassment!

Another handy skill to have is knowing how to light a campfire from items found in nature. We are sure most people have seen it done on Nat Geo or Discovery, but it is hardly as easy as they make it seem. This is why it is important to learn this as well. Most people will likely carry a lighter, but in the event that it goes missing, this skill will help loads. Better safe than sorry!
One last skill that needs a shout-out is, well, one that most people would not want to shout out. Dealing with nature’s call in the middle of nowhere, what a terrific thought! Sadly, you must learn how to answer it while in nature’s territory, without a single toilet in sight.
Never thought you would miss those seats now, did you?

Check Out: Create Your Trek Story at Hampta Pass

EXECUTION

Now that you are set, let’s look at some practical advice when you are on the road itself.

STAY ON ESTABLISHED CAMPSITES
Any good camper will tell you that established campsites have the advantage of being easy to locate, and containing certain amenities such as bear-proof storage, which makes it easier to keep food. There are also certain places where setting up camp is more convenient, and where fresh water is within reach.
They are also more likely to have other people setting up camp nearby. Having people nearby, especially campers with more hands-on experience, will help you learn and get assistance from them. It also provides mental comfort, having other people to socialize with. It also helps keep away wild animals, because they tend to steer clear of areas where more people are located.

DELAY TRIP DURING BAD WEATHER
During the wetter seasons, it is best not to go camping. Rain not only adds more pressure on an already difficult experience, but it also takes out the fun. Make sure you schedule your trip in a manner where the weather is dry during the entire trip. If rain is forecasted, it wouldn’t hurt delaying by a week. Why get wet in the middle of nowhere, while going long distances and carrying a heavyweight?

WEAR LIGHT CLOTHES DURING BACKPACKING TRIPS
Having lighter clothing helps to move faster. Wear something comfortable, helps absorb sweat and also protects from the wear and tear of nature.

CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF
Always clean up whatever mess you make on the go. It is the right thing to do (you know it!) but it also makes it your campsite less prone to being discovered by wild animals.

Take our word for it. Be prepared, be smart, and be careful. The fun and excitement will come as long as you stay safe and sound.

55 Great Treks To Take Up In India

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Treks taking a new era of interests in today’s generation. Mountains calling is the new trend. Are you also searching for good treks to do for your next plan? India is no less. There is always a new route and another beauty in every corner you go. Continue with your adrenaline rush and look up for the 55 great treks to take up in India:

1. Chadar Trek

The icy winter trek along the frozen Zanskar River.

Chadar Trek
LocationLeh-Ladakh
Duration9 Days
Altitude
3470 m
Level
Moderate-Difficult
Best Time
January-February

 

2. Valley of Flowers Trek

A must trek for the nature lovers.

Valley of Flowers
LocationUttarakhand
Altitude3505 m
Duration6 Days
LevelEasy-Moderate
Best TimeMid July-End August

3. Gangotri-Gomukh-Tapovan Trek

Look up for the source of holy river Ganga.

Gangotri-Gomukh-Tapovan
LocationGarhwal, Uttarakhand
Altitude4463 m
Duration11 Days
LevelModerate-Challenging
Best TimeMay-June, August-October

4. Singalila Kanchenjunga Trek

Trek for the marvellous view of Kanchenjunga peak.

Singalila Kanchenjunga
LocationSikkim
Altitude4940 m
Duration20 Days
LevelModerate-Challenging
Best TimeMid March-May, September-October

5. Pangarchulla Peak Trek

A mesmerizing round trail trek with a challenging summit.

Pangarchulla Peak
LocationUttarakhand
Altitude4480 m
Duration7 Days
LevelModerate-Challenging
Best TimeAll through the year except monsoon

6. Markha Valley Trek

Experience the variants from the cold desert to the tea house treks with peaceful monasteries.

Markha Valley Trek
LocationLadakh
Altitude5150 m
Duration7-9 Days
LevelModerate
Best TimeMid June-Mid October

7. Kumara Parvatha Trek

The scenic Pushpagiri Trek which is not in the north.

Kumara Parvatha
Location Karnataka
Altitude 1712 m
Duration 2 Days
Level Moderate-Challenging
Best Time October-February

8. Darcha-Lamayuru Trek

Beat yourself by this Trans-Zanskar Trek Expedition.

Darcha Lamayuru
Location Ladakh
Altitude 5090 m
Duration 18-25 Days
Level Challenging
Best Time Mid June-Mid October

9. Roopkund Trek

Set your mysterious adventure experience.

Roopkund Trek
Location Uttaranchal
Altitude 4784 m
Duration 8 Days
Level Moderate-Challenging
Best Time May-October

10. Hampta Pass Trek

A trek to roam between two valleys known to be as Hampta pass. Also, take a glimpse of Chandratal Lake.

Hampta Pass
Location Himachal Pradesh
Altitude 4277 m
Duration 6 Days
Level Easy-Moderate
Best Time Mid June-Mid October

11. Chembra Peak Trek

Enjoy the panoramic view and the heart-shaped lake amidst the adrenaline rush.

Chembra Peak
Location Kerala
Altitude 2100 m
Duration 1 Day
Level Easy
Best Time All through the year except monsoon

12. Kuari Pass Trek

The Lord Curzon Trail to gaze the magnificent peaks with the grace of nature.

Kuari Pass
Location Garhwal, Uttarakhand
Altitude 3814 m
Duration 6 Days
Level Easy-Moderate
Best Time November-March

13. Nanda Devi Trek

Flora, fauna, national park and nature’s epitome in the lap of mountains.

Nanda Devi Trek
Location Garhwal, Uttarakhand
Altitude 4150 m
Duration 10 Days
Level Moderate-Challenging
Best Time May-June, September-October

14. Nag Tibba Trek

Trek with stunning views with pleasant weather on a long weekend.

Nag Tibba Trek
Location Uttarakhand
Altitude 3022 m
Duration 2 Days
Level Easy
Best Time All through the year

15. Goechala Pass Trek

Reach to the base of Kanchenjunga through rhododendron forests and snow-capped peaks.

Goechala Pass Trek
LocationSikkim
Altitude4602 m
Duration11 Days
LevelModerate-Challenging
Best TimeEnd April-End June, Mid September-End October

16. Pin Parvati Trek

Explore the Spiti Valley and monasteries crossing the Parvati River.

Pin Parvati
Location Himachal Pradesh
Altitude 5335 m
Duration 12 Days
Level Challenging
Best Time April-October

17. Dodital Trek

Trek within scenic beauty with a lake of cultural importance.

Dodital
Location Garhwal, Uttarakhand
Altitude 3307 m
Duration 6-7 Days
LevelEasy-Moderate
Best TimeApril-June, October-December

18. Stok Kangri Trek

The most magnificent treks for your higher peak treks.

Stok Kangri
Location Leh
Altitude 6152 m
Duration Challenging
Level 9 Days
Best Time May-Mid October


19. Kashmir Great Lakes Trek

This is another jewel of Kashmir. Gallivant in the amazing surroundings.

KGL
Location Jammu-Kashmir
Altitude 4206 m
Duration 8 Days
Level Moderate-Challenging
Best Time June-September

20. Dayara Bugyal Trek

Sum up the best experience of your life in the green beautiful meadows of Dayara.

Dayara Bugyal
Location Uttarakhand
Altitude 3674 m
Duration 6 Days
Level Easy-Moderate
Best Time April-June, End August-December

21. Milam Glacier Trek

It is the source of river Gori Ganga. This trek is truth to the imagination of a pleasing nature.

Milam Glacier Trek
Location Uttaranchal
Altitude 3800 m
Duration 11 Days
Level Moderate
Best Time May-June, September-October

22. The Shepherd Trail Trek

If your interest is to stay and look for the secluded villages and lifestyle that is different from those in metros, then this is your destination.

Shepherd Trail
Location Himachal Pradesh
Altitude 4450 m
Duration 18 Days
Level Moderate
Best Time Mid April-June, September-November

23. Rupin Pass Trek

It is one of the high altitudes of the trek with diversified trails.

Rupin Pass
Location Uttarakhand-Himachal
Altitude 4648 m
Duration 8 Days
Level Challenging
Best Time May-June, Mid August-October

24. Bhrigu Lake Trek

Beautiful lesser known small trek with best views.

Bhrigu Lake
Location Himachal Pradesh
Altitude 4270 m
Duration 4 Days
Level Moderate
Best Time May-October

25. Rajmachi Fort & Kondane Caves Treks

It is a weekend destination from Pune-Mumbai. Trek to the fort and explore it whole with good nature.

Rajmachi Fort
LocationMaharashtra
Altitude827 m
Duration2 Days
LevelEasy-Moderate
Best TimeJune-September

26. Parashar Lake Trek

It is a scenic, offbeat trek. Camp beside the lake and gaze the twinkling stars, any weekend.

Parashar Lake
Location Himachal Pradesh
Altitude 2730 m
Duration 2 Days
Level Easy-Moderate
Best Time All through the year

27. Har Ki Dun Trek

This trek is all trekkers delight taking them to the ancient villages between mountains and valleys.

Har Ki Doon
Location Uttarakhand
Altitude 3657 m
Duration 7 Days
Level Easy-Moderate
Best Time All through the year except monsoon

28. Indrahar Pass Trek

This trek could be done in two ways. Both the trek routes offer great experiences with the best of views.

Indrahar Pass
LocationHimachal Pradesh
Altitude4342 m
Duration 4 Days (if you come back from the same route) / 9 Days (if you descend from the other side)
Level Easy-Moderate/ Moderate-Challenging (depending on the route you choose)
Best Time May-October

29. Sham Valley/ Apricot Valley Trek

It is a sweet- small trek with varied experiences.

Sham Valley
Location Leh-Ladakh
Altitude 3750 m
Duration 3-4 Days
Level Easy-Moderate
Best Time May-Mid October

30. Tarsar Marsar Lake Trek

The twin lake trek with the heaven of exquisiteness.

Tarsar Marsar Lake
Location Jammu-Kashmir
Altitude 4115 m
Duration 7 Days
Level Easy
Best Time July-September

31. The Phuktal Monastery Trek

The most peaceful trek in a remote destination. Monastery settled over a cliff which could be reached just by foot.

Phuktal Monastery
Location Ladakh
Altitude 3850 m
Duration 7-8 Days
Level Moderate
Best Time July-September

32. Kedarkantha Trek

The best winter trek for the best chilling days with mountains.

Kedarkantha Trek
Location Uttarakhand
Altitude 3810 m
Duration 6 Days
Level Easy-Moderate
Best Time December-April

33. Deoriatal-Chandrashila Trek

Visit Chopta and Tungnath from Deoriatal to the Chandrashila Peak. List of places on the way to the summit.

Chopta
Location Uttarakhand
Altitude 3993 m
Duration 5-6 Days
Level Easy-Moderate
Best Time All through the year except monsoon

34. Brahmatal Trek

Picturesque beauty of streams with en-route challenges amidst Garhwal Mountains.

Brahmatal
Location Uttarakhand
Altitude 3704 m
Duration 6 Days
Level Moderate
Best Time Mid November-March

35. Pin Bhaba Pass Trek

A great alternative to its difficult version the Pin Parvati Pass Trek with varied experience each day.

Pin Bhaba Pass
Location Himachal Pradesh
Altitude 4909 m
Duration 8 Days
Level Challenging
Best Time July-Mid October

36. Kodachadri Trek

Flora, fauna, amazing landscapes and pretty waterfalls with peaks to fulfill adventure thirst.

Kodachadri Trek
Location Karnataka
Altitude 1343 m
Duration 2 Days
Level Moderate
Best Time September-February

37. Triund Trek

For a refreshing weekend getaway in the laps of mountains.

Triund Trek
Location Himachal Pradesh
Altitude 3199 m
Duration 2 Days
Level Easy
Best Time March-May, September-December

38. Sar Pass Trek

Rediscover  yourself with the beauty of majestic mountains.

Sar Pass
Location Himachal Pradesh
Altitude 4206 m
Duration 6 Days
Level Easy-Moderate
Best Time May-October

39. Buran Ghati/ Barua Pass Trek

Pass with a story of mountains, meadows, village and forests.

Buran Ghati
Location Himachal Pradesh
Altitude 4550 m
Duration 7 Days
Level Moderate
Best Time May-June, September-October

40. Sandakphu Trek

Take a glimpse of Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet on your trek with mesmerizing views and fauna.

Sandakphu Trek
Location West Bengal
Altitude3657 m
Duration6 Days
LevelModerate
Best TimeOctober-April

41. Pindari Glacier Trek

The easy accessible glacier in Kumaon Himayalas with package of full serenity.

Pindari Glacier Trek
Location Uttarakhand
Altitude 3353 m
Duration 8 Days
Level Easy
Best Time April-November

42. Kheerganga Trek

Mix up the spice of spiritual beliefs with adventure amidst mountains, waterfalls and lush greenery.

Kheerganga
Location Himachal Pradesh
Altitude 3050 m
Duration 2 Days
Level Easy
Best Time All through the year

43. Kareri Lake Trek

Sight for himalayan birds with colorful orchards on the way to one of the mountain lake.

Kareri Lake
Location Himachal Pradesh
Altitude 3650 m
Duration 7 Days
Level Moderate
Best Time May-June, September-October

44. Beas Kund Trek

Trek for the peaceful time beside the water body just as the Sage Vyas.

Beas Kund
Location Himachal Pradesh
Altitude 3892 m
Duration 4 Days
Level Easy-Moderate
Best Time Mid May-Mid October

45. Siang Valley Trek

If already done with a lot many treks in the north then this could differ with location and great culture.

Siang Valley
Location Arunachal Pradesh
Altitude 1829 m
Duration 11 Days
Level Moderate
Best Time October-February

46. Kalsubai Peak Trek

Highest peak in the Maharashtra region of western ghats for a thrilling weekend.

Kalsubai Peak Trek
Location Maharashtra
Altitude 1646 m
Duration 1 Day
Level Moderate
Best Time All through the year with varied experiences

47. Shumga Trek

For a wilderness experiences in the remotest areas of Kullu Valley.

Shumga
Location Himachal Pradesh
Altitude 3810 m
Duration 6 Days
Level Easy-Moderate
Best Time All through the year

48. Japfu Peak Trek

The lesser known yet beautiful trek in North- East region.

Japfu Peak
Location Nagaland
Altitude 3048 m
Duration 4-5 Days
Level Easy-Moderate
Best Time October-May

49. Chanderkhani Pass Trek

Walk between the deodar and pine trees with a window to breathtaking views of himalayas.

Chanderkhani Pass
Location Himachal Pradesh
Altitude 3648 m
Duration 5 Days
Level Easy-Moderate
Best Time May-November

50. Harishchandragad Fort Trek

Mixture of an architectural fort, temple, scenic views and adventure altogether at a most challenging trek in the Western Ghats.

Harishchandragad Fort
Location Maharashtra
Altitude 1422 m
Duration 2 Days
Level Moderate
Best Time October-December

51. Dudhsagar & Hivre Waterfall Treks

Amidst the beaches get some peaky adventure with water showers.

Dudhsagar Waterfalls
Location Goa
Altitude 320 m
Duration 3 Days
Level Easy-Moderate
Best Time June-November

52. Tadiandamol Trek

A beautiful serenic trek between the coffee plantations for your great weekend.

Tadiandamol
Location Karnataka
Altitude 1744 m
Duration 2 Days
Level Easy
Best Time October-February

53. Lonar Crater Trek

Go for an offbeat adventure and come back with lots of amazed facts and queries.

Location Maharashtra
Altitude 563 m
Duration 3 Days
Level Easy
Best Time October-March

54. Kudremukh Trek

This one for a forest trekking with rich sighting of flora and fauna.

Kudremukh
Location Karnataka
Altitude 1891 m
Duration 3 Days
Level Moderate
Best Time All through the year

55. Bhimashankar Trek

With lush green forests, flora and fauna this place provides a spectacular view of Sahyadri mountains.

Bhimashankar
Location Maharashtra
Altitude 1004 m
Duration 2 Days
Level Moderate-Difficult
Best Time All through the year

Every peak or mountain has its own beauty and charm. Thus, hike up more and more to reach the highest skies of thrill and experiences in your life. When done with all the adventure with mountains, also look up for Adventure in Water- Water Sports Destinations in India.

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