Thursday, October 9, 2014

10 Essentials: Being Prepared to Trek in Nepal

There is an age old list called the ‘Ten Essentials’, it was developed in the 1930’s by a climbing and outdoor adventure group in the Seattle, Washington who called themselves The Mountaineers. At first glance this list may seem to be overkill if you are planning on going out for a day trip, but being knowledgable of this list could end up saving you much hassle and time.

  1. Navigation (map and compass)
    • A map or compass won’t be necessary if you have a local guide as they will know exactly where they are going. However if you are heading out alone these are a must have. Unless you are familiar with the trail you are taking than knowing which direction you are heading could be the difference between a great day and miles of frustration.
  2. Sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen)
    • Sun protection is a must, especially at high altitude where the UV rays of the sun are even more powerful. Try to find sunglasses and a sunscreen which block out both UV and UVB rays.
  3. Insulation (extra clothing)
    • Insulation isn’t always a must if you are in warm weather but do some homework and check the weather. Does the temperature drop dramatically at night? It is often better to have more warm clothes than you need. I strongly suggest a rain/windproof jacket as well. 
  4. Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)
    • If you are going out for a half day trip starting in the morning than having a headlamp with you may be extra weight, but if you have a lightweight lamp than it can’t hurt to trow it in your pack just in case. If you know you'll be out overnight than make sure to put one of these in your pack.
  5. First-aid supplies
    •  A good guide will carry first aide supplies but a lightweight simple kit is inexpensive enough that its worth bringing with you. As with all of these items, it may not seem necessary but being prepared for the unexpected will come in handy more than one would expect, even on short trips.
  6. Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candles)
    • A lighter is not heavy and doesn’t take up much room so why not bring it? Chances are better than not that you will not need to build a fire for survival but maybe you’ll get a craving for some smores, who knows?
  7. Repair kit and tools
    • This applies more specifically to cycling than trekking but a small repair kit is a must and is again something your guide should have. It won’t hurt to double check with your guide before you leave on the trip to make sure he has some of these essentials. If you are camping with a tent than having something to patch holes is a good idea. 
  8. Nutrition (extra food)
    • Having a little food is a most important piece of this list, no matter how short of a time that you plan to be on the trail. It can be as simple as some nuts, a banana, peanut butter or a trail bar. Nuts are high in calories and fat which is great for your body during extending activity and the fruit has some vitamins that you will surely be craving. If you have a sweet tooth than I would recommend some dark chocolate. 
  9. Hydration (extra water)
    • This is the only thing on this list more important than having extra food. If you body is not properly hydrated it will not work at its optimum capacity. For more information please click here to see a full article about: Staying Hydrated in a Sustainable Way. (INCLUDE LINK)
  10. Emergency shelter
    • This was a late addition to the list by The Mountaineers, but who am I to say its not necessary? I will however say it is one of the more precautionary items on the list. You will need to examine your situation and what you plan on doing to decide if this will be an item you pack. 

Some items that did not make it on the list but are worth thinking about depending on your geographic location are:
  1. Insect Repellent
  2. Whistle
  3. Cellphone, two way radio, or even a sighting mirror. 
  4. Knife or Multi tool 
  5. Have an understanding of the terrain and general area you will be in. Knowledge is power. 
Photo borrowed from: 

About the author:

Vincent Morano is a travel photographer and writer. He grew up in Boston, Massachusetts but has spent the last 6+ months traveling through in Asia. Vincent is known for traveling with only a 50mm lens so his work heavily consists of culture and portrait shots which can be seen on his blog: 


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