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Preparing for your first Hike – Trekking with Indiahikes

Preparing for your first Hike – Trekking with Indiahikes

Unlike the many articles, you will find when you Google “Preparing for your first Hike“, this article is written by a first time hiker who has never hiked or camped before. I have absolutely no experience in hiking, below I will be listing things that I have bought, physical preparation and other aspects that might help first-time hikers like me.

I have always wondered what the difference was between trekking and hiking. The main difference between the two is that hiking is mainly a leisure activity which is done by walking on well-made trails and man-made roads. However, trekking is more rigorous, and a more challenging activity. It tests one’s physical ability, endurance, and even their mental or psychological capacity. (Source) With that out of the way, I can say that what we are attempting with the Deoriatal – Chandrashila Peak is partly trek and majorly hiking.

Preparing for your first Hike

Making the jump

Once I decided I was going for a hike, I began to research which trek I should embark on? For some reason, I found the IndiaHikes.com website to be superior in regards to design quality as well as the information provided per different hikes. It was not generic and for this reason, I decided to go with them for my first hike. The fact that one of my friends has earlier used them to hike the Valley of flowers also helped make the decision.

I spent a considerable amount of time going through their website and the treks/hikes they have to offer. I clearly understood that anything marked moderate or difficult was not for me. I zoomed in on the treks/hikes marked as easy. I read about Valley of flowers and wanted to know more about the trek. First I attempted to chat on Indiahikes Facebook page. I found the response to be extremely slow, hence I called them up. The lady who spoke to me explained that as a first-time trekker I would be advised to go for Deoriatal – Chandrashila Peak as it is more scenic and serene while the Valley of Flowers is thronged with pilgrims and that we won’t have the feeling of having hiked. Taking her word for it, I decided to go for the Deoriatal – Chandrashila Peak trek.

Choosing your team

While I loved my solo travel trip to France, there were instances where I felt a good friend could make a brilliant moment even better. From experience, when you plan a trip and want your friends to tag along, you should never ever force them on, or try to sell them the trip. You should only let them know where you intend to go and see if they want to go along. On more occasions that one, you will find that your good friends are not really bothered about where you are going but are more interested in the fact that you will be spending time together on a journey which could lead to some good memories for life. On this occasion, I created a Facebook event and shared the trip details with 6 of my friends. Two of them confirmed within minutes, without asking many details. So, there I was, a trek booked, 2 friends confirmed to travel with me.

Bookings, expenses & Itinerary

I proceeded with the bookings. The trek cost us Rs. 8900 per person. As a person from Andhra Pradesh, I will be embarking on a long journey just to reach base camp, which was Sari. To be precise, it will be a 4500 KMs round trip. Hence, it became all the more important that I took this opportunity to spend time en route. We decided to stop at Delhi for a day and planned a day trip to Agra. Travelling is not cheap and the tickets and stays cost us Rs. 35,000 per head. This included the Train tickets from Guntur to Secunderabad, the flight to New Delhi, the train to Haridwar, the car to Sari, accommodation at Haridwar and New Delhi and returns. I am expecting a further Rs. 25000 to be spent on travels, food, and other costs. This is excluding the costs of trek gear.

Preparing for your first Hike – Shopping list

What to buy and take on your first Trek?

Preparing for your first Hike involves a lot of shopping. While you will be given a basic list of what to take on your trek, nobody knows you better than yourself. Taking into account the list provided by Indiahikes and from around the web, I have decided to take the following for my 5 days/4 nights trek.

Arpenaz 300 Men’s Hiking Rain Jacket Rs. 2999

This is one of the best jackets I could find. Do take note that this will not provide you warmth. It will protect you from chilly winds and light rains.

 

Superdry Men’s Poly-Cotton Hoodie Rs. 3500

This is one of my favorite jackets and I feel very comfortable in this, for this reason, it makes its way into my backpack. Did not buy this for the hike.

Timberland Chocorua Trail Hiking Boot $ 97

One of the most highly rated trek shoes on Amazon, I decided to take my chances with the size and have them brought from the US as I was not convinced locally.

Forclaz 500 High-top Adult Hiking Socks Rs. 699

These will serve as my primary trek socks. As the trek majorly consists of 4 days of hiking, I intend to use a pair per 2 days.

Arpenaz 100 High-top Adult Hiking Socks 2 Pairs Rs. 299

These will serve as spare socks and will be used if the above socks get wet or are unusable for some reason.

LED Head Lamp for Trekking or walking in the dark $13

After a lot of research, I ended up buying this lamp, it is touted by many that its light weight and is amazingly bright.

Anti-Shock Hiking / Walking / Trekking Trail Poles $ 22

These poles are an absolute must, while in India, they are sold Individually, they are available in pairs in the US. I bought these as they have amazing reviews.

Wed’ze Simple Warm Men’s Ski Base Layer Rs. 399

Wed’ze Simple Warm Men’s Ski Trousers Rs. 399

The above links are for base layers. These are crucial for your trek. You might argue that you always roam around in sub-zero temperatures and do not need thermals/base layers, however, you have to take note that the situation is very different. During a hike, you are exposed 24 hours to elements beyond your control and you need these. I am taking along two pairs.

Forclaz 20 Men’s Hiking Fleece Rs. 399

Fleece tops are good to keep you warm and light. This can be worn inside your jacket or can be worn during the night. I intend to wear them during the trek.

Arpenaz Waterproof Rain Poncho 10l Adult Blue Rs. 399

A poncho is something that drapes over you, think of it as if you have a piece of water-resistant sheet which you can just drop over you and a small backpack. Your rain proof jacket can stop a drizzle but it’s best to have that extra layer of protection during a heavy drizzle, this is it.

Forclaz 50 Convertible Hiking Trousers Rs. 1399

If you though you could go along with your jeans or your track pants, you are mistaken. You will need at least a pair of hiking trousers. I chose the above for a variety of reasons. They are light, they were very easy on the skin and the price was reasonable. There was just another model of trousers that were above this for heavy trekking but I did not think I needed those already. The fact that these trousers are convertible to shorts is another added advantage.

Firstheat Ski Chapka Rs. 499

So snug and comfortable that you want to wear this even when you are not in the cold. It felt as if this was made for me when I tried it on. With the wind, you will need something to protect the back of your neck and ears. While a hoody can do the job, the fit is never snug.

Firstheat Ski Hat Rs. 99

A basic fleece cap to cover your head and ears. Not as heavy duty as the one above but this is a simpler version, more like a beanie.

Arpenaz 400 Men’s Hiking Cap Rs. 499

Another headwear, this is for when the sun is out and it is a beautiful bright day, just a regular cap that can be used while hiking or for daily use.

Air Basic Inflatable Pillow Rs. 299

An inflatable air pillow which could come in handy in the tents while sleeping. I cannot make it to sleep without a pillow and I was not going to take any chances although the camping setup has to be provided by Indiahikes.

Forclaz 100 Adult Gloves Rs. 399

These are very comfortable fleece gloves with a good rubberised grip. These will keep the hands warm as well as provide a good grip and they are slim enough to hold regular items such as the phone, water bottle etc.

Acces Adult Ski Gloves Rs. 699

These are slightly heavy duty gloves that might sustain the occasional shower if worn correctly. While the above are fleece based, these are polyester based gloves.

Hiking Utensils, Aluminium Mug Rs. 299

We were asked to bring our lunchbox, cup, and cutlery by Indiahikes, as part of that, I bought this excellent aluminum mug, which while being light is extremely strong.

Apart from the above, you can consider taking the below.

The above stuff comes up to around Rs. 20,000-30,000. When you buy stuff, do not buy cheap stuff thinking it’s just for this, some of this stuff could last you a lifetime. However, do know that whatever you buy, you will have to carry with you on you back, so pick everything with consideration, weight, and multi-usability. Also, before buying, scourge through the stuff you already have, I bet you will find half of what you need to be already in your possession.

Preparing for your first Hike

Physical Preparation – Fitness

I weigh 102 KG at the time of booking the trek, I get exhausted after a flight of stairs. To me, booking the trek was in a way me saying to myself that I needed to get fit and increase my endurance. I decided to train my body using three different regimes. Preparing for my first Hike was not going to be easy, although, this was an easy trek, to endure staying outdoors for 5 days needed a different level of endurance and physical fitness was only going to help.

Cycling

As I already had a BTWIN Rockrider since the last 3 years, I decided to dust it, inflate the tires and get going. I began by doing 8 KM in under 30 minutes. The average speed came up to around 17KMPH. I had to push to do 10 KM in 30 minutes. You can follow my cycling progress here.

Running

I decided I will attempt to do the 5K run by the time I had to head for the trek. Without a question, this is by far an over-ambitious goal for someone who weighs over a ton and struggles with a set of stairs. For this purpose, I decided to use the 10K Runner App. It has been decent going so far.

Squats

The attempt is to do 100 Squats, to help me achieve this, I am using the Runtastic Squats – Workouts, Trainer & Counter PRO app.

To track all the data of what I have been doing and what not, I use my already existent iPhone and Apple Watch.

 

Jeewan