What is Trekking? Why, Equipment, Do & Dont, Famous Treks of World and India

  • Post last modified:7 January 2023
  • Reading time:30 mins read

What is Trekking?

Trekking is a multiday walking journey in areas where motorised transport is generally not available. Trekking is not mountaineering but just days of walking but however it’s a part of mountaineering.

Trekking is an adventurous journey on foot in areas where means of transport are generally not available.

Etymology: The term derived from the Afrikaans word trek (noun), trekken (verb), (literally meaning to “pull, travel”), became a word in the English language in the mid-19th century, and means a long arduous journey, typically on foot

The concept of trekking is as old as the human civilization. Though in those pre-historic times these on foot journey meant primarily for search of food, shelter and safety or in times in search of new lands for the above mentioned physiological needs. But in today’s world when we talk about trekking it is for fun and recreation.


Why Trekking?

  • Trekking rejuvenate body, mind and soul. Above all it is an activity you do, not because you have to but because you want to. Trekking is good for physical fitness.

  • Trekking bring you close to Mother Nature.

  • Trekking does not require technical expertise.

  • Trekking is an outdoor education to learn about natural environment.

  • Trekking makes us to visit new lands, people and cultures.

  • Trekking is a round the year activity.

  • Trekking helps to fight stress level. It is an activity to escape from monotonous life.

Trekking Equipment

Footwear

Always remember to use good trekking boots for comfort and safety in rugged terrain. Vibram or rough-treaded soles are best for trekking. Always carry extra pairs of socks.

Clothing

Try to carry synthetic material (nylon, polyester, and polypropylene) clothing, especially if you are moving to high altitude. Keep cotton stuff only for low altitude and basic trekking trails. The reason for using synthetic stuff is that they are warm, warm even when wet, dry fast if wet and lightweight.

Down jacket, windproof suit, sun hat, warm cap (balaclava), Cotton t-shirts, down vest, pair liner gloves (thin poly), shorts – nylon sport type, lightweight nylon pant, pair poly longjohns, pair liner socks – thin nylon, TEVA-type sandals, fleece pants and upper etc. were some other essential clothing for trekking.

Miscellaneous

Central items: Tent (as per requirement), cooking stove and light weight utensils, food stuff (as per taste and requirement), duffle bag, and first aid kit.

Personal items: Sleeping bag (as per weather condition), mattress, inner liner for sleeping bag, Good rucksack (after all you only have to carry all your stuff during trekking), dark sunglasses, headlamp with extra batteries and spare bulb, rain coat or umbrella, water bottle or hydration bag and toiletries.

A list of items not necessarily essential but very useful:

  • Map and compass/GPS is always handy in new area, trekking guide book of the area visiting,
  • Still/video camera highly recommended,
  • A walking stick is always handy,
  • Small lock,
  • Duct tape,
  • Pen knife,
  • Scissors,
  • Repair kit,
  • Garbage bags,
  • Sunscreen,
  • Binoculars,
  • Whistle,
  • Pens, paper, books etc.

Trekking Do’s and Don’ts

Start Early

Early bird catches the worm….When in trekking try to start early morning so that you can reach the desired camp point on time.

Sustain Efficient Posture, While Trekking

With a proper packing of ruck sack (light weight at the bottom and heavy weight up), you need to walk slightly leaning forward, head up, shoulder back swinging arm and relaxed.

Maintain Your Trekking Speed

At first hand discover your trekking pace and learn to maintain it when you trek. Don’t push your body against your pace; it may harm your muscle and bones. Don’t try to unnecessary speed up because your fellow trekkers are moving faster than you. You are trekking to enjoy, so enjoy while trekking.

Find a Trekking Buddy

Always move in pair. It is always good to have a partner with whom you trek. It is also useful in case of uncertainties or mishap.

Be Watchful

It is essential to be cautious of the area, where you are going. At first hand acquire knowledge of the place and terrain you are destined beforehand. Local knowledge is always handy. Be attentive while trekking, keep note of weather and hazards.

Stay Healthy

Drink lot of water, eat much, and maintain a stable body heat. Don’t skip meals.

Rest Occasionally

Don’t try to push yourself, it create more chances for injuries. It is natural to get weary after long days of walk. It is good to rest before you start getting weary. In this way your body respond good and you rejuvenate yourself fast.

Protect Yourself From Sunburn

Always carry good quality sun block lotion, cream, gel etc.

Prevent & Treat Blisters

Always use trekking boot which fits your feet. If your boots fit correctly, you’ll be less likely to encounter blisters. Don’t ever ignore blisters; treat them fast before it turns to big wound.

Carry & Know How To Use Map & Compass

GPS are handy but you should know basic map reading skills for better orientation during trekking.

Always Be Acquainted With The Terrain

Get familiar with the terrain by continuous studying your map or if using GPS, put it in navigation mode.

Keep Track Of Each Other

When trekking in a group, the rule of thumb is, don’t lose sight of the person in front of and/or behind you.

If lost, Be Calm

In time if you find yourself lost, stay calm and try to analyse the situation. Use distress signals (Audio& visual signals), e.g., whistling, smoke etc. Try to find your location on map. ( It is always advised to the trekkers to make cairns (route indicator) while moving in new area)


Famous Treks of World and India

When we talk about famous treks of the world, the first thing comes in our mind is the Himalayas. It’s not that there are no treks in other parts of the world but when we view the trekking routes of the Himalayas, we find these treks not just full of mesmerizing natural beauty but also the people and culture of these Himalayan villages which make them best treks for the adventure enthusiasts around the world.

Nepal Himalayan Treks

Everest Base Camp Trek

Who does not want to reach the footsteps of world’s tallest peak? It is one of the reason for what it is most famous treks in the world. Trekkers cherish to reach home of the world’s highest peaks. The glance of Mount Everest from the base camp is overwhelming. Reaching Solu Khumbu region vanishes the weariness of trekkers. The Everest base camp region is one of the most admired destinations for tourists.

  • Altitude: 5380m
  • Duration: 18 to 22 days.
  • Difficulty Level: Extremely Strenuous
  • Best Season: February to June and September to mid-November.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

It is a major trek route in the west of Nepal. The circuit traverses is famous for its vivid mountain terrain of lofty mountains, glaciers, wildlife, the world’s deepest gorge, and above all trekkers get the opportunity to look into the restricted Mustang Region.

  • Altitude: 5350m
  • Duration: 21 to 25 days
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Best Season: March to May and October to November.

Upper Mustang Trek

The Upper Mustang lies behind the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna Mountain Ranges of Himalayas. The region is among few Himalayan settlement which has survived its culture and heritage. For long it was a forbidden land for outsiders. The Mustang is rain shadow region, thus making it dry and arid, similar to the bordering Tibetan Plateau. The Tibetan village of the region offers unique medieval Buddhist arts and colourful culture.

  • Altitude: 4010m
  • Duration: 18 to 20 days
  • Difficulty Level: Extreme Strenuous
  • Best Season: March to November.

Dolpo Traverse Trek

It is the longest and highest walking trails in the world. Dolpo region lies in the mid-western Nepal and inhabited by Tibetan who settled here over two thousand years ago. It remained forbidden land for outsiders till 1990.

  • Altitude: 5093m
  • Duration: 24 to 27 days
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Best Season: March to May and September to October.

Mt. Kanchenjunga Area Trek

The trek penetrates deep into the isolated Himalayan ranges bordering Nepal with Sikkim and Tibet. The trek runs around Mt. Kanchenjunga, the highest peak of India and third highest of the world. The trek gives you a chance to experience both Nepalese and Tibetan Buddhist culture during the same trek.

  • Altitude: 5300m.
  • Duration: 15 to 17 days
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Best Season: April to June and October to December.

Indian Himalayan Treks

Kashmir Region

The Frozen River Trek of Ladakh – Chadar Trek

“Chadar” implies – the frozen sheet. As its name suggests, it is the frozen river of Zanskar which is the only possible route for the inhabitants during winter, as the all other routes, are closed due to heavy snowfall. The trek is now popular amongst the adventure enthusiasts who thrive for extreme trekking. This trek allows you to visit isolated region of Ladakh to see ethnic lifestyle of the Zanskar inhabitants. Trekkers keep note of the low temperature of the region as in winters the average day temperature lies between -15 to -20 and during night -25 to -30 respectively.

  • Altitude: 3850m
  • Duration: 17 to 21 days
  • Difficulty Level: Extreme Strenuous
  • Best Season: January to March

Markha Valley Trek

The trek run along the Markha River through ‘Little Tibet’, which are secluded for months by snow of Ladakh and Zanskar ranges. Traversing the Ganda La and the Markha River are the charms of the trek and adding more to it are the picturesque canyons, barley and mustard fields and ethenic Ladakh villages. During the trek, the view of the Karakorum, the Himalaya and Tibet are overwhelming and life time event.

  • Altitude: 5150m
  • Duration: 12 to 15 days
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Season: June to October

Stok Kangri Trek

Stok Kangri is prominent mountain range in the southern region of Ladakh. The trek offers you with isolated royal palace, ancient monasteries and colourful markets. Traversing across region offers magnificent view of Zanskar and the Karakoram mountain ranges at one hand and with heavenly Tibet panorama to the other.

  • Altitude: 4000-4500m approx.
  • Duration: 11 to 13 days
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Best Season: June to October.

Himanchal Pradesh Region

Kinner Kailash Circuit Trek

Kailash-Kinner trek is one amongst the best treks in the state. Mount Kinner Kailash has religious importance and is the mythical abodes of Lord Shiva. The mythology suggests that the inhabitants of Kinnaur are known as Kinners, the halfway between men and gods.

  • Altitude: 4000-4500m approx.
  • Duration: 12 to 16 days.
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate to Strenuous.
  • Best Season: July to October.

Pin Parvati Valley Trek

The gorgeous Pin Parvati valley or ‘Valley of Gods’ was discovered in 19th century by an English explorer. The Pin Parvati Valley is embraced up between the Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal ranges, and is located in the cold desert region of the Spiti. The trek penetrates through lush pine forests, wild flowers and vivid barren landscape.

  • Altitude: 5319m
  • Duration: 13 to 17 days
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate to Strenuous
  • Best Season: June to October

Chandrakhani Pass & Malana Trek

The two charms of the trek are Chanderkhani pass of the Kulu valley and the village called Malana. The inhabitants of Malana claim Greek ancestry and the oldest democracies of the world. Some stories about the village called it “a little Greece”. The distinctive geographical location of Malana helps it to preserve its biodiversity.

  • Altitude: 3660m
  • Duration: 4-5 days
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Best Season: May to November.

Sikkim Area

Goecha La Trek

Towards the southeast face of Mt. Kanchenjunga, lies a high mountain pass of Sikkim called Goecha La. The trek to Goecha La starts in Yuksom (1770m) and goes through Sachen, Bakkhim, Tshoka, Phedang, Dzongri, Kokchurong, Thansing and Lamuney.

  • Altitude: 4940m
  • Duration: 12 to 15 days
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Best Season: March to May.

Dzongri Ridge Trek

Dzongri Ridge Trek of Sikkim is the most popular short trek in the Kanchenjunga National Park. Dzongri Top offers fabulous views of Mt. Kanchenjunga, Kabru, Pandim and many other snow-capped peaks during sunrise. The virgin rhododendron forests and the native culture of Sikkim add flavour to the trek.

  • Altitude: 4200m
  • Duration: 7-8 days
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Best Season: October-May

Arunachal Pradesh Area

The “Baily trail” to Tawang Trek

The trek connects series of valleys, five major passes and to certain degree associated along the ancient trade route of the region. The trek runs through coniferous, alpine pastures, junipers and rhododendrons. The Monpa village and Twang Monastery are the jewels of the trek.

  • Altitude: 4550m
  • Duration: 14-15 days
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate to strenuous
  • Best Season: April and October.

The Trail of the Monpa Yak herdsmen Trek

The trek follows the ancient trail of the Monpa Yak herdsman. The trek is famous for ancient Bomkajung Gompa and its 108 glacial lakes at an elevation of 4600 m. The trail descends to Tawang North of the Sela Pass.

  • Altitude: 4900m
  • Duration: 14-15 days
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate to strenuous
  • Best Season: April and October.

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