We're back to busting Hiking Myths with our final myths Number 4 and 5! For the record, we're not just busting these myths on our blog but also in reality. We've got some truly EPIC hikes coming up through Everest Base Camp, Kashmir, Himalayas and more where we'll be putting these pointers to test!
Until then it's back to some more Myth Busting...
YOU HAVE TO CAMP
Not necessarily! Although there are some fantastic treks where you can camp, or indeed have to camp, there are many treks in the Himalaya where you can stay in comfortable local lodges and sleep in a real bed every night, and get your meals cooked for you!
If you enjoy camping, there’s nothing quite like being in the Himalaya around a fire, with the stars above you, enjoying a meal lovingly prepared by your cook. The other beauty of camping is that if you find a fantastic place with a little stream or river you can stop no matter what time it is, have a wash, relax and have endless cups of tea and Tang – and you don’t need to pay because it’s all included from the kitchen that’s tagging along with you.
YOU NEED EXPENSIVE SPECIAL EQUIPMENT
It’s true that many of your regular street clothes, such as jeans, business shirts, heavy sweaters and the like are no good at all for trekking, but there is no need to spend lakhs of money to get good quality clothes that will do the trick. You don’t need a change of clothes for every day – in fact most seasoned trekkers take a change of clothes for warmer days and then a few layers to pile on top as the temperature gets colder higher up. Cotton clothes are not recommended as they don’t wick the sweat away from your body and can cause chills. A good fleece jacket or pullover, a wind and waterproof jacket and a down outer jacket will serve you well in most cold and windy conditions. Add to this some thermal gloves, a warm hat that covers your ears, and woollen socks that are worn over thin cotton liner socks and you are set! Synthetic tshirts with short and long sleeves are perfect, and for trousers you need synthetic for lower altitudes and warm days, and fleece for higher up. A good set of thermals won’t set you back much or take up too much space in your luggage.
Items such as sleeping bags can often be rented, or borrowed from a friend – especially if you aren’t sure about how much trekking you want to do it’s advisable not to splash out on big ticket items like that on your first trek.
The single most important item is your trekking boots. These must be bought well before the trek and worn in a little so that you minimise the risk of blisters and chafing. Buy half a size larger than you normally wear to accommodate swelling feet and extra layers of socks. You should never try to save costs by buying cheap boots that don’t fit well and aren’t designed for trekking. It is also best to get boots that lace up past the ankle bone for extra support.
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