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The Himalayas are not merely a geographical feature, a range of mountains. they epitomise people's civilisational identity that goes back to the dawn of history. If these majestic mountains were not there, the rain clouds sweeping up from the Indian Ocean.
Travel Information » Trekking Tips

Travel Tips

This trekking tips gives insight and details in to what to carry while trekking in Himalayas and also prepares you of the dangers that one could face on these treks. If you are trekking in Himalayan region, read this carefully as this might save a lot of trouble while here

While blazing new trails :
1. First, start sensibly – don't bite off more than you can chew. Before coming to trek in India , do regular exercise for a month and if possible do a short hike. Although we ensure that average walking time for any trek is not more than 6 hours, it is advisable that you exercise a bit before setting off. After a sedentary lifestyle, climbing may be strenous for most so we suggest little exercise before setting of.
2. Break in your boots: Walk at least 10 to 20 miles in your boots before setting off on a trek. Purchase your boots with care – be sure they fit comfortably. Some newer style boots require less or little break in. Coming straight with new boots may cause the foot to hurt and cause blisters so make to break in.
3. When on the trail, treat hot spots at once – avoid blisters, which can ruin your trek. Carry adhesive tape.
4. New tent – set it up at home first – a rainy night is no time to be figuring out how it goes.
Ground cloth should be a tiny bit smaller than the floor of your tent or it will actually draw water under the tent.
5. Always keep tent zipped closed to keep out insects, snakes, scorpions, etc.
6. Plan meals sensibly – don't carry too much food, but don't carry too little.
7. Do not take or wear deodorants, hair sprays, perfumes, etc. on bear country. Don't leave them in your vehicle – bears will pry open your doors to get at the goodies. Never take food or sweet scented items into your tent, especially in bear country (this includes toothpaste, lip balms, sunscreen, garbage, sweetened drinks, etc.) Hang them with the food or put them in canister. Also, do not wear clothing to bed if you've cooked fresh fish in them. The aroma permeates the material and bears will love it.
8. NEVER run when confronted by a snake, bear or mountain lion. NEVER.
9. Trouble lighting a fire? Don't waste valuable matches. Light a candle or fire starter stick first. Have plenty of kindling at the ready before lighting your fire.
10. ALWAYS let someone know where you are going and your timetable.
11. Lost, really lost – stay put; hunker down safely; find shelter; stay calm. Help will come. Your greatest threat is from humans, not animals. Use your head and instincts when encountering people. Don't be paranoid, but don't be naïve either. A good tact is to mention the rest of your party, you know, that "slower make-believe" bunch you're expecting soon. This may be especially important for women hikers. Be especially alert to others at trailheads and parking areas - again, probably more important for women.
12. Practice camp etiquette. Camp away from others, seeking boulders or trees for a barrier of sorts. This allows everyone some privacy. Don't crowd a campsite. Lower noise after 9 PM . Many hikers are on the trail by 6 AM . Don't tromp through occupied campsites. Report any suspicious persons or activities to authorities as soon as practical.
13. Keep fires small and burn only dead wood found on the ground. Never break off wood from trees, whether dead or not. Completely douse fire before departing.
14. All water found in the wilderness should be boiled 5-10 minutes, chemically treated or filtered before drinking or cooking with, that is unless you're fond of diarrhea or cramps.
15. Dress in layers. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. Avoid cotton socks and apparel – it takes forever to dry. Fleece is great. Carry enough clothing for unexpected, sudden turns of weather, even for day hikes.
16. Leave packs open and pockets open once in camp so that animals can investigate without chewing holes through your pack.
17. Cooking over a campfire? Rub liquid soap over cook pot to repel soot and blackening.
18. Cellular phones are great, but they more than likely won't work in the backcountry.
19. Before leaving the trailhead, drink a healthy dose of liquid – leave the trailhead fully hydrated. No, you won't get cramps.
20. Be sure that the weight of your backpack is on your hips, not your shoulders. Adjust straps accordingly. Carry heavy items towards the upper-center of pack, close to your back. Don't be top heavy – avoid sway.
21. Carry stove fuel in a plastic bag; avoid placing fuel where it could leak and contaminate clothing, sleeping bag, etc.
22. Gathering firewood – be alert to poison oak/ivy, snakes, spiders, etc.
23. Take along any personal medications you may need (asthma, insulin, etc.)
24. Children should be kept close at all times – there are many hazards in the wild: animals, water, precipitous drops, etc. Make sure they know the rules. They should carry their own emergency items.
25. Lightning? Sit on your sleeping pad, away from overhanging rocks or large trees, and stay off of crests. Avoid your camera, tent poles in your pack, pack frame, etc. Stay low to the ground.
26. Service water filter per instructions.
Fluid measurements: 1 gallon = 8.33 pounds = 4 quarts = 8 pints = 128 fluid ounces. Comparison wise, 1 gallon = typical plastic milk container; paper milk container is typically 2 quarts or ½ gallon.; pop-up-top water bottles are typically 16 to 20 ounces, about 1 pint. Remember, you should drink at least 2 quarts.

Gear List:
1. First Aid Kit
2. Emergency Kit
3. Camp shoes or sandals – optional, but recommended – sandals double for water crossings
4. Two extra pair of wool socks / two pair liner socks
5. Pocket knife
6. Wide brimmed hat
7. Towel and Toilet paper (remove from cardboard roll to save space)
8. Mess kit & cup (avoid metal cup, we recommend plastic fork, knife & spoon)
9. Cookware – pot, skillet, coffee pot – take what you will use
10. Tin foil (great for cooking and protecting rocks from blacking in new camp site
11. Stove and fuel
12. Waterproof matches
13. Fire starter sticks or gel packets
14. Water filter / purifier
15. Tent
16. Sleeping bag & mat (stuff pillow, optional)
17. Plastic ground cloth cut to fit just inside your tent's perimeter
18. Camera & film
19. Binoculars
20. Flashlight & extra batteries
21. Cellular Phone
22. Rain gear or poncho
23. Good rope
24. Bear resistant container or a couple stuff sacks for hanging food and smelly stuff away from critters
25. Zip shut bags are a must – take some map, trail guide and permits in waterproof bag.
26. Paperback? Deck of cards? Pen and Paper - optional
27. Hiking stick – they work great and decrease tiredness
28. Good water bottles
29. Spare glasses - Contact lens wearers – take juice and stuff
30. Small towel, toothbrush & paste, hair brush, razor, liquid camp soap ( all purpose)
31. Collapsible plastic bucket – for washing dishes and clothes away from water source.
32. Gaiters – snow or mud type - optional
33. TIP - Pack your pack carefully – heavier goods in center and close to back. Don't be top heavy. Use waterproof bags to protect key items and clothing.
34. Food – up to you but avoid weighty food

Warm weather (no chance of freezing temperatures):
Salt Tablets or Electrolyte replacement drink powder
Additional water if water will not be available – consider a camelback type water bag/bladder.

Cold weather (chance of or certain freezing temperatures):
Ski hat/stocking cap
Warm gloves – (water repellant)
Wool gloves
Synthetic, moisture wicking liner gloves
Snowshoes – optional
Crampons – optional
Balaklava (head stocking) – optional
More food – required for higher calorie count per day to stave off cold
Light weight snow shovel - optional
Cold weather clothing – synthetic thermals, fleece pants & shirts; quality parka
Avoid cotton – go synthetics - polypropylene is great.

Crossing Rivers and Streams:
This can be perilous and unpleasant, but with proper steps (no pun intended) can be fun and safe. I am lousy at crossing water, partially due to poor balance and partially due to a lack of confidence at it. Here are a few safety tips: 1. Always unsnap your backpack straps – if you go down you can rid yourself of your pack and avoid being drowned by its weight.2. Wear sandals, lightweight camp shoes with decent tread, or aqua socks to protect your feet from cuts and general pain from sharp rocks.3. Choose your crossing site carefully. If you can safely boulder hop, go for it, but be alert to slippery surfaces. This is no place or time to break an ankle. If boulder hopping cannot be accomplished safely, go to the water. Generally speaking, deeper but slower flowing water is safer to cross than shallow, swift moving waters. Avoid narrow channels where waters usually flow faster and with more turbulence. Test the water's “pace.” Remember that the added weight and top heavy traits of your pack make you far less agile than you might be accustomed to. Be careful.4. Walk facing upstream – towards the rushing water. Walk sideways. Use your walking stick as a third leg. Move slowly and deliberately, while leaning your weight slightly forward and against your walking stick.5. Roping or shuttling (bucket brigade style) packs across might work well. Always carry critical gear and clothing in water-proof bags. The first time you topple into the water, you'll understand why.

What to do if lost? Get found!:
If you get lost, unless you are expert, stay in one area, where others may expect you to be. Beforehand, make sure someone knows where you'll be and your timetable. Use emergency whistle, signal mirror, smoke from burning green or damp plants. Be extremely careful when building a signal fire - you certainly don't want to add a forest fire to your troubles. Lay out an "SOS" or "X" using branches, rocks or brightly-colored gear (tent fly, tarp, etc.). Stay calm. Take an inventory of your gear. How can it be put to good use? Seek shelter early - don't wait for dark or cold. Drink and eat at regular intervals. Don't panic. Panic is your worst enemy. Think. Rest. Drink. You CAN survive!

You can survive about a month without food - Yes you can! You can survive from 3 to 5 days without water or fluid. Temperatures and activity level effect this time period. You can die within hours from lack of shelter. You can die even more quickly from panic-induced injury. Stay Calm! Sleeping overnight in the wild will likely be more of an inconvenience than a threat to your life. If you are properly equipped and prepared, the experience can end up being fun as well as a challenging event.

Animal Confrontation:
Bears cannot read; mountain leopards cannot read; snakes cannot read – they won't necessarily obey these rules and tips. The following tips should help you in most situations, but animals can be unpredictable, so you'll need to react to each incident as it unfolds. Keep your wits, stay as calm as possible, and NEVER run. Bears can accelerate to over thirty miles per hour – you cannot.

Dealing with bears:
If you come face-to-face with a bear
1. Stand your ground – do not run, which may provoke a “prey” response. And if you have a steep descent then perhaps you may consider going downhill as bears may not be that fast due to their weight but still the best advice is to not run.
2. Move away obliquely and slowly, keeping your eyes on the bear at all times.
3. Be prepared to use your Bear Pepper Spray.
4. Shed food pack (or freshly caught fish) if approached aggressively, but keep your backpack on, as it may act as a shield if you are actually attacked.
5. Never insert yourself between a mother and her cubs.
6. If attacked by an adult bear and pepper spray does not work (or you have none), go to the ground, cover the back of your head and neck with your hands – PLAY DEAD! Never fight back – you will lose. PLAY DEAD. Here, some controversy exists. No advice can be seen as perfect or a certain remedy. Use your good sense. It may be your best weapon.
7. Never go to bed wearing clothing smelling even a little of cooked meat.

WARNING! Never spray your tent, clothing, gear or campsite with Bear Spray. Once the spray has settled and become inert, it can actually work as an attractant to bears. Use the spray only as directed by the manufacturer, and only in an actual confrontation.

If encountered with a leopard, make noise. If you have a metal spoon and cup, start beating it. Unfortunately, lepards usually attack from ambush, leaving the victim at a disadvantage. Unlike with bear attacks, fight back ONLY when attacked by a Mountain Lion. Otherwise stay calm. Never take your eyes off the cat. Throw rocks or wood, but take care when stooping to pick up objects. Hold up jackets, packs or shirts, or anything else which will make you look larger.

Snakes are really far less a threat than most people think. Did you know that a snake can strike only about half to two -thirds the distance of their length. And they DO NOT chase people. So, once you know the snake is there, and it's furious, simply back slowly away, making sure that you are not backing into another snake. Retracing your steps is the best path to safety in most cases. If bitten, send someone for help. Try to avoid moving, which hastens the venom's spread. Keep bite point below heart level. Apply cool, damp cloth and wash wound with soap and water. Do not slash an “X” in the bite area – more damage is often done by the cutting than by the bite.

Things to remember:
Always move slowly and alertly through brush, tall grass, fallen timber, rocky areas, etc. Be especially careful when climbing over boulders where snakes may be sunning or shading themselves. Always carry a snake bite kit and know how to use it; do not cut into wound, no matter what your "obsolete" kit might indicate. Finally, a walking stick can be a great tool or probe in avoiding snakes.

When nature calls:
When nature calls and you gotta go, what do you do? When backpacking and even when just day hiking, the time will come when you've got no choice. What's the etiquette? What do you do if you're a woman or girl? How can you be certain that you're alone? Trust me, it's not all that bad – once you get used to it.
1. Always ensure that you are at least 200' from any stream, lake, creek, etc. This applies to all body wastes. You don't want to foul the water, and your waste WILL travel within the earth farther than you might think. Remember this rule when you're getting your drinking water from a stream or lake.
2. Start by digging a hole at least 6 to 8 inches deep and wide in a locale that you feel is both comfortable and private. You might wish to locate a good-size rock or log against which to support yourself. A hint from my friend Chris M – if you're concerned with privacy, always look up – who might be sitting innocently on a high ledge or rock? Women might wish to go in pairs – one can act as a lookout.
3. Carefully burn used toilet paper in the hole or in your campfire, or pack it out in a special zip style baggie. This would also apply to women's feminine hygiene items. Cover the hole with the dirt you removed – there should be at least 6 inches of covering dirt. I like to add a large rock to deter forest creatures from being too curious or hikers from stepping there.
4. Women!!! If you are quite concerned with privacy, buy a roomy, non-transparent poncho. You can wear this for added security. It makes a wonderful outhouse while doubling as rain protection. NO extra weight to carry. Obviously, you'll want to be careful not to soil the poncho.
5. Always carry a plastic trowel and toilet paper in your pack – even when day hiking.
6. For groups, I like to dig an 8 inch deep, 8 inch wide trench long enough to accommodate the group size and planned time in camp. Choose a site which will be safe and easy to locate in the dark. Leave a trowel or shovel behind. Don't leave a roll of paper behind unless it is well secured and waterproofed – soggy paper is no fun, and neither is toilet paper blowing through the forest. Each user simply covers their use; this saves everyone from locating and digging separate holes. This way all users know to allow privacy in that spot, as well. Before leaving camp, always return the group latrine area to “no-trace condition. Scatter rocks, level the ground, etc.
7. Finally, if the ground is frozen or too hard for digging, pack out both waste and paper. Please do not take the easy way out – think of others. In snow, be sure to dig through the snow and into the earth.

Be aware of local regulations regarding waste disposal. More and more areas, especially those enduring heavy human traffic, are now under "bag and remove" guidelines. These jurisdictions require that you carry out all human and pet waste. Burying or burying is not allowed. Please respect all local rules. You may not agree or understand the reasons for these rules, but there are always sound rationales behind them. Please cooperate.

Staying alive / Survival Tips:
When experts and researchers interview survivors of air disasters, ship wrecks, hostage scenarios, war prisons, wilderness attacks and misfortunes, they hear the same story beneath the story every time – survivors keep their wits about them, they believe that they will survive and they decide on a plan of survival and see it through. Here are a few truisms and thoughts which may help you in a wilderness survival situation:
1. WATER vs. FOOD – a human can typically survive up to a month without food, but only several days or less without water. Food is more important in wintry cases as your body will require the calories to keep itself warm. When lost, one of your first concerns after safety, immediate shelter from heat or cold, and the treatment of any injuries should be water. You must find it. A bandana, sock or tee shirt can be used to remove dew from wet grasses and leaves. A water still may save your life. Trap rainwater in rain gear, tent fly, plastic bag, etc. Seek low areas and areas of lush greenery. Running out of food is more often of psychological distress than physical. Be careful what you snack on in the wild. Many plants are poisonous and many poisonous plants resemble safe ones. All grasses are edible, though usually offer little reward. You are better off eating insects, frogs, lizards, etc., than plants about which you know little.
2. CARRY an emergency kit. Carry it with you at all times, even when going to the toilet. You can never know when your camp may be invaded by a bear, covered by an avalanche or rockslide, or visited by thieves. At least once a year, replenish items with freshness dates (aspirin, medications, emergency food, etc.). Everyone in your group over the age of ten or even less depending on maturity level, should have their own map and compass, emergency whistle, water purification tablets, pocket knife, poncho and warm clothes, matches and butane lighter, emergency candles, flashlight and extra batteries, and personal water supply – at a minimum. Why should only adults have the means to survive?
3. DURING thunder storms, avoid the largest tree or boulder. Both may act as lightning conductors. Get away from metal you may be carrying. Sit on your sleeping mat. Stay dry – wetness hurries hypothermia.4. IF you become lost – sit down for a while. Gather yourself. Think about your predicament. Sleeping a night or two in the wild isn't all that bad. Help will be dispatched – that's virtually certain. Do not wait until dark or encroaching freezing night to seek shelter. Accept early that you are lost – give yourself at least two hours of daylight when possible to build or find shelter, firewood, water, etc. Tree branches make great lean-to shelters or teepees. Caves, fallen trees, rocky overhangs, low-to-the-ground fir trees – all can make ideal accommodations, but avoid rocky overhangs during lightning storms. Don't forget your emergency tent (in your kit). A small fire provides heat and companionship during the dark of night. Drink often. Munch a little food. Go through your gear and inventory its contents – every item is a friend. Comfort is nice, but relatively unnecessary to survival. Protection from the elements, ample water supply and avoiding injury are key to survival. At daybreak, think about signaling for help. Create smoke using damp or green foliage. Try your whistle every so often. Lay out colorful gear in a clearing – use brightly colored clothing, tarp, tent or tent fly, foliage on snow, etc. Have mirror handy for signaling aircraft or far away searchers. Stay put! Do not wander about. Movement diminishes chances for being found; increases the chance of injury; burns vital energy and increases need for water. Use your time gathering firewood, nursing your fire, replenishing water supply, etc. Praise yourself for the job you've done so far. Feeling good and remaining positive about your situation is important. In nearly every situation, discovery is but hours to a few days away. I'm not saying it can't get worse, of course it can, but it usually doesn't. Staying calm and using your head are the key points to getting out safe.

Insect bites:
The Problem: Insects bite, sting, harass and infect. The culprits include ticks, mosquitoes, chiggers, biting flies, gnats, fleas, ants, spiders, etc. Diseases transmitted include Lyme Disease, Encephalitis, Yellow Fever, Malaria, Rocky Mountain Fever, Dengue Fever.

1. Avoid peak insect seasons or times. They vary from location to location, so check with your travel agent for information. Dawn and Dusk are the peak/worst times for insect activity.
2. Avoid high-density or intensity areas. Standing water attracts mosquitoes; they lay their eggs in damp, dark areas and love stagnant waters. Mosquitoes are poor fliers, and a good breeze drives them nuts, and away. Camp, rest, and generally seek hillsides or other areas that receive a nice breeze. Hot, sunny areas are no friend to mosquitoes, so seek open, sunny campsites.
3. Check prospective campsites for anthills, animal droppings, heavy brush, woodpiles, standing-water puddles, etc. Don't camp where these conditions exist. I'm not certain that I support or agree with this suggestion, but I've heard that sprinkling borax on the ground will drive off ants.
4. Keep tents securely closed at all times. OK, open them to get in or out, but then zip them at once.
5. Wear light color clothing. Mosquitoes like dark clothing. Also, you can spot ticks more easily on light color clothing. Wear loose fitting clothing. Loose clothing does not allow the insect's stinger or biting apparatus to reach your skin. Keep shirts tucked in; keep pant legs tucked into socks or boots. A head net works great during problem times. Treat clothing with a tick and mosquito repellant before leaving on your adventure.
6. Here's a "right-on" suggestion: bathe often and wash away sweat. Pests are usually drawn to your scent. A clean body does not attract them as much as a sweaty, smelly one.
7. Campfire smoke drives off mosquitoes. Toss a few green leaves or branches onto your fire from time to time. Remember, though. DO NOT break live or dead branches from trees or shrubs.
8. Avoid hairsprays, deodorants, perfumes, scented sunscreens, etc. These sweet-smelling products attract insects. They attract Bears, too
9. Follow directions on product container for whatever you are using. Never apply chemicals to unexposed areas of your body. Do not apply over cuts, wounds or rashes. Avoid eyes and mouth. Be extra careful with children – check directions and apply carefully and always under adult supervision. Keep out of reach of children. Always bathe thoroughly as soon as possible after usage period.

After-bite remidies and medications:
1. Therapik Heat Relief
2. Afterbite
3. Calamine lotions
4. Baking soda
5. StingEze
6. Tick Removal instructions: First, DO NOT use heat or suffocation methods, so widely recommended, as these two methods may actually irritate the tick to the point that it releases its infecting bacteria. These improper methods include application of petroleum jelly, nail polish, gasoline; burning with a match or heated needle. Instead, use tweezers; grasp tick at the skin (victim's skin, that is); pull straight out gently. Do not twist or bend insect. Once the tick is out, swab area with alcohol, an antibiotic ointment or soap and water. Place tick in a plastic bag and take to a physician if you fear Lyme Disease transmission.
7. See your physician if any bite or sting results in a rash, welt, redness or other irritation that does not go away after a few days.

First-aid kit:
1. A few antibiotic ointment packs
2. Extra-strength non-aspirin tablets for adults & for some for kids
3. 6-12 Antiseptic cleansing pads
4. 6-12 Alcohol pads
5. A burn treatment gel pad
6. A cold compress
7. Gauze roll bandage
8. A few of various size adhesive plastic bandages
9. A sterile eye pad
10. Several gauze pads or varied sizes
11. First Aid Guide
12. Some medium safety pins
13. Scissors
14. Tweezers
15. Several cotton tip sticks/applicators

Emergency Kit :
1. Compass and map.
2. Water treatment tablets – iodine
3. First aid kit
4. Rope
5. Emergency candles - great as fire start aid
6. Waterproof matches
7. Flint (scrape knife blade against it to create sparks)
8. Butane lighter as backup
9. Signal Mirror
10. Good pocket knife (Swiss Army style
11. Emergency poncho
12. Emergency whistle
13. 1 pair wool socks
14. Small flashlight & spare batteries
15. 2 Granola Bars or Power Bars
16. Medication you may need, including Aspirin or non-aspirin pain killer
17. Extra bootlaces (may second as small ropes)
18. Sewing kit & safety pins
19. Small bag of salt

Medicines to carry while trekking in India:
Mosquito repellent
Regular medicines in original bottles
Aspirin or other pain relief medicine
Cold/sinus medicine
Antiseptic cream and band aids
Throat lozenges
Daily malaria pills

Immunization before coming to India:
Hepatitis A
Hepatitis B

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