By following the tips below, not only will you be well prepared for a trip of a lifetime but you’ll get so much more out of your trekking experience.
Remember the fitter you are before you depart, the easier your trek will be. You will have spent a lot of time, effort (and probably money too!) To get to your trekking location, so it makes sense to get the most out of your trip by spending a little extra money and some more time being in good shape and having suitable kit.
No matter how far away your trip is it is never to early to start training. This way you can build up your strength and conditioning gradually, making the progressions and results more enjoyable and reducing your risk of injury and set backs
2. Happy Feet
Having well fitted and appropriate footwear is of the utmost importance. Get your boots, shoes form a specialist shop where the staff know what they are doing. Buy your boots in the afternoon when your foot has swelled slowly, this will give a better fit. Make sure you break your boots in well before your expedition. This will allow your feet to get used to the new boot and the new boot get used to you. Remember a $ 5000 trip can be ruined by the pain of badly stuffed $ 300 boots.
3. On with Socks
Your socks are an integral part of your footcare for the trek. Good boots and bad socks can still land you in a world of pain. Modern fibers such as coolmax are a winner. Many brands have socks specific for different types of trek. Take your socks with you when you go to try on potential boots.
4. Strengthen the Legs
It’s your legs that are doing the walking, make sure that your strength program includes suitable exercises that work the legs through different planes of motion. IE get off the leg press and get a Personal Trainer to show you how to do Multi Directional Lunges and Multi Directional Step ups. You’ll be carrying a pack so use free weights to add load to squats and lunges. Do not forget the body is a whole unit. You also need to strengthen your back, your core and your shoulders.
5. These boots were made for walking
If you are working a nine to five in the city I can forgive you for spending time during the week doing your cardio in the gym. However you do need to get out and start building up to the sort of distances that you will be walking on your chosen trek. Plan a long walk every weekend. Start with 3 hour walks and build up, half day walks and then full day walks. Once a month try to plan a camping overnighter. This will also help you plan what is necessary to take in your pack and what is not. How well all your gear works and what you need to change, lighten or improve.
6. Sticks are not for oldies
Poles make a huge difference. They help reduce the stress on your knee by up to 30%. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes with the crème de la crème being the ergonomically designed Pacer Pole.
7. A well fitted pack
Your rucksack will contain everything that is important to you during your trip. Dry clothes, food, drink, camera and more. Do not scrimp on the pack. Make sure it is well fitted by a professional. Make sure it fits well. Aim to be able to sit 70-80% of the weight on your hips NOT your shoulders. Make sure it is fully adjustable and has external compression straps so that the weight does not shift while you walk. Use your pack as much as you can during training.
8. Water, water everywhere
Whether you are trekking in hot or cold climates your hydration requirements significantly increase whilst trekking. As you lose water your blood volume is reduced which means your heart is having to work harder. Be careful about carrying bladders if they burst all your gear may get soaked. I tend to take a 1.5L Metal Sig bottle and a bladder. Diluted sports drinks powders are always a winner on a trip.
You need to keep snacking to keep your blood sugar and energy levels up. Aim for high carbohydrate snacks. Do not rely on getting to much in the way of easy to consume snacks in your destination country (although you may get some fantastic fruit) stock up and take with you anything that is light easy to consume and high in Energy. Muesli bars and scroggin (Homemade mix of fruit, nuts, choc chips and other goodies)
10. Be Trek Fit!
Physically and mentally. Be ready, this is possibly going to be the adventure of a lifetime. A holiday like this is an investment in an experience. Make sure you have the right gear and that it works. You have the right training program and are getting the right advice. If you prepare you are going to be able to enjoy the expedition for what it is, a challenging, total mind, body and cultural experience.
Enjoy your trek!