You’re a dead man walking if you are wearing these things on a trek
This blog is a part of our Trekking 101 series, powered by ULTIMATE TREKKER – the Outdoor Leadership Programme for pro trekkers.
Everyone has heard stories about trekking disasters. But you won’t be able to imagine anything bad happening to you. After all, you’ve done your homework, read all trekking related blogs, hired a guide and studied your route thoroughly. But is that really enough?
If you are trekking in the Himalayas there are some mistakes you can’t afford to make. The closest hospital is located miles away, in case of emergencies local authorities don’t provide any evacuation facilities and there is a possibility that your guide will not be a certified wilderness first responder.
We don’t wish to discourage enthusiasts but your clothes, gear, and logistics will decide how you will interact with the environment. If you’re well-prepared it simply increases your chances of enjoying your trek a little more. Make sure you’re carrying all your essentials and avoid the following strictly to keep out of trouble.
– Denims look good only when dry
Cowboys can survive the heat and travel long distances in denim jeans but trust us you can’t. The main problem with materials like denim is their absorbent nature. When exposed to moisture they become heavy and cold. As a result, our core body temperature drops and we become susceptible to hypothermia.
Further on they take too much space and have long drying time. We don’t hold any grudges against ‘denims’, they do have their perks. But trekking pants offer the same benefits, are light and dry out quickly.
– Love your flip-flops? Still don’t bring them to a trek
You can go hiking in medieval flip-flops if you are wandering on a spiritual quest. But nothing ruins a hike like a blister. Yes, you do save a lot of weight if you hike in your sandals but what is often forgotten is the fact that sandals aren’t made for long distance travel. And blisters will only be the first of many other problems, cuts, leeches, frostbite, the list of problems is endless. If you want to ensure comfort and still save weight buy a pair of trekking shoes.
-You don’t breathe if your clothes can’t
Due to widespread marketing campaigns we all think that waterproof clothing is a must for trekking. As it turns out, what we should be really concerned about is our clothes’ ‘breathability’. Typically hours of uphill walking, creates a lack of ventilation in our ‘waterproof jackets’ and creates moisture from the inside. What we essentially want on our treks are fabrics that dry up quickly thereby reducing the risk of getting wet or hypothermic.
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If you are still hell bent on your clothing being waterproof. Wear a waterproof layer underneath your ‘breathable’ jacket or ensure that your jacket has a good ventilating system.
-Don’t wear flammable clothing
All kinds of fabrics will burn, but some are more combustible than others. The weight and weave of the fabric decides how easily the material will ignite and burn. Cotton burns fast while synthetic fiber such as nylon have a lower risk of burning but will melt and stick to your skin.
Remember a fabric that is heavier and has a tighter weave has a higher flame resistance with a slower burn rate. Tight fitting clothes are less dangerous than long loose fitting clothes, as the latter can swing away from the body and catch fire.
Wool is comparatively flame-retardant. If ignited, it usually has a low burning rate and may self-extinguish. Acetate and triacetate are as flammable but can be made flame-retardant with chemical treatment.
What we often forget is that outside the confines of our houses we are not in control of our surroundings. Only your experience and your gear will ensure your survival. Make sure that everything you keep in your bag is there for a reason. Be prepared and don’t take things that will turn against you in trying times.
Have you ever dealt with stuff that was more headache than utility? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Author: Aditya Pande
A climber hailing from a quaint hill town of Kumaon, Uttaranchal. Focused towards staying healthy and efficient, in the mountains and in the cities.