To get started as a trekker, you will need much of the same gear that you would bring on a day hike. You will also need overnight gear and the tools necessary to purify water should you run now. Finally, you’ll need communication tools in the event of an emergency.
Invest in a quality pair of water-resistant shoes and wicking socks to keep your feet dry and lower your risk of blisters. Never wear new shoes on a hike. If you’re headed into dry country, consider mesh hikers to reduce the heat build-up against your feet. Finally, if you’re headed into snow country and have quality snow boots for your trek, treat yourself to slippers for your time in the tent.
You’ll need a rain jacket with a hood. If you can find one that’s a bit oversized, you can layer it over fleece to stay a bit warmer. Make sure you carry a baseball cap to keep an oversized hood off of your face as you reach new scenery. Make sure you also have a waterproof cover for your rucksack.
Backpack or Rucksack
A backpack that fits close to your body and straps down tight against the muscles in your shoulders is a great investment. Take the time to find a rucksack that fits comfortably over a light tee or even a tank. Scraping your skin with buckles and straps as the temperature climbs is not a fun trip. Make sure your rucksack also has the necessary pockets for your snacks and sunscreen.
Shelter and Rest
A lightweight shelter and sleeping bag can allow you to rest deeply on your trek into the wild country. Try to get a sleeping bag that you can compress tightly into the bottom of your pack to build a platform for heavier gear. Many trekkers walk with poles and use these poles to support their tent, which is a great way to save weight. However, if you break a pole you’re homeless, so consider bringing tape and a short length of material to patch a pole if you need to.
A headlamp with both a red and a white light setting is a good investment. You want to be able to see over rough ground if you need to leave the tent in the night. To power your lamp, consider carrying a portable solar panel that has a battery included; many of these can clip on the back of your pack as you hike and soak up sunlight for future use.
Make sure that every item of clothing you bring is essential, as it will add weight. In addition to the slippers noted above, make sure you have clothing that will serve double duty. A lightweight pair of shorts and a tank can be a swimsuit; a hooded fleece sweatshirt can be a jacket and a warm pajama top.
Consider investing in a personal filter bottle that will allow you to make clean drinking water from outdoor sources. In addition, carry a double wall insulated water bottle so you can filter one bottle while you drink from another.
Keep food items that don’t need to be cooked at the top of your pack for snacks and quick energy boosts. When you’re ready to eat, carrying food items that can be prepped easily by adding hot water is an excellent choice. Avoid anything that’s particularly sticky, such as peanut butter that you have to spread on bread, to avoid too many dishes to wash.
First Aid and Hygiene
Carry a small blister kit at the top of your kit for simple scrapes, cuts, blisters, and bug bites. A larger first aid kit for bigger emergencies can live further down your pack. Look for adult-sized, sturdy personal wipes that you can use to clean up
- before bed
- in the morning
- after using the bathroom
and carry plastic bags to pack up wipes for discarding.
If you’re trekking with a partner and likely to move out of cell service, consider investing in a small set of two-way radios to stay in touch if you plan to be out of sight of one another. Make sure you let folks at home know where you’re going, your planned route and your estimated arrival times.