Captured on the way to Brahmatal - Trekking tips

Trekking has now become a quite popular activity. Be it a hike or a weekend trek or a multi-day trek, enthusiasts are always game to go on a trek. To enjoy a trek, one should always be aware of trekking tips and tricks, few techniques, and do’s & don’ts.

I have been trekking since 2013 and have explored plenty of things about trekking and hiking. Based on my experience, here I am jotting down the most essential trekking tips and tricks that will help you during the trek.

Every adventure is all about techniques. If you are using the right technique then you will need to use less strength and you will find the adventure quite easy and enjoy more.

In almost every adventure activity, the first principle is always “Energy conservation”. You are always required to save your energy because you never know what is coming up!

Trekking Tips –How to ascend?

  • Majority of trekkers find ascending more difficult than descending. The most important thing that every beginner should understand that trekking is not a race that you are required to come first and you will get a medal. Yes, there is a time limit but it is quite enough if you are walking at a normal speed. So do not run or walk fast. It will make you tired soon. Slow and steady is the key. Walk at a constant pace and maintain the rhythm.
  • Your body weight should be in forward position.
  • Take small steps and try to synchronise your breathing with walking. Once your pace is set, then you can increase your walking speed and regulate your breathing accordingly.
  • If the terrain is normal and not much steep then you can walk normally. If the inclination is more than 40 or 45 degrees then put your wait on toes.
  • If you are negotiating a very steep terrain or a big stone, then inhale while stepping up and when you are putting pressure on your leg. Exhale, when you are releasing pressure and your body is coming to rest. This will save your energy and make you less tired.
  • If you are ascending on a meadow, walk in a zig-zag way instead of walking straight.
  • Always look down while trekking.
While trekking towards Balu ka Gera on Hampta Pass Trek
While trekking towards Balu ka Gera on Hampta Pass Trek

Trekking Tips – How to descend?

  • While descending, always keep your body weight in the backwarding position and put your weight on heels.
  • Don’t run and always step on a stable stone. Avoid walking on scree (small stones).
  • While descending down, keep your legs loose and consider your legs as your body suspension.
  • Your trekking shoes should be larger by 1 size than that you wear in your daily life. If your shoes are just fit enough then you will get pain in your toes while descending.  Check how to choose correct trekking shoes?

Trekking Tips – Walk according to the terrain

  • If walking on rocky terrain, try judging every stone coming on your way and step only on that stone which looks stable. Always go for big stones and avoid small stones.
  • If walking on hard snow terrain, always walk on the steps/footprints which are already made. If there are no steps/footprints, then walk by setting up your grip. Dig your every single step and then put your weight on it.
  • If walking on a soft or fresh snow terrain, always do probing with the help of wooden stick or trekking pole before putting your step. However, walking on soft snow is easier than hard snow but sometimes it is also tricky.
  • If you are negotiating a tricky path or a landslide, then always keep your body weight towards the mountain and traverse sidewise.
  • Keep your hands empty while trekking.
While trekking towards the Tungnath Temple
While trekking towards the Tungnath Temple

Take Safety Measures

  • Always walk on the mountainside, not on the valley side.
  • Do not use headphones/earphones. If you think motivational songs will help you while trekking then play it on a speaker instead of headphones/earphones. Make sure the volume is low and it does not destroy the peace of that place.
  • Keep your ears open while trekking so that you will always be aware of the surroundings. On the mountains, you never know what is coming in your way. It can be a mule or any wild animal or a shooting stone.
  • Also, keeping ears open helps the body to get acclimatized quickly and properly. Around 60% of body acclimatization is done through ears.

Carry your backpack/rucksack on your own

  • Some people think that off-loading backpack will help them in trekking. Yes, sometimes it is true but carrying a backpack has its own advantages. It maintains your body posture while ascending and also it protects your back from falling while descending down through a slippery terrain. Check how to choose correct rucksack?
  • Always carry the backpack in a correct way. Check that all the straps are tight enough so that your backpack should be like your body part. Use the waist strap and avoid the chest strap. Waist strap will divide the weight of rucksack in between shoulders, back, and waist whereas the chest strap will make uncomfortable and difficult for you to breathe properly.

Stay Hydrated

Don’t drink too much water in between the trek. Drink adequate water so that your body remains hydrated. Also, make sure when your breathing gets normal, only then drink.

Rest Wisely

Don’t take too much breaks. The more you rest, the more you loose energy. Try to maintain your walking momentum and keep walking on a steady pace. If you are taking a break, don’t sit. Take rest while standing and if needed, offload your backpack while resting.

A fellow trekker resting on the Valley of Flowers Trek
A fellow trekker resting on the Valley of Flowers Trek

Understand the importance of breathing

In trekking, the most important thing is how do you breathe and how can you control it? Try to inhale and exhale through your nose if you are feeling normal. If you are having a problem then start inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. If you are breathing heavily, stop for a minute. Take a deep breath through your nose, hold it for a few seconds and exhale it through your nose. Your breathing will get normal quickly.

Stay motivated and mentally fit

During steep ascents (while climbing a peak or a pass), have patience and make up your mind. Mental fitness is more important than physical fitness. Although, it’s always great and advantageous to have a good physical fitness but if you think that you are lacking on your physical fitness then mental fitness is the thing that you need to work on it. It is proven that the human mind is designed to take any kind and amount of stress. You just need to explore the boundaries. For example- During the final training of Para Special Forces in the Indian Army, the jawans and officers are made to run 100 km in a day without any break. The first 60 km they run by their physical fitness and the rest 40 km they run by their brain. So you just have to fool your brain and anything can be achieved.

Set targets

If you are exerting too much and finding it difficult to climb up, then motivate yourself and start making short targets. Let’s say, set your 1st goal to complete 100 steps at one go and start inhaling-exhaling for every step you take. Continue this walking rhythm and you will reach your destination soon 🙂

A fellow trekker while on the way to Kedarkantha Summit
A fellow trekker while on the way to Kedarkantha Summit

Be Cautious

Also, do keep in mind that courage and caution are the two most important things that one should have on mountains. So don’t try to be a hero and turn impossible to possible. Judge the terrain, weather, and your physical conditions. If you feel confident, go for it otherwise come down. Never challenge a mountain. You can climb it again but only if you will be alive.

🙂 Happy Trekking 🙂

Written by

Manu Khandelwal

An engineer and a travel blogger. Loves trekking and doing bike road trips. Burger lover (want to try every burger in the world). Clinomaniac. Sports fanatic. Likes technology but not a technology addict.