How to Prepare for a Solo Trek
You made a trek plan with your friends or your loved ones. The destination is decided. Research has been done. Shopping is completed. All is set. Excitement is at its peak. And out of nowhere, you get a text on your smartphone. Your companions bailed on you.
All that excitement and efforts just in vain. Your gut tells you to man up and just go alone. But you are too scared of what might happen. Trust me, we all have been there. Very few of us gathers up the courage to defeat our fear.
But you have learned your lesson of not to be dependent on anyone else. Good for you. Mazel tov to you. Still, you are not sure how to prepare for a solo trek. Then this article is for you.
Solo Trekking Tips
Here are my top 10 tips on how to prepare for a solo trek
1 Have a plan
Having a plan simply means do your homework before stepping out. And by homework I mean do a detailed research about the place where you are going. Pick your destination and find out as much about it as you can.
Is trekking even allowed at the time when you are planning to? Which kind of transportation will you choose to get there? How will you come back to your city? Where are you going to stay over there? Keep these questions in mind while making your plan.
Choose your trail wisely. If this is your first trek then I would recommend trying a place which you are already familiar with instead of a completely new trail.
Make a note of detailed itinerary for the trek. Get familiar with all the names of the places involved in the route. Take review from social media and people who have already done those treks.
Especially find out about from which place trekking is going to start. The total distance that you will be walking. Basecamp location. And also enquire about campsites where you can pitch your tent if you are carrying one. Find out the minimum and maximum time needed to complete that trek.
3 Weather conditions
Make sure to check out the weather conditions in the month and specifically about the week in which you are planning your trek. Temperature varies vastly when you go from low to high altitude. You may be wearing a half t-shirt at 6000 ft and might have to switch to 4 thermal layers at 11000 ft.
You might even face rainfall while trekking. Enquiring more will help in packing you Backpack efficiently. You can take extra clothes and rain cover for you as well for your gadgets.
4 Best time
Try to find out about the best time to trek the summit that you have picked.
- Some of the treks are available all throughout the year. Example- Triund
- Most of them are only available during a certain period of months. Example- Roopkund trek
- Even there are one which only opens about a month two. Example- Chadar trek
5 Inform someone
Do not forget to tell your parents, family member, friend or even roommates about your plan. Going solo requires mental strength. And you can not keep worrying about your family while trekking.
Think about how will they feel if something were to happen to you. They wouldn’t even know where have you gone. Do remember to inform someone from your workplace also. They will start asking about your whereabouts when you stop showing up.
If you are planning to leave without getting noticed then at least drop a text. This gives them an idea that you are willingly gone and not just disappeared in thin air.
5 First Aid Kit
Sickness can happen anytime. So be prepared. And you won’t have your buddies to help you with medication. My advice would be to keep extra medications. Keep everything which you think will be helpful. Or better, ask your mom to do it for you. That way you will have every medicine packed.
These are some basic things you can include in First aid kit :
- Disprin for a headache
- Diamox for AMS( Altitude Mountains Sickness). I will post a different article completely dedicated to Diamox.
- Antiseptic cream
- Pain reliever gel
6 Respect the trail
Remember where you are which does not mean the location’s name. No, I mean at what height you are.
- How far is the help?
- How long will it take to get help?
One bad step and you can be stranded for days. So walk carefully. Stick to your trail which is already laid down. Avoid doing anything fancy because it might get you into trouble. Do not climb those rocks which you need not to. Take selfies carefully.
Do not litter. These places are sacred. Do not contaminate water with soap or shampoo. This might be the drinking water for local people.
7 Backup plan
What happens if everything starts falling apart. It can be anything. Running out of the water, no food left, constant raining, snowstorm or worst of them all, AMS. You must be always with a backup plan.
The first step in your backup plan should be to start trailing down. Does not matter at what height you are. Going up or even staying at the same spot can be fatal.
Be ready to let go of your ego. There may come a time when there’s just no other option left other than to descend down. Stay safe to climb another day.
8 Pack efficiently
In extreme conditions, your backpack can be your savior. Invest in good quality waterproof backpack having a minimum capacity of 40 liters.
I will try to post a different blog regarding backpack packing. But for now, note down these solo hiking essentials.
- Gloves and Woolen cap
- Thermal layerings inside
- All the gadgets like power banks and torch
- Waterproof jacket.
- Woolen socks
- Poncho or raincoats
9 Food and Water
This one is obvious. You are on a solo quest, therefore, you can not mooch off of your friends. Short day treks won’t cause many problems but be extra prepared for long days trek.
Keep extra chocolate and energy bars in your bag. Keep an extra stash too which can be used in case of emergency. Do not leave anything for granted although this will make your bag heavy.
Try to keep 2 bottles of water minimum and not those mineral ones. Instead, use those bottles which you do not want to leave behind.
Start consuming 5-6 liters of water per day at least a week before starting hiking. This will keep your body hydrated. And believe me, dehydration is the enemy. Staying hydrated also helps in acclimatizing therefore directly helps in preventing AMS.
10 Be Mentally prepared
Is it weird to hike alone? This question must have come into your mind while you were thinking about solo trekking.
Yes, it can be weird but in a good way. It can be boring sometimes. You start talking to yourself. Random thoughts are usually common. Distract yourself from negative thoughts.
My Final Thoughts
If you really want to try trekking solo for the first time then I would recommend you to book a package. That way you can meet new people and have not to worry about food and other necessities.
Also, check out Top 10 tips for Trekking
Once you start feeling comfortable then definitely you can the next step.
You are with the best company, yourself. Good luck and Happy Travelling.