Trekking Essentials: Backpack essentials and Dress Code
what to pack for trekking?

Trekking, when done properly, can be one of the most rewarding experiences where you become one with nature. If you are a trekking beginner, take a look at our Trekking beginner’s guide first, to get the basics of what does trekking means, and how can you start practicing it. 

Basically, trekking is the next level after hiking. There are many similarities and differences between those two, you check them out more in-depth here. When you are trekking, it means that you are going on longer journeys that last several days, and you go on foot for many, many kilometers. Sometimes during your trekking trips, the weather will not agree with you, there will be rain, storms, heat, etc. Additionally, you may get yourself into dangerous situations or even experience some injuries. These, and many other situations are the reasons why you should always be prepared for a broad area of possible scenarios before you start your trekking trip.Group of people trekking with backpacks and poles

That is why, especially in the beginning, it is advised to take with you more than you need, because you never know, when more will become just enough. The amounts of objects taken strongly depend on the length, difficulty, and duration of your trip.

Clothes & Gear

1. Outfit 

The outfit strongly depends on three things: the destination, the time of the year, and your experience. If you are in the beginning stage taking more is always the solution. The environment is tricky, therefore, sun, snow, and rain in one day are a completely possible scenario. 

During walking, your body should not feel overheated, therefore wearing “active” underwear which fits your body well is recommended. In addition, it also fits your body, which could prevent being stuck in branches or rocks. Avoid using cotton materials because it is cold and slowly eliminates body moisture and causes odor. In addition, woolen or synthetic socks protect you better against blisters when wet.

In addition, your outfit should be designed in an “onion principle” (many different layers) where each of the layers has its purpose (sweat and body temperature regulation, rain protection, wind protection, and cold protection). Always take each layer off or on gradually in order to prevent overheating or overcooling your body.

2. Shoes 

Shoes have to be tested before planning a longer route to the mountains to see whether they fit well with our legs and feet. If not, they could cause blisters and other uncomfortable injuries. A tip for selecting the appropriate shoe is to try them on with the same socks used in trekking as this will immediately show whether the shoe fits you correctly. Generally, the recommended type of shoe for the mountains has a shape of a boot, protecting the ankle in case of a slide. It should also be breathable and waterproof in order to prevent our feet to get sweaty and cold. The sole of the shoe should have a badge “Vibram” which makes the walk more comfortable.

3. Backpack 

The backpack is one of the most important parts of the gear along with your shoes. It will carry everything that you need for many days, and it will carry that on your shoulders. That is why you have to make sure that the backpack fits your back correctly and doesn’t hurt you anywhere: neck, shoulders, back. The bag can get pretty heavy, so investing in a backpack that fits your back very good is always a smart option. Man standing on a mountain with a yellow trekking backpack on his shouldersAlso, take notice of the materials it is made from. It needs to be durable, and it should have a waterproof cover in case of rain or snow. You don’t want all your clothes inside to get wet and then not have anything to change into after a long day of trekking in the pouring rain. The size of the backpack should be decided according to the trekking duration. Generally, a 45-55l should be enough, but you might need a bigger one in some cases. 

4. Sleeping bag & tent

Depending on your preferences, you can either create a trekking trip by sleeping at hotels, mountain huts, etc, or you can have a tent and a sleeping back and do it on your own. In the second scenario, you would need to invest in good equipment that can keep you warm in cold temperatures. Choose a sturdy tent, so a strong wind won’t be able to blow it away. However, the tent should not be big or have too many parts since you will be carrying it yourself. Look for one that has a bug net so you won’t get attacked by insects while you’re inside.Green tent on top of a mountain

When it comes to a sleeping bag, choose one that’s not too heavy since again, you will be carrying it yourself and you don’t want to have an extremely heavy load on your back. For instance, if you are going camping, you can allow having a bigger comfort, but with trekking, you have to always keep in mind the weight of the equipment. 

Other essentials of backpackers 

  • Water- the amount depends on the length and difficulty of your trip. You should also get informed where you can refill on your way to the destination you have chosen. 

  • Food- take lightweight food with high caloric density to save up some space (nuts, cereal, dry fruit, and energy bars).

  • First aid kit- accidents can happen during trekking so you might need things like bandages, tape, disinfection liquid, plasters, scissors, painkillers, gauzes, etc.

  • Accessories- nature is unpredictable so you might end up needing some assistance from additional accessories like a swiss army knife, (head) flashlight with spare batteries, a lighter or matches, a compass, and a map.

  • Spare clothing- trekking is a high-effort activity so you’re guaranteed to get pretty sweaty. If the weather is bad you can also get rained on. You have to always have spare clothing.

  • Wallet with documents, and enough cash (some places don’t accept cards especially in the mountains).

  • Additional gear- things like caps, gloves, poles, thick socks, fitness trackers, power banks, earbuds if you get motivated by music, 

  • Sunscreen- the sun can be dangerous especially if the terrain doesn’t pass through woods all the time.

  • Insect repellent- nature means insects. Protect yourself from getting bitten.

  • Utensils- take a little spoon, fork, knife, and whatever else you may need for the food you’re carrying.

  • Sunglasses- walking for hours in the sun can be difficult on your eyes. Don’t forget to protect them too.

  • Personal hygiene products- you still need to take care of your hygiene even in nature. Take toothbrush and paste, mouthwash, soap, sanitizer, etc.

In short, carry only the things you absolutely need but also keep in mind that you can get into different situations in nature and you may need assistance from different accessories or gear. Find the right balance between overpacking and underpacking. With time, you will get more experienced and you will know better what to take on which trekking trips.


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