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Introduction

Kit Advice

Trekking Kit

Hiking and trekking are activities that are suitable for all, giving the opportunity for exercise at all levels while experiencing the challenges and rewards that outdoor pursuits provide.

  • Good planning and preparation are essential for a successful trek, but it doesn’t have to be complicated.
  • Knowledge of terrain, climate, local hazards and risks is always a good thing to start with so try and gather as much information about these as you can.

The following gives some simple advice about the different types of kit that you might consider for your charity trek:

 

Headwear

Hats are a basic item of equipment but nonetheless very important as it will protect you from both heat and cold. Heat because it will protect you against sunstroke by providing shade and cold by reducing heat loss from your body which could be in the region of 30-50% of your total body temperature, this drastically reduces the chances of hypothermia setting in.

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Sunglasses

These items also have a dual purpose, hot climate protection direct from the sun is an obvious one but also from reflected sunlight on snow-covered landscapes, something that doesn’t always spring to mind on certain high altitude treks.

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Outer Insulated Layers

These layers must be suited for the conditions that you are likely to find yourself in, i.e. to prevent yourself from overheating and chilling under certain conditions. Ideally they should be lightweight, non bulky and easily stowed and unstowed because your requirements can change rapidly from personal exertion and the ever changing climate. The jackets we use are made by Snugpack which offer a breathable, high thermal and low weight ratio ideal for high altitude trekking and have been a tried and tested jacket for trekkers and the military alike.

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Outer Waterproof Layer

We can take it that everything here applies to both the jackets and the trousers. Obviously they need to be both waterproof and windproof but again also breathable because your own trapped body moisture can saturate your clothing just as easily as the rain can. Sizing of the jackets can be an issue because you will need to allow for other clothing to be worn underneath, but not to the extent that your jacket flaps around but the drawstrings will keep the warmth in and the wind and rain out.
Sufficient and accessible pockets for personal items such as lip balm camera and sun cream is also a good idea and again breathable fabric is most important.

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Gaiters

These items are worn on the lower part of the leg and over the top of your waterproof trousers to keep out water/mud and protects against scrubby vegetation. You will also need to check the compatibility with your boots. There are various different types on the market but the Gortex type seem to be the most popular, but not every trek warrants a pair of gaiters so don’t be talked in to buying them if they are not needed.

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Boots and Socks

Probably the most important item of equipment in the trekker’s locker, if you get this wrong, then your trek is going to be a painful and traumatic experience. Every body has their own personal foot shape and size and not one boot will suit all.  It is well worth investing time and money on purchasing a good pair of boots from a multitude of different styles and materials. Try to match up your boot type with the terrain you are going to walk on, for example, plastic boots on snow and ice, synthetic and leather for standard treks.

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Gloves

Such a vast range to choose from in this particular category all will be much of the same, you can spend a fortune on gloves, so just set a budget and try to stick to it.

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Sleeping Bags

As well as the boots, the sleeping bags are a very important piece of equipment, get this wrong and you will suffer. The bags are rated in seasons generally from 2 to 4 season and in types, either in down or synthetic fibres. The rule of thumb is to get the bag rated to 10 degrees below the expected temperature for your trip. Some companies willsell and/or hire out sleeping bags made by Ajungilak and are a synthetic fibre bag because, although down bags are lighter, they do not retain the heat well once wet and synthetic bags do and are easier to maintain. You can also buy sleeping bags in various sizes and with zips opening on the left or right, whichever suits.

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Sleeping Mats (inflatable)

These mats are an ideal accompaniment to the sleeping bag. The mats are self-inflating and are a great improvement on the closed cell type. They provide an affective insulating layer between your body and the ground and are compact, light and easily transported. Once they are rolled out on the floor, you undo a valve which allows air to enter with help from atmospheric pressure and topped up with a few short breaths of your own for a comfortable nights sleep under the stars. Varieties vary from Therma rest, Mountain equipment and Ajungilak.

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Trekking Poles

For hiking and alpine style movements, trekking poles take the strain off the back and spine. For your information, 45 pole plants per minute each, relieves approximately 18 pounds of pressure on lower extremities on an incline, so you can see how important they can be. The main reason for the poles is to keep the back upright, reduce strain and offer an increased air intake that can increase stamina. Poles today are generally telescopic that can be adjusted to suit your height and have a built in suspension system or anti shock as they are sometimes called. It is a personal preference as to how many poles you walk with (one or two) but on treks such as Macchu Picchu you will need to have rubber tips to avoid damaging the environment.

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Head Torches

Crucial for both general and emergency use, there are a wide variety of head torches available from halogen, standard bulb and LED, the choice is exhaustive. One of the most popular are the older style Petzl standard bulb type because they are a tried and tested product and offer a good beam and a battery pack that can fit snugly in to your jacket or on a trouser belt. Not all treks would involve activiites at night-time, these may just come in handy for finding your way around a very darkened campsite, finding a loo while keeping both hands free for other things.  It really is a personal choice so it will be worth shopping around for these.

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Baggage

At some point on your trek you are going to be carrying some form of bag whether it’s a 25/35-litre daysack or 60/80-litre rucksack, it’s going to happen. Your needs will vary depending on the type and scale of your expedition that you are undertaking. Careful planning will minimise excess weight and will ensure the right equipment will be taken. The 25/35 litre daysacks are generally used and carried to provide storage for every day items such as sun cream, camera and all the other nick knacks that come in handy. Rucksacks with back cooling systems are a must so as to reduce sweat and discomfort, and built in rain hoods are also a good idea. Also make sure that straps are done up properly as the last thing you will want is for the rucksack to rub on your skin as in time this will become a sore point on your journey.

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