Monday, July 9, 2018

Trekking tips during monsoon - Preparation and Packing

Monsoon trek to Tadiandamol
Pic Courtesy  : Satish M - Event organizer, Bangalore Hikers
For Trekking freaks, Monsoon hikes will pump up the adrenaline. Exploring nature with a splash of rain is a paradise. If not planned properly then trekking during the monsoon would be a big mess. Muddy and slippery Trails, wet clothes, those sucking leeches should not hold you from exploring during monsoon. Monsoon hikes are the best and those memories will stay with you for a lifetime, when necessary measures and preparation is done.

Mandatory Things:
  1. Raincoat/Poncho
  2. Jacket/sweater 
  3. Plastic covers
  4. Hiking Slippers with a grip sole and good holding.
  5. For 2 day trekking, carry 3 pair of socks (Prefer thick socks to avoid leech bite). An additional pair of Woolen socks is always mandatory to protect your feet and keep you warm at night. 

Rain-Coat & Jacket:
Most of the rain coats are not sufficient to keep you and your clothes dry. During monsoon, all you can expect is heavy rainfall and heavy wind. So buying a light fabric will not withstand rain and wind. Always remember, you are not buying a raincoat to wear it for a while or to go out to buy something. Hence, while purchasing a raincoat Keep in mind, that you might face unpleasant weather, heavy rainfall and this rain coat is going to be your best friend from the start of the hike and until you reached the summit. There is a difference between Waterproof vs. water-resistant. Hence while purchasing look for a thick layer and durability.

Once you get wet, a thick jacket/sweater will help you from the cold in the night. Hence always carry both Rain coat and Jacket.

One more thing, Dont be over smart and carry an Umbrella’s while hiking. I saw few people carrying Umbrella during our trek. That's the most dangerous thing. While hiking hands should be always free, this will save you from a slip during the slippery trails.

Good bye to Cotton clothes:
Always ensure you pack only Nylon or spandex or Polystor clothes which has good properties of quick drying. Cotton absorbs water quickly and takes time to dry.
Packing: While packing, ensure to pack each clothes separately in a plastic bag or waterproof bag. This will protect clothes from water, even when your bag is soaked in water completely as well as keep the moisture out. Always carry a big plastic cover to carry and store dirty shoes.

Shoes or hiking Sandals ? 
Both has advantages and disadvantages and its more about your personal comfort. In case of shoes, though the shoe company claims waterproof shoes, your feet get wet when it rains and weight little heavy.

On the other side slippers dry quickly and breathe easily. But it lacks protection. Sandals are borne to cause injury when you hit broken branches and rocks. I personally feel comfort with sandals and I take much caution during the trail.

If you are going to be a frequent traveler, then I would suggest you to customize your glasses with anti-fog coating and water-resistant lenses. Myself as well as my co-trekkers struggled a lot as the water droplets were fogging up and the vision was not clear during our hikes. Personally, I dont suggest contact lens because when water get into eyes, the lens stick to the eye and might be uncomfortable.

Water Proof Pouch:
Buy a waterproof bag to carry your money, credit card, key and other small thing. For electronic items, buy a waterproof Mobile pouch that has a Sensitive touch. This will allow you to access touch screen functions without taking out the mobile phone. This way you can still have fun by taking pictures and videos.

Sorry to say, there is no better way to avoid leeches. People and google might say Leech Socks, salt, Odomos(the cream get washed off easily), tobacco leaves would help to get rid of it. But trust me you can’t escape from leeches sucking the blood.

The best way to safeguard yourself is to wait for the leeches to get its stomach full and to drop off by itself. This will help you to safe yourself from infection in the long run. Pulling off by hand might result in its tooth getting stuck and will result in itching/infection.

When you apply salt onto the leech, it’s going to further spread its infection. Leech socks could be dangerous in some way, since the leeches leave the socks area and climb higher, higher and higher (Usssh… Stop the imagination please)!

On a health note, It is said that the leeches suck out the toxins from Blood. The best part you don’t feel the bite or pain, since it insert an anesthetics into your blood. After sucking out the blood they insert another anti-coagulant to stop your blood from clotting. So sweet of them right? 

You can use Fucibet Cream(Price 15g :55.60) or Wild Ideas- Healing cream (available online) to stop from Leech itching and infections. Fucibet Cream  cab be purchased in all medical stores.

Taking care of above things will make your hiking a pleasant one! You might be cursing yourself, why the hell am I doing this monsoon hike instead of sleeping at home. But trust me at the end of the journey you will definitely have memories to cherish and share with everyone.

What Best practice would you do or any tips that you would like to share, please share in comments session. 

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