Why Quality is Paramount on Extended Outdoor Treks
Long distance trekking isn’t your average walk in the park. A great deal of planning and preparation is needed to ensure both your enjoyment and safety. While you can often get away with using low quality gear for simple hikes, it is highly recommended to invest in first-rate quality equipment for extended multi-day treks.
Not only is quality important when it comes to the gear you equip yourself with, you also want to make sure you gather quality information in regards to mapping out trekking routes and making yourself aware of the potential dangers or hardships you may face along the way. Let us explore more in depth why quality is so vital for long distance treks, touching on what to wear, what to eat and drink, and how to make sure you arrive home in one piece.
Whether you’re a beginner hiker or advanced trekker, we hope these helpful tips will start you off on the right foot to enjoying your own slice of rugged remote wilderness.
Thoroughly researching your chosen trekking destination is the first step to a successful trekking adventure. One of the most important tasks is gathering quality maps and carrying a quality GPS. Although long distance hiking trails may be signposted along the way, it is important to know which kind of route markers you can expect on your trails. Not all trails are marked the same way and yours may be marked using cairns, tree ribbons, paint markers, sign posts, or etchings. Trails may be color-coded or be individually named with signs. It’s important to inform yourself with trail info via quality authoritative websites which will offer insight on what trail markers you can expect and how to read them.
Some trails may be closed or there may be temporary detours in place due to recent storms or natural disasters. Be sure to check with local national park authorities to find out the latest trail closures and be sure to read weather reports to be advised of any adverse weather that may be forecasted during your trek. Carrying a reliable GPS unit allows you to not get lost even when trail markers have gone missing or been obstructed by overgrown foliage or things like snow.
In addition to researching trails, make sure to read up on what dangers may be present during your trek. Dangers can include venomous snakes, dangerous animals such as bears, quickly rising rivers after heavy rains, avalanches, lack of potable water, and extreme temperatures. Arming yourself with accurate quality information can mean the difference between survival and death in extreme cases.
We often think of trekking as hiking on your own two feet, in which your mode of transportation is yourself. This means you need to make sure you’re healthy enough to undertake a potentially arduous trek and get a tune-up or health check before your trek, much as you would have your vehicle inspected before a long distance road trip. Since you will be relying on your legs and feet to get you through the expedition, it’s important to keep them healthy and uninjured by investing in quality footwear, but more on that later.
Trekking doesn’t have to be hiking on your own two feet though. Many outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers are giving bikepacking a go. Bikepacking combines backcountry backpacking with mountain biking to tackle arduous terrain that may include dirt, mud, sand, snow, and rocks. For such terrain, it is important to research and invest in a quality off-road bike that can get you through nearly any landscape. There are surprisingly durable ebikes available that make light work of long distances. Some of these all-terrain bikes feature double front wheels and a double suspension fork which equates to a much more durable and stable bike than a fat tire bike or traditional mountain bike.
All terrain ebikes can be either peddled or ridden under electric power when the going gets a bit too tough. Some have the ability to almost effortlessly cut through soft sand and snow which would take out most other types of normal bikes.
And because many trekking destinations are remote, you may need to think about having a quality 4WD vehicle to get you to the trailheads. Depending on your location and the season, you may have to learn how to use snow chains or how to drive on beach sand. Having the wrong vehicle could mean you won’t be able to begin your trekking adventure if you can’t reach the start.
Clothing and Footwear Quality
Not dressing appropriately or planning for weather is one of the biggest dangers that can affect long-distance trekkers. Being subjected to extreme weather for days can take its toll and can even kill those who don’t pack the right clothing.
Use the multi-layered approach in order to easily remove or add clothing when needed. Temperatures can change dramatically in an instant, especially when trekking in the mountains. Although it may be sunny and warm one minute, you could quickly face gale force winds and heavy rain if a fast moving front approaches.
Invest in breathable and waterproof clothing as well as a pair of hiking boots that are waterproof and durable. A cheap pair of sneakers won’t cut it for long distance treks as they won’t offer you the support or durability that is needed. If your shoes fail, so will your trek since you are relying on your feet to get you back home. Make sure to break in new hiking boots before your trek to make certian your footwear will be comfortable to wear for long periods.
While it may be tempting to cut costs by purchasing lower quality gear that seems just as good as the more expensive brands, it’s important to remember that you usually get what you pay for. If you have to be rescued by a medical helicopter or receive treatment because you didn’t dress for the elements with quality clothing, you could end up paying a lot more.
Food & Drink Quality
It goes without saying that you’ll need a lot of energy and water to complete your trekking journey. Trekking remotely means you can’t just pack your normal everyday foods, rather you must think carefully about what food items will give you the most energy and nutrients without weighing your packs down. Food must also be able to stay preserved and not go bad in extreme temperatures. You may be blessed with colder temperatures that can act as a natural refrigerator for some treks, but others will force you to carry items that won’t spoil in high temperatures. Foods like nuts, dried fruits, and dried meats are all great options to pack due to the fact they have a lot of energy and protein for their weight and don’t require refrigeration.
Carrying electrolyte drinks can be a good idea, but you won’t be able to carry many with you on multi-day hikes. Making sure you have enough clean water is more important to keeping you hydrated at all times. Although you can often carry enough water on you for short hikes, long distance treks makes it impossible to carry all the water you’ll need for your journey. This is where it becomes important to make certain there will be water sources along your route and that you pack a water purification device or tablets to ensure your water is safe to consume.