Tips & Tricks
With great experience comes great, err… experience! We've done this a lot and we've learned a lot on the trail. Here are some of our favourite handy ideas to make life at altitude that little bit easier…
Some notes froom the experts...
- Duct tape fixes everything. Take a refilable aluminium water bottle (we love our Sigg Bottles) and wrap half a roll of duct tape around it, spread evenly top to bottom. It takes up almost no space but will always come in handy.
- Water for life. We can never say this enough, but thirsty or not you should drink water constantly. A good rule is make sure your daily intake is at least 1 litre for every km of altitude.
- Take one set of comfy clothes that are only ever to be worn at the end of the day, after you've finished your activities and cleaned up. Be religious about it and every evening you can cosy up in your clean clothes.
- Baby wipes mean you don't always have to face undressing in the cold to take a shower. You might not always need a full hot shower and plus, showering can be expensive at high altitude, if it's even available.
- Never set out in new boots. Blisters can really ruin a hike, and while we wouldn't walk 500 miles to avoid them, 50 miles in new boots before you leave would be worth it.
- Trekking poles make life so much more pleasant, especially on hard climbs or stomping descents. If you've never used them before then consider starting now – you're knees will thank you!
- Keep water in your sleeping bag over night so it doesn't freeze. You'll wake up thirsty most mornings at altitude and one litre of ice won't be much help.
- Keep your batteries warm. Nothing drains a battery faster than the cold so even if your not using them, keep your camera batteries, phone etc. in a warm place, such as an inner pocket during the day and in the bottom of your sleeping bag at night. They can keep your water company while you sleep.
- Embrace the locals and their traditions, trekking is only half as much fun without them. It's not just a goal oriented sport, it's an immersive, cultural experience too!
- Make use of the layering system [see here for a great explanation from Go Outdoors and also here for another from My Open Country] and be sure to add/remove layers as soon as you feel the need. It's much harder to get warm than it is to stay warm and it's never comfortable to be covered in sweat.
- Zip-off pants are great for keeping control of temperature and comfort, whilst minimising weight.
- Avoid alcohol during the trek, especially on the way up. You'll acclimatise much better as a result and those drinks on your last night will taste SO good!
- Be sun smart at altitude. The thin air, dust and snow mean the sun is much more of a menace than almost anywhere else in the world.
- Take snacks for the trail each day, there is nothing worse than a hunger grump when you're already feeling the strain.
- Be inspired. Be awestruck. Really don't hold back, feel the presence of the mightiest mountains on our whole planet and let that inspiration sink in.
- Look after your body properly, it will let you enjoy your trek in return.
- Don't take it all tooooo seriously up there. We know we need to stay safe and look after each other but don't forget to have fun – it is a holiday after all.