A Nomad's Diary - travel tales

What to Pack for Hiking and High-Altitude Trekking? Your Ultimate HIKING Checklist is Here!

Hiking & trekking both are basically different forms of walking into the nature for but the difference comes with the varying difficulty levels. Hiking generally has the same start & end point while trekking is longer and may have many brief layovers before the final return. The best hikes and treks are the ones done in high-altitude areas because in these areas there is a scope of unprecedented landscape views. Also, the terrain being rough and steep raises the adventure quotient of any hike or trek.

Here is an ultimate checklist that one should surely check before and after packing for a hiking expedition:

Hiking Sunglasses can be very different from your regular sunglasses. Protection from high-intensity UV light which quite prevalent in high-altitudes mountain areas is the most crucial concerns. An ideal hiking sunglass should have high UV protection, should be polarized, should be robust, should cover the entire eye area and lastly should have an anti-Fogging coating.  The polarized property of glasses works against the glaring snow. As a matter of fact, the one should also choose sunglasses of right tint as during the hike or high-altitude trek eyes are bound to see views through sunglasses.

  • Quick Dry Set of Apparel:

Before marching in unforeseen terrains keeping and wearing a pair of Quick Dry T-shirt & Trouser is essential. Especially if one is hiking in mountain or hilly areas or places with unpredictable rains happening. Even during summers, these are quite useful for drying out sweat fast. Nylons and Polyester fabric shirt and trousers work the best. The length of the t-shirt & trouser booth should be full so as to prevent from tanning, insect bites and more.

  • Quick Drying or Waterproof Shoes

Protecting the feet to get any harm with the rough and unpredictable terrain it is advisable to have a pair of quick dry shoes and socks handy while packing for a Hike or a trek. Even a pair or two of quick-drying socks should also be worn and kept. In case of rains & crossing a shallow stream of water, these are extremely helpful. The quick dry shoes at the same time should also be rough & tough. Avoid wearing fashionable shoes rather focus on the features the shoes have like the grip in the sole below and more.

  • Fleece:

A light weighted but warm fleece should be worn or kept while packing for a Hike or a trek. Depending upon which season and the altitude one is opting for fleece can be used. Generally, at high-altitudes, there is a lot of wind and so a cooler climate can be expected; wearing a fleece inside acts as a protective layer from the cold winds. Additionally if going to very cold places with sub-zero temperatures then carrying a ligh weight fleece blanket is also highly recommended.

  • Waterproof & Windcheater Jacket:

Usually one should wear one such jacket always as the top coat while starting a hike or a high-altitude trek. This acts as the first line of defence against water, wind, insect bites and more. In many adventure specialed sports store there are a variety of such Jackets displayed with details of the temperature or the climatic conditions it can withstand. Choose the best fit according to your type of Hike or trek. Again it should be light and should be more functional than fashion oriented. Wearing bright coloured jackets is advisable in case one gets lost or so, the person can be identified from a distance easily.

Source: By Paxson Woelber – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
  • Hiking & Trekking Poles:

These are basically used for support function while walking in the natural terrain. The Hiking staff or pole is usually single while the trekking pole comes in pairs. Try and get a flexible pole so that it can be used by others as well. The flexible pole can be adjusted according to one’s height. Ideally for fixing the length of the pole with respect to the height one should seek that height where the hand towards the elbow area makes a 90-degree angle while holding the hiking pole. Nowadays, hiking poles also come with add-on features like shock-proof & can also double up as a monopod camera mount.

  • Hiking Tent & Mattress:

Whether you have plans of staying at night after the hike is complete or have a multiple day trek, in both scenarios packing a Hiking Tent & Mattress is very important. Hiking tents generally are available in varied shapes and sizes. The most recommended ones are three seasons and four seasons kind of tents. Three season tents usually protect from most climatic variations while the four season tents can be used all around the year especially in the snowy and windy areas. The difference between these tents lies in the weight of both. The four season tent is heavier than the three season one and from hiking & trekking point of view, this is a crucial point to consider before selection.

As per some hiking experts, packing a mattress along is also important. Hiking mattress should be light in weight and rollable.

  • Packing along a Headlamp for Hiking or Trekking:

A headlamp is extremely important for safe hiking or trekking expedition. It helps at night time and also when crossing dark patches of forest or caves. The brightness, battery life, rechargeability, weight, water resistance and sturdiness are some of the key pointers to consider while buying it.

  • Hydration Bottle:

 Keeping self-hydrated during hiking or trekking is very important. For the same, a hydration bottle should be at an easy access. Grip, insulation and sturdiness of the bottle should be considered.

Lastly, here is a printable version of Hiking & Trekking Checklist for ready reference everytime you are off to an amazing adventurous expedition:

Feature Image Credit: Maxpixel

(16) Comments

  1. That is a very comprehensive list and the best part was the checklist for hiking .

  2. That’s an exhaustive list! We aren’t much of trekkers and hikers, but would definitely refer to this list when we plan a hiking trip!

  3. This is such an insightful post. I always wanted to go hiking but wasn’t sure what all i might need and this came just in time. Thank you

  4. This is much needed post. Will surely refer your informative post on my next trip

  5. Bang on, we have done 2 hikings in past 2 years and having a hiking list is immensely helpful. You’ve listed out all major requisites must before preparing for hike or trek.

  6. Your post will really come handy when someone plans a trek. Will save it for my future trips. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I didnt know anything about Hiking. So a great read for me. Its a good list I must say. Hope will help all the people who are interested in trekking.

  8. Nisha Malik says:

    This list is indeed ultimate. You have covered all the essentials. I have been to hiking once unprepared and I know how much I regret it.

    1. Yeah, many people venture for a hike or trek unprepared. We also did the same on the first one. People think denim would be good enough for the same as they are rough and tough but actually, they are not made for hiking or trekking.

  9. I haven;t done trekking but love to try it out and that is so essential list for trekking. That’s make the trekking journey easy

  10. Dipika Singh says:

    I am too couched to be a hiker, but this list is amazing. Talking about all the essentials for a right, comfortable and well packed hiking trip.

  11. This post is damn helpful especially while I am planning my next trip, this post for now is like a checklist for me. Thank you for sharing

  12. Amazing hiking and trekking ideas. These tips are best for the adventure and fun. Great thoughts.

  13. Great, you have shared a very detailed list which will be useful for hikers .. Thanks for sharing

  14. Wow! This will come in Super handy. Quite an elobarate list which pretty much covers everything.

  15. Carrie says:

    Huh, I didn’t realize there was such a thing as “hiking sunglasses.” I’ve been getting more into high-altitude trekking recently but have just been using my regular sunglasses (with good U/V protection and coverage). Will have to check those out!

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