Always be prepared! The scout’s motto is simple, but true. Being well prepared for your trek will make your time much more enjoyable, and you can focus on the wonders around you rather than your blistered feet! Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your trek. Starting on them sooner rather than later and doing them in small steps will make them much more manageable and less intimidating.
1. Buy appropriate footwear and break your boots in.
- Visit an outdoor retailer and do research to buy the appropriate pair of hiking boots for you.
- Break them in! Showing up with brand new boots for a multi day trek is invitation for blisters and pain. Walk the dog in your boots, do yard work in your boots, take them hiking! You want them to feel nice and comfy when you arrive
2. Get out hiking! Regularly!
- Start slowly and build your intensity, difficulty and length of hikes. It is much better to start slowly and increase effort over several months than to wait to the last few weeks and cram in some serious hikes.
- Wear what you will be wearing on the trail, especially if they are new items, so you know how they feel and can adjust anything that is irritating or doesn’t work. This includes your boots and the pack you will be carrying on the trail.
- Go with a partner or a group. You won’t be able to cheat and going with someone else provides motivation and fun!
- You can search on line for example training programs or hikes in your area.
3. Cross train. Regularly.
- Bike, swim, run, yoga, stairs, etc…
- Different types of exercise work different muscle groups and will help condition your body more fully. Cross training can help prevent injuries as your body becomes stronger as a whole.
- Again, start slowly and increase effort over a long period to prevent injuries and to get greater benefit.
- Join a friend or group on their activities to introduce you to something new or to have a partner to encourage and motivate you (and you them!).
4. Take care of your feet.
- Your feet are your best friend. Happy feet, happy camper (usually!).
- You will be on your feet for hours every day, and wet, blistered feet will not be comfortable.
- Buy good quality socks (non cotton, moisture wicking socks such as Smartwool, Thorlos, Darn Tough, Woolrich etc…).
- Research and try out different blister methods to find what is comfortable for you.
5. Hiking poles.
- Hiking poles are optional and can be very helpful to offer additional balance while hiking. They can also save a lot of impact to your knees by distributing your weight.
6. Know the signs of altitude sickness.
- You will undergo a training session in country before departing on your trip, but do some research ahead of time so that it’s not the first time you hear it.
- Being comfortable with the signs of altitude sickness will help you recognize them in yourself and others. Don’t be shy to speak up if you are not feeling well on the trip!
7. Contact your physician.
- If you have any concerns about your health, contact your physician before you start a training program.