Whether it’s an expedition to the Highlands or a ramble through the North York Moors, trekking can be one of the most challenging and rewarding ways to enjoy beautiful natural scenery.
But there’s more to trekking than lacing up a pair of walking shoes and going on a hike. Trekking covers long stretches of varied terrain and tests both physical strength and navigational skills. Whether you’re a serious hiker or a novice, it’s important to prepare for a trek to make sure you everything you need to enjoy yourself and experience the awesome power of nature in action.
Getting started: essential equipment
Trekking and hiking are similar pursuits and as a result require much of the same equipment to be successful; avid hill walkers often make the transition to more rigorous trekking over time and can use much of the same seasonal gear. Even the best equipment won’t help you if you don’t know how to use it, so make sure you take the time to break-in new clothes and shoes and practice using any other tools you’ll bring with you on a trek.
Start with clothing and footwear – choose shoes that provide support for your ankles and clothing that’s lightweight, breathable and comfortable for your base layer. Always pack additional clothing; the weather can quickly change when you’re out on a trek and you should be prepared for sharp drops in temperature as well as wind, rain and snow. Waterproof clothing is essential and thanks to advances in technology even the most insulated jackets are designed to be light and easy to carry.
In your rucksack you should always have a map of the area and compass to help you stay oriented with your surroundings, along with extra food and water. Choose snacks with a high energy content that are easy to eat while taking a short break.
Bring a headlamp or torch along with you so you can see if the lighting is poor or it gets dark, and of course a first aid kit is essential in case you or someone you’re travelling with is injured out on a trek. Websites like Trekking Britain will not only offer advice over routes but will also provide some guidance about how to prepare and what equipment to bring.
Planning your journey
Planning ahead is essential to your success on the day. Choose a route and research it carefully – look for information about the terrain and length of journey before you head out and familiarise yourself with a map so you know what to expect.
Check the weather in the days leading up to your trek and make sure there is parking available for you to leave your car. Many routes inside Britain’s national parks will offer car parks, toilets and an information centre at the start of the trail.
Once you’re ready to find a route for your trek, resources like National Trails and Walking Britain can point you in the right direction. For inspiration, why not check out the Telegraph’s list of 10 Best British Hikes.
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