Trekking in the Sahyadris offers some wonderful adventures, whether you’re looking for a day trip or a weekend outing. You’ll head out into the sprawling wilderness, ready to explore ancient forts with secret passages and grand doorways. You’ll hop over small streams and gushing rivers, clamber up rocky trails, hike through lush tropical forests, and stand atop hills with spectacular views all around.
There are all kinds of treks in the Western Ghats, whether you’re a beginner looking for an easy hike or an experienced trekker trying to find a challenging weekend adventure. However, most treks take place in remote locations, so it is important that you have everything you need in your bag. This packing list for trekking in the Sahyadris will make sure you have everything you need.
NOTE: This list is for trekkers who are going with a trekking operator. If you’re not going with an operator, you will have to carry camping gear, navigational devices, comprehensive medical kits, and more, so we’ll be putting up a separate article for that.
Essentials for all treks:
Sturdy shoes: No matter how short or easy your trek is, make sure you’re wearing sturdy trekking shoes. Avoid trekking in the Sahyadris in sandals or slippers – you’ll be vulnerable to insect bites, sprained or twisted ankles, or injuries from sharp rocks or thorny bushes.
Strong backpack: Take a good backpack along, even for a short trek. You must have your hands free at all times, so avoid taking handbags or bags that hang on your side.
Sun cap: Trekking in the Sahyadris can get very hot, even in winter. It’s very important to protect yourself from sunburn or sun exhaustion. You should have a cap close at hand, especially when you climb higher where there isn’t enough tree cover. Sunglasses are also important.
Handkerchief/bandana: A handkerchief or bandana doubles up as scarf, towel, bandage, and a lot more. On hot trekking days, you can dip the bandana in a stream (don’t use your drinking water!) and place it across the back of your neck to cool you down.
Dry snacks, fruit: Whether your trekking operator is providing meals and snacks or not, you should have some eatables in your bag. They’ll come in handy for short breaks or unexpected delays. It’s also a spectacular feeling to treat yourself when you get to the top or to a viewpoint. Carry something that will give you an energy boost. Some good ideas are biscuits, apples, mixed dry fruit, muesli or chocolate bars. Avoid anything too salty or spicy, because those will only dehydrate you.
Water bottles: It is vital that you carry enough water for yourself, and then a bit more. No matter the season, two 1 litre bottles per person is a good number for day trekking in the Sahyadris. Take small sips, even when you’re hot and tired, and roll it around in your mouth before you swallow. Don’t gulp your water down at any point.
Insect repellent: Carry an insect spray or cream on your trek. In densely forested areas, especially in the monsoon, the mosquitoes can be quite persistent. Apply before you start the trek, and remember to swipe it across the back of your neck and tops of your ears.
Sunscreen: Apply a sunscreen lotion or cream before you begin the trek, and reapply when needed. The most frequently sunburned spots are your nose and forehead, but remember to apply to the tops of your ears, back of your neck, and the tops of your hands.
First aid kit: You should have a basic first aid kit on hand at all times. Your kit should Dettol/Savlon, antiseptic cream, cotton wool, Band-Aids, a gauze bandage, a spray or gel for muscular pain, and basic tablets for headaches, acidity, vomiting, allergies, and fever.
Camera/camera equipment: With the phones we have these days, most of us don’t feel the need to take a camera when we travel. And if you’re a photographer, we know you’ve already got your equipment list in your head. This is just to remind you to pack it all.
Power bank: Make sure your phone is fully charged when you leave home. However, a fully charged power bank is a great idea on a trek, especially if you’re going to be returning late or the next day.
Cash: Keep a small amount of cash on you for snacks, quick cups of tea, and any additional expenses that might arise. Carry small denominations so you don’t have trouble getting change. It is also a good idea to keep some money packed for emergencies.
A change of clothes: Whether you’re travelling in the rainy season, winter, or summer, you should have at least a spare tee and spare socks with you.
Swiss Army knife: There are so many ways to use this wonder device, we don’t even know where to begin. People use it to cook, to slice fruit, to cut through thick greenery, even to repair cars! Slip one in your pocket and you’ll be glad you did.
Hand sanitizer: You’re going to be using your hands a lot: to scramble over boulders, to tie your shoelaces, to wipe perspiration off your brow, and to untangle weeds from around your shoes. You should definitely have a small bottle of hand sanitizer to spritz on before you eat or drink anything.
Head lamp or flashlight: If you’re planning an overnight trek, a head lamp or flashlight is a must. Even if you’re only planning a day trek, it’s a good idea to have at least one, just in case you get lost or delayed.
Waterproof bag for garbage, wet clothes: Carry a couple of plastic/waterproof bags along with you to bring back any garbage you have. These bags are also handy when you change out of your dry clothes and want a place to pack your wet clothing.
Packing list for monsoon treks:
Monsoon trekking in the Sahyadris is a spectacular experience. The forests are rain-drenched and the streams and waterfalls are full. It’s a lovely experience, but it can get very wet and cold. Make sure you pack all of the above, with the extra items below:
Raincoat: Carry a good raincoat or poncho. Windcheaters are almost no use in a monsoon trek – they’ll be soaked through in no time and will not offer much warmth.
Rain cover for your bag: A rain cover slips over your bag and keeps it dry. However, it’s still a good idea to pack your belongings in plastic bags.
Packing list for winter treks:
Winter trekking in the Sahyadris is gorgeous. The mist hangs low over the hills and water bodies, and you’ll enjoy cold nights and pleasant days. You should be prepared for temperatures dipping quite low as the sun sets, so make sure that in addition to the main packing list, you also carry these items below:
Extra blanket (for overnight trips): If you’re staying out at night, remember that winter nights in the wild Sahyadris are much colder than winter nights in the city. Even if the operator is providing blankets and sleeping mats, you should carry a sleeping bag/blanket for yourself.
Lip balm: Take Vaseline or lip balm along on a trek, and apply before you sleep or as needed.
Sweater: Dressing in layers is the best way to stay warm on a trek, even in the Sahyadris. Plan your trekking gear so that you can remove the heavier layers when the sun is up, but put them back on as the temperature drops.
Packing list for summer treks:
The summer months in the Western Ghats can get very, very hot and dry. The shrubbery dries to a rusty brown, and streams run dry. But early in the morning or late at night, the temperature is low enough for trekking. To protect yourself from the heat, make sure you’re carrying the following items as well.
Glucose powder: It’s very easy to lose energy in the searing heat of a Sahyadri summer. Even if you’re going early in the morning, carry something that will give you an instant boost of energy when you need it most.
Sufficient water: Don’t underestimate how thirsty you will be on a summer trek. Carry at least two one-litre bottles per person, and make sure you stay hydrated.
Above all else, check the packing list that your operator sends to you. Some operators expect you to pack meals, and carry utensils and sleeping bags, so you should know what you need to take.
If you want to book a day trek in Maharashtra, talk to our travel advisors, ask questions, find out about the packing list or inclusions, or read more about the trip, there are a lot of ways to get in touch.
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