Trekking in the Himalayas calls for prudent choices in terms of apparel and gear. While we all itch for that selfie atop a snow-capped peak, it should not come in the way of basic safety guidelines. Here are some must-haves that you simply can’t ignore:
T-shirts, trekking pants, windproof jacket (preferably with a hood), warm and thick fleece, full-sleeves woollen sweater, thermal inner wear (upper and lower), woollen cap, woollen gloves, woollen and regular socks, scarf/muffler (optional), comfortable trekking/hiking shoes (shoes with a thick sole are recommended) or comfortable sports shoes with good grip, raincoat/poncho.
For holidays in the hills, it’s best to avoid certain favourites that we use back home as part of our urban lifestyle, such as: Expensive watches, jewellery and electronic items on the trek, heavy luggage, hard suitcases etc.
How can I pick the right trekking shoes and socks for me? Why do I need them for the Hampta Pass trek?
Your trekking shoes need to have a strong and sturdy sole, have good ankle support, and fit you perfectly. They need to be waterproof as you will be crossing streams or trekking in the rain. There is no particular brand that you should pick – you can choose any based on your budget. Most importantly, make sure that you purchase your shoes at least one month prior to your departure and wear them, exercise in them, walk in them daily to break them in before your trek begins.
You will need several pairs of quick-dry trekking socks for the day. Make sure they cover your ankles securely, aren’t too tight or too loose, and are made from quick-dry materials that keep your feet dry. Carry thicker socks for the night to keep your feet warm. We strongly recommend that you carry antiseptic or wet wipes to clean your feet before changing into your night socks. Check for any shoe bites, blisters, or other injuries and apply Band-Aids before you sleep.
How can I pick the right trekking pants for me? Why do I need them for the Hampta Pass trek?
Your trekking pants need to be quick-dry, water-resistant, and comfortable. If you go on the Hampta Pass trek in June, you will need to wear thermal layers beneath your trekking pants. From the end of July to mid-September, you will also have to layer on some rainproof pants.
Keeping in mind the different layers you may need in different seasons, your trekking pants need to fit you well enough to accommodate the extra layers. Carry thicker pants for the night to keep you warm.
How can I pick the right gloves for me? Why do I need them for the Hampta Pass trek?
For the Hampta Pass trek in June, you will need synthetic trekking gloves as well as woollen gloves. They need to be waterproof and quick-dry. The synthetic gloves protect your hand and provide grip, whereas the woollen gloves keep your hands warm. Make sure your gloves fit you well and aren’t too tight or too loose. You don’t need woollen gloves after June, but it’s always a good idea to wear the synthetic gloves.
How can I pick the right rain wear for me? Why do I need them for the Hampta Pass trek?
The Hampta Pass receives ample rainfall from July-end to mid-September, and some light showers before and after the peak monsoon season. Please buy purely waterproof accessories and not simply water-resistant products. Thin jackets, windcheaters, and umbrellas will do you no good and leave you and your belongings wet.
You will need a rain jacket or a poncho (we prefer ponchos as they have ample room to cover you and your daypack), rain pants that go over your trekking pants, rain covers for your daypack and backpack that fit them securely and don’t fall off, and rain protection for your shoes.
How can I pick the right head gear for me? Why do I need them for the Hampta Pass trek?
Round the trekking season of the Hampta Pass trek, we recommend carrying a quick-dry sun cap and a woollen cap. In the colder months, please also carry a balaclava.
Your sun cap should fit you well, have a brim at the front, and a flap at the back that covers the back of your neck, protecting it from sunburn. We recommend carrying a few handtowels that you can soak with water and lay them on the back of your neck in case you do suffer from a sunburn.
Your woollen cap should be made from thick and good quality quick-dry material that can insulate heat well. It should fit your head snugly and cover your ears to protect you from cold winds. The same applies for your balaclava.
How to dress appropriately for the Hampta Pass trek
If you’re doing the Hampta Pass trek in July, the days will be warmer, while the nights will get chilly and cold. Make sure all your layers of clothing are easy to put on and remove as you may need to keep switching them up.
Your innerwear and thermals should be well-fitting and close to your body, comfortable, and quick-dry. Wear a thin, quick-dry, full-sleeved sports t-shirt beneath your t-shirt to protect your arms from harsh weather conditions and injury, and give you an extra layer of warmth.
When doing the Hampta Pass trek in June, it will be snowy, and you will need added insulation layers including a thick sweater or fleece jacket and fleece pants. Also carry outer layers that protect you from wind and cold, like a thick, insulated puffer jacket.
If you do the Hampta Pass trek in August, you will also need to carry a rain jacket or poncho and rain covers for your backpack and daypack.