A few essentials for this trek include a minimum 50-litre backpack and a minimum 10-litre daypack, both protected by a rain cover, trekking poles, water bottles, headlamp or torch with fresh and extra pair of batteries.
How can I pick the right backpack, daypack, and covers for my bags? Why do I need them for the Valley of Flowers trek?
You will need to consider the duration of the trek to determine the size of your backpack. It’s always a good idea to check the recommended backpack size with your operator. Make sure you purchase an appropriately sized rain cover for your bag that fits it well and ensures that it stays completely dry.
On most Valley of Flowers trekking itineraries, your backpack will be carried by a porter (don’t forget to cover your backpack before handing it over to them). You will only have access to your backpack when you reach your guesthouse/hotel, which is why it’s a good idea to carry a daypack that will hold your snacks, water bottles, emergency and prescription medicines, camera, basic toiletries, jackets, etc.
Do carry some plastic or reusable synthetic bags to store your wet, sweaty, or dirty clothes and keep them separate from your fresh clothes and other items.
Lastly, but most importantly, CHECK YOUR BAGS! A few weeks before your departure, check all the straps, zips, and velcro fittings of your bag and make sure they’re in good condition. Fill your bag up completely and check if the straps are able to hold the weight of a stuffed bag. If you find anything that needs fixing, get the mends done and recheck your bag. Do this both for your daypack and backpack.
How can I pick the right sunglasses for me? Why do I need them for the Valley of Flowers trek?
The Valley of Flowers trek can get sunny and give you slight headaches. Buy sturdy, well-fitting sports sunglasses that have UV protection lenses. If you wear prescription glasses, check if your sunglasses have the same updated prescription to ensure you can see clearly through them and don’t get uncomfortable trying to adjust to different prescriptions. Make sure your sunglasses have a plastic frame as metal can get cold and cause discomfort. Carry a sturdy case to store your sunglasses (and another one for your prescription glasses if you wear any).
How can I pick the right head lamp for me? Why do I you need it for the Valley of Flowers trek?
A headlamp is one of the handiest tools you can bring with yourself on the Valley of Flowers trek. It keeps you handsfree while helping you in various situations from going to the washroom at night to finding your way back to your group in case you get lost. It also may be possible that your trek gets stretched past sundown, where a headlamp will be extremely useful in watching the trail ahead you.
Make sure your headlamp fits you comfortably, is functioning properly, and has fresh batteries. Do carry some extra batteries just in case you run out.
How can I pick the right trekking pole for me? Why do I need it for the Valley of Flowers trek?
A trekking pole can come very handy in the Valley of Flowers trek, especially on the steeper stretches and on your trek to Hemkund Sahib. It provides relief when trekking for long hours by helping with weight distribution and helps you maintain your balance on some of the rougher, steeper patches. Make sure your pole is sturdy, has a good grip, and is collapsible so you can easily fit it in your daypack. In case you don’t wish to invest in a trekking pole, you can ask your operator to rent one out to you at an additional cost.
What toiletries should I carry for the Valley of Flowers trek?
Firstly, make sure your toiletries are packed in a tightly sealed, waterproof pouch. Carry enough of the following to last you the duration of your trek, and then some more. You will be trekking to remote areas where there may not be shops for you to purchase these items.
- Body wash
- Toothpaste and toothbrush
- Thick face and body moisturiser
- SPF 50+ sunscreen
- Moisturising lip balm with SPF
- Menstrual products and ample thick plastic bags to dispose of used sanitary napkins or tampons. Please do not litter. Ask your trek guide about the appropriate disposal methods. We do not recommend carrying menstrual cups or reusable pads/period panties as it will be difficult to wash and disinfect them while on the trek.
- Prescription medicines
- Anti-fungal and anti-rash creams
- Insect repellent
- Wet wipes
- Dry tissues
- Face masks
What water bottle or hydration pack should I carry for the Valley of Flowers trek?
As a general rule, carry 2 one-litre reusable water bottles per person. Make sure that at least one of your bottles is thermally regulated as you may need to sip on warm water or soup when it gets cold (your trek staff will give you the boiled water or soup).
If you plan on carrying hydration packs instead, make sure they fit you well and are easy to strap around you. They should be able to hold at least 500ml of water. We would still recommend also carrying at least one thermal flask for the hot water/soup.
Do I need to carry a pen knife for the Valley of Flowers trek?
It’s always a good idea to have a basic pen knife with a pair of scissors, a knife, toothpick, screwdriver, etc. on hand. This can come in handy to cut fruit if you get snacky while on the trek, replace some cutlery, help you mend small damages to your bags or shoes, and much more.
What should I carry in my medical kit for the Valley of Flowers trek?
Though your trek guide will be carrying a first aid kit, you should also carry a personal first aid kit with gauze, sprain bandage, antiseptic liquid, cotton, muscle relief spray, and loads of band aids. Also carry altitude sickness pills (please consult your trek guide before taking one) and pills for headaches, an upset stomach, cold, cough, allergies, and nausea.
Carry your personal prescription pills to last you all the days of your trek and then some extra in case your trek gets stretched due to unforeseen circumstances. Do check your medical kit for stock and expiration dates well in advance.