Good Gear Makes For a Great Adventure

3 min read

Female hiker in rain jacket

Whether you’re on a day hike or a longer trek, traveling in the great outdoors can offer strenuous exercise, breathtaking scenery and the pure joy of a great adventure.

But such adventures come with risk, especially if they involve high-altitude travel. Ascending the world’s great peaks takes a certain level of fitness, the right food and, of course, appropriate equipment. With so much to think about it might seem easier to forgo the adventure and opt instead for an all-inclusive resort! But in the end, chances are you’ll be more than happy that you made the effort.

An enjoyable and satisfying trip just takes a bit of preparation. Part of that prep includes getting the right high-altitude gear. For those new to adventure travel, you might need a little guidance to get the right stuff. A well-equipped traveler is a happy traveler.  

When packing clothing for high altitude travel, remember that function should always trump fashion! 

Being outfitted with the right clothes, tools and resources will make things easier and keep you comfortable during your trip. Although some high-altitude destinations may require specialty items appropriate for their specific locale, there are some general goods that every well-prepped trekker should pack.

Following are four key items that every high-altitude trekker needs to truly enjoy the next great adventure.

Go Feet First

The right footwear is essential for any travel that involves long walks, climbs and descents. A well-made hiking boot is worth every dollar you spend on it — and yes, they can be pricey. Make sure your boots have good ankle support, a sturdy sole and that they are made of durable, waterproof material.

Water protection is key. Wet feet on an extended walk are more than just uncomfortable; when your feet are wet, you are more susceptible to blisters, ingrown toenails, cuts and bruises. These conditions may seem minor under normal conditions, but while trekking they can completely derail your trip.

Also, make sure that your boots are properly fitted. Wear them in during the weeks leading up to your trip. Like wet feet, poorly fitted boots can cause blisters and other injuries that will make walking painful, even unbearable.

Pack It Up

Like good shoes, you want to invest in the right pack. There are different kinds of packs for different kinds of trips: day packs, hiking packs, travel packs and packs for canoe trips or other water-centered adventures. Today’s packs are lightweight and sturdy; the key is to get them properly fitted.

This is especially important for women, who tend to have narrower shoulders and a shorter torso. Get a women’s or men’s pack based on your individual dimensions. This will ensure that the weight of your pack is properly distributed while also minimizing the potential for uncomfortable rubbing and shifting as you trek.

Opt for a pack that has a sturdy, supportive waist belt and chest strap. Good packs also have strong frames, with mesh backs that help to wick away sweat. Also, consider the design of the pack. Look for compartments that will provide easy access and ample storage of your gear.

Go High, Stay Dry

Rain happens. A good rain jacket and rain pants will keep you dry and warm when the weather gets soggy. Rain gear is also useful for cutting wind. Choose rain gear that folds up compactly, and don’t feel obligated to buy anything too expensive. Look for gear that’s sturdy and won’t easily rip. If you opt for a jacket and pants, look for reinforced seams to ensure maximum protection. The zippers or buttons should also be sturdy. 

Think 'Layers'

Higher altitudes mean being in variable temperatures. A scorching-hot day could end in a frigid night. Pack clothing that’s lightweight, breathable and dries quickly. Build a wardrobe that you can layer in response to changing temperatures throughout your trip.

Lightweight, quick-dry T-shirts, long sleeved garments, pants and shorts are good baseline clothing. Gym clothes or “athleisure” clothes lend themselves nicely to this sort of travel.

Also, bring a good base layer. Long underwear is also an easy-to-pack item that will keep you warm during your journey. Alone or as an additional layer, these inexpensive items prove invaluable while out in the wilderness.

Investing in a good fleece jacket and even fleece pants, which are useful for cooler climbs and/or cooler evenings, is also a useful purchase. Fleece comes in many thicknesses; choose one appropriate for your particular trip. A synthetic fleece is ideal because it will still keep you warm if it gets wet. Likewise, it dries quickly and rarely gets musty.

When packing clothing for high altitude travel, remember that function should always trump fashion!

Thinking ahead and packing the above essential items will help you stay healthy and comfortable throughout your high-altitude adventure. The right equipment will help give you the confidence to ascend to new heights!

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