1. Managing long hair:
Most of the trek routes don’t offer a suitable condition to wash your hair (be it due to extremely cold temperature or scarcity of water). Hence, it is essential to keep your hair free from dirt which can be achieved by keeping your hair tied up in a high bun (if long) or ponytail/braid (if medium). These hairdos also help in wearing a sun cap comfortably. Dry shampoo can be used if your hair becomes excessively greasy but this doesn’t cleanse the hair strands. Hence, keeping the hair strands tied is the mantra to avoid exposure to dirt, chilly wind & harmful UV rays. I have tried all the 3 hairstyles during my treks & found the high bun to be most effective (it even gave me freedom to sleep with the hairdo intact).
It comes very handy especially for the ladies, as it not only keeps your ears warm in chilly cold treks but also prove best in preventing baby hairs/bangs from falling on your eyes & face. I use woollen headband during a cold windy trek & a synthetic one while trekking in the sun. I bought the woollen one from a local shop in Manebhajan, West Bengal during Sandakphu- Phalut trek (It’s lovely & effective) & a synthetic one from Decathalon store.
3. Urinal funnel:
This has proved to be a blessing for a person like me who is damn finicky when it comes to public toilets. I will suggest buying a reusable one rather than disposable ones as you will not want to leave your trace back on the mountains. Carry wet wipes along with dry tissue papers to clean it after use, as carrying water to wash the funnel might not be always feasible. Just a few attempts on using it & once you get the trick of placing it on your private parts; you will never have to hold on your bladder in a search of a closed toilet to pee. You will get these urinal funnels by various brand names. I am using reusable one from Pee Buddy (from Amazon) & it’s a good one.
Select them wisely for trekking purpose. Your body might get slightly oedematous (more common for females than males) during high altitude treks. Hence, pack slightly loosely fitting undergarments. Tightly fitting undergarments are not only uncomfortable but also invite itchy fungal infection. This holds significant especially for sports bra which you can’t loosen once it starts compressing your chest as oedema starts setting in. Freely expanding chest is essential during high altitude treks. As far as material of the undergarment is considered, I will leave it to your personal choice. Just choose the one which doesn’t build up the moisture. Pack enough undergarments as you will not get to wash/dry them.
5. Menstrual hygiene:
Every female trekker should pack the menstrual hygiene products irrespective of the date of menstruation as the body undergoes physiological stress, altering the hormonal balance. Be ever ready to welcome your cycle. Menstrual cups are the best as you behave as a responsible trekker by not leaving your waste products back on the mountains. Just get used to these in the plain, before carrying them on a trek. If you are still not convinced for the Menstrual cups & are comfortable only with Tampons/Sanitary pads, be sure to carry zip lock bags to bring back your used products back to the plain for the disposal.
6. Personal hygiene:
Most locations during the treks don’t have the provision of taking bath daily. Wet wipes are boon to maintain personal hygiene in such situation. Task becomes easier if you have waxed underarms & private parts. This helps prevent sweat & germ build-up.
7. Defeating UV rays:
Getting tanned might be trendy but risk of sunburn/cancer should prompt you to religiously cover yourself with sunscreen lotion, appropriate clothing, sun-cap & sunglasses. Sexy tank tops, fancy sports bra & shorts will fetch you numerous likes on social media but remember that you are trekking for yourself & not merely to please your followers. Carry a sunscreen lotion/cream with SPF more than 50. Even if you don’t escape tanning, you will definitely avoid sunburn.
It’s advisable to take off your jewellery back at home. After all you won’t want to lose your precious asset on a trek. The lesser the responsibility, the more you enjoy a trek. If at all you can’t separate from your ear studs, be assured that you wear the ones which are tightly locked & non-fragile. Special mention to the finger-rings which might start constricting your finger if your body happens to start getting oedematous.
Ladies with the lovely manicured nails: please trim your nails for a trek, lest you prefer to go back with broken ones. This holds true even for your toe nails. Your toes & toe nails are likely to undergo a lot of stress especially during the descends. Nails will always grow back once you return with the pleasant memories of the trek but an injured nail might lead to complications like infection. Hence, trim them as short as possible. If you have nail-paint applied on your nails, it’s advisable to remove them before your trek. This helps in monitoring change in the colour of the nails & other physical changes in case of injury.
Every girl wants to look her best in any photograph, be it a party or a trek. But it looks equally gorgeous when a girl on a trek has a raw look. Keep minimal makeup if you can’t do at all without makeup. Just a kohl & a tinted lip balm will give you a natural look. Another reason to ditch your makeup kit is the weight. Every gram of your backpack weighs multiple times on the mountain. Don’t forget to carry makeup remover wipes for bedtime routine. It not only removes the makeup but also helps clearing off the dirts. Remember: Sunscreen lotion/cream is the only important makeup product you should be concerned about. during a trek.