Tips for Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Treks
Trekking on your own is a different experience than the treks you do with trek organizers, there are pros and cons to both options. Like you do not have to worry about the planning, travelling, trek route, food etc if you register with an organization. On the other hand if you go for trek on your own that experience can be so different and fulfilling if you are truly a wanderer. Many times we see people going on a trek on their own but their planning or execution is flawed, it sometimes can not just ruin the experience but also can be dangerous to say the least. In this blog we are trying to cover few important points which one can consider while doing treks on their own.
If you are doing a trek on your own, make sure you have done few treks before. It will give you at least a little idea about the uncertainties involved, things to keep in mind to do a trek and hence you can learn from it or at least be mindful about it. Do not go on a trek on your own if you do not have any trekking experience in past. We have seen people coming on a trek without any idea and then starting trek at a wrong time, or going on a completely wrong routes having no clue about the actual route.
2. Information about the Trek
This is probably the most important aspect, you need to have a brief idea about the place. Like at minimum you should search about Base Village, Nearby City or Landmark, Difficulty Level, Highest Altitude, Ideal Season, Time taken for Trek, Different routes (which route suitable for season or your experience), Water Sources, Food/Stay availability etc. Most of these information are available online easily, even our website have brief information about more than 40 treks in our Archive Section.
3. Travel Arrangements
If you have a private vehicle then you can surely search the base village on google maps and drive their easily but if you do not have one then you might have to use the public transport. Like treks which are near to railway stations can be easily reached like Peb Fort, Garbett Plateau can be done from Neral/Bhivpuri Road without any issue but there are many treks which are not so easily accessible, you might have to get a shared Tumtum, or ST Bus to reach the base village and even change the transport multiple times to reach base village. Please make sure you get in touch with someone who is updated with "recent" public transport availability. Like ST bus schedule online can be misleading if not updated or shared vehicles availability at a particular time of the day when you are travelling. Make sure you find out these things or else you will waste hours waiting for the bus or the shared vehicle to be full and the whole schedule will go for a toss. Make sure you download offline Google Maps for that particular location, it will help you navigate even if you do not have an active internet connection.
4. Local Guide Support
Even though there are plenty of blogs available about different treks, sometime finding the trekking trail may not be easy for everyone. Some trails are marked, some trails have plenty of trekkers but some trails are not always straightforward so you might consider hiring a local guide in such cases. If it's a multi-day trek then you can also ask for the stay and food arrangements from them.
5. Things to Carry
If you are going on a trek with an organization you probably carry less stuff as many things are taken care of by the organizer. However if you are trekking on your own then you should carry your own basic first aid kit, ready to eat food packets, extra water etc. And on a multi-day trek you may have to carry tent, sleeping bags, if you are cooking then the entire cooking kit as well.
6. Go with a small group of friends
Solo trekking can be thrilling experience but not all treks can be done solo. For safety purpose you should tag along with a friend or two at least so that if something goes wrong you have someone to help you. And try to avoid first time trekkers on unless it is a very easy trek, as you might not know how they do on treks and can get difficult to manage. Also a friend who has done the same trek before and is familiar with the route can be of great help. Also if you are able to get 5-6 friends then you can hire a private vehicle to base village and skip the public transport hassle.
7. Which Treks should one prefer for DIY Trek ?
For start one should prefer one day treks, also one should prefer an easy grade trek to see how well they can manage on an easy grade trek and then move on for moderate and difficult levels. Apart from that one should prefer treks where trails are well marked, like most popular treks have some marking on rocks or some colored clothing tied on trees as indicators, one can follow that. One should avoid technical and offbeat treks where routes are difficult to navigate or need some technical equipment and if you wish to do such treks make sure you have an technically experienced person or a local guide to help you with the same.
These above points are written assuming that you have done few treks before and follow the basics like wearing trek shoes, not littering on trails, have adequate fitness for that particular trek and so on. If you are new to trekking refer to our other blog Checklist for First Timer and prefer trekking with a Trek Group to start.
Happy Trekking !
Written by : Kartik Mehta