The Great Himalaya Trail which is one of the world highest and longest footpaths is more adventurous destination in any of other trekking. Spanning several hundred kilometers of amazing Himalayan terrain, this trail stretches over the full length of Nepal. For those looking for the cutting edge of adventure trek, Nepal’s Great Himalaya Trail (GHT) presents the opportunity of a lifetime. The trail itself passes through some of the most beautiful parts of the Himalayas – winding under the highest mountain peaks in the world. You can trek, run or bike the trail, take the high route and challenge yourself with some mountaineering, or try the lower route and travel from village to village. It is the most dramatic, traversing the entirety of Nepal from east to west in the shadows of the world’s highest peaks. The Great Himalaya Trail will provide you with a truly unforgettable outdoor adventure of a lifetime.

Great Himalayan Trail

Though, the route is not official (unavailable for trekking), Robin Boustead in 2008 for the first time completed the Nepal section and proposed an idea of it being the longest trail, if developed accordingly. The major purpose of developing this trail is to bring benefits of tourism and develop livelihoods in remote mountain communities. Potentially, the longest and highest walking track in the world, the long- term vision for the trail is to develop it further, to cover more than 4,500 km of the Great Himalayan range, connecting six Asian countries- Pakistan, China (Tibet Autonomous Region), India, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar. You can trek, run or bike the trail, take the high route and challenge yourself with some mountaineering, or try the lower route and travel from village to village.

History Of The Great Himalayan Trail

The formation of a trail along the Greater Himalaya Range was precluded by access restrictions to certain areas in Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan requiring detours into the mid-hills away from the Greater Himalaya Range. With time these access restrictions were eased or lifted, and in 2002, with further restrictions being lifted in border areas of Nepal, it became feasible for the first time. After years of research, documentation, and mapping, the concept of Great Himalaya Trail was walked for the first time in 2008 and 2009 by a team led by Robin Boustead. The first trip ran from February through August of 2011 and was completed successfully in 157 days.

There are two routes encompassing the Great Himalaya Trail: the high route and the low route. True to its name, the high route winds its way through 3,000 to 5,000 meter high terrain, with the Himalayan giants watching over as you trek your way through snowy paths with very few trees and villages along the way. The low route, on the other hand, though not as challenging as the high route is more culturally stimulating, as it passes through numerous Nepali villages and communities. However, you may not get as intimate views of the Himalayan peaks as you would on the high route. You can of course, alternate between the high and low routes at various points during the full trek.

Trekking along the GHT high route makes for an unforgettable adventure and the trip of a lifetime. The proposed trail would stretch over a distance of about 1,700 km and passes through spectacular, high altitude mountain landscapes, visiting some of the most remote villages on earth, where life remains as it was centuries back.

Trekking along the GHT high route requires to cross high passes with altitudes up to 6,146 m and the whole trek takes about 150 days on average. Proper trekking gear and mountaineering equipment is needed and anyone attempting this trek should be physically fit and have trekking and ideally some mountaineering experience. For safety, a local mountain guide who knows the terrain is definitely recommended especially in high altitudes. Due to the remoteness of the proposed route, camping is required for most parts of the adventure therefore a tent, food and cooking equipment is necessary.

The GHT low route – also called the cultural route – winds through the countries mid hills with an average altitude of 2000m. However, there are many passes to cross with the highest being the Jang La at 4519 m between Dhorpatan and Dolpa in West-Nepal. Trekking along the proposed GHT low route means walking through beautiful lush forests, pastures, green rice terraces and fertile agricultural land, providing the basis for Nepal’s rich culture and civilization. You will come across local settlements of many different cultural groups, giving you the chance to see what authentic Nepali village life is all about.

For most parts of the trek, you’ll be able to stay in small guesthouses or home stays, but make sure to still take your tent for some of the more remote sections of the route. With lots of local restaurants around, trekkers will find a place to eat almost everywhere and so will not necessarily need to carry large amounts of food. Shorter than the high route, the GHT low route stretches over a distance of 1,500 km and the whole trek will roughly take around 100 days.

 

You love diving and adventure travel, so you’re taking the plunge (excuse the pun) and booking yourself on your first liveaboard! With so many options, how can you possibly decide among all the available choices? Here are a few considerations when planning the ultimate dive holiday.

Island Diving Maldives Liveaboard

Location
Research how to reach your dive adventure destination. Some trips might have different start and end points, so consider travel time. When travelling to remote areas, give yourself enough time to get there. Consider flight delays, re-routing, and religious holidays. You might not always get connecting flights on the same day.

Also consider the season. Is it “peak” season due to weather, diving conditions, or marine life migrations? If your dream is to see manta rays, hammerheads, or whale sharks, research whether they remain year round or are seasonal.

Type of Diving
Are you looking for crazy currents? Mindblowing macro? Pelagics? Or a little bit of everything. Make sure you do your research on the type of diving available. Also consider the time of the month you are going. In some places the currents are tied to the moon phase, often with the strongest currents being around new and full moon.

Be aware if your operator has a set daily/weekly plan for dive sites. If they have a set plan that does not deviate, and you are in an area where there can be strong currents, be confident that you can handle yourself in any conditions.

Group Size
Bigger isn’t always better…

When diving, especially if the conditions are challenging, smaller groups can be much better. Up to 8 divers per group is common, but on some boats, groups can be as small as 4 divers to one guide. That’s almost personal service!

liveaboard komodo

Cost
Much like bigger isn’t always better – more expensive does not always equate to better service. There are “flashpacker” style boats with shared toilets, cold showers, and sleeping on deck. Then there are the luxury boats with aircon, ensuite toilets, maybe even a jacuzzi on the sundeck! You are there to dive, but consider what level of comfort and service you want on the boat also. Some divers will love the phinisi style boats that have a pirate-like feel; others prefer the roomy modern boats with wifi service and a bar.

Dive Maldives Emperor Liveaboard  

Certification and Experience
Some operators expect a minimum level of certification – generally advanced diver – and some may require at least 100 logged dives. This could be because the majority of dive sites are deeper, or subject to more challenging conditions. Safety first. There are also liveaboards for the less experienced divers! Consider how comfortable you are in water and plan accordingly.

Dive Safely
Above all, pick a good operator. Like any other adventure sport, diving comes with skill requirements and safety measures. On a liveaboard, you will typically be exploring more far flung sites, possibly without any other means of transportation or ready access to medical facilities. Make sure you choose an operator who is experienced in the area, knows the site very well and has a good safety record.

New Zealand is a well-known destination for adventure sports and adrenaline junkies. From skydiving to ski-touring, from glacier walking to rock climbing to hiking and trekking, the South Island of New Zealand, in particular, has lots to offer the intrepid traveler.

What is less known is that you need not be a veteran mountaineer or experienced adventure seeker to enjoy the great outdoors of New Zealand. Many of the hikes in New Zealand can be done in just one day. This suits the beginners to hiking who want to ease themselves into the activity, or for the more seasoned who just want to do some training hikes.

In preparation for our 5-day expedition in March 2018 to Rabbit Pass in Wanaka https://www.wildfirexpeditions.com/lessons-waterfall-rabbit-pass-new-zealand/ , we tackled Scotts Track for higher intensity gradient training. Having hiked mostly tropical mountains thus far, I was captivated by the beauty of the alpine scenery of the Arthurs’ Pass National Park. Compared to the lofty peaks of the Himalayas, the mountains of New Zealand can seem deceptively small. But the challenge is not so much in altitude as terrain, dramatic changes in weather and microclimates. As a first-timer hiker in New Zealand, here are my lessons learnt:

1) Always check the weather forecast at the local Department of Conservation (“DOC”) i-site

New Zealand has a number of Great Walks and the DOC has done a wonderful job of supporting these routes with plenty of useful information and tools for the independent hiker. The weather forecast in New Zealand is remarkably accurate. Tuning in will enable you to plan your route well, prepare the necessary gear and keep dry.

2) Safety first

In the words of famed American mountaineer Ed Viesturs ”Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory”. Always make a plan and set a turnaround time and pay close attention to the time. Look out for signs of impending weather changes. A point of caution is that the weather can change very rapidly in New Zealand. We have made the decision to turn back just an hour shy of the end point when the visibility turned bad and the clouds started rolling in. Our mantra is: Live to hike another day.

3) Prepare your gear

Always waterproof your bag. You never know when the sky will suddenly open up. Take rain gear, warm clothing, rain cover and enough food and water for contingency. A torchlight or a headlamp should be a mainstay of every tramper’s packing list. Pack light, pack smart, pack efficient. You do not want to be weighed down by unnecessary luxuries when you are only doing a day hike. Place snacks, water, light, rain cover, rain jacket at easily accessible points, preferably enabling you access without having to remove the entire pack to save time and for ease of access on the go.

4) Do not feed the animals

Through our day hike, we encountered many Kea, those beautiful birds indigenous to the South Island of New Zealand, the world’s only alpine parrot.  Known for their curiosity, Keas can be very friendly and approach hikers to a close distance. We have been warned by the locals not to feed them. Although keas are not aggressive by nature, hikers have changed their behavior. Some hikers have been feeding the keas encountered on the trail, leading to these birds now recognizing hikers as food source and sometimes pecking at their backpacks or trying to snatch food when hikers stop for a snack break. Do not feed the animals. Respect Nature as you see it.

5) Smell the roses and have fun

Well there are a number of considerations in preparing for a day hike, they should not detract from the main purpose – to have an enjoyable time. The slopes of New Zealand are beautiful at any time of the year. If it is your first time, pick a good season where the weather pattern is the most stable, when the paths are clear of snow and ice. Do your research and plan your trip. Visit the DOC website and do a walk in the day before your planned start to check for updates. Once you hit the trail, pay attention to what’s around you. Breathe in the fresh, crisp air. Luxuriate in the wonders of Nature and have fun.

 

Thailand is a great travel destination for those looking for a unique experience.  Fabulous thai cuisine, retail therapy and affordable massages aside, the pristine beaches, and large temples also make for an amazing cultural outdoor escape. What you don’t often hear about, is Thailand as a top destination for adventure travel in Asia, in particular, for rock climbing.

Whether you are a beginner to rock climbing or an advanced climber looking to challenge yourself, you will be spoilt for choice. You can be climbing by the beach, beside acres of sunflower fields, or even experiencing the adrenaline-pumping deep water solo. So which are the must-go climbing destinations in Thailand?

Krabi (Southern Thailand)

This is probably the most well-known climbing location in Thailand. Railay beach is climbers’ top choice because of the abundance of bolted sport climbing routes (over 700 routes) with varying difficulty ranging from Grade 5s to extremes of Grade 8s (French system). There are also spots where you can experience deep water solo. What’s that you ask? Well, you head to an island. You climb without harness or ropes. You go as high as you want to. And you jump right into water to get back down. Right up the alley of adrenaline junkies!

Chiang Mai (Northern Thailand)

Run any research online for rock climbing in Chiang Mai, and the words “Crazy Horse*” pops up. The lush greenery and spectacular routes entrenched its reputation as the “world’s greenest mega crags”. With over 150 routes and most routes are around 25m high, “mega” is well deserved. October to February is the cold season, which means daytime temperatures will be perfect for climbing. From March to May, the dry season sets in where the temperature can get as high as 36 degrees. June to September is the rainy season.

Lopburi (Central Thailand)

150km northeast of Bangkok, the province of Lopburi is home to the biggest sunflower fields in Thailand. Thousands of acres of sunflowers are in full bloom from November through January, the cooler months of the year. Relatively unknown even to the locals, Lopburi actually houses one of the most beautiful limestone crags in Thailand, one of the best-kept secrets you never knew Southeast Asia had! In all the times that I have visited this place, I have not met more than 10 climbers at the climbing wall – including us!There are over 60 routes, oopportunities for multi pitch climbing due to the sheer height, sports and trad routes, and to cap it all, a truly breathtaking view from the top (600 feet).

Adventure with a view across a field full of blooms. What else can you ask for?

 

* As of 1 August 2018, Crazy Horse will be closed till further notice. Do your research!

 

Traveling and diving in places only accessible by boat, stunning sunsets, refreshing sunrises, friendships both old and new. Liveaboard diving has this to offer and so much more!

Although I’ve only been on two liveaboards in my diving lifetime, I can say that both of them had a profound impact on me. The first one was in Australia, as a brand-new diver (with only 8 dives under my belt), I took off on a 4-day dive liveaboard from Cairns. This was not only the first time I’d spent 4 days on a boat, it was also the first time in a long time that I’d traveled on my own. On this trip, I was able to do my advanced course and the 4 days went by in a blur of eating, sleeping and diving. By the end, I was mentally and physically exhausted, and it was so worth it. I had so many firsts on this dive holiday: my Advanced certification, my first shark, my first underwater somersault, my first night dive, my first unguided dive with just a buddy (and made it back to the boat!). The biggest achievement however was that I did it as a solo traveller and I loved it.

This experience was why I returned to Bali to continue my training and work as a scuba dive professional. This ultimately led to my second, much longer and far more challenging liveaboard – a 2 week crossing from Alor to Komodo on a small boat. Just 4 of us, close friends and partners in crime exploring some unknown parts of the Flores sea. It was an amazing, crazy, sometimes scary, out of this world and better experience than I could have ever imagined. From waters teeming with life, to intense currents, we sometimes got more than we expected from our adventure. We jumped into some unknown spots and found some gems…and some not so good ones! We pirated a small stretch of sand in the middle of the ocean and claimed it for our own. We laughed and we shared, and I grew.

Whether travelling alone or with friends or loved ones, dive liveaboards offer an experience unlike anything else you can get on land. Being the first one in the water as the sun rises, waking up with the ocean is such a magical experience. Seeing stunning scenery and visiting faraway places only accessible by boat. Rocking with the waves gently at night and watching the ocean light up from the bio luminescence. Even watching documentaries about the big blue while sailing along quietly in the night. This is the stuff dreams are made of. Not only will you have memories that last a lifetime, you’ll be left with a hunger that you can’t quite satisfy until the next time you’re sailing off into the unknown.

Ready to learn more about Scuba diving adventure holidays? See our dive liveaboard trips and more on our website.

Nutrition can be quite confusing for the adventurist. When talking about meals on the trail, climbing in the mountains, or  sunrise summits, we usually think of weight first, then nutrition. Divers are a bit luckier in that there is usually a boat or a dive shop nearby that can handle the weight for you!

So how to get the best balance between lightweight meals and optimise the nutrition value? We can keep the meals lightweight, but it is the combination of the food that is just as important as the food itself.  By combining the right foods for our meals we reach a peak state that combines lighweight and high nutrition. This is called Metabolic Efficiency. Metabolic Efficiency can be defined as a systematic nutrition and exercise approach to improving the body’s ability to use its internal stores of nutrients, specifically carbohydrate and fat.

(http://www.metabolicefficiency.org/what-is-it/)

 Your daily nutrition while trekking is a very important piece of the puzzle as it sets up your training nutrition strategies.  By improving your body’s Metabolic Efficiency to use more fat as energy, you not only improve energy levels but you can also lose weight and body fat, sleep better, and recover faster.

Protein + Fat + Fiber is the key to this nutritional efficiency.  This is the way to improve your daily nutrition and achieve the goal of improving your body’s metabolic efficiency through controlling and optimising blood sugar. It is as simple as choosing food that contains protein, fat and fiber at most meals and snacks. For example, chicken (protein and fat) with asparagus (fiber), is a great meal that will control and optimise your blood sugar.

Of course with Trekking, we usually tend to load up on carbs, but there needs to be a balance between carbs and protein that you take in as well.  A great example is Spaghetti with meat/vegetable sauce.  Be sure there are plenty of bell peppers in the sauce, not just meat and tomato sauce.  Bell peppers are rich in many vitamins and antioxidants, especially vitamin C and various carotenoids. Also Bell peppers are extremely light, can last a few days and can be carried fresh up the mountain. (Or on the Dive Boat)

Nutrition Trekking

Remember to combine a food that has protein with one that has fiber and one that has fat, and you will be on your way to controlling your blood sugar and becoming metabolically efficient.

At Wildfire, we know that healthy, tasty meals are extremely important! If you are looking for a trek with Gourmet Style meals for all of the healthy benefits as well as cleansing the body, our Annapurna Mohare Dande Trek of Nepal is precisely this. A trek through the valleys of the Himalayas to rejuvenate the soul and cleanse the body. The trek to Mohare Danda brings on a less trodden part of the Annapurna range. It is a lovely alternate Annapurna trek that is off the beaten path. Compared to the Ghorepani trek this trail is relatively new and still unknown to a lot of other trekkers.  Family friendly!

 

Nutrition Trekking

A holiday in the Maldives is high on many bucket lists. The most common associations that come to mind when Maldives comes up is exclusivity, classy resort living, crystal clear waters, a romantic honeymoon destination – all of which of course, comes with a hefty price tag. But as Wildfire has discovered, there’s plenty of adventures to be found in the Maldives as well. A dive safari in these majestic waters will excite anyone that’s a fan of island and sea life. And of course, diving.  Here’s why…

Wildfire Diving

Coral Atolls

Atolls are essentially giant rings of coral that developed around the shorelines of islands. Only found in the (sub)tropics, there giant natural structures grow slowly over time, offering a home to an insanely diverse range of ocean life. The Maldives are home to arguably the best 26 atolls in the world, spread out over an area of over 90,000 square kilometers.

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atoll
Wildfire Adventure Diving

Sharks Everywhere

If you want a chance to swim up close and personal with sharks, the Maldives is your spot. Since 2010, there is a ban on shark fishing in the Maldives. As a result, the number of sharks are on the rise, and many different species are thriving here. It’s very common to spot hundreds of sharks on your dives, and more than 26 different species of shark have been identified in the waters of the Maldives.

Dive Maldives Emperor

Hospitality that’s out of this World

Luxury Liveaboards and resorts are synonymous with this paradise and the Maldives have become known for extraordinarily personable hospitality unique to this small country.  Yet with this amazing  7 star hospitality, the pricetag for this treatment is more than reasonable. There are dive resorts with all inclusive eat-sleep-dive packages for less than 200.00 USD a day.  And for the luxury liveaboards, there are all inclusive packages for around 260.00 USD a day.

Adventure Diving Feast

Delicious Cuisine

Being surrounded by the water, fresh ocean catch is everywhere. The typical  breakfast of the Maldives include shredded tuna mixed with fresh coconut, chillis, onion and lime. It’s a burst of flavours unique to this tropical paradise.  It’s not uncommon to finish the evening dive and be greeted by the aroma of tuna steaks being grilled on deck,  with a bit smoky, tangy incense. Beach BBQs  from lobster and turkey to all manner of fish, shellfish  and vegetables were grilled over an open fire. The meals are constant delights. 

Island Diving Maldives

A Disappearing Wonder

The Maldives is the world’s lowest-lying country. With maximum and average natural ground levels of only 2.4 metres and 1.5 metres above sea level, respectively, the Maldives as we know (and love) is in danger of disappearing. Construction cranes descend on islands like Hulumale and further beyond. None other than UN’s environmental panel has warned that, at current rates, the rise in sea level would render the Maldives uninhabitable by 2100. Catch it while you can.

Did you Know

  1. As Asia’s smallest country (yes that is not Singapore), Maldives comprises just under 300 square kilometres of land area.

  2. Also one of the world’s most dispersed countries with over 1,190 coral islands on 26 atolls spreading over approximately 90,000 square kilometres.

  3. The history of the Maldives began with Buddhism developing into an Islamic state when the last Buddha king converted to Islam in the 12th

Wildfire Diving

There’s never been a better time to explore the Maldives and we want to help you do it!  Book now for the Christmas and Chinese New Years holidays.  Special discounts for group bookings. Spaces are limited so contact us today to reserve your spot! 

Single Travellers Guarantee: We guarantee same sex cabin share on Emperor Voyager. If we can’t ‘room you with someone of the same sex and a cabin is free then we will give you a cabin to yourself with no single supplement.

Preparing for that High Altitude Trek?  Treks above 3000 meters need additional preparation to ensure that you enjoy your time on the Mountain!  Proper Acclimatization is key!

Rules of proper Acclimatization

Acclimatization is the process in which an individual body copes up and adjusts to the change in its environment. The various factors of the environment change may be cold, heat, altitude from sea level, atmospheric pressure, etc. It allows the body to remain normal and maintain performance across a range of environmental conditions.  We need to acclimatize well to complete a high altitude trek and if this can be done naturally, your body can adapt well.

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How Does Human Body Acclimatize To High Altitude ?

With increase in altitude, the atmospheric pressure decreases which gives more space to the air molecules and the oxygen molecules goes far apart from each other. This results is low oxygen molecule per breath. Our body detects that and responds by increasing the breathing rate ( hypoxia) We call it breathlessness in laymen terms. We try to breathe more to consume more air. The process of breathing more reduces the concentration of Carbondioxide in our blood, which results in increasing the pH of our blood, thus making our blood alkaline and our body urinates more to re-acidify the blood by excreting bicarbonates. ( Diamox enhances this process which is why it is given to patients with kidney problems )

But, as the body increases the Hemoglobin count in our blood which are the oxygen carriers to hold more oxygen molecules in our blood. This process thickens our blood and hence our heart now need to pump thicker blood to the extreme organs, which further results in increased blood pressure. So a slight increased blood pressure and pulse rate in the high altitude is normal. Acclimatization is a process which takes time depending on the individual body.


3 rules of Acclimatization

Acclimatization has 3 simple rules:

  • Climb High Sleep Low
  • Slow Ascend, Do Not Over Exert
  • Hydrate Hydrate and Hydrate

 


Best Ways to Acclimatize Naturally

  • walk slow on approach days, even if you can walk faster. That allows your body the time required to adjust to the new extreme environment.

 

  • bring a well hydrated body to the mountains. Start hydrating your body well before leaving your home, may be 2 – 3 days before you leave. A fit person always stays hydrated.

 

  • do not consume high concentrated alcohol drinks 2 – 3 days before heading to the mountains, also while on treks, refrain from drinking hard drinks. Too much coffee isn’t good either. Water, and other re-hydrating drinks are the best.

 

  • do not cover yourself fully. Lets your sense organs sense the actual conditions outside and send correct messages to your brain to work it out for you. Allow your skin to feel the cold. Your ears are pressure and cold sensors. Keep that open while gaining altitude, unless there is a cold blizzard blowing.

 

  • Get proper sleep. Its the most important thing. Its when your body recovers and prepares for the next day/ altitude. If there is anything that is disturbing your sleep, resolve that or bring that to immediate notice to your team mates and team leader.

 

  • Ensure proper blood circulation, whic helps adapting to environmental change. Enhance blood circulation by taking hot garlic soups, raw garlic, remaining active, but not by exerting too much.

 

  • After reaching campsite, ease out a bit. Do not get into your tents and sleeping bags immediately. Have a light time. Explore the place. Go for acclimatization walks. If you have not followed “climb high sleep low” during the day’s trek, do that now. Climb a bit higher which will be complimented with better views of the surrounding. If you are feeling dizzy, or exhausted, take rest and let everyone know of your discomfort or lack of energy in putting that extra effort.

 

  • Eat light but full. Consume less spicy foods and foods which are easy to digest.

Check our other blog of training for a high altitude trek.  Also check our training plans on general fitness and preparation.  Enjoy the mountains!

 

 

 

Layering Of Clothes – The Concept

Layering of clothes is a concept of putting on clothes on top of one another, to build a better insulation system, which shields away the cold by retaining the heat generated by your body. More the number of layers, more the warmth. It is a clothing strategy built on the fact that air is a good insulator. It is a technique used to keep yourself warm with minimum and light weight clothing while involving in an outdoor activity in a cold environment.

 


 

How Does Layering Work

Our body generates heat and in a cold environment, we are kept warm by how much heat our body generates and how well we retain it using our  clothing strategy. The sleeping bags which we use on treks are built using the concept of layering to keep us warm. ( explaining the layering material used in a sleeping bag is not under the scope of this article )

Having said the above, its very important to understand that clothes do not generate heat. Its the retention of heat generated by our body, which keeps us warm.

Remember – each one of are different and have different capabilities of body heat generation. This means that we all might have a differently optimized layering strategies.  However, the heat generating capability of a body is usually similar for similar aged group. As we get older, the heat generating capability decreases and therefore the same layers which was proved to be good for a man of age 30 might not be ideal for a man of age 50. He might need some extra layers.

Keeping the concept in mind, the layers which we use can be divided into 3 different categories –The Base Layer, Mid Layers and finally The Outer Layer

 


 

The Base Layer – The Most Important Layer

  • This is the first layer which contacts the body.
  • When you are involved in an activity, your body generates more heat as compared to being ideal. With that, you also sweat a lot.
  • Since it a base layer, its not possible to remove it easily. You will have to remove all the layers on top of it to change your base layers. So better choose a perfect base layer.

So what is a perfect base layer? Below are the points to remember when selecting your base layer.

  1.  Breathable, else you feel restricted, uncomfortable and you will sweat more.
  2. Disperse the sweat generated by your body, else you will loose lot of body heat to keep yourself warm
  3. Odour free, else you will increase chances of bacterial growth and also create problems for your mates
  4. It has to be smooth for your skin, as you will pile on layers over it, else it will itch when more heat is generated by the body
  5. Always carry a replacement pair
  6. Select a material which if wet, dries quick

Below is a product which we chose from Decathlon, and which I use in myself. The benefits of using it are light weight, compactness and breathable.

base layer upper base layer lower


 

The Mid Layers

  • These are the layer which go on top of the base layers and adds on the insulation by trapping air in between them.
  • This is the layer which is actually responsible for keeping you warm.
  • You can have multiple layers but its better you DO NOT take the count to over 3 as that starts to feel restricted.
  • Keep the layer clothes light, breathable and dry fit to keep dispersing the moisture away
  • Dry-Fit Tees and Fleece is the best second or sometimes third upper layer as it is light and a very good insulator material.
  • Always add one fleece to your packing.
  • If you are trekking in winters, or to higher altitude where you expect morw cold, add Down Jackets to your mid layer.
  • Down jackets are light and warm, and comes in various quality, warmth and thickness.  
  • Remember that socks act as a layer for your feet. You may use woolen knee length socks as layers for your feet.
  • Increasing the number of layers in lower body is not a good idea as you move your legs the most, and it gets warm easier. Just keep your feet warm and comfortable. 
  • A simple multi-pocket hiking pants are the best for your lower body as a mid layer.

midlayer dry fit tee shirt midlayer fleece  

 

 


 

The Outer Layer

  • Its the layer which faces the elements of the environment, like wind, rain, snow, etc
  • Its the layer which protects your inner layer form the elements of environment
  • This layer is the easiest to change and is actually the most changed layer depending on the weather
  • It is important that this layer is breathable as well, as much as possible
  • Breathable water-proof layers are very expensive, so mostly you get unbreathable water proof material.
  • Water proof  material are wind proof as well
  • Wind proof material may be water proof or water resistant
  • Water resistant means that it will repell water upto an extent, but if you expose it in water for longer time, it will get wet.
  • Mostly you will find these outer layers with zippers to enable air flow, usually on chest, arms, sides, back, and thighs
  • So depending on weather, you might need to carry multiple outer layers, like wind proof, rain proof, etc
  • GORE-TEX is the best choice for your outer layer owing to its multiple qualities

 

What is GORE-TEX 

A simple google search to the above question will give you the answer – “a synthetic waterproof fabric permeable to air and water vapour, used in outdoor and sports clothing.

but it is much more than that.

In generic, the basic Gore-TEX  product always has the below qualities 

  1. Waterproof
  2. Breathable
  3. Windproof
  4. Durable

There are other advanced variants of GORE-TEX which are further better. GORE_TEX ACTIVE SHELL and GORE-TEX PRO. These are further more breathable and durable.

For your further research follow the link https://www.gore-tex.com/products/outerwear/?

There are other brands which sell the GORE-TEX products including shoes.

outer layer jacket outer layer lower

 

 


Hybrid Layers

These days there are hybrid layers in the market which has a outer water proof layer with zippers for wind flow and fleece inners. The inner and outer are separable and are kept in together with zips. My take on it is it makes things complex. A separate fleece jacket and outer wind proof jackets gives much required flexibility to me, and mountain demands remaining flexible.

 

 


 

Most Important Points To Protect Against Cold

  1. Your Ears, Feet and Palm are the part of the body which is kept warm, you feel warm. Take care of keeping those warm
  2. Protect your forehead, skull and throat from cold. Use a fleece beanie
  3. Keep the above mentioned layering and its points in mind
  4. Always change to dry woolen socks on reaching the camp
  5. Fill your bottle with hot water and take it inside your sleeping bag
  6. Never ever put your warmest combination at the beginning. Keep it for the worst.
  7. Expose yourself little and slowly to the weather. Let it understand where it is and allow it to  adapt to the cold. It does in couple of days, only if you are not too overprotective about it.
  8.  Never be on wet clothes for a long time. Change to dry cloth immediately
  9. Keep keeping your things dry in your mind while packing
  10. Always try to presume the worst scenario and prepare for it. Rest is take care of by itself in the process.
  11. Check your tents. It has to be better insulated,.
  12. Use fleece sleeping bag liners as a layer for the sleeping bag.
  13. Always buy proper gears for the sport. For example – keep your mufflers away and get a beanie or a buff !!
  14. While purchasing, always consider WEIGHT TO WARMTH RATIO

Foot Blisters are the common problems in wilderness and can make someone’s trekking experience a nightmare. First, let’s understand what are blisters.

Blisters (Source : Wikipedia)

BLISTERS : They are small pockets of fluid within the upper layers of skin caused by rubbing under the skin ( not rubbing on the skin).

IT SIMPLY MEANS BLISTERS ARE NOT ACTUALLY CAUSED BY RUBBING BUT DUE TO SKIN SHEAR (RUBBING UNDER THE SKIN).

 The other causes for causing blisters are extreme temperature changes ( either Burning or freezing) and Chemical Exposure.

Above Diagram illustrating the cause of blisters is Skin Shear i.e Rubbing under the skin

 ( Source : www.blisterprevention.com.au)

 

HOW TO PREVENT AND TREAT THEM :

Treat Hot-Spots : Hot-Spot(reddened skin and the sensation of heat) is a pre-blister state.It gives you a sensory warning that blister is on its way to form and gives the person a tiny window of opportunity to treat the Hot-Spot. The person may or may not get this sensory warning of   Hot-spot. Treat them early as they are not a warning of a problem, they are already a problem. Managing Hot-Spot is just like Blister  Prevention explained below.

                                               

 Moleskin                                                                                                                      Dough-nut Method of securing the Blister 

(Image Source : www.walmartimages.com)                                                                            (Source: www.myhealth.alberta.ca)

 

Have the right Shoe-Fit and Lacing System : 

A proper shoe fit and lacing system are the first and foremost important strategies to avoid Blisters.

A good fit (snug everywhere,tight nowhere and with enough room to wiggle your toes ) will keep you getting bruised toenails or heel blisters. Following fit tests can be done to check whether your shoe is a good fit or not :

 

  • Walk down an incline : Stomp and scuff your feet while descend and if your toes can already touch the front of the shoes when the shoes are new assuming you have laced the shoes snugly , try on a different pair.

 

  • Walk uphill on stairs : Check for the heel lift by walking up a few flights of stairs, two stairs at a time and if your heels are consistently lifting off the insoles more than 1/8th of an inch, the heel blisters are bound to happen in those shoes.

It’s important to have a shoe thats comfortable but also allows for your feet to swell a bit, as it may tend to do if you are walking many miles and many hours in the day.

The most important rule is that once you start feeling a hotspot or a blister forming, you must stop immediately and take care of it.  Waiting even 30 minutes can make the blister a painful sore for days to come.

Keep trekking and keep training! If you missed it, check out our other blog for training for high altitude treks!