There are few essentials you must have access to while on a winter trek. If you are going for a High Altitude Trek & that to a winter trek then there are some things you will be needing again and again. You will be accessing these few essential Items throughout the trek, opening your bag, closing your bag. These things should be easily accessible for those reasons. But what are these essential you must have easy access to during a winter trek exactly?
Recently on my Trek to Brahmatal, I noticed that there were a few things I was constantly accessing — My Wollen Cap, my headlamp, my hat, thermals……….etc.
After the trek was completed I just counted and found out that there are around 15 items that I am always accessing on the trek and I felt like I should share that with you all.
What I mean by accessible is that they should be available to you by just opening one flap or say one zip. You shouldn’t be emptying your entire backpack to get just that one thing out. That’s why packing your backpack properly is really important.
So I will be telling you why for these 15 essentials you must have easy access to during a winter trek
Let’s get started,
1) Poncho / Waterproof jacket / Rainwear
This is perhaps the most used essential item from one of my previous winter trek. There was heavy snowfall and had to get my waterproof jacket out of my bag fast.
While on winter trek you don’t wear your waterproof jacket all the times. You are on 2 layers max. This is because when you are walking your body starts generating heat from within so you start feeling warm, so you only have 2 layers on (never wear thermals while trekking).
So I was saying that I was not wearing the jacket, it was in my bag. And the snowfall was really heavy; my woollen jacket would have had got wet. So I had to fish the waterproof jacket out of the bag fast.
Where to keep for easy access: So I keep it in the space between the hood and the inside of the bag. Wait, where exactly? So when you open the hood of the bag, to access the inside you have to pull this string and loosen it up. So you can keep it right above that keeping it closed and close the hood over it. So that its easily accessible, just poop open the hood and there it is. (see image to understand where)
2) Rain Cover for your Backpack
If you’re going on a high altitude trek, don’t think of going without a rain cover for your backpack, it is one of the most essential and important things to have. You never know when it rains or snows and the things inside your backpack always need protection.
Where to keep for easy access: Some bags have rain cover pouch on the underside of the bag. If you don’t have that you can put it in the side pouch as they are extremely compressible and fit in tiny spaces. Pro Tip: While trekking always put the rain cover on the bag and only remove when inside the tent.
3) A Warm Layer and Thermals
Generally, you trek with 1 or 2 layers during a winter trek, a T-Shirt and fleece jacket. Maybe you get a bit cold and need one more extra layer or say you are just on a single layer (T-Shirt) and start feeling cold then you need a warm layer handy.
Where to keep for easy access: You could keep it at the opening of the bottom loader / front loader of your backpack so its just one zip away.
4) A Water Bottle
This is a no brainer, but it’s important that I include it here. When your bottle is not accessible, it is seen that the person drinks less water and is less hydrated. And during a high altitude trek, it is very essential to stay hydrated.
Where to keep for easy access: Keep it in the side pouches provided to the bag. If your bottle has a loop then you can hook it up to side strap of your bag.
5) A Headlamp
You won’t be using a headlamp while on a trail most of the time. You will be using it mostly around your campsite. Most trekkers realise the need for light only after it’s dark. And you don’t want to be fishing for light in the dark, especially in an emergency.
Where to keep for easy access: The best place is on the top flap of the bag, just one zip away. It’s easily accessible, the moment you put your hand in you will get the headlamp. So keep it in the top pouch.
6) Basic Medical Kit
It’s best to have a medical kit on you always during a trek. You may not use it that often, perhaps you won’t use it at all. But it’s best practice to keep it with you in case if there’s an emergency.
And for an emergency case, you must know where your medical kit is, and find it easily.
PS: Only take medicines after consulting with your trek leader, because medicines have different effects at a higher altitude than on sea level.
Where to keep for easy access: Most backpacks come with a zip on the inside flap, you can keep it there. You can also keep it in many of the other places like the front/bottom loader.
7) Sun Cap and Woolen Cap
I don’t know about you but I am always wearing my cap during the day while trekking and my woollen cap in the evening/night at the campsite. And it’s best to have these easily accessible.
Where to keep for easy access: Its best to keep these in the top flap or while trekking you can keep them hanging from your bag straps.
8) Pair of Gloves & Socks
I usually carry 3 pairs of gloves with me, the normal woollen gloves, the fleece gloves and the water and windproof trekking gloves.
While trekking I am wearing the water & windproof trekking gloves and not the woollen or fleece ones because I don’t want them getting wet due to snow. They are safe inside the bag.
Once reaching the campsite I change my gloves to the woollen or fleece ones. And they should be accessible as they are the first things you’ll need after reaching camp.
And about socks, I wear my normal socks while trekking, of which I keep at least 3 pairs with me. And 1 pair of woollen socks which I wear at night on the campsite and while sleeping.
Where to keep for easy access: I keep them with my suncap and headlamp in the upper flap so they are just one zip away. I’ll advise you to do the same.
9) Toilet roll
Most trekkers keep their toilet roll with their toilet kit. That’s okay its something that you’ll be using much often than your toilet kit. So keeping it sperate is a good thing.
Where to keep for easy access: The side pouch is a great place, there is enough place even when you have a bottle there. One thing you can do is keep some cut stripes of the toilet paper in the side pouch, upper flap and other places & keep the rest of the roll with the toilet kit.
10) Phone or Camera
This is no brainer but keeping your phone or camera accessible is a good thing to do because it’s not always that you are gonna be amidst the mountains.
You should not be like “That’s an awesome view, I should take a picture” and then realize you had kept your phone or camera or your GoPro inside the bag.
Just a personal opinion, If possible try not to bring your DSLR, your phone will do just fine. DSLR’s would be an unnecessary hassle while trekking for you, and that too for a high altitude winter trek. To know why? Read here.
Where to keep for easy access: Its best to have trek pants with zippered pockets so that you won’t have to worry about your phone slipping out of the pocket. You can also keep it in the zippered pockets of your jacket.
11) Power bank
This is something you’ll need every day after reaching the campsite to charge your phone. I recommend buying a 20,000 mAh power bank, it will last the entire trek.
Where to Keep for easy access: It is always recommended to carry an additional smaller bag with you like this one from Quechua. Keep your power bank in it. And you can easily shove it inside your main bag.
12) Pocket Snacks
This important when you are trekking. I always keep dry fruits, some chocolates, snicker bars on me while trekking. They are like quick energy recharge for you.
Where to keep for easy access: The best place are these small pouches that are provided on the waist strap of your rucksack, you can keep it all in there.
In the mountains and that too in cold weather, your nose tends to run a lot. So having a handkerchief is really good to have with you.
Where to keep for easy access: Keep it in your jacket pocket or your pant pocket. Don’t wipe your nose too many times or too harshly. You’ll be doing more damage than good.
After your suncap, gloves and woollen cap this is also an important thing. I’ll recommend you always wear it while trekking. It helps you block that cold wind directly hitting your face and neck area.
You don’t wear it while sleeping in your tent but when you wake up in the morning you need it & you need to find it easily.
Where to keep for easy access: The best place is in one of your pockets in the pants that you are wearing while sleeping or your sweater if it has one. So that when you wake up its right there.
When you are on a winter trek because of the cold weather your skin becomes dry and the worst affected are your lips. To protect them its best to apply some vaseline or some lip balm from time to time.
Where to keep for easy access: You can keep it in the top flap or in one of the pockets of your jacket or your pants.
Additional tips to make some of these essential items more accessible during your winter trek:
- Buy pants and jackets with zipped pockets
- Invest in a good waist pouch
- If you are using a DSLR, carry a small camera bag with you.
Well, that’s a very long list of essentials to have in winter trek. But if you have these things accessible you won’t have to dig in your bag again and again when on the trail or on the campsite. And making you an efficient trekker.
Read here for 10 basic trekking tips / trekking rules.
If you think I missed anything or you have any other suggestions of where you can keep these things to make them more accessible then let me know down in the comments.
And do follow me on my Instagram @mostlywanderer for my photography related work, I post landscape & street photography work. You can also check my pictures from my brahmatal trek over there, which are all clicked on phone.