Trekking is an activity in which we walk over different types of terrain (with or without trails); in the Bolivian Andes we will sometimes walk over llama trails but sometimes over scree or morrein, the weather is also a factor with winter (May – September) being dry and stable in terms of weather.
Having said all this, the following list of things to consider are essential for you to make your trek really enjoyable experience. Here are some tips to help you get the best experience possible.
- ALWAYS REMEMBER TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THE SUN
If the first thing you ask yourself is how to put together a trekking backpack, you should know that sunscreen is one of the most important items to pack. In the Bolivian Andes the sun is particularly strong due to the altitude (4600mts average).
It is advisable to use a good quality sunscreen with a UVB protection of at least SPF 60. You should apply it at least 30 minutes before leaving campside.
However, sunscreen is not enough, we recommend the physical protection such as the wide-brimmed hats, dark sunglasses with UV filter, gloves, buff (very useful to cover your face).
- WALKING POLES
We always say that trekking poles are a trekker’s best friend due its many advantages.
We recommend poles with straps, basket, a flick lock system made of steel, we do not recommend folding poles because they are less resistant, we’ve seen a lot of our clients who had problems with them.
As for the advantages of using trekking poles you can find them here:
- USE THE RIGHT BOOTS
An important factor is the right boots.
We recommend high boots because they protect your ankles, they must also be waterproof, brands like La Sportiva or Asolo offer good options, these brands work with Vibram a brand of sole highly recommended for its good grip, this will give you stability along with the poles.
- GOOD NUTRITION
On an average on a regular trekking day you burn a lot of calories and need a lot of energy, because in addition to the exercise the altitude is also a factor.
Each of the meals on our expeditions such as breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner are designed according to the balance between carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, vitamins and minerals, every morning we give to each trekker a bag with snacks such as fruit or grains.
However, if due to your constitution or a medical recommendation you need extra supplements we recommend dried fruits which are an excellent source of protein, besides being practical, you can eat them in the middle of the trek, you can find a great variety in the city of La Paz, things like almonds, nuts, sultanas, peanuts and dried bananas.
We also suggest you try the “pito” of quinoa or cañahua, which is basically ground quinoa or cañahua (grain of the same family as quinoa), to which you only need to add water.
As for water we recommend drinking 2 litres of water a day, this water can preferably contain electrolytes or “Pito de Quinua“, we also recommend the use of Nalgene bottles for their resistance.
- WEAR COMFORTABLE AND SUITABLE CLOTHING
Knowing how to dress for trekking is very important and the success of the expedition may depend to a large extent on this. It is important that your clothing is comfortable, flexible and waterproof.
During the treks we apply the three-layer rule, the first one a base layer, the mid layer is a polar fleece, these let the heat out and keep you cool, and a third layer which is the waterproof, windbreaker, as a outer layer.
For campsides when we’re not doing any activity and the weather gets quite cold after the sunset we recommend a down jacket or feather coats, a wooll hat, gloves, an inner layer inside your trousers (long johns) and socks against the cold, temperatures at night in the camps can drop to -5 degrees Celsius.
These are the essentials but there are many more things like headlamps, a good sleeping bag and other things that are indispensable if you want to enjoy a trek, in the next posts we will talk more in detail about the equipment.
Would you like more tips?
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