Trekking in Ladakh: What You Should Carry - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Trekking in Ladakh: What You Should Carry

Trekking is a journey of self-exploration of the beauty that surrounds you and the beauty that lies within. In India, the Himalayan region is famed as the ultimate destination for trekking among enthusiasts. The Himalayas offer breath-taking vistas and several challenging trekking routes that can test the mettle of even expert mountaineers. Each year, millions find their way to the colossal mountains to embark on a life-changing expedition. One such expedition is the Zanskar Frozen River Trek; located in Ladakh (Jammu and Kashmir), the ‘CHADAR TREK’, which means blanket in Hindi, promises an unparalleled experience for those who dare to step into the wilderness of the bleak mountains. Sure, the thought of walking on a frozen river surrounded by mountains with no food or sign of civilization is terrifying.

Frozen Zanskar River and the Western Himalayas

In this article, I will talk about some essential gear you would need to carry with you if ever plan to take on the frozen river.

Winters can be harsh and numb you to the marrow if you aren’t prepared. For a typical -15°C temperature, it is common sense to add layers of clothing that won’t let the freezing wind to penetrate and to prevent the cold blood from paralyzing your system.

An ideal example of six layer clothing would include:

1 Thermal Inner

2 T-shirts

2 Full-sleeve Sweaters

1 Hollow-fill Jacket

1 Woollen Cap

1 Water Proof Gloves

2-3 Pairs of Woollen Socks

1 Scarf (to cover the neck and some part of the face)

However, you can customize your own version of six layer clothing; whatever keeps you warm. But don’t forget during the day, when the sun is shining, it can get really warm with all those layers of clothes on. So it makes perfect sense to wear dry synthetic T-shirts instead of cotton as your first layer.


The second most important gear to keep in mind is the shoe. You should go for a sturdy pair of hiking shoes which protect you from snow while it offers a firm grip. You don’t want to risk slipping now. . . Do you?

You might want to consider carrying with you a pair of gaiters which are synthetic sleeves for your legs that act as non-penetrable shields for your lower pant leg and ankle area when you’re knee deep in the snow.


Now this is one of the most important things to consider when planning your trek. A backpack should be lightweight, sturdy and have enough space to accommodate all of the things you would need on your trip. You wouldn’t want to carry with you that stylish tote bag which hardly fits a water bottle and a pair of socks. Likewise, a big and heavy bag can increase the amount of weight you are carrying and can result in disastrous results (especially when you’re walking on a thin sheet of ice, yikes!)

Trekking poles are the quintessential hiking and mountaineering equipment. They can help reduce the pressure on your legs, knees, ankles and feet resulting in lower fatigue while trekking. They also allow you to establish and maintain a consistent rhythm, which can increase your speed.

Don’t even think about it!

Sunglasses add a cover around your eyes. Use good quality sunglasses preferably with a large frame to protect your eyes from damage due to the suns’ harmful UV rays and the fast blowing winds.

Use a sunscreen of at least 15 SPF to protect your body parts exposed to the sun during the day if you have sensitive skin.

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