Trekking is trekking is trekking, right? Wrong. The environment, particularly the climate, you’re trekking in can affect everything from your clothing choice to your energy levels. So we asked Johan Skullman, our outdoor survival and gear expert, for his top tips for trekking in warmer climates.
Hot & humid
Insects, spiders and snakes love hot and humid climates, particularly tropical rainforests. They also have a habit of crawling into and under things to seek shelter from the sun. So Johan recommends hanging your gear up using a line tied between two trees, whenever you stop and when you set up camp. And avoid leaving your backpack on the ground. It’s the perfect hiding place for small insects. Plus, as an extra precaution, shake out your shoes and clothing before you get dressed.
In wet conditions, we’re prone to putting on our shell jackets as soon as we feel the first drops of rain, but Johan cautions against this. “Wait until the last minute to put on your shell jacket.” If you put it on too early you’ll be too hot and the heat from your body will mean that the jacket becomes less resistant to water.
Hot & dry
Did you know that the salt that’s left on your skin when you sweat makes you more prone to chafing? Rinse your clothes as regularly as possible to get rid of the salt. Don’t worry. They’ll dry quickly in the heat.
Sunburn can ruin a trek. It can make carrying your backpack unbearable and even the smallest amount of sun on your skin can cause immense pain. So it’s better to prevent it, rather than treat it. Sun protection cream is all well and good, but you can sweat that off. Instead, cover your legs with loose-fitting trousers, your arms with a long-sleeve shirt with a high collar and cover your head with a wide-brimmed hat.
Sweat is your body’s way of cooling you down, but wet sweaty feet can lead to blisters and sores. And without healthy, happy feet, trekking can become a painful slog. Take plenty of pairs of socks and change them regularly. Rinse socks out at the end of the day and let them dry fully.
Generally speaking, small animals, such as insects, are more of a problem than large animals in warmer climates because they carry diseases and are often poisonous. So it’s best to keep them as far away as possible. A good idea is to build a little gully, 5-10cm deep, around your tent. This will put off and slow down small insets from making their way towards your tent.