What should we carry in our bags in a full-day of trekking?

Written by Dayana Anyela Barriga Rodríguez*

Source: Diary of a traveller

Basically, the most important thing for a day of trekking is to consider rehydration and energetic foods needed to maintain an appropriate pace for the walk, avoiding fainting, fatigue, cramps, headaches and other problems that could disrupt our walking.

A week before trekking, it is important to prepare the muscle glycogen (main source of our muscle power) by recharging it, since the first three hours of walking our body uses it to get energy. In order to do that, we must eat low-carbohydrate foods (vegetables and fruits such as water melon, pine apple, oranges, mandarines) the first three days of the week and high-carbohydrate foods (bread, pasta, potatoes, rice) the last four days, so that our diet is composed by 70% carbohydrates. We also must take into consideration that the day of the walk, we must take a breakfast rich in easily digestible carbohydrates (sweet fruits, bread, cereal bars, granola, etc.) so that this food provides us sufficient energy during the road.

The day of the walk, it is recommendable to take a backpack with us. Our backpack must contain rehydration drinks and energetic foods. The rehydration drinks (containing Na, K, glucose)  be at least of one liter for a 6-hour-walk or of 500 ml if the walk takes less than 4 hours to help mantain an adequate hydration and not suffer the ravages of the walk such as headache, confusion, cramps, etc. Some examples of rehydrations drinks suitable for this ocassion are Gatorade, Sporade or Powerade. In hot climates above 30 °C, we must know that it is esencial to increase the indicated amount of liquids in 50%, because of the higher losses.

Finally, according to the food, we must include foods that provide us quick energy such as candies, energy bars, cookies, and, if we are in very cold climates, also chocolates, since they provide us not only energy but also fat, which acts as a thermal insulator.

*Nutritionist. Master of Science in Public Nutrition Specialist (UNALM). Scholarship from Micronutrient Initiative – AISA (International Agency for Food Safety). Experience teaching in the Master of Public Nutrition UNALM and the Master of Management and Teaching in Food and Nutrition, Pre-degree at the Peruvian University of Applied Sciences (UPC) and the San Ignacio de Loyola University. Adviser on the “Glass of Milk” Program of the Municipality of Rimac, Helper & Trainer at PRONAA – Moquegua, Member of various research teams of Health and Nutrition. 

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