Monthly Archives: September 2015

Travel Tips: Backpacking Essentials For Camping and Hiking

Backpacking Essentials

If you’re planning a camping and hiking adventure, you’re going to need the right equipment to keep you safe and comfortable. You can find lots of this type of equipment at ​ retailers like Tesco, who stock everything you’ll need for your first time camping. Here’s our guide on the essentials you won’t want to leave home without.

Clothing

This will largely depend on the climate and walking conditions in your chosen destination. However, you must always pack some warm clothing such as a thermal jacket, even during summer months, as it may get cold in the evening. Always avoid items of clothing which take a long time to dry and never leave home without a waterproof jacket. A hooded poncho can come in handy when the heavens open, keeping you and your backpack from getting soaked. A wide brimmed hat is also a must which will keep you protected from the sun.

Tents

For long hikes, small and lightweight is always the best option. there’s even ones which can be pitched using your trekking poles which can save even more space in your bag.However, there’s plenty of heavy duty options to choose from, if you’re needing the added protection. A lot of them also come with additional features such as bug netting, a sewn in floor or the inclusion of nonmetallic poles if you’re in an area prone to lightning.

Sleeping bag

When it comes to sleeping bags, there’s one important decision to be made: goose down or synthetic filled. The former is widely considered to be the best option, providing the most efficient insulation whilst remaining lightweight and packing down to a small size. But it can be problematic if it becomes wet. The feathers take a long time to dry and quality will be affected.

The synthetic alternative is heavier and won’t be as durable but does insulate better when wet and dries quickly. If you’re expecting to encounter very bad weather, a synthetic sleeping bag is the sensible choice. Otherwise, invest in the more expensive goose down and you’ll have a sleeping bag which will last a lifetime.

Cooking

Even if you’re planning to cook over an open fire, it’s important to carry a compact stove. This will provide a convenient and quick way to enjoy a hot meal in those times where you can’t find fire wood or you’re simply too tired to search. Be sure to choose a model which is lightweight and very small. Gas burners are a great choice, especially the ones which screw directly onto the top of a gas cartridge. They can be a little unstable but they won’t take much room in your bag and they’re very affordable. One pan should suffice for all your cooking requirements. Choose an ultra-lightweight titanium one and don’t forget a fork and plastic mug.

We’ve covered the basics, it’s now time for you to plan your route, squeeze into those walking boots and go explore.

Image by Arup Malakar used under the Creative Commons license.

North Pennines, Cow Green Reservoir – England

North Pennines

Cow Green reservoir is a two mile long reservoir, which was built in 1971. Despite the construction, a lot of local flora and fauna has managed to survive and the surrounding area is still rich with rare alpine plants, like the local Teesdale violet. The area is not swamped with hikers either, as sheep will likely be your companion for most of a trip around this location.

This trail is easily accessible and has couple of historical towns nearby too, like Langdon Beck, which can add that extra attraction to your visit as well as provide an overnight shelter. When it comes to the trail itself, rest assured there are separate parking and public toilets facilities available. Moreover, the trail includes a couple of old mine locations, which add an extra feel of adventure and curiosity.

Cauldron_SnoutThis public trail in North Pennines also offers a range of activities, ranging from scenic and bird watching walks to more challenging rocky areas. The latter boast the chance to view rare rock formations of sugar limestone and the Great Whin Sill.

When it comes to choosing a route, the main trail follows along the two mile stretch of the reservoir, then turns towards the dam. Although the passage way across the dam is closed, there is a path to climb down nearby to acknowledge the dam water stream from a closer angle. Following the path brings about numerous stop spots too, which demonstrate all of the rare flora and fauna, as well as rare landscape formations.

The trail also includes a considerable amount of dolerite cliffs, though bear in mind these will require some skill to climb up and down. A particular highlight of taking up the challenge though is the opportunity to admire the Cronkley Scar cliff, which stretches for almost a mile and can be a fascinating trail on its own.

North Pennines UKNonetheless, all of the intermediate routes in North Pennines include at least one high flow waterfall, with one of the most popular ones being Cauldron Snout with its rock-based, slippery steps down. To avoid injuries here, appropriate footwear is key. Therefore, we recommend you acquire some quality hiking boots for such landscapes from the likes of SOLETRADER or Brantano ahead of your trek. Also take note that the area is high above sea level (approximately 1,650 feet), so sudden weather changes should be expected.

These are just a couple of recommended routes though; in all the Cow Green Reservoir trail has numerous length options ranging from 5 miles to 12 miles and more. Whichever route you take, rest assured you will be on track to explore so many of the fascinating areas that the North Pennines has to offer.

Hiking in the Caribbean

Pitons Trekking

Although the Caribbean is probably mostly associated with white stretches of soft sandy beaches lapped at by blue waters, that is not all there is to experience; there are many superb places in the region where you can go trekking. Many tourists when coming to the Caribbean take to the water to discover the wonders below the surface, but if you take the time to go hiking, you will be able to explore the lush and tropical interiors of these islands. Hiking in this tropical location is becoming increasingly popular, and as a result more trails and officially marked pathways are being developed by the authorities on many islands.

So, if you’re planning for the Caribbean cheap holidays include this on your holiday itinerary for a healthier fun and more exciting traveling experience. Here are some pointers on where to go if you want to take in some of the spectacular hiking in this area.

Caribbean Treking
Images by Liam Quinn used under the Creative Commons license.

Some tips on the terrain

Hikers can experience all sorts of different walks on the islands. Coastal walks can seem simple enough with little more than beaches and coves to negotiate, but some areas can be quite hilly and have large cliffs. Furthermore, trails often run through forested areas so well is essential – think hiking boots for men and women, rather than sandals or flip-flops. Although some sections of pathway will follow the old roads that used to lead out to the old colonial plantations, many are trickier to navigate on because they can be somewhat overgrown. It’s also worth noting that each Caribbean government has different laws about hiking trails. Make sure you stick to the designated trails and don’t stray onto private land.

Teking in The Caribbean

Images by Patrick Nouhailler used under the Creative Commons license.

Pico Duarte, Dominican Republic

There is a challenging 10,000 feet trail that leads to the peak of Pico Duarte, but the views that reward you at the top are magnificent. Usually completed over a couple of days, it is best undertaken as part of a team. Park rangers are often available to help hikers find their way when trekking up the mountain.

Grand Etang National Park, Grenada

Hikers can take part in guided treks in this wonderful park, full of fascinating birdlife. Walking around Grand Etang Lake is a pleasant walk which does not need a vast amount of trekking experience. However, if you’re looking for something tougher, take the trail up to Mount Qua Qua you’ll find it much more challenging.

Nevis Peak, Nevis

With an ascent of over 3,232 feet, Nevis Peak is one of the most attractive triangular-shaped volcanoes in the world. It takes about three hours to reach the summit, depending on how hot it is, but some sections of the trail require you to negotiate extremely steep sections which will require more scrambling than trekking.

Gros Piton, St Lucia

This mountain trek takes the average hiker about four hours to ascend and descend in a circular trail. There are guided tours, but the pathways are not too difficult to navigate. However, if you suffer from a bit of vertigo, be warned, there are some dizzying heights and sharp slopes on some of these trails.

Asa Wright Nature Centre, Trinidad

With a number of trails that cut through rainforest, Trinidad’s hiking area affords walkers with some spectacular scenery and access to the exotic wildlife on the island. Among the highlights are the wonderful hummingbirds. These colorful birds are best spotted by hiking deep into the rainforest of the nature centre.

There we go, our list of excellent hikes for the keen walkers; lying the beach and soaking in those rays will feel better earned after a trek, Caribbean Islands awaits for you.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro Stress Free

kilimanjaro treking

As one of the highest freestanding mountains in the world, the Mount Kilimanjaro is hailed to be one of the most visited mountains by mountaineers and trekkers from the different parts of the globe. The beautiful landscape of the mountain sits on the north eastern part of Tanzania and it fosters three volcanoes namely the Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira. Many aspire to be able to climb Africa’s highest peak which is seated at the heart of the Kilimanjaro National Park. If you plan traveling in Tanzania to climb the Kilimanjaro Mountain, here are some of the considerations that can help you enjoy your mountain climbing adventure stress free.

Preparing your journey by season

The best months to climb Mount Kilimanjaro are January, February and September where the temperature tends to be warm or moderate. The coolest months in the mountain are June and July while the wettest are April and May. Considering the climate when planning for your visit is significant as it can affect the risks involved when climbing the mountain. However, the temperature may vary throughout the climb as the altitude changes. Owing to its proximity in the equator and for its height, Mount Kilimanjaro is known to create its own weather that may change unpredictably. This is the reason why travelers are advised to be prepared for both the wet weather during the day and the coldness at night.

KilimanjaroPreparing your budget and safety

Some climbers prefer taking with them their own mountain climbing gears but to some who travel a long way to reach Tanzania renting equipment seems to be a good option. Travelers will likely spend for the equipment between $500 to a thousand dollars exclusive of the fees you need to shell out for your sleeping bags, clothing accessories and other travel kits. Prior to entering Tanzania, visitors are mandated to receive the Yellow Fever jab for their safety and protection. This is because Tanzania is prone to the malaria disease. This will generally costs you $100 to $200 for the jab. If you want to ensure the safety of your health, Hep A vaccines are likewise available. Travelers should avoid bringing their children who are 10 years old and younger. If you want to take them they should not be allowed to hike more than 300 meters.

Enroll in an organized tour

Rarely are travelers allowed to climb the mountain without the company of a licensed travel guide. There are many tour operators that can help arrange your adventure Voyage Kilimanjaro. They can help make your travel experience more meaningful as you get to hike with less stress and concerns because your tour guide will make all the necessary arrangements needed for your trip. Call the different travel guide services early to book your flight and to give you the ample time to compare their travel package, services, accommodation and fees.

Maximize your Mount Kilimanjaro hike on a full moon

The majority of travelers climb the summit to watch the stunning effects on the glaciers of the mountain peak by the full moon. It is during this time that mountain trekkers flock the summit. You should avoid this activity if you don’t like a crowded climb.