|Kedar Kantha Trek (26 Dec 14 – 2 Jan 15)|
Trek clothing and fashion:
Oh so we are going for a trek! ‘In Himalayas ’, exclaimed me!
Physical training…..my husband will ensure! Mental robustness…… I will ensure! But what to wear…… who will ensure ?
That’s how my search for correct gear for the trek began. It may seem easy, it is not, because you have to have a balance of sufficient wear with least weight. Also for a fashion conscious as well as expenditure conscious person I am, it has to balance fashion and expense.
‘LAYERS’ declared my husband were the crux of decision, ‘FASHIONABLE’ came the roar back from me…. Ha ha !
I have never been on a trek before, so to judge what will be correct for a winter trek, was a task in itself. Trek was from 26 Dec to 2 Jan. The suggestions below are unisex and looks great on !
First Top Layer : The Jacket has to be from Quechua, I saw someone wearing in her facebook pic, came in a thought. But then I have numerous Jackets already, came another thought. Since Ours was a 12500 Ft snow trek, so a Feather Jacket was a must. There are numerous brands offering it, Puma, UCB etc. But the latest to catch the fancy of the hep and happening is Quechua. I could see numerous options available online on all leading e-tailers like Flipkart, Amazon and Indialetsplay. Decathalon has showrooms in various metro cities offering Quechua. They are in range from Rs 2200 to Rs 5000. On trek this was the in thing.
|Quechua Jackets for Men : www.decathlon.in (hiking warm-weardown-jackets warm-down-ski-jacket)|
|For Women : Available at www.decathlon.in (hiking warm-weardown-jackets doondoon-warm-lady)|
Though Cheaper Non branded options are available in the local Market, if you feel they have good enough feather layering, you can buy it. This shall be in range of Rs 1400 to Rs 1900.
|Locally available (trek clothing fashion)|
Second Top Layer : Nothing can replace a good warm Sweater. Better if its hand knit. But if you live in a place like Mumbai or Bangalore where winters are only hypothetical, it’s improbable that you will have one, So get hold of a WOOLLEN Sweater. Market is flooded with branded sweaters, but most of good brands offer Acrylic/Nylon/Cotton sweaters and not woollen. So do check the material tag before buying. Monte Carlo is one brand offering really warm WOOLLEN sweaters. Preferably round neck its better than the V neck, due to chill resistance. However, you can go for a high neck too, but my personal experience says, while hiking, you feel warmer and feel like taking off anything on your neck as you are constantly walking and panting for oxygen, so a round neck is a better choice.
|Monte Carlo Lambs wool Sweater: Available on line on all leading e-tailers/ visit www.montecarlo.in|
Third Top Layer : For women, Quechua is offering great Fleece Jackets. You can even have a sweat shirt instead, if you don’t want to spend on a new one. One more Woolen sweater can also work as this layer. Though personally my favorite is Quechua Fleece Jacket, as when it warmer in the day during treks, it works as a great piece to flaunt your figure in. A surprise to this is on offer at Marks and Spencer too, they have similar Fleece Jackets, with Lowers in Fleece too. I found them value for money as they can work as great gym wear/ night wear too ( in cold weather places on North India). For men Quechua is offering good fleece Jackets.
|Quechua Fleece jackets for Women|
|Quechua Fleece jackets for Men (trek clothing fashion)|
|Marks and Spencer Fleece jackets for Women|
But surprise is at Monte carlo, where they have winter track suits. This option gives both fleece lower and upper ( works as a sweatshirt too).
|Monte Carlo Fleece Track Suit|
Fourth Top Layer : A good T Shirt, Preferably a full sleeve on , I took cotton T Shirts from Marks and Spencer. You get good T shirts both branded as well as non Branded. Range from Rs 250 to Rs 1500. My Personal Favorite are the Marks and Spencer and Being Human ones for their soft Fabric.
Fifth and sixth Top Layer : One Full Sleeve and other Half Sleeve Warmer ( Thermals). Though a lot of brands like Neva, Kidley, Rupa and Lux are offering, I even saw some good ones with Quechua. Personally, I felt none was good enough in women’s section. Local shops offer inners made of Wool ( note its not thermal material but in wool), they are good, and anytime better than the Routine Thermal Wear. So I settled for the locally made. However for people other than North India, Quechua offered the best ones. For Men, Rupa Thermocot ( Agni/ Volcano/Angora Series) was far superior than any other brand.
|Locally made woolen Inne|
|Rupa Thermocot (trek clothing fashion)|
Seventh Layer : A good Cotton Slip/ Speghetti/Racer Back T Shirt for women and a good Quality Undershirt for men. For women, there are numerous local made stuff available in wool also, that too at cheaper prices.So for Women you can have a cotton slip and a woolen slip both. Personally I found the Marks and Spencer Ones as best, due to the cloth quality in Men. My Marks to Marks and Spencer are also on the basis that they have great sales ( In Jan and July), where in you can buy these quite cheap.
Eighth Layer ( Only for Women): Instead of a routine Bra go in for a sports Bra as that gives more coverage also is more comfortable. Neva even offers sports Bra in thermals, you can take one.
Bottom Gear :
First Layer : My Vote is out and out for Marks and Spencer Fleece Lowers, they are just so good. Quechua is also offering good fleece lowers. Even Local Markets ( in North India ) are flocked with local made Fleece Lowers ( which are equally good). For rest of Indians, I think Quechua (Available at Decathlon) will be the best bet. Take two at least, as you need a change over. Apart from these two, take a Water resistant one also, as it may rain or snow in a winter trek, also while coming down you do a lot of slides, making you wet. In any case, on the day you are going for the summit, do wear the water resistant one as the uppermost layer, as it will help in fighting cold from the chilly winds there.
Second Layer : Take good quality Thermals. Let me assure you, one won’t be suffice, take two. However for people in North India can find a lot of woolen lowers in the market ( For women only), take that . For men as I said, the best is Rupa Thermocot ( Agni/ Volcano/Angora Series). Quechua still needs to improve on the quality of thermals (I have covered this in Top gear portion)
Shoes : Take special Trekking Shoes. Presently Quechua and Woodland offer good quality Hiking Shoes. You can choose as per their water resistant qualities as a trek in snow will also leave you vulnerable to wetting of shoes. Woodland Shoes are only for men and are on higher side, where as Quechua also offers for women and is cheaper than Woodland. Personally I felt Woodland shoes are more appropriate for summer treks due to low water resistance. Forclaz 100 to Forclaz 600 are good Choices. I felt not much difference in their water resistant properties, so would suggest the cheapest one. For Temperature resistance, no shoe will give you temperature resistance, the secret lies for this in Layering of Socks ( Covered in Socks section). Also ensure shoes are adequately broken ( Used) before embarking on the trek. Also always buy one size higher than your actual size ( immaterial of how many layering of socks you intend to wear)
|Woodland Hiking Shoes (trek clothing fashion)|
Socks : There is nothing like good woolen Pair of Socks. Please remember the Chinese socks in the local market which are seemingly double layered are no good in a snow trek. Buy the ones in wool. You may try to go to a shop offering Military gear ( In markets near cantonment), for good quality woolen socks. And if you are in Northern India ask for Chamba Socks, there are incomparable in chill resistance. While wearing Put a cotton socks first to avoid any boils while hiking.
|Chamba Socks (trek clothing fashion)|
Gloves : Quechua is offering good water resistant Gloves, they are good but bulky. My Suggestion would be normal Woolen Gloves, as they are snug fit and easy to hold things with.
Caps : Go for nothing lesser than a Balcalava as it covers complete face. For Fashion conscious women out there buy a beanie as well as stylish earplugs. You can carry these along with Balcalava.
|Balcalava (trek clothing fashion)|
Scarfs/ Mufflers : Personally speaking, I feel Scarfs just add to the weight, and since in trekking you have to carry your stuff, my suggestion would be to do away with it. Also when you are hiking, you feel like taking off anything around your neck as you are panting for air while climbing uphill. Still if you want carry any stylish Woollen scarf which you can wear at arrival day/ touchdown as well as departure day along with your hand knit ( or otherwise) sweaters.
Ear Muffs: They look stylish, though in trek they do discourage you to cover your ears while climbing, but while in camps they look great. So for all the stylish women out there…give it a chance. For boys it’s no no!
Sun Glasses : They are a must as you would be closer to Sunrays in High atlitude with thin Oxegen Layer. Make sure they are adequately UV protected. NO avaitors please or for that matter any metal rimmed glasses, take only Plastic/fiber rimmed glasses. Fastrack has got budgeted line. Even Vincent Chase offers trendy range at even lesser prices. My recent favorite is here….( trek clothing fashion )