I am an independent traveler, through and through. I enjoy crafting my own itineraries, sorting out my own accommodation, braving a foreign bus station and waking up some mornings and deciding to do nothing but sit in a sunny park all day. That’s the joy of traveling on your own: everything you do is your doing, including the missed connections, the overpriced dinner, the aching feet and ensuing headache.
Even though I love traveling on my own, sometimes I love taking a break and placing all the responsibility in someone else’s hands. I kicked off my first-ever solo backpacking trip around Europe with a 10-day Contiki tour: it eased me into traveling on my own, and opened my eyes to what I loved and hated about group travel. Since then, I like to supplement my trips with day-long tours—especially on bikes or Vespas!—and the occasional short cruise. In this post I will be discussing about trekking and the essential gears that you should carry to make your trekking easier and better.
Trekking Poles – Do You Need Them?
Using a good trekking poles while hiking or trekking can be an very useful item to use during your hiking trail. A trekking pole is nothing but an advance form of a hiking stick. Most trekking poles are made from aluminum, lightweight and collapsible. This makes trekking poles easy to carry and store.
When you are trekking on an easy terrain then you may able to walk without a trekking poles, but for more difficult terrain or if you need to walk many miles, then trekking poles will definitely help in maintaining your pace and keeps you focused. Trekking poles reduce the impact and pressure of long hiking on your knees and leg muscles. Your arms and shoulder shares the burden via trekking poles and relieves some pressure from the leg muscles.
Trekking poles also helps in balancing when hiking around rivers or creeks. They are very helpful when crossing soft ground and for river crossing. Many hikers uses trekking poles for pushing shrubs and brushes that comes in their way on trails which has lots of overhanging vegetation.
Choosing the best trekking poles in UK
There are a few types of walking trekking poles to consider before you make your purchase. These poles include standard, antishock, compact and Nordic walking poles.
The type of equipment you need will depend on the terrain you’ll travel and how strong you are in your legs and ankles. You’ll also want to consider the weight you’ll be carrying in your backpack during your walk.
Here’s what you need to know about each type of walking or trekking pole.
Standard poles: Choose a standard walking pole if you’re looking for a lighter piece of equipment that will still provide the support you need. Standard trekking poles are also an economical choice because they do not have antishock. You will still get the balance you need for safe travel.
Antishock poles: Walking poles with an antishock feature have springs on the inside that absorb shock. This is best for when you’re walking up hill. The majority of antishock poles make the feature optional so you can turn it off when you don’t need it.
Compact poles: Women and children are more likely to use this piece of equipment. This version has smaller grips making it easier for those with smaller hands to grasp. These are also shorte
r than the standard version. This makes them weigh less and easier to use and pack away.
Nordic walking poles: Nordic walking, which works the total body, is well known in Europe and is becoming increasingly popular in the United States. There are Nordic walking poles designed for this style of fitness walking that increases muscle involvement.
Hiking staff. If you are walking on a flat surface and want a bit of support and stability, choose a single walking or hiking staff. Some versions of these walking sticks have an antishock feature, compasses mounted on the top and/or camera mounts. Choosing the right piece of equipment for your needs will ensure that you get the best fitness walk possible.
Trekking alone or in Group
There are pros and cons in either of them, here are few pros and cons in group traveling.
Meeting new people
I met one of my favorite travel buddies on a bike tour in Munich in summer 2016. We’ve since taken on the Great Ocean Road, beached it in Sydney and tasted wines in Margaret River—and we’re planning on tackling the ultimate American road trip this summer. Even if you don’t meet your new BFF, group tours can be an awesome way to force an introverted solo traveler into potentially fun social situations. I’m totally guilty of hiding behind my laptop in hostel common rooms and sticking my nose in a book in cafes, but group tours have a way of fostering small talk and bringing like-minded people together.
No worries, mate
Every once in a while, it is glorious to hand the decision-making power over to someone else—preferably to a local expert who knows the ins and outs of the area. It’s nice to have lunch served promptly at noon instead of waiting for my stomach to grumble at 11:58 a.m. and then start a hunt for a restaurant or street cart. One of the best things about my Contiki tour was staying in actual hotels: I opted for Contiki to set me up with a roommate, and it was super luxe compared to the cheap hostel dorms I crashed at the rest of my trip.
Sometimes on a bike tour, I’ll spot a brilliant sun-splashed square, an adorable café, a shop with a dress than I simply must try on: but I can’t stop, because I’m with a group. It’s even more intense on longer, more intense group tours: your itinerary is packed solidly, with limited “free time” for you to explore a city on your own. Depending on your comfort level and personal travel style, you’ll either love or hate this: take that into account when picking a trip.
You can’t choose your friends
As a solo traveler hopping on a group tour, you just have to cross your fingers and hope that the other people are cool. If not, you don’t have a best friend or significant other to turn to—and it’s hard to be anti-social when so many of the activities are group-based. Plus, there’s always “that guy” on a group tour: the weird one who everyone is hoping they don’t have to share a room with (I almost always end up getting stuck with him).
I’ve had some awesome group travel experiences and other that were less than stellar: it all comes down to the stars aligning for a cohesive group, a helpful and fun tour guide and having an open mind. Of course, sunshine and cheap beers don’t hurt either.