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8 Essentials for Monsoon Backpacking

The scrunching heat of summers has receded to give way to a petrichor-infused outdoors, and it’s that time of the year, to wander among misty mountains and scenic meadows and enjoy the season of drizzles, showers and downpours. Here is a list of few essentials before you head out for your next monsoon trip to get drenched to the toe:

1. Ponchos, Rain Wear and Umbrellas

Hiking with rain coat

One of the essentials for this season is light and durable rain jacket or raincoat, poncho or umbrella, to help you keep yourself dry for prolonged durations during your travel. It’d be a good investment to buy a sturdy waterproof backpack cover as well. Try and avoid getting insulating wind-cheaters that often tend to get soaked and heavy during downpours.

2. Monsoon Footwear

Bhandardara monsoon July 2021

Rain shoes, sandals and waterproof shoes or boots would be a good buy for this season. Also, try and get rubber-based footwear with good grip to walk off slippery paths with ease. Gumboots can also be a good choice of footwear, for places that are known to have heavy rainfall.

3. Extra Clothes

Majuli Backpacking

You wouldn’t want to get yourself drenched and not have extra clothes to keep yourself warm and dry during your trip. Clothes often take longer to dry during this season, so it’s just better to carry an extra set of clothes, as well as some fleece-based clothing for nights that could get quite cold. Carrying clothes that tend to soak in a lot of water should ideally be a strict no-no, as they take a lot to time to dry off, are heavy to carry, and start to stink if not dried sufficiently.

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4. Sufficient Water and Snacks

Carrying a bottle of water and a few high-calorie snacks can be quite useful during treks or hikes, even during monsoon. The occurrence of rains can be unpredictable, and it often tends to get quite humid during the day, when there is an absence of rainfall. Some water and snacks just assure that you remain hydrated and healthy to continue your journey.

5. Plastic Covers or Bags

The last thing you’d want during your trip is to have all your valuables soaked in water. Carrying a few extra plastic bags/covers and wrapping your essentials (including wallets, mobiles and other electronic equipment) in them will help you protect your stuff in such cases.

6. Mosquito Repellents, Leech Socks and Tick-Bite Soaps

Monsoon invites a lot of activity among bugs and critters. Some of which are known to leave nasty rashes and bite-marks on your body. The one’s you’d need to specifically be wary of would be ticks, leeches and mosquitoes. If your travel includes trekking among damp pathways, then investing on mosquito repellents, tick repellents and leech socks would be a wise decision. Also, a warm water bath with disinfectants, at the end of the day would help to soothe any inflammation caused by insect bites.

7. Medikit and Personal Care Products

Like for any other travel episode, carrying precautionary medicines and personal care products are important for monsoon trips as well. At times, our guts are not prepared enough for local delicacies, or we tend to get under the weather due to the change in weather patterns. A personalised medikit takes care of these concerns, including any unfortunate injuries and bruises that could occur during your trip. It is also advisable to carry moisturizing lotions/sunscreens to be used, when required.

8. Towels

Lastly, as mentioned in the novel, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, ‘the towel is the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have’ (In this case, we’re just mortal travelers of Planet Earth, for now). Jokes aside, the towel will help in keeping yourself dry during your journey, and it’s a good investment to get ones that dry quickly, and are compact enough to carry around.

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So, here’s our list of monsoon essentials for backpacking. Can you think of other items, that should be added to this list? If so, then please comments below and share your experiences regarding monsoon backpacking. And check out our calendar for the list of upcoming trips.

-Text by Aristo Mendis

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