What to bring with you on a hike with Wechu tours in the Andes..

Clothing:

Windproof top/jacket

Warm fleece/jacket

Shorts in summer / Trousers in winter

Sun hat in summer / warm hat and gloves in the winter

Footwear:

Footwear with good grip on the soles is important, I have found that walking boots are far better at gripping the loose shale that exists a lot here in the Central Region of Chile.

Options:

  • Walking boots
  • Trail Running Shoes
  • Hiking shoes

Sun Block:

Here in South America the Ozone layer is thinner, this allows more UV rays through the atmosphere and in turn they reach our gentle skin. I have personally found that unless I wear suncream my skin will go red/damaged in the sun even at sea level here in Chile.

This is greatly increased at altitude, so I highly recommend using factor 50 sunblock at all times in the mountains here.

Food:

Bring plenty of high calorie foods, not forgetting to bring some protein based foods as well.

I usually bring:

  • Chocolate
  • Biscuits
  • Some sandwiches with tuna, cheese and mayo for example
  • Dried fruit and nuts

I always bring too much so I won't run out. It's always good in emergencies as well!

Water:

I drink a lot of water normally, but I will always carry 2.5 litres of water or more when I go out in the mountains here, most routes don't have a water source and it gets very hot here in the summer, so I recommend bringing more than you would normally.

On a hot summers day of hiking I can drink as much as 4 litres of water!

Electrolytes:

When hiking here in the summer you must add electrolytes to your water to prevent cramping in your muscles, when you sweat you loose salts from your body, your body needs salts to perform and function correctly. 

There are many types of electrolytes on the market, the brands marketed at athletes almost always have artificial sweeteners added which I avoid, preferring real sugar.

I have also read that our bodies absorb salts more efficiently together with glucose, which is why I choose to use Oral Hydration Salts (ORS) available in most pharmacies.

The recommended doses are measured for people who are losing salts due to diarrhoea/vomiting. This is very strong, too strong for doing exercise, I have found that using 1/4 of the recommended dose works well when mixed with your regular drinking water, in this way I do not get cramps and feel pretty good as well.