A list of things to carry and trekking tips that can be put to good use on the Chadar Trek:
Your regular trekking boots can be worn on the Chadar for the trek and you can carry and change into the gum boots at tricky sections where the Chadar is not well formed or the trek involves moving through a section with a higher water level. Alternatively, the gum boots can be worn and trekked in all along, depending on your style of trekking and comfort provided by the gum boots.
You may also rent a pair of snow boots from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation, Delhi at nominal rates (Rs 100 per pair per day and onwards). These snow boots are light-weight, waterproof and provide some insulation for the feet as well, performing the job of both the trekking boots and the gum boots.
A branded down, hollofil or polyfill jacket does the trick to counter the low temperature. A down jacket should ideally have a low temperature rating and high fill power (more than 400) – these are expensive options though. A synthetic, thick insulated jacket with fleece lining on the inside and a water-repellant outer will work well too.
Though the temperatures fall lower, remember that the trick lies in dressing up in layers which helps build insulation against cold. Multiple jackets or layers instead of a single down jacket will prove more effective. Thermals as the innermost layer; sweatshirts or fleece clothing as the mid layers and a thick insulating jacket as the outer layer is the best way to keep the cold outside.
Always buy a jacket one size larger than your regular size for high altitude treks, since more often than not, you will be wearing multiple layers under it.
When you start the day’s trek, the body is cold and takes some time to warm up. You can start the day’s trek wearing a thermal, fleece layer/s and your jacket as you find appropriate. As the body warms up and it gets warmer during the day, the extra layers can be done away with and you can trek wearing only a thermal and a fleece layer. When it gets colder towards the evening and the day’s trek is over, or at the campsite during the night, you can again put on more layers of clothing as required.
Warm drinking water will be provided on the trek, typically before the start of the day’s trek and at the campsite at night. Water bottles should be kept inside the sleeping bag when going to sleep to ensure the water remains warm and does not freeze by morning. Please ensure the lid of the water bottle is shut tightly and there is no leakage before placing them inside the sleeping bag. Sleeping inside a wet sleeping bag for the rest of the trek is not at a pleasant thought J
Avoid the disposable mineral water bottles sold in retail in all general stores. If brought, ensure these are not disposed on the trail and are carried back home with you.
Trekking poles are not provided on the trek and should be bought and carried by the trekkers themselves. They are easily available online and in most trekking stores, these cost typically between Rs. 400 to Rs. 750.
Do not carry thin polythene bags (less than 40 microns) and ensure all plastic bags you bring are not disposed on the trail and are carried back home with you.
Also recommended to carry your camera and lens in a well-sealed plastic bag at all times when not in use, to minimize exposure to extreme cold. Recommended to carry extra battery pack as well and keep the battery well insulated from the low temperatures when the camera is not in use. Batteries are to be kept warm and inside the sleeping bag at night to extend battery life.
Important, Please Note