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THE PERFECT BACKPACK | A practical guide

Are you leaving for a trek? Here's what you need to know.

Even if you're a serial traveler, it's not always easy to prepare the perfect backpack.

It takes time, experience, versatility and a certain predisposition to carry only the essentials. And maybe get some tips from those who have done so many trekking, up and down the mountains around the world.

Luca Montanari, mountain guide, expedition leader and founder of XTravels, with countless treks and peaks from 6000 to 8000 meters, climbed with clients, is the right person who can answer any kind of question, even the apparently most obvious one. The reason is that, even if a real traveler walks with a correct backpack on his shoulders to new adventures and new places to explore, it is obvious that travelers are not natural born experts. So, if you're at your first backpack, make yourself comfortable ... and let's prepare it together!

Let's start with the easiest question - or perhaps the most difficult! What to put in your backpack?

The answer could be very simple: just the bare minimum! In reality it is rather complicated to answer, because many variables must be taken into consideration, in front of which it is very important to be prepared. First of all, the temperatures: in cities like Kathmandu, Kashgar or Huaraz, for example, temperatures are warm3, so go ahead for light clothes, shorts and t-shirts. During the treks, however, the situation changes considerably.

Take for example one of the most requested treks: trekking around Everest base camp, Nepal. Here, the starting altitude is 2700 meters. Given the latitude, the territory is within the tropical climate zone: this means that up to 3000-3500 meters of altitude, the climate is temperate cold, with lush vegetation. It’s as if in the Alps we were trekking at an altitude of 1500-2000 meters.

After the 4000, on the other hand, temperatures drop to -10 ° during the night. From the 5000 meters upwards the snow climate takes over, with permanent snow and glaciers.

In this type of trek, the backpack to be carried on the shoulder must have a capacity of 25/30 liters, so as to put in the necessary for the day: for example windproof shell, a spare shirt, a thin fleece and the down jacket in case of high altitudes. And of course, snacks to break the hunger and water, lots of water!

All personal luggage is transported by porters, strictly in very strong and waterproof bags. It is very important to carefully prepare the backpack for the day and make sure you have everything you need, as porters often have a faster pace and it is not always possible to access your luggage at any time of the day.

And how about clothing?

Password: be comfortable. Generally, the recommended clothing is the classic trekking clothing in the Alps: dress in layers, with long trousers, thermal and breathable underwear, fleece suitable for low temperatures, Gore-Tex windproof jackets, fleece gloves-bands. For the coldest temperatures, a good down jacket for high altitudes is a must. As a footwear tip: a good approach shoe, preferably in Gore-Tex (the Kayland Gravity GTX is an excellent solution, comfortable and breathable), hiking boots for the highest altitudes (Cross Mountain GTX is ideal, since it is a halfway between technical mountaineering and backpacking, perfect for altitudes up to 4000/5000 meters).

However, depending on the destination and duration, a very detailed "shopping list" must be prepared for each trek, so that everyone knows exactly what to bring to be well equipped.

In your perfect backpack, what should you not miss?

I deeply love these places. I always seem to know them, because of the strong connection I have with them and with the locals. For this reason, I prefer to give up a pair of extra socks to make room for a camera, a pen and a notebook. The emotions and suggestions of these places and the moods that you experience are so intense and satisfying that you can't leave them there: you have to take them with you, and annotating everything is the best way to preserve a vivid and strong memory of these experiences.

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