Why trekkers need to take grooming more seriously

fashion-piced

Trekking is sometimes seen as an inelegant sport. You live in the wilderness for days. You have to manage with very little. Somehow it is accepted that if you are a trekker it is okay to be unkempt and dirty.

Frankly, this bothers me a lot.

Trekking is a sport like any other. There are unwritten rules that govern it. In cricket you do not get on the field in any dress you want — trekking too expects a suitable attire. Yet trekkers in our country make no effort to dress for the sport. Trekking does not have to be fashionable but it does require a certain decorum.

Its okay to shave

I am shocked at how some trekkers turn up for a trek. Surprisingly it is not women but men who make me raise an eyebrow. They come on a trek wearing three fourth trousers with short-sleeved t-shirts that are flimsy and almost see through. They grow a beard during the trek and at the end of it, look just short of a grizzly bear. I wonder if there is a law that says men must not shave on treks? Shaving by a river side, or watching a beautiful mountain scenery can be one of the most joyous experiences.

Earthy colours are better than jarring brights

The choice of clothes leaves me somewhat worried too. Most trekkers in India think nothing of wearing loud T-shirts — bright colours in reds, yellows, oranges and greens. If that wasn’t enough their T-shirts sport big horizontal stripes. Somehow sobriety is thrown out of window.

Don’t ditch the caps for scarves

Now-a-days there’s a new fashion amongst trekkers. They wear big chequered scarves, almost like towels around their necks and faces. They remind me of terrorists. When I ask trekkers a reason for the fancy dress I am told that the scarves protect them from ultraviolet rays. I wonder what happened to wide brimmed hats.

Keep it simple

Another thing is that trekkers in India are convinced track pants are the national dress for trekking. They do not think wearing simple cotton pants in light colours can solve the problem. Or to even invest in trek pants. Yet, scores of trekkers romp around the mountains in dirty track pants. This has become a bane for sore eyes.

The colour palette

Clothes do make a difference. Sober, plain colours like beige, straw and greys are most suitable. Sticking to single tones and avoiding loud stripes are sensible. Well fitted t-shirts and pants not only make trekking easier but also lend an air of quiet confidence to a trekker.

Grooming, combing your hair and shaving are not really sins. They can be managed easily. Ensuring you have clean feet that do not smell after a day’s trek is not an optional exercise. It is a moral obligation to your fellow trekker.

Trekking is growing in India. People are on watch. What trekkers must realise is that people are networking, making their own social circles through treks. It is an event to meet like minded folks, to create a good impression. It is not difficult to do that. A good sense of style, decorum can help do that.

Read more:

How to choose your first Himalayan trek

Top 5 winter treks in India that you must do

 

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Arjun Majumdar

Arjun Majumdar

An entrepreneur by profession and a trekker by passion, Arjun started Indiahikes in 2008. With a vision to explore and document new trails, solve problems in the mountains and implement sustainable ways of trekking, he leads Indiahikes, a community that has changed the face of trekking in India. He has written extensively for Discover India magazine and is a TedX speaker. Read Arjun's other articles. Read the full text of Arjun's TedX talk. Watch Arjun speak about our trekking trails. Learn from Arjun about what it's like to work at Indiahikes.

4 thoughts on “Why trekkers need to take grooming more seriously

  1. Interesting article, I agree we Indians dress loud, but the kind of clothing often worn on a trek is what is comfortable and close at hand. I wont comment on personal grooming because that calls for sensibility.

    Its only now that the increased interest in trekking and mushrooming of shops like Wildcraft, Decathalon or Mountain Sports Academy that adventure gear is easily visible and available across a price spectrum.

    Prior to that you had to do what you must: focus on trekking rather than whether you were outfitted right. Experience brings wisdom with regard to ideal footwear and superfluous gear.

    Environmentalists I’ve travelled with prefer earth colours that blend into the landscape so you don’t frighten away the wild life you’re hoping to spot. But I feel with the lack of regulation or policing in jungles and remote places dressing in high visibility colours allow you to be spotted easily in case of any mishap.

    Just my thoughts.

    Cheers – Melvin

  2. Dear Melvin,
    Nice thought, however I would like to outline few point.
    On my first official trek, which was a winter trek, I carried clothes as you described comfortable and close to hand. It was a horrible experience as far as weight is concern. This was way back in 2011. Trekking is equally a sport as any other and agreeing with Arjun, some unwritten rules has to be followed. I trek in a group of two and hence we invested in clothing after doing some research. Honestly, our life is much easier and simpler with those gears – light, ventilated, easy to dry & most important warm.
    If some one going on trekking, they must prepare for it and by preparation I mean not only physical but gears and clothing. I agree that bright color is easily identifiable in wild; however if you notice the trekker trend in India there are handful of solo trekkers. Most of the trekkers come in group and with guides/ potters and hence getting lost in wild is rare. On a lighter note, I feel that bright color makes photograph clicked look beautiful on the white back ground of snow.
    As far as shaving is concern, I personally feel that if shaving is done on penultimate day of trek day 1, he need not to do the it for next 5-6 days. I manage the same way(as I go with all stuff carrying myself with no potter/ guide – every ounce of weight matter for me).
    Another aspect which I would like to put here is during my trekking experience in last 5 years, I have seen groups coming to trek with a party mood; no respect for environment & fellow trekkers and making too much noise which equally scares the wild life. I wonder that how they can’t see and admire the vastness and beauty of mountains.

    Just my thought.

    Amardeep

  3. And for God’s sake please don’t play music on your damn Bluetooth speakers. I mean them the people who do play 😛

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