Trekking is not a leisure activity and one should never think of it as so.
Many times, trekkers who come for the trek offload their rucksack on the mules because they are afraid of carrying so much load all the way on the trek. One should keep in mind that offloading is not a privilege but a backup option in the cases when you are hurt or don’t feel well on the trek.
Why you should carry your own rucksack on the trek is truly a matter of own safety and mountain mannerisms.
There are exceptional cases when someone has a medical condition or serious issue but if your decision of offloading is driven by a desire to be comfortable, then it would be a terrible one.
Let us try to see why..
Carrying the rucksack - a wise choice
There are a number of instances where rucksack saves your life without you even realizing it. But you take rucksack for granted and load it on the mule. You decide to offload your rucksack due to fear of burden.
You don’t take into the account a number of scenarios when you will regret not having your rucksack. In that moment you choose comfort but what you don't realize is that your bag is a life savior on the trek.
How, you ask?
Here are all the roles that your rucksack play for you on the trek:
There is a misconception among people that they might fall carrying a rucksack on their back. What most people don’t know that a rucksack is actually the balance-maker on the trek.
The rucksack saves you from falling on the trail. The pack on your back helps in strong footing on the trail, thus ensuring that you don’t fall over.
Imagine yourself slipping on the trail often and you don’t even have your bag to provide a cushion to your back & neck.
Does the rucksack have some use now?
Handy fallback option
You are walking in open meadows without any tree line. All of a sudden, hailstorm begins. You are bombarded with hails at 9 m/s hitting your head hard. You have got no tree or shelter to cover your head with. The fellow trekkers take a cover under their rucksack. And, there you are standing helplessly because you don’t have your rucksack.
Wish you had your bag now?!
For the time when it gets you v/s wild
Imagine that you drift away from your trekking group. It is easy to get lost in mountains. One wrong turn and you are stranded in the middle of nowhere. You don’t know for how long you will be stranded before you reunite with your group again.
But how do you survive on your own till then?
Your backpack had enough energy bars to last your for hours but you don’t have it now. Suddenly, it starts to rain. You rucksack had that raincoat/poncho but you don’t have it now. The weather becomes chilly after the rain stops. And you don’t even have enough layering. The night even hasn’t approached yet. What are you even gonna do then?
Miss your rucksack now?
Survival sack at your disposal
Did you know that you could make a tent from your rucksack?
Yes, you can make a makeshift tent from your rucksack, poncho, and other stuff in case you get lost in the mountains, hence tackling shelter-lessness. You can also make an igloo using your rucksack if you are trapped in a snow land.
Not only this, your rucksack also offers as a great pillow in case you find a shelter in the wilderness when you get lost.
But you were too busy weighing the burden of your rucksack on your shoulders that you didn’t realize it was the one thing that could save you from multiple hazardous situations.
Be Wise. Minimize the weight in your rucksack as far as possible and choose to carry it on your back!
Carry your bag - An eco-friendly & responsible gesture
“What difference does one bag make?” you think.
You see the thing is more the logistics to be carried on the trek, more mules and porters one has to hire to transport the resources along the trek.
More mules and porters mean more mule feces adorning the trail tracks and higher unnecessary human footprint.
Consider the fact that if one additional mule works on the trail in order to carry the offloaded bags, then he would poop around 23 Kgs of shit on the trail per day which would mean a 100 Kilograms of POOP over a 4 days trek!
Yes! that is the amount of shit that the mule creates everyday. One may argue that the shit is organic but the trail of a trek in not the natural habitat for these domesticated mules. So, what we creating is totally unnecessary.
Now you know how much impact offloading your rucksack can have on you and the ecology.
Every time you carry your backpack on your own, you reduce the ecological impact on the trail.
Be Responsible. Minimize the weight in your rucksack as far as possible and choose to carry it on your back!
It is highly recommended that one should carry his/her own rucksack on the trek for own safety. Also, since you have signed up for an adventure experience, expecting luxury is contrary to the experience.
If you fit n fine, then not carrying a rucksack on the trek is a characteristic of a clumsy, unorganized and irresponsible trekker. One comes to the mountains not only to enjoy the views but also learn discipline and self-reliance. Carrying own backpack is just one step in the right direction.
Assess your decision next time you decide to offload your bag on the mule.