If you've been trekking for a long time, you would have a list of trekking essentials needed for almost any trek. I am going to discuss my top essentials for trekking. Remember I am going to ignore common gear like shoes, water bottles, etc, and instead delve into a list of uncommon gear that plays a very essential role during treks and sometimes may even be lifesavers.
A very essential to any trek irrespective of whether it's a night trek or the itinerary has an early morning summit attempt, a tool to throw light on your path is a very crucial piece of equipment. It's probably more important than anything you may carry: a headlamp with good light output and battery life as most of your stay during the treks will be in tents with no supply of electricity. A headlamp provides you light inside your tents, and the most life-saving use comes when you go to poop in the cold and damp makeshift potty booths with no lights. A headlamp with spare batteries should always be a part of your trek equipment
Being cool-headed has its benefits and in treks having a cool head is more crucial to remain healthy and prevent being dehydrated. Sun in high altitudes will be very intense and your body will get exhausted quicker than ever. It's too crucial to keep your head covered at all times and what else would be better suited for it than a cap or a hat.. Make sure to carry a headcover for all treks and also you will look cool in your photos.
This is my favorite equipment by far. Trekking poles are the most neglected equipment in treks while these can be life saviors at times and it's a versatile piece of equipment with more uses than just to support your weight. To explain how a trekking pole works, imagine them as your additional feet now your weight is distributed at four points reducing strain on your legs and also giving you a good hold on the ground to pull yourself using your upper body as well. Apart from this, a trekking pole can also be used as supports for tents, drying wet socks by a bonfire, etc. Now you know that a trekking pole is important, it's only ideal to carry two instead of one.
A pair of tube-like things that go around your legs, most people don't understand its use and often avoid having it in their kit. This is something I carry with me for most of my treks including monsoon treks. Gaiters go around your boots and your shin completely covering your ankle to prevent anything from getting inside, while it's often recommended only for snow treks as it prevents snow from entering your shoes, I highly recommend using them on tropical and monsoon treks too as it keeps the lower half of your trek pants dry from early morning dew.
Ask anyone who has been on a winter trek and the first thing you hear is how their hands got too cold and fingers started hurting, same goes for any high-altitude treks where the temperature drops rapidly after sunset. Always have a pair of gloves in your trek bag. You need not carry thick snow gloves always but having a pair of basic gloves will always come in handy during those cold evenings and in winter treks keeping your extremities becomes a very important thing.
Who doesn't like to be classy and sassy during treks and what better way to do it than wearing a pair of good shades. Fun aside, a pair of good shades keep your eyes protected from the intense sun at high altitudes. Apart from looking cool, sunglasses limits the amount of sunlight that hits your eyes, remember the more light hits your eyes the quicker your energy drains which is a major factor that gets you tired sooner. Especially on winter treks with snow covering almost everything you need to have a pair to avoid being affected by snow blindness. No matter what kind of trek it is a pair of good sunglasses are gonna make the trek more comfortable.
So we have a list of essentials that we need for a trek and how are we gonna carry them, of course, our hands aren't gonna be enough. It's only obvious that you would need a daypack to carry most of your immediate necessaries despite you having a trekking bag. Why? Well, your heavy trekking bag might be carried by local haulers or you might leave it at the base camp before your summit hike when you need not carry all your luggage for the summit and carrying only the essentials in a huge 50L backpack might not be very comfortable. I always carry a 10l or 20l day pack in my trek bag and transfer all my essential and immediate need items in it during the trek or summit hike.
Fanny packs or waist pouches might have been an oldie thing but during treks, they are handy to have on you. The obvious question that pops is why would I suggest a fanny pack just after I mention a day pack to carry all my essentials. Ask any trekker he would say accessing and getting things out of your daypack becomes tedious especially when you are on a steep ridge or on the go and that's where a waist pouch comes in handy. Having a waist pouch makes it easy to grab your sunscreen to have a quick rub or to take a quick bite of that cereal bar that you had hidden all through the trek. Having a waist pouch is like having an additional pair of hands to reach for your things.
A sleeping bag liner may not be something that you would use much while trekking but remember the other majority of the time we spend during our trek apart from walking through the trails is in our sleeping bags about 6-8 hrs per day. A sleeping bag liner helps in keeping your sleeping bags cleaner and also a bit in keeping you warm. Regular use of liners also increases the life of your sleeping bag. Also if you are going through an organization where sleeping bags are provided it's better to have a liner to stay hygienic.
Rain covers would be a rarely talked about thing on treks, because many think that their backpacks are already waterproof or feel it may not rain. Trust me when I say this without a rain cover water will find its way inside your bag and if it's a winter trek, the snow depositing on your backpacks will make your clothes inside damp. You don't want damp clothes on a trek. Having a rain cover over your bag prevents all this. Adding to this having a rain cover on your bag increases the life of your backpack and makes cleaning easier.