By taking breaks during the day, you give your body an opportunity to recover. It is a good idea to find a routine for your breaks so you can get the most out of them and not forget an important detail. This applies in particular if there are several of you trekking together and there are varying levels of experience within the group. By agreeing on how often and how you will take your breaks, you increase the endurance of the group. Otherwise, there is a risk that the fast members of the group will get a lot of rest, while the less experienced members will just have caught up before group sets off again.
Many experienced mountain trekkers follow a schedule of trekking for 50 minutes and resting for 10 (other common intervals include 55/5 or 60/15). After about four cycles, it is usually a good idea to take a longer break for lunch.
When you stop for a break, you should try to find a spot that is as dry and protected from the wind as possible, perhaps by a large rock or another feature of the terrain. It is practical to be close to water - otherwise you will need to carry a water bottle/thermos filled with the water you will need for drinking and preparing food.
If it is windy or raining, it can be practical to pitch the tent (our tents offer the option of disconnecting the inner tent and just using the flysheet for protection) or use a wind sack so you can get the most out of the break and stay warm when your activity levels falls.
Break routines – a check list
- Find shelter from the wind and rain and sit on something that provides protection from the cold ground (for example your backpack or a ground pad).
- Prop your feet up higher than your heart, air them and change socks.
- Open up your clothes and release excess heat and moisture.
- Change wet or moist clothing.
- Put on reinforcement garments when you have released any excess heat.
- Eat and drink.
- Check your equipment, pack and boots.
- Take care of small injuries, such as blisters.
- Take a nap if you can.
- Do not forget to take off your reinforcement garments when the break is over.