Last Summer, I was lucky enough to embark on two Trek America’s – the Best of the East and the Western Wonder (SF-LA). We did them almost back to back, with just a week in between. It’s safe to say, we weren’t sure what to expect when we walking into the lobby of our New York hotel that first morning. And the next two weeks sure were a learning curve. I mean, I’d never even put up a tent before that trip!
There are a few must-haves that you may not realise you’d need before you start your Trek-
You may not think ahead of time that this is essential, but when you’re trying to cooking in pitch black or find something in your suitcase whilst you’re packing up in the dark at 7am, it really makes all the difference. An added bonus would be a torch that you can hang from the top of your tent – talk about home comforts!
2- Sleeping bag liner
You may not think a sleeping bag liner would be important, but when it’s been 40° degrees during the day and you want to be covered whilst you sleep, but a sleeping bag would be too much, you’re going to be thankful you bought one! Mine doubled up in purpose – I’d bought a cheap, £10 sleeping bag from Amazon that was perfect for our Treks, but the innermost layer was a sweaty polyester. Having this extra cotton layer was much needed.
3- Full-sized pillow
This may seem like an over-the-top luxury, but when you’re trying to sleep through the long drives a pillow is perfect! Thanks to the fast-paced nature of a Trek, you’re just going to get more and more exhausted the long the trip ends – and the best way to get a good night sleep is with a comfortable place to lay your head! I bought mine from an Ikea, conveniently located next to our hotel in New Haven, and left it in the van after the second Trek, there for someone else who forgot to buy one.
Tips for a Trek-
- Stay open-minded – you’re going to meet these random strangers that first morning, but by the end of your trip, you’re going to be best friends. You’re going to be enjoying the long drives together, cooking together, and witnessing some pretty cool stuff – even if you don’t clique from the get-go, work on that friendship, it’ll be worth it!
- Make sure you’re awake in enough time for the first meeting – no one wants to be known as ‘The Late One’ and yes the first meeting is early, but get there on time, and make sure to…
- Work on your timekeeping! – You don’t want to be the one that holds the rest of the group back! If you have to meet at a certain time, be there on time! There’s nothing worse than leaving late and being the one to blame, especially as some days have a strict timeline, and if you’re not there on time, you could jeopardize the rest of the day’s activities and timings.
- Take as small a suitcase as possible – I don’t mean rock up with a carry-on suitcase (although someone one of my treks did) but bare in mind, the tents aren’t big, there’s enough room for two camping mats, with a narrow path in the middle. The bigger the suitcase, the more room it’ll need once you’ve opened up, and the more of a disruption you become.
- Take as many photos as you can – you may feel stupid whilst walking around constantly snapping, but these will be your memories in years to come. It’ll always be better to have plenty of photos to look back on!