In the Ukrainian Carpathians there are mountains so beautiful that one look at them literally takes your breath away. Would you like to climb them? Feel the endless space between heaven and earth? We will advise you on how to safely fulfill this dream, what to wear when hiking in the mountains, what to pack in your backpack, and what equipment you need on short mountain hikes. If you are a beginner, then you have come to the right place!
Proper preparation will not only keep you out of serious trouble, but will also increase your comfort while hiking. Perhaps some of our advice may seem too obvious or redundant to you, but know that they are all the voice of common sense. Better to study them in advance than to face problems or even risk your life on the mountain trail!
Tip 1. Where is the best place to stay in the Carpathians
If you want to have a great rest in the Carpathians and conquer the local mountain peaks, then stop at the guest house “Chillax” in the village of Yablunytsya (located near the ski resort “Bukovel” and surrounded by mountain peaks on all sides). Not only is it possible to rent comfortable and inexpensive housing in the Carpathians here, but also its employees will gladly advise where exactly is best to go first.
Nearby there are both relatively low mountains and the highest peak in Ukraine – Hoverla. Routes for each mountain are also of varying degrees of difficulty – designed both for beginners (you can even climb with children) and for experienced climbers. So, the choice is yours!
Tip 2. Plan your route carefully
Each climb in the mountains must be carefully prepared. Take the easiest routes to get started. Every trip to the Carpathian mountains, even the simplest one, should involve careful planning of the route. Always check the difficulty level, length and approximate travel time of the trail (in both directions) before heading to the mountains. The season of the year also plays a very important role in planning trekking trips. In autumn and winter, you should go as early as possible in the morning, because it gets dark quickly in the mountains.
Tip 3. Check the current weather forecast
Check the current weather forecast before each hike! The best way to do this is using the free Weather & Radar app, which can be downloaded from Google Play and the App Store. Thanks to this, you will be able to properly prepare for the hike. This will give you valuable information on how to dress and what to take with you in your backpack. If the weather forecast predicts heavy rain, fog or heavy snow, then definitely – do not go hiking!
Even slightly drizzling rain or fog will not only make it impossible to admire the most beautiful landscapes around, but also make it difficult to orientate. Rain also increases the risk of slipping and falling. Note that mountain peaks tend to be much cooler than valleys, and wind blows through bones in places. Remember this!
Tip 4. Have a map with you
On the eve of the hike, we advise you to download the free MAPS.CZ mobile application to your smartphone (you can download it on Google Play and the App Store). It will help you to optimally plan your mountain hike and orient yourself correctly along the way. This application simply and quickly calculates the route, shows its length and estimated travel time, displays on the map the course, elevation profile, current location of the user, and other information that may be useful along the way.
Tip 5. Buy trekking shoes and socks in advance
Before heading out into the mountains, purchase quality footwear designed for mountain trekking or off-road trekking. Make sure the boots are comfortable, lace-up, have a sturdy non-slip soles, cover the ankle well, and are waterproof.
Never wear new hiking shoes because 90% of the time you will get painful abrasions and blisters. First, such shoes must be carried, having walked at least ten kilometers in them! It is also better to have trekking socks: the material from which they are made reliably protects the foot and toes from chafing, provides improved ventilation and moisture absorption.
Tip 6. Take trekking poles on a mountain hike
Some people consider trekking poles to be an overkill when hiking in the Ukrainian Carpathians. However, it is not. Trekking poles when walking on mountain trails will help to correctly distribute the load, even on simple routes. Their main advantage is an even distribution of the load on the muscles of the shoulder girdle and a significant reduction in the load on the spine, hip joints, leg muscles and knees.
Tip 7. Have multiple layers of clothing
It is not at all necessary to buy expensive clothes for a hike to the Carpathian mountains. Most importantly, it should be comfortable, quick-drying, windproof and not restrict your movements. When hiking in the mountains, there should always be several layers of clothing. Then you can easily undress at any time so as not to overheat, or, conversely, get dressed so as not to freeze.
How to dress in the mountains?
- A raincoat and/or windproof jacket, along with shoes, are the most important garments in the mountains at any time of the year!
- Clothing (jacket, shirt) made of fleece or softshell protects well from body cooling. It is useful not only in the autumn-winter period, but also in summer (early in the morning, at the pass, above).
- Trekking pants are comfortable, durable and quick-drying. Ideally, you can bare your legs in summer and wear shorts. However, when heading to the mountains in shorts, do not forget to pack long trousers in your backpack!
- Thermosetting clothing or underwear, that is, T-shirts with long and short sleeves, underpants, bras, women’s tops and other similar items. Choose materials that make it easier to remove sweat from your body. Unfortunately, cotton products from perspiration become heavier and take a long time to dry on the body. If you have used cotton so far, you will notice a significant difference after using thermosetting clothing for the first time.
- Headdress. In the summer – a baseball cap, panama hat or a cap with a sun visor. In spring, autumn and winter – a hat (seasonal) that protects from wind and cold.
- Gloves or mittens. Even in summer, we recommend taking at least thin fleece gloves to the mountains.
Tip 8. What should you take with you when going to the mountains?
- Documents and money – you need to take it just in case, because even on a one-day hike in the Carpathians anything can happen, for example, you get lost and you will need to ask to spend the night somewhere.
- Fully charged phone and additional energy source – power bank.
- Spare T-shirt and socks.
- A raincoat for a backpack (if yours does not have a built-in cover) – in case of rain, so that the contents of the backpack do not get wet;
- A mini-first aid kit with anesthetic drugs, brilliant green or iodine, bandage, plaster, hydrogen peroxide, activated charcoal – all this takes up little space and in some emergency situations can save your (or other people’s) life.
- Sunscreen – the sun in the mountains can really do harm, so a good sunscreen is recommended at any time of the year (of course, only when the sun is shining).
- Paper towels.
- Toilet paper.
- Disinfectant solution.
- Dishes (plastic or metal) – for more convenient eating and drinking.
- Compact knife.
- Matches or a lighter.
- A tourist gas burner and a kettle (if you plan to prepare a hot lunch during the hike).
- Headlamp – especially recommended in autumn, when the day is short and twilight is fast approaching, and in winter it is a must!
Tip 9. What to take from food and drinks?
Leaving the Chillax hotel for a hike in the Carpathians, we advise you to take still water. All sugary sodas, such as cola or sprite and the like, only further increase thirst. During physical exertion, the body quickly dehydrates, so a person is often thirsty. You must have enough water with you!
When planning your route, check if there will be mountain streams or other sources along the way where you can get drunk and replenish water supplies. A great solution: pack a thermos with tea in your backpack. Tea is indispensable on cool and rainy days, not to mention mountain hikes in autumn and winter.
For food, we recommend taking sandwiches, hard-boiled eggs and snacks such as chocolate, energy bars, nuts, dried fruits – they energize, stimulate and strengthen the body. If the hike is long enough in time, then it is good to plan so that you can eat a warm lunch at the rest (then you need to bring additional concentrates or necessary foods with you at your discretion).
Tip 10. Complete the inventory
A backpack with a volume of 10-20 liters should be enough for a short one-day hike. Ideally, such a backpack weighs less than a kilogram. Avoid any bags, handbags and bags! In the mountains, both hands should be free!
Tip 11. How to behave in the mountains
Both in everyday life and in the mountains, there are tourist rules of good form. You will meet them not only in the Ukrainian Carpathians – this also applies to the daredevils who conquer Everest or Kilimanjaro. On every mountain in the world, you must remember the rules of good manners. How do you follow them?
✅ Observe silence
The mountains are a place of tranquility. It is inappropriate to spoil their idyll with noise, shouting, music or loud conversations with friends. It’s the same with spending time on mountain halts. This is not a place for alcoholic libations! In the mountains, many people go out on the trail at dawn to enjoy the silence and beautiful views around – respect their right to a good rest.
✅ Don’t leave trash behind
This is probably obvious. In the mountains (however, as elsewhere in nature) nothing can be left behind! Collect all rubbish in a bag and put it in a backpack. Always and everywhere follow the general rule: “in the mountains you leave only your footprints!”
✅ Greetings on the way
It may seem strange to some, but the tourists you meet in the Ukrainian Carpathians usually greet each other. This is the norm on deserted tracks! However, this is customary not only in our Carpathians, but also on the way to any mountain peaks in the world!
Tip 12. Tell us where you are going
Before each hike in the mountains, inform your loved ones or the staff of the Chillax Hotel (if you are staying with us) about the planned route and time of return. Many people underestimate this advice. However, be aware that this is extremely important. The information left behind can significantly reduce the time required to provide you with possible assistance, and sometimes even save your life. Be sure to remember to report your safe return to insiders after returning from the route 🔔
Remember: Chillax Guest House is always waiting for you and will be very glad to see you 💓