Plan Ahead and Prepare

The key to a successful and low-impact hiking experience begins with careful planning and preparation. Even if you’re a seasoned hiker, take time to properly prepare for the Transcaucasian Trail – the conditions might be very different from what you’re used to.



  • Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you’ll visit. 

    • Check the trail notes for the section(s) you plan to hike to learn about the specific challenges each section presents to help you pack appropriately and plan for rest stops.

    • Familiarize yourself with the trail markers and symbols used along the TCT. Each country has slightly different trail marking systems (and many trails are not marked at all).

    • Make sure you know where you’re going and have a GPS track downloaded (carry spare batteries and have a backup plan if your device gets lost or fails). Many trails in the Caucasus are not well-marked, and the large number of intersecting animal paths can make it difficult to stay on the right trail. For this reason we strongly recommend getting used to navigating with a GPS track, even if it’s not your usual method. For the TCT, visit the trail notes to download the relevant GPS track for each section.

  • Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.

    • Ensure your hiking gear is in good condition before you hit the trail. No one wants to get into a multi-day hike only to realize their inflatable pad has a hole in it, their water filter is clogged, or they forgot the tent stakes, or to watch their boots fall apart or their backpack frame snap over the course of a trek (all things that have happened to us, for the record). 

    • Pack the 10 Essentials like a map, compass, first aid kit, sun protection, layers and weather-appropriate clothing, and a sufficient water supply. The weather is always changing in the Caucasus, so you need to be prepared. Think through in advance how you’ll stay warm and dry if you’re forced to spend an unplanned night in the mountains. Check out our packing list for more information about what to bring.

  • Repackage food to minimize waste. Transfer items from their original boxes into smaller, more compact containers to save space and reduce waste and weight. Repurpose packaging materials for other uses. For example, use a cleaned-out peanut butter jar as a container for trail snacks.


Failure to follow these guidelines can lead to: 

  • Safety issues. Lack of knowledge about regulations, trail challenges, and weather can lead to getting lost, encountering unexpected hazards, or being ill-equipped for emergencies. This can endanger yourself and potentially require rescue efforts, putting strain on the limited local resources available.

  • Getting lost or off-trail. Unfamiliarity with trail markers and symbols can lead to getting lost, wasting time, and potentially venturing into dangerous areas.

  • Waste and litter. Leaving unnecessary packaging and other trash behind creates litter and pollution, harming the natural beauty of the Caucasus and potentially impacting wildlife.