What To Pack For Your Trekking Adventure in Nepal

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What To Pack For Your Trekking Adventure in Nepal
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What to wear in Nepal? Equipment can make or break your trekking journey. This applies to a day hike up a volcano in Uganda as well as an 18-day trekking expedition in the Everest region. The big difference is that if you don’t have the right equipment for a big trek you may be very uncomfortable for a number of days or in the worst case cut your adventure short. Based on our years of experience, we created the ultimate Nepal packing list for your next trek.

Most of the treks in Nepal involve huge differences in elevation. Some of these start as low as 800 meters above sea level in a hot, sub-tropical climate and reach a maximum elevation of over 5000 meters where it’s well below freezing level. Staying comfortable and safe in both climate zones depends on the choice of your trekking equipment. Terrain is another key factor to consider what you pack in your bag. Some treks in Nepal have well-trodden, snow-free trails throughout whereas a trek like Everest Base Camp Three High Passes involves rough paths that are often plastered with a layer of snow. A packing list is never definite, but in this blog we advise you what to bring based on our personal multi-day trekking experience in Nepal.

What Bags Should I Bring?

For your trek in Nepal you basically need two bags. You need a daypack to carry the stuff you use whilst trekking. And you need a big bag that is either carried by a porter or a pack animal. This could be either a duffel bag or a big rucksack.

Daypack: A daypack (around 30 liters) for your personal items while you’re on the trail is essential. Make sure it’s a good fit, so it’s better to buy it in an outdoor store rather than online. Most daypacks have a compartment for a water bladder (like Camelbak), small mesh side pockets, a top pocket and of course the main compartment. Daypacks are generally not waterproof so make sure you use either a rain cover, or dry bags to keep your stuff dry. In your daypack you would typically bring water, snacks, rain jacket, phone/camera, hat and gloves (when it gets colder) and sun protection.

Duffel Bag: A duffel bag is the best choice for your big bag that will be carried by either a porter or a donkey. The capacity should be around 80 liters and it should be waterproof. Don’t go cheap on this one, as the bag may be handled quite roughly, especially when it gets strapped on the bag of a pack animal. You don’t want your bag to tear and your belongings plunging down a river a few hundred meters below the path. Good brands include The North Face, Patagonia and Mountain Hardwear.

Big rucksack: A big 80 liter rucksack is an option as well, but less favorable than a duffel bag. Even with a rain cover it can still be exposed to rain, depending on the angle it is carried. Also there are more things that can break like buckles and straps. And your stuff is easier to access with a duffel bag. Your choice!

What Bags Should I Bring?

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What Do I Wear On My Nepal Trek?

It’s good to be a bit pragmatic when you choose your clothing for your Nepal trek. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to get decent quality outdoor clothes. Price - quality ratio is everything! It’s crucial to know the climatic conditions for the entire trek. What is the temperature range? Is it generally dry or can you expect precipitation (both rain and snow)? Will it be windy? Do your research before you head to the shops. Obviously you can get in touch with our Trekking Expert for Nepal for advice. Below is the list of clothing items you should take with you including an explanation what to consider when you buy your outfit for Nepal:

Thermal Base Layers: A base layer is the moisture-wicking clothing layer you wear next to your skin. For lower elevations a thermal t-shirt does the job. Higher up where it’s colder you will swap this for a long-sleeve shirt. And when it gets really chilly, for example when you cross the Thorung La Pass on the Annapurna Circuit, you might want to wear long johns (long underwear) underneath your trousers. The fabric can be made of synthetic material, merino wool or a mix of these two. The latter is a good choice as it combines the strength of synthetics with the superb comfort and wicking properties of merino wool. Synthetics tend to be more smelly than merino wool. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s not cotton!

Mid-layer: A mid-layer is the clothing layer between your base layer and the outer layer (usually a waterproof jacket). You’ll start wearing a mid-layer when the temperature starts dropping. There are multiple forms of mid-layers, depending on the conditions. It can be a fleece jacket or pullover, comfortable and quick drying. When it gets very cold, some choose a lightweight insulated jacket or vest (down or synthetic) to wear underneath their outer layer.

Waterproof jacket: Your outer layer is a waterproof and windproof jacket or smock. This is probably the most important piece of clothing you take with you, as it protects your body from all the elements. Most people use a breathable hardshell jacket with a hood. Breathable waterproof jackets (with for example a Gore Tex membrane) is highly recommended as these will push your sweat out while staying dry from rain. Otherwise you will get soaked underneath, especially when the hiking is strenuous.

Sports Bra for Her: A good sports bra is highly recommended when on the move in the mountains. It should wick moisture away from your skin.

Hiking Shorts: At lower altitude and under the sun, it can be comfortable to wear a pair of hiking shorts. They can also be highly fashionable zip-off trousers ;-)

Hiking Trousers: Lightweight, nylon, quick drying, UV-protecting. Anything that protects you from the elements. Although you look great in your 501s, you should leave your jeans at home.

Waterproof trousers: Just like jackets, breathable waterproof trousers keep you protected from wind, rain and snow. Some have built in gaiters, which is very useful when you walk through deep snow. Make sure they fit well and cover the shaft of your boots.

What Do I Wear On My Nepal Trek?

Footwear For Nepal Trekking

It’s easy to underestimate the importance of what you wear on your feet while trekking. We think it is the single most important part of your kit list. You get it wrong and you’ll suffer. So, how do you keep your feet happy, even when you are hiking the roughest trails in freezing conditions? Let us share our insights.

Hiking Boots: We can probably dedicate a full blog post on hiking boots. There are as many opinions as there are boots, so we’ll try to stay with the essentials. For most trekking routes in Nepal, we recommend a sturdy waterproof hiking boot with a high shaft. You can choose leather or fabric boots. The latter needs to be lined with a waterproof and breathable membrane such as Gore Tex to ensure no water leaks in while hiking. In terms of category look for a hiking boot B0 or B1 (depending on how much ankle support you need) in the UK and US, Europeans need to look for category A/B or B boots. Make sure you fit your boots in an outdoor store, as a boot fitter knows what your feet need. When you buy your perfect pair, still wear them inside the house for a few days, and if you’re not sure you can still return them. When you have found your perfect pair, break them in. Go on day hikes before you head out for your big trek in Nepal. This will save you a lot of Compeed (and agony).

Trail runners (optional): Some people like to wear trailrunners on the easier parts of the route. If you know your ankles can handle it, this is completely legit.

Slippers or sandals: Inside the tea houses you’re not supposed to wear your hiking boots. Bring comfy slippers or sandals to give your feet a breather.

Hiking socks: Hiking socks are often made of (merino) wool. They are designed to keep your feet toasty and dry. The colder it is, the heavier the quality of your socks should be. Some choose to wear a thin sock liner as a foot base layer, to avoid blisters.

Footwear For Nepal Trekking

What Gloves Do I Wear?

Your hands are just as important as your feet. They are likely to go cold first, so make sure you look after them. Bring something warm and durable. Your fingertips will thank you later.

Fleece Gloves: You can’t wrong with something light and comfortable. Fleece is a good all-round option.

Heavyweight Gloves: When you know you are going to have to deal with low temperatures, then bring a pair of heavyweight gloves. Waterproof!

What Gloves Do I Wear?

Protect Your Head!

Your head is continuously exposed to the elements. High and low temperatures, sometimes amplified by the wind, sun rays beaming on your skull and horizontal snow. In the mountains, this can even happen in a single day. That’s why you need to think through how to protect your head.

Wooly hat: A normal wooly hat does the trick. If you go somewhere very cold, like Everest Base Camp, you could choose a wooly hat (partly) lined with fleece inside. That keeps your head really toasty.

Sun hat: Whether you want to bring a trucker, a visor or a cowboy style hat, just make sure it protects your skull and face from the sun. The higher the altitude, the stronger the UV rays.

Buff: A microfleece buff (neck gaiter) can serve as a warm hat, a sunhat and as a scarf at the same time. In mild seasons it may be the only thing you need. Bring two!

Sunglasses: The world sometimes looks better through the lenses of sunglasses. And it protects you from the sun! Prevent headaches and snow blindness. Beat the UV.

Protect Your Head!

Sleep Well

A good night of sleep is the best recovery. Your wellness during a trekking journey relies partly on the energy you are replenishing in the night. Our partners in Nepal supply you with a comfortable down sleeping bag. That will save you some luggage space when flying in and out of Kathmandu. Here's some thing to consider if you bring your own equipment:

Sleeping bag: Nights in Nepal are not for the cold-blooded. Bring a proper down sleeping bag that will cover the minimum and maximum temperatures for your desired trekking season. Be sure to check the labels on your sleeping bag to see if it is the right comfort temperature for your trek in Nepal.

Pillow: Don’t bring the pillow you use at home. Just consider bringing an inflatable pillow. It can make a huge difference, especially if you are used to sleeping with a pillow. Otherwise you can use a dry bag and stuff it with clothes. This all said, most if not all tea houses provide pillows these days.

Earplugs: It won’t be a rock show, but it can get loud. You might be sharing a teahouse with other people. If you are a light sleeper and easily wake up when there is noise, then consider bringing a pair of earplugs.

Sleep Well

Extras for Trekking

No one is the same and everyone has his own level of comfort. There will be things missing on this list, simply because you attach more value to them than others. Bring what you want to bring. The next things are definitely worth bringing:

Trekking Poles: Trekking poles are optional though we highly recommend to take at least one. It helps on the descent and in case you twist your ankle you've got something to lean on.

Sunscreen: It is a no-brainer really. You will be at high altitude and the UV rays are much stronger. It can get very sunny in Nepal. Protect yourself.

Water Bottles: If you want to prevent altitude sickness, you will have to drink plenty of water. Don’t rely on bottled water along the trail. They are less environmentally friendly and costly. Bring a bottle that you can refill. They can be soft flasks as well. You can also bring a small thermos bottle for a hot drink along the way.

Snacks: You will be provided with snacks by our local team. However, bringing your own favorite snacks can pull you through on the days that are rough going.

Head Lamp: It doesn’t matter what you do in the mountains, whether it be trekking, climbing or running, you may reach your destination after sunset or tackle a high pass leaving in the dead of night. Power cuts are common.

Wet Wipes: Water is not always readily available. Bring wet wipes to suit some of your sanitary needs. Opt for biodegradable ones.

Sanitizer: For the same reason you bring along hand sanitizer. Anything that helps you keep your hygiene game up while out there on the trails.

Creams: If you have a dry skin, you want to bring something to keep your skin moisturized. Lip balm, body lotion, anything small and handy. The air can be dry at higher altitudes.

(Pain) Medication: At higher altitude, you may suffer from headaches. This is also one of the symptoms of altitude sickness that almost everyone who goes trekking in Nepal experiences at some point. Bring something to relieve the pain. Check with your GP what else you might need for a visit to Nepal.

First Aid Kit: Your guide will be prepared for a first aid situation, but for the small stuff you also want to be able to take responsibility for yourself. Bring a basic first aid kit for cuts and bruises.

Towel: Small, quick-drying and suitable for trekking. Your accommodation along the trails are not hotels.

Toiletries: Probably something that is most forgotten: your toothbrush and tooth paste. Other things include biodegradable soap and shampoo and deodorant.

Don’t Overpack

There is always something you might forget. Don’t worry. You can buy anything you need for your trekking expedition in Kathmandu. In fact, the city is famous for it. It makes sense, as trekking and climbing are the foundations for the tourism industry in Nepal. A lot of the stuff you can buy in the Thamel and bazaars are fake, but often still good enough quality (apart from the zippers, be careful with those!). If you want the real deal head to Tridevi Sadak, the street with premium brand stores like Sherpa, The North Face, Mountain Hardwear and Marmot. Expect to pay similar prices like back home.

Now that you know what to put in your bag, it's time to get fit for trekking in Nepal!

Nepal Trekking Packing List - Check It!

Nepal Trekking Packing List - Check It!


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