The Ultimate Nepal Trekking Packing List

By Sierd van der Bij

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What to bring while trekking in the Nepal Himalayas? If you have ever been exposed to the elements while out in the mountains, then you know that the right gear and equipment is essential. When you want to go trekking in Nepal, you have to take your packing list extremely serious. Here we present you the ultimate packing list for your upcoming trek in Nepal.

Your gear is your best friend while being out in the mountains. It, in fact, doesn’t matter where you are going, your equipment is key. In extreme cases, gear can make the difference between life and death. In every case, the right equipment can make the difference between you having a good time and ending up miserable. You have booked your tickets, your guide in Nepal is waiting and now you rock up with a too heavy backpack, a jacket which is not thick enough and shoes that are very likely going to give you blisters. What a waste. Pack the right gear and make more of your trip to Annapurna or Everest.

Before we start, note one important thing. You are trekking, not climbing. Hence, you can leave the ropes, the chalk and the carabiners in your closet.

Carry the Right Bag

If you have to carry something for a prolonged time and you choose what you carry, then don’t compromise. The bags that you bring on your trekking should be of decent quality and you want to be used to them. Don’t swap a winner backpack for a new untested one a week before you head out. Assuming you will have porters to assist you on your trek, you need the following:

  • Duffel Bag: Waterproof and about 80L. Must be heavy duty as it could be carried by your porter or it can be strapped on the back of a donkey. We repeat: Waterproof.
  • Rucksack with Rain Cover: The last thing you want is to have wet clothes. They can be quick drying, but it’s better to prevent them from getting wet: Raincover! The size of your bag will depend upon trekking duration. Less is more, but don’t compromise.
  • Daypack: A 30-liter daypack in which you can carry your personal items is an absolute must. These days you can even get packs with pockets in the front for easy access and soft flasks. Get something comfortable, because your daypack is your best friend.

Wear the Right Clothes

The trail to Everest Base Camp can be a bit of a catwalk as some people like to sport the latest and most expensive outdoor fashion trends. You don’t have to go overboard. Find a healthy balance between comfortable and durable.

  • Thermal Baselayer: Your base layer is your second skin. Merino is the way to go. Make it a lightweight one.
  • T-Shirts: Bring comfortable synthetic t-shirts. You wouldn’t wear cotton during a marathon, so don’t bring cotton to a multi-day trekking adventure. It just doesn’t dry.
  • Fleece Pullover or Jacket: Fleece can just add that extra bit of comfort when the weather turns brisk.
  • Light Weight Thermal Tops: Synthetic t-shirts when the season allows it, but always some lightweight thermal tops. They can also be comfortable when they are not serving you as a base layer.
  • Waterproof Jacket: Your hardshell should protect you from wind, rain, and snow. A good waterproof jacket can turn hell into heaven when the weather goes bad.
  • 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 pants ;-)
  • Hiking Pants: 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 Pants: We heard you wondering about pants when we mentioned a waterproof jacket. Of course, you also need waterproof pants.

Tie the Right Shoes

We don’t always give our feet the attention they deserve. That may sound weird to you, but just think about what they have all done for you. You can’t go anywhere without your feet. So for your upcoming trekking in Nepal, you better make sure you look after them. Or do you want blisters en route to Poonhill?

  • Hiking Boots: You thought you could get away with trail running shoes? It’s up to you, but your ankle can get really tired and that can lead to injury. Opt for a quality pair of boots instead.
  • Sandals or Shoes: In the mornings and in the evenings, around the camp or in the teahouse, you don’t want to wear your boots. This is when you can wear a comfortable pair of trail running shoes or even sandals. Give your feet a break.
  • Hiking Socks: Good quality hiking socks should keep your feet dry and comfortable. Bring enough socks. Preferably a fresh pair for every day that you are trekking.
  • Trekking Poles: If you know how to use them, they can help you take the strain from your joints. Try them, practice with them and bring them along if you like them.
  • Inner Socks: To support your hiking socks, you can consider bringing thin inner socks. This will help you wick moisture away from your feet.

Get the Right Gloves

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!

Wear the Right Headwear

There are multiple reasons for covering your head. Whether it’s sun, snow or rain: It is likely it strikes your head first. Protect yourself against sun rays and bring something that keeps you dry when it gets rough.

  • Wool: That woolen hat can come in handy when it gets cold. This might not happen during the day, but in the evenings it can be really comfortable.
  • Sunhat: Whether you want to bring a trucker, a visor or a cowboy style hat. Just make sure it protects you from the sun. The higher the altitude, the closer you are to the sun.
  • Buff: A microfleece buff 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 a sunglasses. And it protects you from the sun! Prevent headaches and snow blindness. Beat the UV.

Rest Well

A good night of sleep is the best recovery. Your wellness during a trekking relies partly on the energy you are tanking in the night. Our partners in Nepal supply you with a comfortable down sleeping bag. If that saves you some crucial space when flying in to and out of Kathmandu. If you are on your own, take note of the following:

  • Sleeping bag: Nights in Nepal are not for the cold-blooded. Bring a proper 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 a good one for trekking 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.
  • 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.

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:

  • Sunscreen: It is a no-brainer really. You will be at high altitude and therefore closer to the sun. 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.
  • Head Lamp: It doesn’t matter what you do in the mountains, whether it be trekking, climbing or running - When it gets late, you can always use a headlamp. Bring one to Nepal as well.
  • 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 trekking experiences at one point. Bring something to relieve the pain.
  • 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. Bring something.
  • Toiletries: Probably the first thing you will forget to bring: Toothbrush. Look, when you do really forget anything - You must realize that you can still buy this in Kathmandu. But yes, do bring toiletries.

What You Don’t Bring

There always things that you can just leave at home. Light and Fast: The lighter your backpack, the easier your life on the trails will be. Ease is a joy. Here is what you should not bring along.

  • Leather: A cow is a sacred animal in Nepal. It is fine to wear leather in daily life, but as you will probably be visiting monasteries and temples, you don’t want to be spotted wearing leather. Respect.
  • Unnecessary Electronics: Leave your iPads and tablets at home. Less is more. A phone, sure, but don’t bring too much electronic gear on your trek. Electronics also don’t do that well on altitude.
  • Jewelry: Because you will be living out of your bag, you are likely to lose things on the way. Don’t bring any jewelry. Unleash the inner hippie and just come as you are.
  • Classic Towel: Heavy, too large and they don’t dry. Bring a small quick-drying towel, as mentioned above.
  • Revealing Clothing: Respect the culture in Nepal. You are not going to for a beach holiday. Dress modestly and don’t bring mini skirts etcetera.

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. Makes sense, because trekking and climbing are the foundations for the tourism industry in Nepal. A lot of the stuff you can buy in the bazaars are fake, but they are still of great quality. If you don’t know where to start, you should find your way to Shona’s Alpine - a shop run by a Brit married to a Nepalese woman named Shona. Anything you need for your trip, you will find it there. Now that you know what to put in your bag, it's time to get fit for trekking in Nepal!

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