Gear selection is super important on any trek, but perhaps more so in the remote mountainous regions of Nepal, where the weather can change in an instant. We trekked to Everest Base Camp (EBC) and my absolute favourite place Gokyo Ri in November time, you can read all about it here. Prior to going I read a few blog posts and studied the kit list provided by our tour company Exodus (this is not a sponsored post), but I’ll be honest with you…I was TOTALLY under prepared.
From fibre gel to toilet roll and from day-packs to Nalgene bottles – this should be an eyeopener for anyone planning a trek in Nepal. Feel free to send me an email or leave a comment below if you have any questions or concerns.
Vitamin C and multivitamins
It’s called the Khumbu Cough – bought on by low temperatures and high altitude; pretty much everyone in our group fell ill to it. To make matters worse, in the evening much of the socialising is done in the main room of the teahouse – this warm environment is a breeding ground for germs. Keep the dreaded cough at bay by bringing Vitamin C or multivitamins with you.
Fibre tablets, chia seeds…just give me something
As you gain in altitude, you’ll notice vegetables diminishing from your plate. Meals are heavily carbohydrate based. Fried potatoes, stir fried noodles, noodle soup…I was craving a giant plate of broccoli! If you’re like me and usually pile on the greens, then I’d suggest taking some fibre tablets, chia seeds, Naked bars, prunes…anything to give your digestive system a helping hand.
Take plenty of snacks and chocolate bars
I bought a ton of snack and chocolate bars with us to Nepal, but you’ll be surprised how hungry you get! So take more than you think you’ll need. There is a small supermarket in the Thamel district of Kathmandu and if you’re doing the EBC route – you’ll find a few stores in Namche Bazaar, but the prices will be double what you pay at home.
Waterproof boots with ankle support
I successfully traversed snow cover glaciers and rocky paths with my trusty lightweight North Face trekking shoes, but in hindsight I should at least had some ankle support. Plus my feet got cold and wet when the snow came through the fabric gauze. I’d recommend taking a solid pair of walking boots with ankle support, even better if they’re waterproof too.
Neck Buff – the most versatile bit of kit
Neck buffs are such versatile things and should be an essential part of your kit list. Wear it when the wind or snow sets it, or merely as a face mask to protect you from breathing in the dried yak dirt on the tracks, which can cause lung infections.
Invest in merino underwear
Merino is an amazing technical fabric as it’s naturally sourced and feels soft against the skin. But the best part is it is naturally antimicrobial, meaning it doesn’t hold onto smells and germs. Great when you’re limited on the amount of luggage you can bring and washing you can do. Oh and perhaps avoid clothes washing as the temperature plummets or your clothes will freeze, like ours did!
Did you know the cold drains batteries?
The cold will drain your batteries so bring extras! Head torch, camera etc. Most teahouses have electricity that you can pay for, but batteries will be harder to come by. One trick is to put your batteries in your sleeping bag at night time to keep them warm.
The essentials…toilet roll
Toilet rolls were not readily available in the tea houses and everyone had to bring their own. I’d recommend packing an extra in your bag as it’s pricey stuff in the mountains.
Don’t bring a laptop (stupid me!)
There I was thinking I could blog in real time. Little did I know, my computer battery would run dry after 1 day (especially in the cold) and wifi was crazy expensive, so this ended up becoming a dead weight. Unless you have a good reason, leave your laptop at home.
Gaiters and yak tracks
As the conditions worsen, gaiters and yak tracks may be essential. There’s nothing worse than waking up to soggy wet boots. These items can be expensive to purchase back at home, but I found some affordable ones in a shop in Namche Bazaar, just don’t expect them to last forever!
Get a helping hand with walking poles
Walking at altitude is amazingly difficult; it’s hard to comprehend without experiencing the feeling yourself. The lack of oxygen in the air plays havoc with your legs and lungs! So invest in a set of walking poles to provide some extra support. These can be purchased quite cheaply in Thamel or Namche Bazaar. I ended up purchasing some second hand poles from a shop in Namche. On my return back down the mountain, I took them back to the store for the shopkeepers to resell 🙂
A good rain jacket!
Silly me took a cheap plastic rain jacket, that did little to offer protection from strong winds or even the rain! This protective shell could be a life saver when the conditions turn. I picked up a replica North Face (in the pic below) they’re everywhere in Nepal!
Waterproof trousers, poncho etc.
The quality of the waterproof trousers and poncho is less important here, but having that added protective layer could be a life saver if conditions worsen. Ponchos are great for throwing over everything, including your rucksack.
A big day pack
If Sherpas will be carrying your big bag between the teahouses, then you won’t have easy access to it. You will need to pack all your essentials in your day bag. Ensure this is large enough to fit your mid layer, rain jacket, rain pants, gloves, gaiters, yak tracks, snacks, up to 3 litres of water etc. The contents of your bag will change as the terrain does. Around 30 – 35 litres should suffice.
Trekking trousers (ladies, leggings are not acceptable)
Nepalese are religious and conservative people. A tight fitness legging is not really acceptable attire. Opt for a hard wearing synthetic trouser that’s quick drying.
Lip balm with sun protection
The cold air, wind chill and strong sunlight turned my lips into a peeling mess. I can still remember how painful they were. Make sure you bring a lip balm with SPF (sun protection factor). Ones used for snow, alpine or water sports would add a great protective barrier.
Consider water sanitation
Have a think about how you will be consuming water in the mountains. Be mindful that bottled water has to be carried to the teahouses by a Sherpa, and that this plastic waste must also be carried down. A Steripen or water purification tables are a trusty alternative. You will be able to purchase boiled water in the tea houses, but it’s always advisable to add a second layer of treatment.
SO much hand sanitiser
You will get through this stuff like crazy! Don’t expect the luxury of soap in the toilets and it’s advisable to sanitise before every meal – you don’t want to get an upset tummy half way up the mountain!
Don’t be afraid of altitude medication
Before travelling to Nepal I decided against Diamox or any other altitude medication. I figured that I would listen to my body and stop when I needed to. But honestly our entire group were taking it just a few days into the trek. Read more about altitude medication in this post.
Sleeping bag liner
A sleeping bag liner is great for adding extra warmth to your sleeping bag. Tip…take a Nalgene bottle, and fill it with the boiling water for sale at the teahouses. Pop it in your sleeping bag an hour before bed for a toasty nights sleep.
Avoid cotton clothing
When in the mountains avoid cotton clothing where possible. Cotton absorbs water and will take HOURS to dry. Instead opt for merino wool, polyester, nylon and other synthetic fabrics which are all quick drying.
Plenty of layers
Layering is key when trekking as your temperature will fluctuate throughout the day. Opt for a three or more layering system – a tight fitting base layer (might not be needed during the day), a mid layer top, a fleece or puffer jacket and then an outer shell to protect from the wind and rain.