Packing your bags and getting the right equipment is the key to having a safe and enjoyable journey. Especially for an adventurous activity like trekking, you need to make sure you are carrying everything you require for the trip. Surely, equipment checklists can vary according to destinations and climate conditions. In addition, variation in treks such as camping and tea house treks can also have varying equipment requirements. Regardless, there is a list of some mandatory and other optional items necessary for a typical trek to the Himalayas.
Carrying too much or too little can cause the various problem in your trip. Therefore, you must know what should go inside your backpack and what should not. Even though you might hire porters to carry your luggage, it is always best to have minimum load and refrain from carrying the unnecessary load! Most of the equipment and gears including your clothing and belongings are to be packed into your backpacks. Trekkers who hire porters can give their luggage load to the porters and carry a daypack which can consist of water, snacks, and camera. If you are hiring a porter, you will have to carry all of the items listed below in a Duffel bag. If not, you will have to carry a rucksack. In both cases, make sure your bags are durable, waterproof, and lockable. We suggest you the following list of items as basic equipment that are necessary for a typical multi-day trek. Besides the following items, you may also adjust the list according to your needs and interests.
We start off with the primary essentials; clothing. Trekking in Nepal is usually done around the Himalayas. This means most of the tour destinations are around cold regions which face unpredictable weather conditions. To protect yourself from these conditions, you should take proper clothing. The basic clothing suggested for trekking in Nepal is as follows:
- Light thermal inner wears: Inner wears keep you warm and also absorb your sweat.
- Fleece jacket or pullover: This helps in building up layers to help you fight the cold.
- Wind stopper jacket: You might come across very windy places in your trek. Wind stoppers protect you from the cold winds.
- Waterproof jackets and trousers: Waterproof jackets and trousers protect you from the rain and snow.
- Lightweight thermal gloves: It is wise to protect your hands from the cold. However, these gloves only help you in moderate temperatures.
- Set of Undergarments: The amount of pairs to carry depends on the duration of your trip.
- Trekking Shorts: When the temperature is warm or even hot, you can wear comfortable shorts as they are easier to walk in.
- Lightweight long trousers/pants: You can wear trekking trousers or pants when the temperature is moderate. This also protects you from the sun.
- Sun hat or scarf: These help you prevent from getting sunburnt and protect you from the dust and the wind.
- Warm fleece hat or light balaclava: As the temperature drops, you might feel cold in your head. It is important to keep your head warm!
- T-shirts (preferably sweat soaking): T-shirts are essential throughout your trek. We recommend sweat absorbing t-shirts to keep your body dry and irritation free. Cotton t-shirts are not recommended for trekking.
- Thin, lightweight (inner socks): Make sure you wear comfortable sweat absorbing and breathable socks that keep your feet dry and blister free.
- Thick warm wool hiking socks: These socks protect you from the cold as well as blisters and are very comfortable.
Most of the treks in Nepal start from a low altitude and gradually take you higher and higher. To deal with the changing temperature, we recommend you dress in layers so that you can change your clothing gears with the changing temperature. During moderate temperatures, you can trek in light wears such as trousers or shorts and a t-shirt. As the temperature declines, you can add on the layers of jackets and put on your hats and gloves to protect you from the temperature.
It is important to keep in mind that your clothing list will change depending on the destination you are traveling to and your time of travel. Spring and autumn seasons are warmer thus, require lesser clothes. Whereas monsoon or winters will require more clothing items. A few more clothing items to get you going for trekking in Nepal are:
- Waterproof shell mittens/gloves(insulated liners recommended)
- Insulated jacket with attached hood
- Heavyweight pants (for high elevations)
- Heavy down jacket
- Winter hat
Moving forward, there are various gears that are essential for the trek. These gears make your trekking easier and aid you for a successful journey. Trekking gears have to be comfortable and of high quality to ensure that you do not come across unnecessary obstacles on the trek. The recommended gears are:
- Trekking boots: It is very important that you get comfortable trekking boots. These boots support your ankles in the uneven and rocky trails.
- Camp sandals: You can wear camp sandals when you are at a tea house or at a camping site. It helps your feet get a rest from the trekking boots and are easy to wear and take off.
- Sunglasses with UV protection: In the higher altitude, you will be exposed to high-intensity UV rays which are harmful to your eyes and cause headache, dizziness, and snow blindness. Sunglasses help you prevent the UV rays.
- Water bottles: You will not get water easily in between stops. It is wise to carry your own supply of water for the hike.
- Trekking poles: Trekking poles help you find the ground and maintain balance.
- Headlamp: Headlamps can come in handy when it gets dark. Electricity isn't readily available everywhere thus, headlamps can be useful on and off the trails.
Most of the gears for camping will be provided by the tour operator. Here is a short list of the items you will be needing for camping:
- Sleeping bag (rated to 0 degrees are recommended)
- Sleeping pad/mat
- Silk Liner
Personal Supplies and Toiletries
You will also be needing personal supplies and toiletries for your trek. Some of the items like toothbrush are a must whereas, you can choose to take some of the others as per your preference. You may not find shops to purchase these items during your trek. Therefore, it is best to have it in your backpack!
- Medium sized towel
- Toothbrush/ toothpaste
- Multipurpose soap
- Face and body moisturizer
- Nail clippers
- Hand sanitizer
- Face/body wipes
- Throat lozenges
- Lip balm
This a list of suggested personal supplies and toiletries. If there are any other critically essential supplies, you can feel free to carry them.
Medical supplies are indeed the most important part of preparing your backpack. If you are traveling with a tour operator, your guide will most probably have a first aid kit and additional medicines. However, carrying medical supplies on your own will do no harm. Here are a few medical supplies that are recommended for trekking in Nepal.
- Bandage for sprains
- Iodine or water filter
- General painkiller
- Antiseptic cream for cuts
- Blister medication
- Antibacterial throat lozenges
- Antibiotic tablets
- Oral rehydration salts
- Diarrhea medication
- Diamox (for altitude sickness)
These are some of the most essential medical supplies you will be needing for your trek. Besides the first aid kit, other medical supplies can come in handy during emergency situations. Such as the Diamox, which helps in the reduction of the symptoms of altitude sickness. It might be difficult to find clean water during the trek. In many cases, trekker’s bodies have not been able to adapt to the drinking water consumed by the locals. Therefore, it is wise to carry iodine or water filters to purify water and avoid getting ill. If you have any medical conditions, make sure you verify with your doctor if you are healthy enough for the trek. Emergency services and rescue operations are quite expensive, make sure you have your travel insurance! Always take precautions in your trek.
You may want to carry a few things apart from the essentials to keep you entertained or enhance your trekking experience. These items for the treks are fully up to you to decide. A few suggestions are:
- Diary/Journals and pens
- Music player
- Playing cards or any other board games
You will have plenty of spare time during the trek in overnight stops and acclimatization days. If you are done exploring around, you can use items like these to keep you entertained!
You can find all of these items here in the local stores in Nepal. These items will have a range of quality and are priced accordingly. Most of the local stores offer a great price for this equipment. But makes sure you do thorough browsing before grabbing any cheap equipment you find. If you have to purchase certain items from the list above, it is suggested that you do so in Nepal.
Having all the essentials helps you tackle all unwanted circumstances. Trekking in Nepal and especially in the Himalayan region can be unpredictable. Although these items may easily vary upon the trek of your choosing, you will have to do the research in order to determine the essentials for your trek. Having a proper backpack will give you the comfort you require and make your experience outstanding! Journey to the Himalayas with ample preparation and optimal backpacks.