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Packing 101 for Trekking in Nepal

By Olivia Pedersen

April 30, 2015

Packing 101 for Trekking in Nepal

By Olivia Pedersen

April 30, 2015

A Guide On What to Bring for Trekking the Himalayas

In the fall of 2014, I embarked on a 17 day trek in the Himalayas. The following is a full gear list of what I took. This list gives insight on the necessities and luxuries wanted while trekking anywhere between 2,000 feet and 17,700 feet of elevation. Villages along the way of many treks provide commodities for trekkers that can be bought at convenience stores, but it can get pricy the higher in elevation you get.

I recommend coming prepared with what you need, be frugal with what you bring for excess comfort (i.e., you don’t need to bring your ThermaCare pillow), and have a stash of cash for when the Snickers cravings become overwhelming, or in case of emergency. Nepal can be a very unpredictable place, and you will want to be prepared for when, not if, those curve balls occur.

Gear Layout
It's always helpful to layout your gear to double check you have everything before stuffing it all into your backpack

Gear

Osprey Ariel 65 liter pack
This size was manageable and left plenty of extra room.

Waterproof cover for backpack
Rain showers are a daily occurrence in the rain forest, so you’ll need this to keep all your gear and clothing dry. I purchased mine in Kathmandu for $3 USD – quite a steal!

Marmot Ouray Down Sleeping Bag
Temperature rating 0 degrees Fahrenheit; this might have been a bit hot for the lower elevations but was quite nice when sleeping at 15,000 feet.

3 Handkerchiefs
Just in case you run out of toilet paper, for a running nose, or for tying loose articles to your backpack.

Sunglasses with polarized lenses
Especially important for high elevation to avoid eyeball sunburn that is extremely painful and can cause temporary blindness.

Revant HC3 Elite Lenses

1 Three-liter Camelbak or 2 one-liter water bottles
I would definitely suggest going with the Camelbak over water bottles because they are easier to carry and drink from while you’re walking.

1 Pocket Knife

1 Black Diamond Revolt Headlamp
Don’t forget fresh batteries.

Plastic bags
For organization and to pack out any waste so that you can throw it away in the next village.

Charger for camera
You will have to pay to charge any of your devices in most tea houses, so don’t forget extra money for this. If I remember correctly, it was in the range of 20-50 Nepali Rupee per use.

Adapter
I bought an all-in-one travel adapter at REI, and it worked great. It’s especially nice to have if you are heading off to a different country (with different outlets) before or after the trek.

Book
Purchase a book when you’re in Thamel – there are many great bookstores in the area. I picked up Forget Kathmandu by Manjushree Thapa. It was a great book that goes into the political history of Nepal.

Clothing

Trekking boots
Well broken-in, and with adequate arch and ankle support.

Tennis shoes
Lightweight for acclimatization days, break days, or if trekking boots start to cause discomfort.

Lightweight sandals
Wear after trekking to let your feet breathe, slipping on and off at the tea house, and while visiting monasteries.

6 Pairs of lightweight wool trekking socks
Thick socks are really annoying to be walking in all day and may cause more hot spots for blisters.

Wind breaker/ Raincoat
This is for when you are in lower rain forest climates, as there are usually daily showers.

1 Polar fleece
Serves as your middle layer so you don’t have to trek in a down jacket when the temperature starts to drop. I used the Patagonia Women's Fleece Pullover.

Down jacket
For higher elevations, during snowfall, and nights.

Base layer long-sleeved shirt
Something that breathes and adjusts to movement. I wore Under Armor.

2 T-shirts
Bring shirts you like to wear and are comfortable in. Keep in mind you will be wearing this everyday, so make sure it's a good one!

1 pair quick dry pants
Easy for washing, fast to line dry, and light to carry.

1 pair of shorts
Quick dry is easy to clean and light to carry.

Long underwear
Thin enough to wear under pants when needed.

All-day utilitarian gloves
Something that will keep you warm but doesn't reduce usability. I used Black Diamond Patrol Gloves. Don’t forget to waterproof them before you leave.

Neck gator or Buff
Great for protecting against exposure to the sun and wind.

Warm beanie

Brimmed hat
To protect eyes and face against the sun.

1 Bathing suit
Don’t forget this! There are a few hot springs you wouldn’t want to miss out on and clothing is NOT optional; the more conservative the better – for men and women.

7 pairs of underwear

Note: you don’t need to overload on packing multiples of the same type of clothing. Many tea houses have washing stations where you can hand wash and line dry your clothing .

Bundled Up
Ready to hike to High Camp on the Annapurna Circuit

Food & Water Purification

You can fully rely on tea houses along the way for meals, and you can also buy extra snacks and goodies at the village shops, but I would suggest bringing your own to save money. I also recommend bringing booster supplements to keep you hydrated:

• Daily or bi-day treat to get your energy back, or to feed your sweet tooth
• Electrolyte packets to put in water
• Mineral supplements to put in water
• Water purifier

There are so many options for water purification. For the Annapurna Circuit trek, I brought a Katadyn My Bottle water filter and found it to be quite inconvenient. It wasn't easy to use and didn't carry close to the amount of water I would need throughout the day. My number one pick would be a purification system that is built into your Camelbak reservoir, such as the Camelback Filter Adapter. I would also suggest water purification drops and a lightweight pump filter Katadyn Vario. This way you can put your water in any container. Also, the drops that eliminate protozoa, bacteria and viruses are nice to have to keep your water bottle clean and smelling fresh. As you may know, they can get pretty stinky on long tours.

Toiletries & Health

Athletic tape
For covering blisters and hot spots. This stuff will stay on all-day and is versatile for where ever it’s needed. I prefer this to moleskin products because in my experience, moleskin will only stay on for 5 minutes before slipping off.

Feet Wrapped

Vaseline
Or another skin hydration ointment is a life saver at high elevation when the skin may start to crack due to dryness. Vaseline is nice because it can be used everywhere and is mild.

Toothbrush and a small tube of toothpaste

Traveling toilet paper
There is toilet paper for purchase along the way, but you will never find it provided in the toilet rooms. I purchased mine at REI.

1 quick dry towel

Laundry soap
So you can hand wash your clothes – nothing too heavy that will need a lot of water to thoroughly wash out.

Body soap

Shampoo
Showers won’t be a daily routine, so you only need a small amount.

Mineral drops or electrolyte powder
Important for hydrating your body.

Daily multi-vitamins

Daily probiotics
I would say the mineral water, daily multi-vitamin, and probiotic are essential for having a successful, healthy trek. The body is under a lot of stress already while traveling. It is important to take extra care of your body to avoid getting a cold or stomach flu, as these will become a major bummer when having to walk for 8 hours a day.

Sunscreen
The UV rays are much stronger at high elevations. It is always important to wear sunscreen if you are going to be outside all day, but especially so in the mountains.

Paperwork

Passport
Always keep this on you.

Photocopies of front page of passport
In case you lose your passport. This makes the process of getting a new one much faster and easier.

5 copies of 1x1 inch photos of passport photo
To use for trekkers visas that you need to show at the many check points along the way. Better to be safe than sorry.

Nepal visa
You can apply for a 30 day visa upon arrival.

Proof of travel insurance
Especially your claim ID number.

Map of trek
So you can track where you’re going, how far you walked that day, and your next stopping point.

Important Medical & Safety Considerations

(Disclaimer: In no way should this be taken as professional medical advice; I’m just offering opinions from my experience.)

Altitude sickness medication
I would suggest getting a prescription for this before you leave, and decide whether or not you’re going to take it on the trek once you’ve reached the appropriate elevation. This way you can see how your body feels. That being said, this medication is preventative, not recuperative, so you do need to make your decision on whether you are going to take them sooner rather than later.

I brought it but didn’t end up taking it. I grew up in a high elevation, and my body has been exposed to high elevation for a while, but if you have little to no experience with high elevations, you will definitely want to bring this. Always good to be prepared!

Travelers diarrhea antibiotics
Also something good to just have on hand in case you get chronic symptoms, as trekking all day is difficult when you are having stomach issues.

Travel Insurance
I got insurance through World Nomads.They have an “Explorer Package” that is decently priced and provides coverage on more extreme injuries that could occur while trekking, emergency helicopter evacuations necessary for such events as altitude sickness, and typical traveling issues such as stolen or lost items, missed or cancelled flights, etc.

Good luck on your trek!

If you have any questions, please leave a comment, and I’d be happy to help!

Continue to Episode 1: Getting to Kathmandu

White Peaks

***
In regards to the April 2015 Nepal Earthquake:

I am deeply grieved by the many deaths and injuries caused by the devastating earthquake in Nepal. My prayers go out to those lost and to those that have lost friends and family close to them.

It is during tragedies like this that we must come together to help our brothers and sisters that are now at the mercy of the elements. While writing my narrative on trekking in Nepal, my intention was to bring awareness and understanding to the astounding beauty that inherently lives in every aspect of Nepal. I invite you to join Revant Optics, through Doctors Without Borders or one of the many other reliable relief agencies in providing aid to the survivors and restoring that beauty.

Sincerely, Olivia

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  • vinny

    ho olivia,great reading,How many pair of sunglasses do you suggest i take?i dont want to overpack,and when charging items along the way,when you pay for this,do u just get 1 socket outlet,so should i bring a multi usb charger to charge,go pro,camera,torches etc

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