Packing your backpack for an upcoming trip is never easy. But wait until you start packing for your Everest Base Camp trek or any other similar trek in the Himalayas. It’s important to be prepared for every kind of weather condition while keeping your pack as light as possible! For your convenience, we’ve compiled a complete packing list with all the essential trekking gear you need for your trekking.
The following list is made after doing the Everest Base Camp trek ourselves, so we exactly know what is useful and what you can leave at home. This doesn’t mean you can’t leave stuff we’ve listed at home, or maybe you even want to add some stuff. Of course, what you take with you depends on personal preferences, but this packing list can definitely help as a guide.
All the products listed in the trekking gear packing list are all quality products that will survive your trek (and many more) without a problem, doesn’t matter which trek you’ll be doing. You can find a lot of these items for sale or for rent in Thamel, Kathmandu as well, but be aware that most of these items are knockoff products and won’t guarantee to last until the end.
Here are our recommendations and what you need to take with you:
CHOOSING THE RIGHT BACKPACK
Your choice of backpack is a crucial one, especially if you’re not hiring a porter and have to carry everything yourself. You don’t want your backpack too big, as it will be too tempting to fill it until it’s full. Too small isn’t good either, because, well, you want to take everything you need with you of course. A backpack between 50-65L is perfect for this kind of trekking. We already use our Deuter for 3-4 years now, and also used them for this trekking. They are very sturdy and easy to use with all the different compartments.
If you’re hiring a porter, then you’ll need a daypack to carry your personal belongings, camera, water, rain jacket, snacks, etc. Otherwise, you’ll need one on your acclimatization days as you don’t want to carry your big bag on those days. Like our backpack, we use the North Face Flyweight Pack already for years almost every day! It can hold more than enough of what you need for a day, and if you don’t want to use it, you can fold it up to the size of a small coffee at Starbucks!
We advise you to get a rain cover for your backpack because you don’t want your stuff to become wet when it starts pouring! Any rain cover is good actually, as long as it fits over your backpack.
GENERAL TREKKING CLOTHING
BASE LAYER (x2)
During your trek, there’s no doubt that you’ll sweat. During the day, when the sun is out, it can become pretty warm! The purpose of the base layer is to wick away the moisture while retaining your body temperature and keeping you warm. We wore our base layer practically every day, from day one to the last. Most people don’t wear it the first and last days, but the last day when I wasn’t wearing it, I had pretty cold and my shirt was WET!
Choosing a good base layer is vital for having a good layering system. Choose a base layer that has the right fabric to wick the moisture like synthetic or merino wool, and make sure that it fits tightly to your body.
INSULATION LAYER/FLEECE (x2)
The second layer should be a lightweight or midweight fleece. We always wore our base layer + fleece during the day, and when it got colder, we would add a rain jacket on top. A fleece made with the Polartec 200 technology is perfect for hiking in the Himalayas. For a more lightweight option, get one with Polartec 100 technology, but this will be thinner so less warm.
RAIN JACKET (x1)
Having a good rain jacket is essential as you really want to avoid that your insulation layers or t-shirts get wet. It’s pretty hard for your clothes to dry in one night on such high heights. Having a rain jacket is also useful as a third layer because a down jacket is often way too warm to wear during the day.
HIKING SHIRT (x2)
If it’s sunny outside and you want to hike in your t-shirt, then it’s recommended to pack a couple of hiking shirts, as they will also wick the moisture and (slightly) protect you from the sun.
DOWN JACKET (x1)
You’ll probably just use your down jacket after dark as the evenings get pretty cold, especially in the higher regions of the Himalayas. Or if you plan to go over one of the high passes. You can rent these in Thamel for $1/day, but do check the quality first as hundreds of others have worn these jackets before you.
TREKKING PANTS (x1)
We recommend a good lightweight zip-off trekking pants. With this, you can choose to just use the shorts or to add the legs. Most of the time Thomas walked with his shorts over the base layer pants. Myrthe did the whole trek in her leggings/hiking tights.
HARD SHELL TROUSERS (x1)
Hard shell trousers can come in handy for the higher passes and to protect you against rain etc. We had one but never used it because we never had really bad weather. This choice depends on which season you are going.
RAIN PANTS (x1)
If you don’t choose to get hard shell trousers or want to be extra sure of not getting your pants wet when it rains, a good lightweight rain pants can do wonders!
SPORTS UNDERWEAR (x5)
It’s not obligatory but recommended to wear sports underwear to wick the moisture properly. It’s recommended for women to wear a sports bra.
HANDS AND FEET
When your hiking on the lower parts of the Himalayas or in moderate weather, then lightweight gloves are great to keep your hands nice and warm.
We never had to use extra warm gloves. But if you’re trekking in colder seasons, going over high passes or want to climb one of the trekking peaks (like Island Peak), then I’m sure you’ll be happy to have one of these around your hands.
HIKING SOCKS (x4)
A quality pair of hiking socks is essential for blister prevention. It’s also crucial that they wick the moisture and keep your feet warm as well. Good hiking socks will most likely be from Coolmax Polyester or Merino Wool. If you have sturdy high boots, it’s also recommended to wear liner socks underneath your regular hiking socks. We brought two pairs of regular socks with us to relax in in the evenings.
You’re not going to make the top when your feet are not happy, so buying good hiking boots where you can walk in comfortably without aches is essential. When you go to the store to get a new pair, try to put your finger behind your heel. Too much space means too big, not enough means too small. A good boot is lightweight, waterproof and has easy to use laces. The best tip we can give you is to start your trek with a pair that’s already broken in. Otherwise, it will give you nothing but trouble during the trek after a couple of days.
Some people prefer trekking shoes over hiking boots. The most significant difference is that trekking shoes are much lighter than hiking boots, but don’t give that ankle support. Still, we recommend hiking boots, especially for this trek as the trail is full of small rocks.
This is a personal preference but Thomas sometimes wore his slippers (thongs for you Aussies), after a long day trek. Especially at the beginning of the trekking when it wasn’t that cold yet. It’s always smart to let your feet breath as much as possible!
Ever heard of the Khumbu Cough? You’ll undoubtedly hear people with its symptoms around you on the trek. That’s probably because they haven’t used a buff to keep their throat warm. A buff is a must-have item in your backpack as it’s so versatile! Use it as a beanie to keep your ears warm, or around your neck. When you’re going more up, the air you breathe in will become much colder. When you hold your buff in front of your mouth, it will make the air warmer when breathing in, and helps to prevent that you develop a nasty cough.
When you’re hiking in the Himalayas, you always need to be protected from the sun. Besides putting on a good layer of sunscreen, you better wear a hat as well. Any hat will do the trick, but we recommend sun hats or caps with neck covers so that your neck is always protected! The least you want is to get sick because of a severe sunburn.
A beanie is essential once you get higher on the trek or on days when the sun isn’t out. Making sure that your head is warm is important to keep your body temperature level.
It will get cold at night, and for a good night rest -which is essential for a successful trekking-, you better get a good sleeping bag that can keep your body warm in extremely cold temperatures. A lightweight 3 or 4 seasons sleeping bag that fits your body, like a mummy shape, is best for these conditions. You can rent these all over Kathmandu for $1-$2 a day, but beware that a lot of people have slept in it before you, and you never know if they’ll give it a good wash before they hand it to you. We’ve heard of stories about people getting bed bugs and such because of renting a sleeping bag.
If you’re renting a sleeping bag, we definitely recommend a liner! Even if you’re not renting one, a liner helps to give you that extra warmth. We’re using the Sea To Summit silk liner for years now and are really happy with it. Get a mummy with hood type liner.
OTHER ESSENTIAL TREKKING GEAR AND ACCESSORIES
Some people swear by using trekking poles, and others just don’t like them. It’s a personal decision to get them. But they do reduce the impact on your knees and joints significantly.
A good lightweight, quick-drying towel is great to have on your trek in Nepal. Most tea houses won’t provide a towel so you’ll need to have your own to dry yourself after a shower or spending a day in the rain.
Sometimes, the toilet will be outside of the lodge or teahouse, so if you want to go after dark, you’ll need a headlamp!
A BPA free water bottle is essential to keep yourself hydrated. There are different sizes and materials on the market. We like the steel ones because it makes the water nice and cold. Filling up is easy at teahouses or water taps along the way. Get at least two to be sure you don’t run out.
If you’re using water bottles and refill your water on the trek all the time, you definitely need a Steripen or at least Iodine tablets to kill all the germs in the water. A Steripen filters the water in a couple of seconds and won’t change its taste.
Using water purification tablets is a cost-effective solution for water filtering and killing germs. With these, you have to wait at least 35 minutes until the water is purified. It might leave a light Iodine taste in the water. To cover this, we added a tablet of Vitamin C that gives the water an orange flavor.
Good sunglasses with UV-protection are a must-have during the trek, especially when you’re up higher between all the snowy peaks. You don’t need to get mountaineering sunglasses that cover the side of your eyes in our opinion. At least not if you’re just doing a trekking and not go climbing in the snow.
Your first-aid kit should contain Diamox (against mountain sickness, available over the counter in Kathmandu), Imodium against diarrhea, painkillers, muscle rub, a pack of Compeed against blisters, bandage and standard plasters, sunscreen, baby wipes, hand sanitizer.
You won’t find internet on the trail unless you pay for it, so a guidebook is great to give you all the information about the trek when you are not able to check our blog for tips & info.
You definitely need some inspirational reading pleasure during your time in the mountains. We loved reading our books about Nepal and the Mount Everest because we always felt like we were part of the story because of being in the same region. You can find English books all over Thamel for a small price, but they are fake and sometimes not well printed.
Charging all your electronic devices on a trekking like Everest Base Camp can get expensive (up to $5 for one full charge). And a lot of tea houses run on generators, so even that isn’t reliable. So if you’re planning to use a lot of your devices for documenting the trek, or reading on your Kindle, then prepare yourself beforehand and get yourself a portable USB charger. We support green energy, so our recommendation is to get a solar powered charger and to hang it on your backpack during the day.
Don’t even think about going to Nepal without taking a camera with you! You need to capture those moments and amazing sceneries, right? We always use a DSLR or iPhone for our pictures. But if you want a real lightweight solution that can handle every weather condition and you want to capture everything on film, then a GoPro is the way to go. It all depends if you’re going to take pictures or film your journey.
We still love reading books the traditional way. But if you don’t want to carry all that extra weight, a Kindle can be the perfect solution for you!
PLAYING CARDS SET
This packing list covers everything you (might) need for having a comfortable trekking in Nepal. Now it’s very important that you don’t overpack yourself. Take some time for yourself to reflect on what you really need, and what not. If you’re having the feeling that you won’t have enough t-shirt, sweaters, etc…, don’t worry if you smell bad because everyone does after a couple of days on the trek!
A lot of these things are for sale in Kathmandu, but know that most of these items will be fake ones and won’t be the same quality as the original ones. But in our opinion, if your trekking in Nepal will be your only one or you plan to travel further and don’t want to carry everything with you, then buying stuff in Kathmandu can be a cheap decision.
Let us know in the comments if there’s something you think that can benefit other trekkers to take with them!
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