Nepal Trekking Kit List
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Everest Base Camp Kit List & Equipment List
It's hard to get to the bottom of what kit you need for an Everest Base Camp trek, or other trek in Nepal. There are so many conflicting trekking equipment lists out there it can be confusing. At Elite Trekkers we want organising your kit for an Everest Base Camp trek to be as simple as possible, so we've put together this feature packed equipment list.
We've listed everything you need, how important it is, why you need it and we've provided recommendations for gear we think is great for the purpose. And, if this is more trekking kit information than you need, you can customise your viewing preferences using the options provided. Happy gearing!
Don't forget you can customise this Nepal trekking kit list with the options provided.
Not only do we need to consider our kit list for our Everest Base Camp Trek, or other trek in Nepal, we also need a few items to get us into, out of and around Kathmandu. We've included these items in this section, marked as 'advisable.'
This will probably be the main pack you bring to Nepal trekking with you; your main backpacking bag. If you were planning on bringing a suitcase or wheeled back, we suggest you swap it for a proper backpack, or bring both. For the porters, it's much easier to carry a regular, comfy bag with shoulder straps, than any other type of bag - and while you'll see many porters on the trail loaded with several different types of pack - for us the comfort of our porter is key.
If you're choosing a new pack, there are a few things to look out for.
- Size (volume in litres) is of course the most important thing. For a main pack, we like to use between 55l and 75l, depending on the length of the trek.
- Adjustability. How many ways can we alter the fit of the bag? It should sit on top of our hips, with the weight balanced on our back so we don't feel like our centre of gravity is moved. Look for adjustable back systems, straps to adjust the shoulder straps from the top and solid comfy padded waist straps.
- Pockets / entries. Will the bag be used mostly just from hauling gear from A-B (such as on a porter's back)? If so then one big single pocket may be the best style for you. Planning on using it for lots of different adventures or accessing it mid trail? Then you may want a bag with some extra pockets, and a secondary means of access (e.g. bottom section zip).
- Price. Perhaps the most crucial factor in selecting any gear and what we must first ask ourselves is 'how often will I use this kit?' If the answer is along the lines of 'only for this trek in Nepal' then consider a reasonable cap on your budget. There are packs out there designed for long term traveling or multi-day mountain climbs, which are feature packed and cost a fortune. It's easy to get carried away with the awesome feature options when we're bag hunting, but if you're not going to need the awesome kit for your Everest Base Camp Trek or other trek in Nepal, it can be more expensive than it need be.
There are plenty of backpack buying guides out there if you're still unsure - or check out some of the recommendations form our staff below.
Day Pack for Trekking
While your porters will carry most of your gear, you'll need to keep with you the items you'll need on the trail each day, such as water, extra layers, sun screen etc. For this, you're going to want a comfortable day pack. We like to use a day pack between 20l and 30l in volume as this is enough for plenty layers on a cold day, but not so big we'll pack too much and have to carry excess weight.
Pro Tip: It's Hip to be Waisted!
When looking for Nepal trekking packs - a really handy feature is a pocket on the waist band strap. You can reach this any time without taking your pack off and it's great for your camera, lip balm, tissues or sunglasses!
Make sure it's valid for at least 6 months after your trip ends to avoid complications at customs, and has at least 2 full pages free for visa details.
When dealing with guide payments and trip costs, you'll usually be dealing with US Dollars. On the trail however you'll want Nepalese Rupees. We suggest bringing the US $ value you expect to need with you already exchanged, then using one of the many ATMs in Kathmandu to withdraw Nepalese Rupees while you're there (around $15 worth of NPR per day on the trail is a good start).
Pro Tip: Collecting Currency
There are a few things to be aware of when arranging money for Nepal and these are as follows:
- Firstly, it's a closed currency, so it's much cheaper and easier to get hold of Rupees inside the country than it is from outside. You can pay for your visa on arrival in US Dollars
- ATMs charge a fee for usage, so try and take out more per transaction and do it less frequently.
- Tell your bank you're going there. There's a very good chance your ATM card will get blocked or swallowed (nightmare) if they're surprised by your transactions.
- Avoid traveller's cheques. The once mainstay of overseas travel are more or less redundant now and you may find yourself with money tied up in them that you can't use.
- If changing money with vendors on the street, count your money before, during and after the exchange. There are some dishonest vendors out there with magician like slight-of-hand abilities.
- Bring a few extra US Dollars - they're super easy to exchange or use in Nepal and won't be a pain to take home with you, unlike NPRs.
Pro Tip: Easy Visa in Nepal
Don't worry about getting your visa - it's quick and simple to get one on arrival in Kathmandu, just bring some US dollars and a passport photo.
Travel Document Wallet
A secure document wallet is a great idea for keeping your valuable travel and trip documents safe and sound. It's also a great place to keep other important things such as extra passport photos for trekking permits, and copies of insurance details. When you pack your things, having everything important in a wallet like this means you've only one super-crucial thing to keep track of. These are also extra useful if you need to move around with large quantities of cash, to pay for tours or excursions for instance.
We like to use wallets with longer straps, so we can put them around our neck or waist, then tuck them into the top of our trousers. New models also offer RFID blocking to stop people scanning your contactless card or ePassport information, though so far we're not aware of that happening to anyone in Nepal anyway.
Travel Document Wallet - Elite Trekkers recommend:
When traveling anywhere it's always a good idea to carry your own locks. Sometimes you may want extra security for your room, other times you may need to secure your own locker. While trekking is a very safe and secure activity, it can help with peace of mind to be able to secure your things when you want to and may be essential when traveling to less safe areas of this or other countries.
Locks with cables are great for securing your bags to your seat or bed on long journeys on public transport, so you can rest easy. If use locks with keys, be sure to split your keys up in case you lose one!
You may not want or need all of the items listed here, it depends on your trek and your preference. If you're unsure, feel free to have a loot at our Nepal Trekking advice, or just ask us.
This is perhaps the single most important piece of kit you'll take with you trekking in Nepal. Your feet need to be kept comfortable at all times and with so much trekking your boots are key to that. We like a mid-weight boot with a medium to high ankle. They should be waterproof and perhaps most importantly, they should be broken-in so you know they're comfortable and not going to rub.
An ideal boot will balance weight and mobility with comfort and warmth. Too thin and you're going to have aching toes every time you're out on a cold night or early start; too heavy and you're wasting valuable energy going uphill and adding extra strain to your legs on descents. It can be tricky, so we've given quite a lot of recommendations here to get you started.
Here are a few key things to look out for when selecting boots for trekking in Nepal:
- Waterproof: This is important, look for reputable brands such as GoreTex of eVent.
- Well fitting: Boots should fit snugly around the ankles and mid section of the foot, with a comfortable heel fitment (very little sliding up and down when walking) and enough room for the toes to stamp forward on steep down hill sections (around 1cm space is good). Boots that are too short in the toe can lead to painful 'hammer-toe' conditions.
- A solid durable sole: The soles of boots are often made by specialist companies. Of these, Vibram is arguably the most proven and popular.
- Broken in: We like to cover at least 30KMs in a new pair of boots before taking them out anywhere serious; and more is ideal. Breaking a boot in means areas of slight ill-fitment are squashed or worn to suit your foot, and the sole has been bedded in so you know it won't change shape (and as such allow your foot to move around more) during your trek. If you've covered 100s of KMs and your boots still aren't totally comfortable, it's time to try a new boot, style or brand.
Walking Boots - Elite Trekkers recommend:
- Ahnu Montara WP Women's Boot
- Ahnu Women's sugarpine boot
- Asolo Men's TPS 535 LTH V Evo Hiking Boot
- Hi-Tec Altitude Trek Mid I WP Walking Boots - AW16
- Hi-Tec Women's Skamania Mid-Rise Waterproof Hiking Boot
- La Sportiva Core High GTX Boot - Men's
- La Sportiva Trango TRK GTX Boot - Women's
- Merrell Capra Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot (Toddler/Little Kid/Big Kid)
- Merrell Men's Moab Ventilator Mid Hiking Boot
- Salomon Men's Quest 4D 2 GTX Hiking Boot
The necessity of these will depend on the trek in Nepal you're undertaking and to be honest we feel they're often not really needed. If you're likely to be trekking in wet (monsoon) or snowy (winter season) conditions then you should consider them required, otherwise, you can leave it down to personal preference, if you already have one.
Walking Poles / Trekking Poles (one pair)
We believe using trekking poles as part of your kit for trekking in Nepal is a valuable choice. Trekking poles (walking poles) let you use your arms to help pull yourself up hills, help you balance on the flats, catch you if you trip in the dark, and take the weight off your knees and toes on descents. Check out the article we wrote about trekking in Nepal with walking poles, if you want to learn more.
Walking Poles / Trekking Poles - Elite Trekkers recommend:
Ice Axe (trekking peaks only)
Only for use on trekking peak climbs (Island Peak, Mera Peak, Lobuche Peak etc.). This is optional as gear will be provided for your climb. It's our preference however to take our own ice axes with us so we're familiar with the size and shape and can ensure it's nice and light weight.
Your axe should ideally be a 55-60cm walking style axe, with either a straight shaft or a slight curve near the head. We really like the Black Diamon Raven model as a basic axe, but there are good alternatives on offer from brands like Petzl and Grivel also.
Oh let's not forget - having an axe strapped to your bag does look kinda cool too...
Ice Axe - Elite Trekkers recommend:
Useful for everything from packing daily trail food, to storing old underwear. You can pick these up at most medium-large supermarkets around Kathmandu
Drybags are great for both keeping your important things dry (including your cosy evening clothes, as well as important documents and electronics) and separating wet or stinky items. The weight and durability of dry bags can vary widely and the type you choose will depend on how else you intend to use it. For simply packing items in a backpack, a lightweight dry bag will be fine - but if you plan to take it rafting or out into the jungle, you're going to want something more solid.
Drybag - Elite Trekkers recommend:
Pro Tip: Drybag Tetris
Drybags often come in multipacks of varying sizes. We find that an extremely handy way of packing your main bag (which your porter will carry) for easy access is to use a set of drybags in different sizes or colours with each containing a specific group of items. For instance, if you know the small red one contains your electronics, or the medium yellow one is your dry evening gear; then it's super easy to pull what you need from your pack without exploding the contents everywhere and just as easy to repack and get moving in the morning. Your tired self and your room mates will thank you for being so organised!
Waterproof Pack Covers
Many packs come with them built in, but if yours doesn't, it's worth getting one just in case the weather strike - or to protect your gear in transit. They're not heavy or bulky and can easily save you the pain of wet gear. Take not of the volume (size) of your pack when choosing a cover for it. You can also pick these up very cheaply in Thamel - Kathmandu.
Waterproof Pack Covers - Elite Trekkers recommend:
Water Bladder / Bottles (2 litres minimum)
We like to carry one of each, but that's up to you. However you choose to do it, you need at least 2 litres of carrying capacity with you in / on your day pack.
A water bladder means you can stay hydrated really easily, sipping as you go all along the trail. We find it the best way of ensuring we keep our (very important) hydration levels high. Look for bladders with a cap that goes over the mouthpiece to protect it from dust and dirt. Also, it's possible to get insulating wrappers for the tube, which are handy if you don't like your first mouthfull being hot from the sun, or freezing cold.
A water bottle is nice to have in the evenings so you can take big old glugs of it while you're sitting around, and can keep it inside your sleeping bag at night to keep it warm and right there when you need it. Nalgene style plastic bottles are very lightweight and easy to fill, though an aluminium Sigg style bottle will last forever and can be more durable when climbing or scrambling.
Pro Tip: Water Warming
We prefer metal bottles over plastic, despite being a little heavier, for one major reason: they're fireproof. You can put it on top of the stove in your teahouse or by the fire if you're camping and before you know it you've got hot water for tea, or a hot water bottle for bed - which is amazing!
Just be sure to loosen the lid slightly when you do this, as the heating water and air expands inside the bottle.
Not too hot, not too cold; just right is what we're aiming for when it comes to our clothing choices. We also believe in packing light and we believe less is more, providing we get the right amount of versatility.
Our ideal daily trekking wear goes like this:
- Active base layer (light for low altitudes, heavy for higher)
- Optional lightweight synthetic t-shirt of polo shirt
- Mid weight fleece (200-300 weight)
- Mid weight synthetic down jacket (usually in day pack)
- Lightweight waterproof shell jacket (usually in day pack)
- Active / compression leggings (keep the sun and wind at bay)
- Lightweight trekking pants (ideally zip-offs)
- Waterproof shell outer layers (usually in day pack)
This basic set up gives us plenty of flexibility between cool, warm and protected and can be worn in varying arrangements depending on the conditions. The low areas, and sunny high altitude areas can get pretty hot, but then a cloudy spell or exposed ridge can quickly change that, so we want to be able to quickly adapt. We also like synthetic fabrics as they're generally much better at wicking away moisture and drying than natural materials (though socks and undies are nicer in cottom / wool).
Base Layer Tops (2 - 3)
We prefer two base layers - one lightweight and one medium to heavy weight. At low altitudes or on sunny days higher up, you'll be entirely comfortable in just a lightweight base layer on top, but if the weather isn't so nice, it'll pay to have a heavier, warmer alternative.
Lightweight T-Shirt or Polo Shirt
A helpful addition for versatility. A synthetic t-shirt can be comfy for lounging around in, or can make a stylish and light addition to your daily layering system, as it can easily be slipped on for a little extra protection when a fleece might bring a sweat on.
Lightweight T-Shirt or Polo Shirt - Elite Trekkers recommend:
Mid Weight Fleece
One of the most pivotal pieces in the layering system is the fleece mid layer. This works as a great outer layer on mild days and a great thermal insulator inside your layers when it's cold. They're also great at trapping heat quickly, so when you stop for a rest it's the perfect thing to put on as you take your bag off to preserve your warmth and energy. We love to take a daypack with straps or elastic on the outside so whenever we're not wearing our fleece, we can have it strapped on the outside of within easy reach, which means taking it on and off is that little bit easier.
Fleece materials are quite advanced these days and there are a lot of different types on the market. We suggest looking for one that's compact, not too fluffy, and not too heavy. There are an awful lot of fleece jackets out there built for style instead of functionality and when you're up at altitude, functionality is key.
Mid Weight Synthetic Down Jacket
The second part of the mid-layer picture should be a mid weight down jacket. We prefer synthetic materials such as Primaloft as not only are they more ethical, they also perform much better if they happen to get wet - when animal down can fail completely.
We use our down jackets the most for early starts and for keeping cosy in the evenings and because of the extra warmth the provide, they start to feel like a really special part of your kit. These jackets are great at trapping heat even when you're not active, and they provide a good element of wind resistance. In addition to the provided suggestions, we also recommend checking out Kaemp 8848 for their jackets - they have a small shop located at Thamel Marg, 44600, Kathmandu.
Mid Weight Synthetic Down Jacket - Elite Trekkers recommend:
Heavyweight Down jacket
Heavy down jackets are big and bulky and can really suck up space on your porters back. If you follow the gearing system we've suggested here you shouldn't need one, but if you're suscepitble to the cold, have a porter per-trekker or are going to be camping - particularly high up on trekking peaks like Island Peak - you may want to take one.
If you're unsure and you have time in Kathmandu before your trek, you can discuss your gear with your guide and hire one few a few dollars a day from Thamel if needed.
Waterproof Shell jacket
Depending on the time of year you're trekking in Nepal, your outer jacket may be used more for wind proofing than for the rain; but either way it's extremely important. You'll keep this jacket in your day pack at all times so it's important that it's light weight and compact. Thankfully modern jackets can offer extremely good weather protection using very lightweight materials. As with your boots, it will pay to make sure your waterproofing is tried and tested, so materials like GoreTex, eVent and HyVent are a good way to go.
Also while it's not such an issue on a guided trek, as you're likely to use your jacket elsewhere we suggest going for quite a bright colour. Reds, oranges, bright greens etc stand out against most natural backdrops, so should you ever be unfortunate enough to get lost while you're trekking, you'll be much easier to spot from the air.
Important factors for choosing a jacket are:
- The fit: It should be big enough to fit both a fleece and mid-weight down underneath it, but not so big it flaps all over the place in the wind.
- Collars and cuffs: The sleeves and waist of the jacket should be adjustable, so they can be tightly sealed to keep warmth in and wind out. A jacket without drawstrings around the waist is likely to be no good.
- Adjustable hood: A jacket should not only have a hood, but the hood should be adjustable, ideally around the face and also at the back of the head. Depending on the direction of the wind or rain (or even sun) we want to be able to adjust our hood to protect us perfectly, without leaving big gaps or continuously getting blown off our heads.
- Proper waterproofing: Along with being made with a reputable waterproofing material, there are other important features to look for including a flap over or under the main zip to stop water getting through the gaps, flaps over pocket entries (or waterproof zips on both of these areas) and taped seams inside the jacket to prevent leaks through the stitching.
- Reinforcements: Many modern jackets have additional material or patches on areas susceptible to heavy wear and tear, in particular elbows and shoulders (where our bag straps rub). Whilst not essential, these features will keep you drier and you jacket in service for a lot longer.
Active / Compression Leggings
They're popular these days so many people already have a pair, but if not we suggest you get some. They don't have to be expensive, in fact you can pick up cheap ones in Kathmandu for a few dollars that will do the job, though we prefer half decent ones.
Leggings give you flexibility to trek in shorts whilst staying protected from the sun, or add extra warmth when just your trousers might be too chilly. They're great at keeping the wind off and they provide a sense of cosy comfort when conditions turn for the worst.
They don't need to be super expensive compression leggings, anything that fits well, doesn't rub and offers some degree of warmth will be fine.
Active / Compression Leggings - Elite Trekkers recommend:
Lightweight Trekking Pants (2 pairs)
You'll be wearing these just about every single day. We love the zip-off types as it saves us having to carry a pair of shorts also, and we're all about saving space and weight (and ultimately, effort). Your trekking pants should be quick drying and light weight. Choose synthetics fabrics - there is a huge range on the market right now and no one type is best, just make sure they're somewhat windproof and have a good fit around the waist, as wearing a belt under the waistband of a backpack can get uncomfortable.
Lightweight Trekking Pants - Elite Trekkers recommend:
Waterproof / Shell Trousers
These are our key protection against the elements from the waist down. When it gets wet or really cold we want to have a good weatherproof layer for our legs. Regular waterproof overtrousers will do the job, but if you want to be more comfortable, we suggest waterproof, fleece-lined shell style trousers which offer much better insulation and breathability, compared to cheap, plastic overtrousers.
Handy features include zip-open ankles or side seams to allow you to put them on whilst wearing boots, waterproof pockets or access to pockets of inner trousers, and reinforced knees, bums and inner ankles.
Waterproof / Shell Trousers - Elite Trekkers recommend:
Underwear (4 - 7 pairs)
Take as many briefs as you feel comfortable with, but we feel 4 is enough for a short trek and 7 is the maximum for any trek. Synthetic or cotton are OK and the best thing is stick to something you know you're comfortable in. Just try to avoid bulky seams on the waistband or inside leg, as they can start to rub.
Liner Socks (2 - 3 pairs)
Synthetic / Wool blend thin socks to use as liners in case of rubbing, and as back-ups or extra layering if the conditions require it.
Trekking Socks (3 pairs)
We like to take a couple of different thicknesses for trekking at different altitudes. Synthetic / wool blends are best, though bamboo are also a decent choice.
Pro Tip: Put a Sock In It!
You might think your socks will take a beating on the trail and well, you'd be right. You don't need to pack a pair for every day though, instead take three pairs, wear each one as long as you feel comfortable, then strap/hang/clip that pair, inside out, to the outside of your daypack while you trek and wear the next pair. The fresh air and (hopefully) sunlight will do a great job of cleansing the bacteria from your socks and freshening them up for the next rotation. Be sure to clip them on well though, we see loose socks on the trail all too often!
When we've finished our days trekking in Nepal - which some days could be 2pm and some days 8pm - we want to be able to wind down and make ourselves at home. We want to feel comfortable and able to rest easy and as such it's important to pay attention to the kit you take for these times. Elite Trekkers believe that clean, warm evening gear is a must and a few little luxuries here will go a long way, especially on longer Nepal treks.
Sleeping Bag (camping or climbing only)
Most treks will be geared around staying the night in teahouses, which provide shelter and some degree of warmth (though unlike communal areas with their hot fires and stoves, rooms are generally not heated). Teahouses also usually provide blankets. This means that for treks during popular seasons where the temperature is mild, a relatively light weight sleeping bag will be fine. For treks in the colder periods (November to March) or for ascents of trekking peaks, a better sleeping bag will be required.
During these periods or on trekking peaks we suggest a bag rated to minimum 10F to maximum -10F (-12C to -24C) with down 700 fill minimum, or synthetic equivalent if you can find it. Conversely, if you trek in the monsoon, you can take a very light sleeping bag - plus there'll be very few trekkers around so you'll have access to as many blankets as you like in the teahouses.
Only required on trips where camping is involved (including trekking peaks). We suggest the inflatable type as they offer great comfort and insulation whilst packing down really well. They can be quite expensive though, so if you need a cheaper option, a foam mat will be OK - just look for one with ridges in the surface, ad this provides much more area to trap heat and avoid contact with cold floors.
For trekking peaks where we camp only one or two nights, it might be possible to hire a mat on the trail when you need it. Ask your guide or ask us if you think you'd prefer this approach.
Thermal Long Sleeve Top
Merino Wool is probably best, but is also expensive. Any comfortable, non-itchy, heavy and warm top will do. This will essentially act as your pyjama top to sit around on cold nights, sleep in and importantly stay warm during those unfortunately frequent, altitude induced toilet trips.
We suggest mid weight tops here, but depending on the season you're trekking in you might want to go heavier or lighter.
Thermal Long Sleeve Top - Elite Trekkers recommend:
Down Booties or Wool Slippers
There's nothing better than kicking off your boots, peeling off the daily socks, wiping down your feet and slipping into some cosy slippers. Down booties are a popular choice, but it's also possible to pick up cute hand-made wool bootie-socks in Kathmandu at bargain prices, which offer a colourful Nepalese alternative. Either way, you'll love your cosy evening feet!
You may also want to keep one (extra) pair of warm wool socks just for this occasion too.
Down Booties or Wool Slippers - Elite Trekkers recommend:
Crocs or Sandals
Once we've taken out boots off and are sitting cosy in our slippers we don't want to put our trekking gear back on just to pop outside for a sunset photo or to visit the bathroom. For massive convenience with little extra cost or weight we suggest taking a pair of crocs or other slip on shoes to wear around the tea houses.
Hands & Heads
At high altitudes and on most of the trail once the sun goes down, the temperature drops rapidly and keeping our extremities warm is crucial to staying comfortable. As always, we like to stay lightweight and versatile so we suggest a few pieces in your kit.
Sunglasses (2 pairs)
These are very important and you should be sure to carry a spare set (these don't have to be quite as awesome/expensive as your main pair but still need to be 100% UV proof). Your sunnies should have broad coverage of your eyes so you don't get hit by glare from the sides or underneath. 100% UV and 100% IR protection is a must for your main set. You don't need old school glacier glasses if you don't want, but they do look pretty cool...
Lightweight, silk-like liner gloves are great on their own at low altitudes and add important layering to your cold-susceptible fingers when it starts to bite. Look for close fitting gloves with very little seams, as they can rub you when worn under other gloves.
Waterproof Outer Gloves
There are many to choose from, but we find the best are those that have a fleece liner (ideally removable) and a reinforced waterproof exterior. Mitten style gloves are really warm and cosy, but are hard to manipulate things with, so you may find yourself taking them off to do stuff and losing some of the benefit - but that's down to personal taste. Look out for a soft area on the back of the thumb - it's for wiping your nose and as you'll likely be doing a lot of that when it gets really cold, you may save yourself some chafing.
Be wary of buying gloves in Kathmandu - we've done this before and however good a set of fake gloves may appear initially, the performance never lives up to the real thing and painfully cold fingers can ruin even the most beautifully starry night or mountain sunrise.
The sun can be punishing at altitude as the thinner air allows more UV to reach you. The open skies and dusty or snowy landscapes also allow for an awful lot of glare. A wide sun hat or cap will keep the sun from your face (importantly, your eyes) and neck and will make you much more comfortable.
Sun Hat - Elite Trekkers recommend:
Wool or Fleece Hat
We all know how important it is to keep your head warm so we won't go into details. There are loads of style available out there, just make sure your ears are covered and it's not too bulky - function over style if possible!
Wool or Fleece Hat - Elite Trekkers recommend:
Buff Style Neck Warmer
We love these things. Soft versatile neckwarmers are great for keeping draughts out and are also really handy for keeping the cold, wind, or sun off your lips and nose - or for adding a little extra warmth on your head when a hat is too much. They come in a range of colours and sizes and are super lightweight. We don't think they're an absolute essential, but we love them!
Buff Style Neck Warmer - Elite Trekkers recommend:
Accessories & Gadgets
Theer are some things we need to keep ourselves clean and comfortable, some things we need to achieve our goals, and some things we need just because they're fun. Some days we might have a lot of time our hands too...
Head Torch (Head Lamp) (one or two with spare batteries)
Whether you're making a start trekking before sunset, or arriving after dark, you'll need to see where you're going. Some teahouses also have a lights out time, literally. A decent head torch is a very important piece of your Nepal trekking kit list. There are lots of varieties on the market. We like the Black Diamond Storm weatherproof lamp for trekking and the Petzl Tikka R+ for camp, as it adjusts its brightness automatically when you look at things up close. These aren't cheap though and it's possible to get by with a fairly basic, cheaper alternative.
Be sure to bring plenty of spare batteries, or a decent rechargable system!
Head Torch (Head Lamp) - Elite Trekkers recommend:
This is a massive one - there's so much to see and memories to treasure that a good camera and plenty of memory are a must. Many people already have their own kit preferences, but if you want some advice, here's what we prefer to use.
For us, it's all about the modern mirrorless cameras. They're super light and compact (a camera and full lens kit in a bag is about the same size and weight as a mid-range DSLR body along in a bag) and the results are great. Most of the photos on this site were taken with one in fact. You'll probably want to do your own research, but see below for our staff picks.
We also love our GoPro, the wide angle is amazing in the mountains when the scenery is so vast and close to us, plus the weatherproof aspect is fantastic to make sure we don't miss a moment.
You don't need such fancy camera gear though, you can score great results with a more normal point and shoot digital camera, like the Nikon CoolPix or Canon PowerShot ranges.
Whatever you use, be sure to pack extra batteries and lots of memory! A tripod will be really useful for sunrise, sunset and the incredible views of the Milky Way at night.
Camera Kit - Elite Trekkers recommend:
- Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 Lens
- Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 14-42mm and 40-150mm Lenses (Black) Deluxe Bundle
- Olympus 9mm f8.0 Fisheye Body Cap Lens BCL-0980 for Micro 4/3 Cameras
- Wasabi Power Battery (2-Pack) and Charger for Olympus
- Nikon Coolpix S2800 20.1 MP Point & Shoot Digital Camera with 5X Optical Zoom
- SanDisk Ultra 32GB Class 10 SDHC UHS-I Memory Card
- SanDisk Ultra 64GB microSDXC UHS-I Card with Adapter
- GoPro HERO4 Silver
- Wasabi Power Battery (2-Pack) and Dual Charger for GoPro HERO4
- JOBY GPod Mini Magnetic - Compact Tripod With Magnetic Feet
Swiss Army Knife
As useful as a... Swiss Army Knife! One of the coolest and most versatile gadgets ever invented and great for all things from running repairs to opening beers!
Swiss Army Knife - Elite Trekkers recommend:
Batteries, Chargers & Solar Power
You can pick and choose these items according to your needs. Charging batteries can get quite expensive at higher altitudes, where power is something of a luxury, so it can pay to come prepared to limit the amount of charging you need to do.
We love rechargeable batteries as single use batteries are a massive toxic waste problem globally. For much the same reason, we like portable solar chargers and thanks to recent advances in technology, these are now surprisingly affordable.
Power bank chargers are great, but also heavy. For this reason we believe it's a good idea to carry one really good high capacity power bank for emergencies, than to carry multiple cheaper ones with limited capacity and more weight.
At the very least you'll need extra batteries for your head torch and a means of charging your other gadgets.
Batteries, Chargers & Solar Power - Elite Trekkers recommend:
- Eneloop rechargeable batteries (for headtorch etc)
- Solar Charger, CHOE 19W 2-Port Solar Phone Charger with Dual USB Port
- Solar Charger, Solar External Battery Pack, iBeek
- Aibocn Power Bank 10,000mAh External Battery Charger with Flashlight
- Anker 20000mAh Portable Charger PowerCore 20100 - Ultra High Capacity Power Bank with 4.8A Output
- 4 in 1 Multiple USB Charging Cable Adapter Connector
Universal Power Plug Adapter
Chances are your gadgets will have different plugs to the ones available in the teahouses, so you'll need a multi-adapter to make them fit. To save weight and for future versatility, we suggest getting one that both accepts and produces plugs from any country. Inbuilt USB sockets are a great bonus too.
A multi-way charging cable will save a lot of messy hassle in your tech kit also (and a little weight) - just be sure it has all the charging heads needed for your devices.
Universal Power Plug Adapter - Elite Trekkers recommend:
If you want to be sure to keep the amazing photographs you're bound to take while trekking in Nepal, you might want to consider backing them up as soon as possible. If you're taking a tablet or laptop or other device with you (exercise caution and think about the weight and potential issues charging it if so) then you can back up your photos on the trail. Otherwise, you can do it as soon as you get back to Kathmandu. We like to keep a sturdy hard drive specifically for keeping our photos safe.
Back-up Storage - Elite Trekkers recommend:
Health & Personal Sanitation
There are a lot of different cleansing rituals and health regimes that people use in the mountains and you know your own personal habits better than anyone. Contained in this list are some items (marked advisable or optional, as opposed to required) which you may wish to swap for other items of your preference. As long as you're covered for all your health and sanitary needs while you're trekking in Nepal - it's all good!
Water purification System
Clean drinking water is a must and so it's crucial to be sure you have a means of producing it. Several options are available - the most common and cheap of which being purification tablets. A variety of different types and chemicals exist for this so you may want to do your own research, but we actually find the most popular and common brands available in most stores in Kathmandu to be the safest and cheapest. Hand held purification pumps are also an options and portable UV wands are an increasingly popular option that provides great results.
As a rule of thumb you should plan to be equipped to purify at least 5 litres of water each day you're trekking in Nepal.
Water purification System - Elite Trekkers recommend:
Washbag & Toiletries
You know what you need and what you usually use. The basics are of course:
- Flannel / sponge
You may find yourself showering out of a sink or bucket to save time or money, in which case the flannel will be your best friend.
Optional additions may include:
- Nail clippers or scissors
- Hair brush / comb
- Shampoo / conditioner (in a small, lightweight container, hotel gift size)
We suggest using a lightweight, quick drying towel. It may not give the best body coverage, but when it's freezing cold and you're wet, you're not going to be wanting to hang around undressed!
Travel Towel - Elite Trekkers recommend:
Baby Wipes (3 per day)
Your ready to go shower. Considered by most of our team to be the second most important sanitary item after your toothbrush. You can freshen up any time, anywhere with a good baby wiping. We suggest going for biodegradable ones, on the off chance your litter doesn't get properly dealt with down the line.
Baby Wipes - Elite Trekkers recommend:
Pro Tip: To Towel or Not to Towel?
A towel is pretty bulky and hot showers at altitude are comparatively quite expensive (they're very resource intensive and often cost more than a full meal). Are you likely to want to brave the cold, and front up the expense? If not, consider leaving the towel at home and just sticking with baby wipes. You can get a perfectly good clean like this and our team have survived weeks in the mountains in perfect hygiene using only baby wapes (albeit very thoroughly). You can still use your flannel too for extra cleaning, especially when you arrive at your tea house during a sunny mid-afternoon.
First Aid Kit
Don't worry, your guides will be carrying first aid kits. For us though, it's a matter of ritual that any time we go off into the mountains, however prepared everyone is, we also have basic supplies to look after ourselves should something go really wrong and we find ourselves injured and separated. This includes a basic first aid kit. A small, off-the-shelf kit will contain most of the things you need for basic treatment of yourself or another trekker and while you probably won't ever need it, it's nice to know you're prepared.
First Aid Kit - Elite Trekkers recommend:
The sun at altitude is much stronger than lower down, thanks to the thinner air absorbing less UV radiation, and the snowy or dusty environment reflecting more harmful radiation back to you. Sun burn is regrettably common for people trekking in Nepal and we urge you to take good care of your skin and be liberal with the sun screen on exposed flesh every day.
Sun Screen - Elite Trekkers recommend:
Your lips are very exposed to the elements on a trek in Nepal, thanks to big changes in hot and cold temperatures, cold night, wind and sun exposure. It's very common for lips to peel or crack as a result of this. For us, leaving on a trek without any lip balm is a minor disaster and it's something we always be sure to have packed. A personal favourite is Australian PawPaw ointment as it seems to work wonders on dry or itchy skin all over the body, especially the lips. It'll even clear up a cold sore in a day or two of regular use!
Painkillers / Ibuprofen
Especially helpful to manage symptoms of mild altitude sickness (which can happen to all of us, and quite possibly will) or to deal with minor injuries or sprains. Even if you don't need them, someone else probably will.
Painkillers / Ibuprofen - Elite Trekkers recommend:
A blister, especially on your foot, can quite literally rub all the fun out of an otherwise life changing experience. Even if you've had your boots for years, it can't do any harm to have a pack of blister plasters with you just in case.
Blister Plasters - Elite Trekkers recommend:
A quick and effective way of freshening up your hair without having to get soaked washing it. A single can doesn't weigh too much and if used sparingly will easily last a trek.
Dry Shampoo - Elite Trekkers recommend:
The walls in tea houses can be a little thin at times and whether you've gone to bed earlier than everyone else, or your room-mate or neighbour are rattling the walls with their snoring, you may find you're glad you packed those earplugs. Having cords on your earplugs might help you avoid losing them in your sleeping bag during the night..
Earplugs - Elite Trekkers recommend:
Foot Powder Spray
Generally a good daily baby-wiping will keep your feet fresh and clean, especially if you change into indoor socks / slippers when you finish trekking in Nepal each day. If you're prone to particularly stinky feet or regular infections, some foot powder spray might be a quick and easy way to keep it at bay.
Foot Powder Spray - Elite Trekkers recommend:
Only really necessary for lowland treks, or high altitude treks in the monsoon season. If you're not trekking in Nepal in these areas at these times, then unless you have allergies or serious aversion you can save the weight and expense.
Insect Repellant - Elite Trekkers recommend:
Muscle Rub and/or Tape
If you're prone to, or have any existing muscle injuries or weaknesses, it may help to carry some muscle rub, ibuprofen gel, or athletic tape to manage any pain that may arise on long trips trekking in Nepal.
Send Us Your Thoughts
Do you have any great ideas or tips for gear to take trekking in Nepal? Perhaps there's something on our Nepal trekking kit list you think needs updating? If you want to contribute in any way to this kit list, please don't hesitate to contact us here at Elite Trekkers.