Trekking in Nepal Himalayas to take top quality mountaineering clothing and equipment is an investment that will see you through years of adventures. Ever wondered about trekking into Everest Base Camp or the Annapurna Circuit and what sort of gear you would need ? Based on MC’s suggestion, I’ve put together here a list of the gear that I’d recommend for anyone thinking of doing a trek into Nepal.
Gear List for a Trek:
Good, sturdy hiking boots - Ones that are quite stiff through the soles and come up to your ankles to protect your ankles from rolling. Make sure you have enough room in the boots so that your toes don’t hit the front of them when going downhill (slightly looser is better than being too small). It’s best to get these from a good gear shop that can fit you out properly. It’s also important to wear the boots in before doing any serious hiking in them – take the dogs for walks in them, etc.
Walking Socks - Several pairs (maybe 5) so that you always have dry ones to use. It’s good to have a few different types of socks that you can use, so that you can mix it up a bit if one type becomes uncomfortable.
Thin Socks - Some people prefer to wear a thin pair of socks under their thick ones when walking. I personally don’t bother with this but you might want to try it out and see if it’s more comfortable for you.
Sandals or another comfortable shoe - To wear around the lodges for when you’re sick of wearing your boots.
Synthetic Pants - Preferably the ones that convert into shorts because even in the mountains it can get quite warm (maybe 35C / 95F). These are really handy to have for any hiking and you may even want two pairs for the trek. You could easily buy these in Kathmandu but it may be better to get them from home to ensure they fit you well.
Synthetic T-Shirts / Singlets - These are much better to use than cotton because they dry out quickly and can breath. Again, there’s plenty in Kathmandu but you might find less sizing and cut options than you would at home. I’d probably recommend bringing 2 T-Shirts and one singlet. When I buy outdoor clothes, if I see cotton in them, then I look for something else.
Synthetic Shirt - with a collar to wear for sun protection if it’s warm, or with a thermal underneath if it’s cooler.
Fleece Jacket - A fairly warm fleece jacket is recommended. The wind-stopper ones are nice but if you don’t have this, it doesn’t really matter because you can just use your rain jacket as well if there’s a cold wind blowing. A fleece vest can also be quite useful for those in-between temperatures. If you’re looking for an extra fleece.
Fleece Pants - These are nice to wear in the lodges during the evenings if you’re prone to getting cold. Warm-bodied people may find they don’t need them though.
Rain Jacket - The longer styles that come half-way down your thigh work best. You should also have a hood on the jacket.
Thermal underwear - Probably two sets of long pants and two long sleeve tops. I’ve found that the new style woollen ones last a lot better than the polypro ones and don’t smell as much. But thick polypro, is warmer and cheaper, so some of both is good.
Down Jacket - You will probably want to wear a down jacket for the nights that you spend above 4000m. Unless you already have one (or have someone you can borrow one from), this is something definitely worth buying in Kathmandu. Fluffier is best, and it’s important to get one that is baffled and not sewn through (so that it is more 3D than 2D). If the stitching in the panels is sewn straight through from the outside to the inside then there is no down in that area and heat can escape.
HEAD AND HANDWEAR
Scarf / neckwarmer
Sun hat – the synthetic ones with the neck protector are best
Bandana / Silk Scarf – or something you can wear over your mouth to protect it from dust, but still allow you to breath easily.
Gloves – there are lots of options for different combinations, but you’ll want some that are warm (eg fleece or polypro), and some that are waterproof (ski gloves would work fine).
Good Sunglasses – it’s very bright up there so high UV protection is needed. If you wear prescription glasses, you might want to consider getting prescription sunglasses, or getting sunglasses that can fit on top of your regular glasses. Bring a spare pair of sunglasses.
Head torch / flash light – some of the lodges don’t have good lighting in the bedrooms so you’ll need some sort of light.
Trekking poles – some hikers love them and others don’t, but if you’re going to use them anywhere, Nepal would be the place. Light-weight is best and I prefer to use two (some people like just having one). I find they help with balance – especially when walking downhill on a rocky surface. Also when going uphill, I find that they help give me more momentum (and keep me going!) Mine are actually ski poles which do the job just as well. Can easily buy these in Kathmandu.
Sleeping bag – a good down sleeping bag is recommended. This is something else that you can buy quite cheaply in Kathmandu. Fluffier is best.
Sleeping bag liner – these keep you a bit warmer and are nicer to sleep with. Silk is best.
Small pillow – not really necessary, but very nice to use. We bring a full size one!
Plenty of sunscreen.
Anti-bacterial hand cream – to use before eating (available in pharmacies). Alcohol based.
Playing cards, books, MP3 player or whatever other entertainment you prefer, Camera
Water bottles – 2 x 1 litre bottles is plenty. We just use a single bottle each.
Snacks – there are lots of places to buy snacks along the way but if you have a preference for something to munch on while you’re walking, it’s a good idea to bring that along.
Toiletries – including extra toilet paper and face wipes (these are always nice to have along for hikes).
Day pack – a small backpack that you can fit your rain jacket, fleece jacket, bottle of water, camera, some basic first-aid stuff, and a couple of snacks for the day
Duffle bag – this bag would have everything else in it and would be carried by a porter between towns (you probably won’t have access to it during the day).
Plenty of spare batteries – for torches and music.
Climbing boots – it would depend on the peak you’re climbing, how warm and stiff you’d need these to be
Crampons – make sure that they fit your climbing boots properly and they have anti snow plates.
Ice Axe – nice and light, not too short.
Climbing Harness, some rope, carabiners, figure 8, ascender, a couple of slings.
Ski Goggles, Helmet, Gortex pants or overalls, Down mitts, Medical & Personal
Sunscreen - SPF 30 or higher, non-oily (Dermatone or Terrapin).
Lipscreen - SPF 30 or higher (any brand).
Toiletry kit - toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, alcohol-based anti-bacterial hand sanitizer, anti-bacterial soap, comb/brush, shave kit, lighter, small long-burning candle, needle/thread, throat lozenges (bring travel size bottles to keep you kit small).
First-aid kit - Ibuprofen/aspirin, assorted band-aids, moleskin, little of hydrogen peroxide, Neosporin-type suave, Nu-skin spray, small gauze pad, roll of adhesive tape, tweezers, safety pins, small bottle of water purification tablets. Include any prescription travel meds that might be prescribed by your doctor. (antibiotics, Diamox, malaria meds, sleep aids).
Large trash compactor bags - For waterproofing some items inside your duffel.
Zip-loc bags - These are always useful.
Earplugs - Very useful for sleeping in tents and lodges. Available in most hardware stores.
Water purification tablets - Such as Potable Aqua brand iodine tablets. You will be given plenty of purified water during your trek, but one bottle of backup purification tablets is always a good idea for your travels. They are especially useful in hotels on your way to Nepal. You should not drink untreated tap water anywhere in Asia and bottled water in some rare cases might not be available.
A lot of this would depend on the actual peak you were climbing and the group you were going with. There are quite a few peaks that would probably be good for a first climbing experience (perhaps Island Peak) but as you can see, it would require you to have some specialised equipment by Across Himalaya.