Trekking Equipment / Gear List Needed For Trekking In Nepal

After deciding where, how and when to go trekking, the next most important thing is to determine what gears are required to conquer that particular feat. Surely, trekking in Nepal isn’t easy. Well, there are easy ones but why take the easiest option when the hardest is the most fruitful one; in terms of scenery, challenges, and life-changing experience.

Taking necessary things with you can only make your journey a hell lot easier. The easier you feel, the better it is for both of us as you’ll enjoy the trek and our paradise-esque country. We definitely don’t want you to struggle whilst on the route, so with this in mind, we have come with the gear checklist; what you should bring from the home and what you can buy in Kathmandu.
Both branded items and local take on branded items are available in Kathmandu. It is totally possible to get everything and anything you will need for a trek here. A word of cautions about local products though: Being labeled North Face or Mountain Hardwear, as most local products are, doesn’t bless them with durability. However, there are good fakes and bad fakes and most are okay for the price. If you spend some time checking and rechecking the stuff especially the zippers, it will provide the service for at least one trek. Or you could just stick to one of the branded outlets in Thamel.
However, bringing some stuffs from home will save you time in Kathmandu and will also buy you peace of mind. Perhaps, you can get around Kathmandu via bus, rickshaw, taxi etc. Also, if you don’t know, the dress code for the mountains is layers. And avoid cotton inners at all costs.
Below is the list of things that we recommend you to bring from home or else Thamel, Kathmandu will take care of it but mind you, you might be in for a bit of a headache if you don’t like hassle and bustle.

Bring from Home:

Trekking Boots– Lightweight, waterproof, ankle support, some toe room and most importantly broken in.
Daypack/Rucksack with pack cover– If you plan on hiring porters, a 30 liter bag should be enough. Otherwise, look for a 70 liter one.
Passport size photos– 5-7 should be good.
Sunglasses with straps– Straps are important as sunglasses happen to be the one thing that people misplace most often while taking pictures or resting.
Spare glasses/lenses– If you wear glasses or contact, having a spare is very important.
Inner Thermals– Both top and bottom will make your trek that much more enjoyable.
Fleece– Great for layering with wind/waterproof jacket for walking.
Wind/Water Jacket– Make sure it is breathable and is waterproof.
Down Jacket– Mornings and evenings can be pretty chilly. Will make your stay at camp and short excursions that much more comfortable.
Fleece pants– So you can remain warm and feel clean during the evenings.
Wind pants– Waterproof breathable is recommended.
Gloves– Make sure it is at least windproof.
Underwear– 4-6 should carry you through a two-three week trek.
Flashlight– Look for LED head torches.
Camera with an extra battery– One extra battery should be good as charging can sometimes be a bit of a hassle. Also, you cannot charge if you don’t have a charger. Do not forget that.
Socket Adapter– Many sockets in Nepal are of Type C, that is they have circular pins. It will be handy to have an adapter just in case.
Water filters or Water purification tablets– To give you peace of mind and protection when you aren’t sure of the water. Water filters are amazingly small and efficient these days.

Bring from Home (Optional):

Vitamin supplements– One thing that you will be short on during a trek is Vitamin C. Supplements are always welcome.
Zip locks– Useful in oh so many different ways, for first aid kits to toiletries to documents.
Running shoes– Great to keep your feet comfortable in treks like ABC, Annapurna Circuit and Manaslu in which a sizeable portion of the trek goes through a low country.
Swiss Army Knife– Pack it off in your luggage if you don’t want it confiscated at airports.
Binoculars– Consider small and light ones, unless watching wildlife is your main purpose.
Books– A trek is the perfect time to catch up on reading. However, it would be tough to finish more than 2 books in one-two-three week trek.
Tablet computers– Entertainment at evenings.
Gaiters– Keeps your feet dry and warm, if the weather takes a turn for the worse.

Get in Kathmandu:

Trekking trousers– 2 pairs. Lightweight and loose.
Trekking shirts– 2 pairs. Collared ones are better. Avoid cotton.
Woolen cap– It’ll protect you from suffering from severe headaches.
Trekking poles– Your back and legs will love you for these, especially in downhill stretches.
Water bottle– Get 2 with a wide mouth opening, which can store hot water.
Sandals– Great for giving your feet a breather during the evenings.
Buffs– 3 Can be used as a neck gaiter, head wear, to cover your face, to tie your hair and a whole bunch of other ways. One of the best use, however, is to cover your nose and mouth at high altitudes to hydrate your breath and avoid the cold dry mountain air. Make sure to keep it rather loose around your nose though and your lungs will love you for it.
Sleeping Bag liner– A light silk liner is good enough rather than the heavy fleece ones. Its main purpose is to protect you from lodge blankets that are washed at most twice a year.
Socks– 3 pairs are more than good enough. Make sure they are thick woolen ones. For treks that go through a low country like Annapurna Circuit and Manaslu Circuit, you might consider getting 2 more pairs of lightweight socks too.
Sunscreen– SPF 30-50 will be good enough. There is little point in going over that. However, make sure it is rated, UVA in addition to UVB.
Lip Balm– Moisturizing and SPF 30 necessary.
Toilet paper– 2 rolls should be good enough.
Toothbrush
Toothpaste
Shower Gel– Travel size or sachets ideal as you won’t be showering as much during a trek.
Shampoo– Travel size of sachets is ideal.
Towel– A small one will be more than good enough.
Moisturizing cream– That cold dry mountain air will take its toll on your skin.
Hand sanitizer
Plastic Bags– 2 large ones 3 small ones. Comes in very handy to put in your dirty laundry
Snacks– Carry some chocolate bars and nuts for a quick munch before lunch. Don’t carry too much as you can find them in lodges all along the trails.

Get in Kathmandu (Optional):

Sun Hat/Baseball Hat– Great for protection from the sun when it is still warm enough.
Neck gaiter– A buff can be used in place of this. But this one comes in handy.
Deodorant– Your partner will love you for this.
Diary– You really want to note down few things.
Pen– Carry some spares.
Kit Bag and lock– If you plan to hire a porter a kit bag comes in handy. Make sure you get a lock too. Combination ones are easier.
Now that we gave you the essentials, it completely depends upon you, how you pack your bag.

Bon Voyage!

Annapurna Circuit – Introduction

The Annapurna Circuit is the ultimate trek in terms of variety and adventure. With her you will shrug shoulders with polite Brahmins, gutsy Gurungs, regal Ghales, smiling Lobas and hospitable Thakalis. With her, you will earn bragging rights for scrambling past one of the highest mountain passes and gliding through one of the deepest river valleys. With her, you will have mountains for breakfast, plunge pools for lunch and Milky Way for dinner. Musk Deers, Blue Sheep, Griffons and Monals will give you company while Primulas, Irises and Rhododendrons will light up your way. Before we go overboard, let me clarify that not every trip works out the way we made it out to be, but it comes pretty close. Go check it out for yourself. Who knows, you might even catch a glimpse of the chimerical Snow Leopard.

Whatever you do, please do not pull off an Alexander Supertramp on us. Remember great rewards equal great risks everywhere. Be well prepared and read up on the dry stuffs about high altitude risks. It isn’t just legend that there are demons in the mountains. Those that are disrespectful have and will perish. Go slow and acquiesce when the mountains ask you to stop. She won’t be going anywhere and when her mood brightens, she will welcome you with arms wide open.

Trekker walking pass by Annapurna II, Nepal.

Annapurna II  in the background

 

Man made ancient cave at Mustang

Ancient Cave Dwellings 

 

Saw the ruins of Old Palace at Jhong

Ruins of Old Palace at Jhong 

 

The bharal or Himalayan blue sheep or naur (Pseudois nayaur) is a caprid found in the high Himalayas of Nepal, Tibet, China, India, Pakistan, and Bhutan.

Blue Sheep- Funny thing with Blue sheep is that it is neither blue nor is it really a sheep 

 

Waterfall, a natural beauty

Narchyang Waterfall 

 

Mountains and its endless beauty

Swargadwari in Manang 

 

he Dhaulagiri icefall is a mass glacier on the south slope of the Annapurna Range between the peaks of Dhaulagiri I and Tukuche

Dhaulagiri and Dhaulagiri Ice Fall

 

Welcome to Paradise!!

 

Annapurna Base Camp – Introduction

Imagine you are in the middle of the Colosseum and the walls are not 150 but 10,000 feet high and are made of rock, ice and snow. There you have it. That is what it is like to be at the Annapurna Base Camp. We really think the base camp should be marked with a “Caution: Jaw Drop Ahead” sign at least during the full moons. And it has an approach to match. The trail goes through the heartland of the Gurungs who make a sizeable portion of the fearsome Gurkhas. It might come as a bit of a surprise to find them so friendly and peaceful, but look around, who wouldn’t be happy in such a tranquil landscape? If you are lucky, you might even get to see an audacious honey hunt in a precarious cliff side. The trail also passes through the most rewarding hawk watch site in Nepal and the rhododendrons are something to write home about. In short, you will love it!!

It is also one of the easier treks in Nepal as the trails are great and the altitude isn’t that bad. However, that is no reason to be sloppy as you will be spending a good portion of time above 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) the boundary line for altitude related complications. Also, avalanche is a real concern here and we would read about it than sleep under it. While the dangers are real, it is minimal and a quick read on avalanche gullies will go a long way in keeping you safe. Don’t lose your sleep over it.

Amazing view of Machhapuchhre

Machhapuchhre from Annapurna Base Camp 

 

Himalaya Griffon perhaps the largest and heaviest bird found in the Himalayas.

Himalaya Griffon 

 

Machhapuchhre from Chhomrong- The Fishtail 

 

Honey hunting or Honey harvesting is one of the most ancient human activities and is still practised in different societies across Asia, Africa, Australia and South America

Honey hunting souvenir at Sinuwa

 

Machhapuchchhre literally means "Fish Tail" in English, is a mountain in the Annapurna Himal of north central Nepal.

Machhapuchhre from Dhampus- The Shark Fin 

 

Rhododendron, national flower of Nepal

Rhododendron bloom

 

Welcome to the Sanctuary of Gods and Titans!!!

 

Everest Base Camp Trek– Introduction

The Everest Base Camp Trek is in many ways like a visit to a mountain museum. The only difference is that the stuffs on display are all real. Nowhere else on earth is such a dense concentration of mountains of such stature. Four out of ten of the world’s highest peaks are here. Basically, you will be breathing and eating mountains throughout. In the backdrop of this grandeur, you will find Himalayan Tahrs as tame as your domestic goats and the iridescent Himalayan Monal more trusting than your barn chicken. And to top it all off, the amazing Sherpa hospitality comes second to none. In the contemplative adventure that is the Everest Base Camp Trekking trails, you will miss nothing, not even the internet.

At the same time, it is also one of the toughest treks in Nepal primarily because of the altitude. You will be spending a minimum of 6 nights above 4,000 meters and at least 2 above 5,000 meters. To put this number in perspective, the air pressure at 5,000 meter is just above half of that at sea level, which means you are seriously short of air up there. But as long you remember that you are on vacation and that there is no rush (after all that is the point of a vacation, right?), you will do great. Many people who forget this simple fact of life either end their trek half dazed in a rescue helicopter or in missing posters that you will see along the trail. Go slow, even glacial if need be, and this will be the most amazing trip you’ve ever had.

Ama Dablam means "Mother's necklace".

Ama Dablam from Dingboche

 

The love in the eyes of these Himalayan Tahr.

Himalayan Tahr

 

Namche is the main trading center and tourist hub for the Khumbu region

Namche

 

The beauty of Blood Pheasants.

 

Sun kissed pic of the Taboche mountain.

Taboche

 

The black redstart is a small robin-sized bird.

May Happy Feet go with you!!

Mountains in Nepal – Everest Region

As we all know, mountains are the major highlight in Everest Base Camp Trek, and they are served in many flavors. There are of course the high peaks, and then there are the tough, the easy-going, the photogenic and the sacred. Hell, there is even one reputed to contain a door to heaven for the pure of heart.

Of all the sacred peaks, the Khumbila is the most important one and is the protector deity of the entire Khumbu region. Other sacred peaks are Everest/Chomolungma, Taboche, Kangtega, Thamserku, Pumori, and Pokalde.

The sacred mountain of Khumbila

Khumbila

 

The high peaks of the region include such giants as Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Cho Oyu. Pumori, Baruntse, Nuptse and Gyachung Kang also deserve special mention in this category.

The colossal Everest and Lhotse

Everest and Lhotse

 

Toughness and beauty, however, are both very subjective notions, beauty because it is in the eyes of the beer holder and toughness because it depends upon the route taken, climbing style (and no we am not talking tiptoeing and tap dancing here), season and supplemental oxygen use. Hell, even the trip to Base Camp could be graded tough if you did it in shorts and without shoes. In spite of such subjectivity, We will take the risk and go ahead with the list. We all have a soft corner for top something lists after all, no matter how meaningless they might be.

Among the beauties, it would be hard to not include the pleasant contours of Ama Dablam or the perfect pyramidal outline of Pumori. We also find the horse head and radiating shoulders of Kangtega rather attractive, but it might be just me.

The snow caped Ama Dablam

Ama Dablam

 

Kangtega, known also as The Snow Saddle.

Kangtega

 

Now grading the toughness of mountain is a minefield in its own right, liberally booby-trapped with romanticism, nostalgia, smugness, hubris, and money especially in the case of Everest. But we trekkers needn’t concern ourselves with the details here. Despite what armchair mountaineers will have you believe, let me put it out there that Everest is tough. Sure it would be just a pipe dream for most people if it weren’t for the glamorous ice doctors and the humble kitchen crew, but it isn’t hard to imagine that it is still a rough walk even with bottled oxygen. Lhotse, Cho Oyu, and Thamserku are other peaks which are respected for their difficulty.

 

The beauty of Thamserku mountain.

Thamserku

 

If you are feeling a little bit more adventurous than the viewpoint at Kala Patthar, you might consider scrambling to Pokalde, Island Peak, Chukung Ri or Mera Peak for that “I’m on the top of the world” experience. Okay ‘scrambling’ was a bad choice of word as it does involve extra permits, full mountaineering gear and some climbing skills.

The sacred mountain of Khumbila

Khumbila

 

The high peaks of the region include such giants as Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Cho Oyu. Pumori, Baruntse, Nuptse and Gyachung Kang also deserve special mention in this category.

The colossal Everest and Lhotse

Everest and Lhotse

 

Toughness and beauty however are both very subjective notions, beauty because it is in the eyes of the beer holder and toughness because it depends upon the route taken, climbing style (and no we am not talking tiptoeing and tap dancing here), season and supplemental oxygen use. Hell, even the trip to Base Camp could be graded tough if you did it in shorts and without shoes. Inspite of such subjectivity, We will take the risk and go ahead with the list. We all have a soft corner for top something lists after all, no matter how meaningless they might be.

Among the beauties, it would be hard to not include the pleasant contours of Ama Dablam or the perfect pyramidal outline of Pumori. We also find the horse head and radiating shoulders of Kangtega rather attractive, but it might be just me.

The snow caped Ama Dablam

Ama Dablam

 

Kangtega, known also as The Snow Saddle.

Kangtega

 

Now grading the toughness of mountain is a minefield in its own right, liberally booby trapped with romanticism, nostalgia, smugness, hubris and money especially in the case of Everest. But we trekkers needn’t concern ourselves with the details here. Despite what armchair mountaineers will have you believe, let me put it out there that Everest is tough. Sure it would be just a pipe dream for most people if it weren’t for the glamorous ice doctors and the humble kitchen crew, but it isn’t hard to imagine that it is still a rough walk even with bottled oxygen. Lhotse, Cho Oyu and Thamserku are other peaks which are respected for their difficulty.

 

The beauty of Thamserku mountain.

Thamserku

 

If you are feeling a little bit more adventurous than the viewpoint at Kala Patthar, you might consider scrambling to Pokalde, Island Peak, Chukung Ri or Mera Peak for that “I’m on the top of the world” experience. Okay, ‘scrambling’ was a wrong choice of word as it does involve extra permits, full mountaineering gear, and some climbing skills.

Everest Base Camp – Best time to go (seasonal breakdown)

The best answer to when to go to Everest Base Camp is, whenever you are ready. Once the decision to go has been made all the universe will conspire in helping you, as Paulo Coelho would no doubt agree. And truth be said, Everest Region Trekking Trails offer something unique to offer just about every month. It all depends on what you are looking for. Now let’s get into the details:

Everest Base Camp Trek in Winter (Jan-March):

Winter is perhaps the least tapped of the months. The mountain views are perfect and there are very few trekkers along the trail. Add to it the fact that most large wildlife descends to lower valleys during this time and you have a near perfect time to trek. And by large wildlife we mean, the tame Tahr, the iridescent Himalaya Monal, the secretive Musk Deer, the homely Himalayan Snowcock and perhaps if you are as lucky was Walter Mitty- the majestic Snow Leopard.

However, be prepared for extreme cold and occasional heavy snow which clears very slowly. The probability of getting stuck in the lodge from 3rd week of February to the end of the March is very high, due to heavy snowfall. Think good quality warm clothing and heavy snow boots. As such, it is not a good time for camping or high passes. Stick to the lodges. Flight disruptions for a day or two is possible so do not plan too tight. Winter is also not a good time for independent travelers. With few people around the trail and snow on the ground, navigation can be a challenge and if in case anything were to happen, chances are very high that nobody will see it.

If you are planning a to trek to Gokyo lakes to see the vibrant turquoise Gokyo lakes, the soundtrack “Let it go” from the movie “Frozen” should definitely be on your playlist because the lakes will be frozen. Also, the Three Passes Trek might be impassable.

Staring Himalayan Musk Deer

Paparazzi said the Himalayan Musk Deer, and ran into the wild.

Street light near Everest.

The mountains are calling and I must go.

Himalayan Tahrs grazing in a group.

These Himalayan Tahrs are grazing on grasses and browsing on leaves.

Everest Base Camp Trek in Winter (April-June):

Rhododendrons signal the arrival of spring and they bloom from late February at the lower altitudes to July at about 5,000m. As such April to May is the perfect time to see these flowers set the forests on fire. This is also the pre-breeding season for most birds and animals. Most migrant birds which come to the high alpine pastures to breed get here about this time. Basically, spring is one of the better times to appreciate the full spectrum of biodiversity of this region. The sky is generally clear in the mornings though a bit hazy and good mountain views are still possible.

Afternoon showers are not infrequent which translates to snow at high altitudes.

Increasingly, the weather about this time is getting more unpredictable due to global warming and precipitation for days on end is not unheard of especially from May onwards. Invest in a good waterproof boot. Since flight disruption is very likely, plan flexibly or you can also consider Everest Base Camp Trek through Jiri option but be careful of the blood sucking leeches from the month of June.

This is also the time when Everest hopefuls make their annual pilgrimage to Everest Base Camp hoping to ‘knock the bastard off’ once more. So the Tent city at Everest Base Camp will be a rather lively place.

Yellow Rhododendron bloom.

Ever seen a yellow Rhododendron?

Everest Base Camp Trek in Winter (July-September):

Once the monsoon rains start in June, conventional wisdom says trekking stops. However, for people who have the time and the patience, this can be one of the best times to trek. Occasional mountain views are still possible in the inner valleys past Namche because of the rain shadow effect. But do not count on it. Excepting the mountain views, Everest region is perhaps at its best. A profusion of wildflowers arrive with the rain and the laid back aura that sweeps the villages makes for one of the best cultural experiences. If you plan your trip to coincide with the Dumji festival, a popular festival in Everest region, it will be that much more awesome. You will also have the trails to yourself during this time.

Chronic flight disruption is the most important deterrent for most. It is possible to go around this by taking a bus to Jiri and start walking from there. Then again you will have to brave torrential downpours, slippery trails and omnipresent leeches. And that is a cost very few are willing to pay even though the rewards can be quite memorable.

Heart warming colour of Primrose flower.

Ever seen a Primrose flower? Not a big deal!

Faces in the stone.

COUPLE of stones!

Everest Base Camp Trek in Winter (October-December):

This period is everybody’s darling. The rains have cleared the sky of dust, the monsoon is in full retreat and mountain views are at their absolute best. Lukla Flights are as regular as they get and temperatures are still great. If that is not enough for you, plan to coincide your trek with the colorful Sherpa festival of Mani Rimdu and there you go – Jackpot!! Since Mani Rimdu happens at Tengboche Monastery, booking a lodge in Tengboche will be necessary or alternately, you can book your stay at Deboche and make your way to Tengboche for the festival.

However, being the best comes with its caveats. The trails are very crowded and finding accommodation can be a real problem especially for small independent groups. October can also be rather unstable with post monsoon cyclones hitting the mountains with only a few days warning. It is imperative to be prepared for this eventuality especially if you are camping or attempting high passes during this period.

If you are ready to brave the cold, late November to December can be one of the better windows. There are few people along the trails and while it can get hazy, mountain views are still superb. This period also happens to be one of the driest.

Trekking in Nepal

Let’s go TOGETHER!

 

Mount Everest under the clear blue sky.

Mount Everest, under the clear blue sky

Summary:

  • For mountain views and smooth sailing: Nov-Dec.
  • For those who are willing to trade comfort for authentic cultural experience and broad range of biodiversity: June-Sept.
  • For those willing to brave the cold to have the ‘pilgrim’ experience- Jan-Mar.
  • For those who love meeting amazing people along the trails- Sept-Oct.
  • For those who love a bit of everything- April-May.