What should I take with me in the mountains?
This is indeed a very important question one has to answer when preparing for a trek in Nepal. Assuming that trekking is your main goal for your trip in Nepal, here are a few tips I can give you, based on my treks there. Compare them to other you will find online, and decide what is best for you!
I also assume here that you will be travelling alone or with a group on a "classical" trekking track, and spend all nights in guesthouses. Sleeping under your own tent, well, that would change a lot of things ...
It should fit perfectly. Neither too big nor too small, you will test in the the store before buying it, and during a few day-trips before you leave for your trek. The comfort of your shoulders and your back, the way you distribute the load inside, will be paramount in the mountains: a good backpack can be almost invisible... or ruin your days. Check that there is a waterproof protection that you can wrap around your backpack during rainy days. Make a list of everything you intend to carry, put everything onto your bed, and decide according to the size of your backpack. If you want a benchmark, my 55-liter backpack was big enough to carry the 11 kgs of the list below (dear American readers, the translation into galons and pounds are left as an exercise 😉 )
If you spend a few days in Nepal before or after your trek, you will appreciate a smaller, lighter bag -or a mini-backpack- as well. It feels really good to leave the big backpack at the guesthouse when you shop in the little streets of Thamel!
Instead of carrying the whole content of your dressing-room, think in layers! Most sports shops sell very light, thermal underwear that will keep you warm and dry. Multiple layers of wind-stopping clothes are, in my opinion, as good as most winter jackets. Bear in mind that in October, in the Annapurnas, we wore only T-shirts until we reached 4000 m during the day... That being said, you might want to bring with you:
- Underwear (3-4, you can wash them during the trek...)
- 3 t-shirts
- 1 trekking jumper
- 2 light trekking trousers. Blue-jeans = bad idea...
- Bandana or cap/hat as a protection against the sun
- Scarf, gloves, cap for the high-altitude stages
- 1 windstopper waterproof jacket, not necessarily the Noth Pole hardcore stuff, but warm enough
- Hiking/Trekking boots, tested BEFORE you leave
- Sandals (1-dollar beach sandals) : your feet and your roommates will appreciate if you take off your trekking boots from time to time
I am not a pharmaceutical professional, therefore I will not give a list here. I advise you to ask your physician or pharmacist so you bring everything you need in case of diarrhoea, dizziness, nausea, headaches or stomachache, blisters and so on. Other items include:
- A means to purify water (chemical tabs or mechanical pump)
- Minimal toiletry kit
- Microfibre towel. Find in a sports shop a fast-drying, compact towel. Traditional towels weighs about 1 ton once wet, microfibre ones about 100 grams. One of your best investments!
- Ear plugs
- Dressings, Band-aids
- Toilet paper, which can be scarce and precious in some villages
- Basic pharmaceuticals
Everything that I did not list above:
- Travel guide or, even better, copy only the 10 pages about your trek you will actually need.
- A trekking map (you can find some on Amazon or other online stores, or once you are in Kathmandu)
- A pocket book for the long evenings. You might get lucky and swap it with other trekkers in some guesthouses when you are done reading it
- Pen and notebook, who knows, you might end up making a website about your trek!
- Sleeping bag. Remember that it will be freezing at High Camp, but that we will always find blankets in the guesthouses. Aim for less than 1 kg and a comfort zone between 0 and 10°C
- Headlamp and spare batteries
- Candle and lighter/matches, for the day your headlamp has bailed on you
- A 1-dollar watch with an alarm clock. There is no alarm clock on a Rolex...
- A Swiss army knife
- Soap for your laundry, and 5 meters of clothesline
- A flask or bottle. You do not need more than 1 litre, since there are villages everywhere for refills
- A camera. Electrical plugs are available in most guesthouses in the biggest villages, think about the adapter too
- Walking poles if you enjoy them. A big asset for your knees and the occasional swowy areas. The lightest weigh about 500 grams for a pair.
- A waterproof box or Tupperware in which you will stuff:
- ID photos : you will need some for the permits and visas. Remember to take have them in your carry-on luggage!
- Your passport
- Your plane tickets
- Cash. Do not think about changing US$ in the mountains, or find a working ATM there ...
- Emergency numbers (assistance, insurances, embassy, contacts in Nepal and at home, ...)
Keep in mind that 10 kgs is ideal, and 15+ will make you cringe during the steep parts. The key tip is to aim for the lightest for ALL your clothes, and you will make it!
Please comment below if you found this list useful, or if you think I should add something!
Back to the other advices about the trek preparation
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