Our equipment list doesn’t represent what you must take but is simply a guide, an aide memoire to help you tick off the things you might need and have to pack for travelling in Nepal.
CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT TIPS : Dress standards- Cultural sensitivity is the hallmark of considerate travellers. Dress standards vary considerably around Nepal – button-popping halter tops and loincloth-clad saddhus to the Victorian ankle standard, but foreigners are judged differently. Tidy with covered shoulders and long pants earns the most respect, while skimpy tops and tight leggings invite unwarranted attention, both trekking and in Kathmandu. Be sure not to wear shorts t-shirts and pants in the trek that may draw people attention as rural people don’t like it much.
In Kathmandu- From April to the end of October, it is warm, even hot during the day. Cool, light clothes are best, and longer shorts are acceptable. November thru to the end of March, it is still usually warm during the day and a single layer will often do, but in the evenings you will want a fleece jacket, and during late December thru to February, a light down jacket is better for eating/drinking outside. The hotel stores free of cost whatever you don’t take trekking, and of course they have a laundry service. You might want to plan with a clean set of clothes for your return from the trek.
Who carries what- You carry a day pack with your camera, jacket, water and snacks. The porters carry everything else, so pack this in a duffel/kitbag rather than backpack.
GEAR LIST : This list includes the minimum clothing necessary to travel on this trip. Each person is restricted to a 28 lb. luggage limit (which includes your sleeping bag) for the trek. Remember that cotton isn’t the best choice in clothing of any kind for a trek, because it robs your body of warmth and dries slowly.
We’ll go over your equipment in equipment before departing for your trek. You will be able to leave your travel clothing behind at the hotel.
HIKING BOOTS: One pair of medium weight hiking boots, well broken in and waterproofed and proven not to give your feet any blisters. Don’t bring old worn out boots that don’t have good soles, or broken shoelaces. For a happy trek you need comfortable feet. Good boots have: good ankle support, plenty of toe room for long descents, a stiff sole to lessen twisting torsion, and are light because with every step you lift your boot up.
Down booties– One pair of down booties to wear at night or around camp (Optional)
Gaiters– Make sure your gaiters fit over your hiking boots and are full length and waterproof.
Camp Footwear/sandals: A luxury for your feet at the end of the day. One pair of sneakers or Teva-style sandals are a necessity for showers during the Khumbu and Annapurna treks.
Socks: In the low country your feet will be warm or even hot while walking so quality cotton mix sports socks are best. 5 pair of socks made of synthetic materials or wool blend. Next to the skin, some people like thin polyester or polypropylene socks to transport perspiration from the foot to the outer socks.
Long Underwear (top and bottom): 1 pair, made of CoolMax, polypropylene, or other synthetic (no cotton blends)
Underwear: 5 pair, synthetic (no cotton blends)
Bra/Sports bra: two, synthetic (no cotton blends)
Shirts or Tops: one short and two long sleeve shirts.
Fleece Pullover and Pants: 200 weight Polartec® or Powerstretch® tights and top.
HIKING PANTS: Two pair. Some people like the kind that you can zip the legs off. These are good for warm afternoons. Please, no jeans as it is weighty and hard to dry.
Wind pants: If your trekking pants are reasonably windproof then special wind pants are not needed. If you do bring a pair, it is not necessary to have Gore-tex. Similar, non-waterproof is quite OK.
Gortex/Waterproof Rain Parka and Pants: This is considered the outer layer (rain gear). The parka should be waterproof with hood and pit zips. The pants will go over fleece pants or long underwear, and must be waterproof (side-zip style is optional).
GLOVES- 2 pair of warm waterproof gloves.
Trekking Poles: Definitely useful, especially on steep, rough terrain, but if you are not used to using them you can survive without. One can be useful for easing long descents.
Headgear Hats / BALACLAVA: During the day you’ll need a hat with a brim to protect your face from intense sun, and at night a fleece or wool hat for warmth. For high altitude trips, A head layering system works best: first a Capilene balaclava, then a neck gaiter, and finally a baseball hat or fleece hat.
SUNGLASSES: One pair with dark lens. This is very important piece of equipment. The eye is particularly vulnerable to the brilliance of mountain snows and reflections off snow. Sunglasses must be worn at all times during the day. When purchasing sunglasses, try them on and look in a mirror: if you can see your eyes while wearing them, choose another pair. Glasses should have no more than 8% light transmission and make sure they have 100% UV protection.
Sunscreen and Lip Protection: One tube of sunscreen and two chapsticks, both SPF 30 and not older than 6 months. You should carry these with you during the day.
MOISTURIZER: A small tube for sensitive or well cared for skins. The air is dry and the sun harsh.
HEADLAMP: One / Bring extra batteries and bulbs. Headlamp must be bright enough to see at night or incase of emergency. Small flash light is useful.
Water Bottles: Should be one liter or more in capacity, take boiling water and be leak-proof. Nalgene or a similar brand, or European Aluminum bottles, are best. You need AT LEAST 2 water bottles, or at least 1 water bottle IN ADDITION to a Camelback or hydration system.
Water Purification: You can get away without water purification but, especially for a hot trek, it is nice to be independent from the lodges or expedition crew. A bottle of iodine tablets such as Potable Aqua, PolarPure or Couglans can be useful however the most convenient system is the Steripen, which uses UV light to neutralize bugs in the water. We mostly use to water from the lodges but occasionally take water from the streams. The use of mineral water is discouraged from an environmental point of view, but is available everywhere.
INSECT REPLELLENT: One bottle of insect repellent cream in a tube.
Baby wipes: Amount depends on time traveling. One large container will last 3 weeks. Make sure these are stored in a zip lock plastic bag, they sometimes leak.
Camp Towel: One, large/This will be for drying after showering. These must be washed before use, so check out the instructions.
Hydration Mix: Plan water doesn’t replenish the electrolytes lost while sweating, working hard hiking, or during very hot weather. It can also get pretty boring to drink for three weeks. You should purchase something like Gatorade, to put into your drinking water while on trek or safari. Gatorade can be purchased in small one-day packets.
Toiletries: Toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, dental floss, lotion, fingernail clippers, etc. Try to find organic brands that won’t hurt the environment. Women must remember to bring sanitary napkins or tampons. Your toiletries should all fit into a small kit. Don’t bring large bottles of shampoo or other items, you can purchase small size bottle specifically for travel use. If you’re traveling on this trip with a friend, it is then possible to share things like toothpaste and sunscreen.
Toilet Paper: Hotels will have toilet papers, but during the Kili phase, you’ll need a roll or two of paper. Keep in zip lock bag.
WATERLESS HAND CLEANER/SANITIZER: One small bottle to carry with you during the day. Most people assume that they’ll get “the toilet two step,” because of the food, or from the water. However, much of the time, it was your own hands that made you go running for the bathroom.
Camera: If you’re thinking of purchasing a new camera, try to buy one that takes double A over the counter batteries, not rechargeable ones.
Books, Tape Player, Journal, Cards, etc :On all treks there will be time to read, listen to music, and reflect on your day. Because of weight allowances make sure whatever you bring is lightweight and won’t break. All extra gear will be left back at the hotel.
Sleeping Bag: High quality with hood rated to zero degrees F. If you don’t already own a sleeping bag we suggest purchasing a down bag because of weight.
Large Cargo/Duffel Bag w/TSA approved lock: One large 6000 cubic inch bag. All your gear should fit inside this bag. Make sure your bag has been waterproofed or treated, with no holes, or broken zippers.
Day Pack w/rain cover: Your daypack should have some type of internal support to help carry the weight. The best size backpack is a 2500 to 3000 cu in. There should be places to strap on your trekking poles and for your water bottles. Your pack must fit you correctly and feel comfortable with a weight of 10 – 15 pounds. If you don’t have a back that you think will work, visit your local EMS store for help with choosing a new pack. The experts at EMS can help you with purchasing a new pack. EMS also has “women” specific backs that fit a woman’s body.
Compression stuff sacks: These help to maximize space. Usually three stuff sacks can be used : one for hiking clothing, technical clothing and socks and underwear. In addition, this protects your clothing from getting that popped bottle of shampoo all over everything.
Money Belt: to wear under your pants.
WHAT IS AVAILABLE IN KATHMANDU
Kathmandu is developing! There is now several good shops that sell a variety of imported gear, such as North Face, Mountain Hardwear and Black Diamond, so a variety but not the whole ranges. There are also hundreds of small gear shops in Kathmandu mostly sell locally made fake gear and a strange variety of new gear. Always available are socks, thermal underwear, quality fleece, liner gloves and Gore-tex clothing, LED head torches and their batteries, fleece gloves and hats, fleece jackets and pants, sunglasses, Swiss army knives, water bottles and fuel containers and large kit bags.
Boots are the one item that are still much better brought from home.
RENTING EQUIPMENT: Easy to rent items in Kathmandu are down jackets and sleeping bags.
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