Everything You Need To Pack For Your Trek In Nepal

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The packing list for this trip is somewhat tricky since most people don’t have that much experience living in high altitude. A well organized pack with adequate content really is critical to the success of a strenuous multi-day trek like this. You do not want to carry any more weight than necessary but you also don’t want to find out that you are missing a critical item as you are about to cross Cho La pass.

Here is a list that Tricia and I made for this trip. In terms of number of shirts or underwears to pack, you can obvious adjust according to your own need. I have seen packing list suggesting one underwear and one shirt for a 10 day trek. Well, if your sweat soaked underwear doesn’t bother you for 10 days, power to you. I try to balance the need of hygiene, safety and comfort with my need of a lighter pack load so here’s the list I think is optimal.

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Reflection of the glacial peak of Mt Thamserku on the top panel window at Benkar waterfalls

Critical Items you may have missed:

  1. 3 passport photos: 1 for your visa at the customs; 2 for your TIMS card to trek in EBC region
  2. Medications other than your current prescription meds:
    1. Diamox (Acetazolamide): I started taking 125mg/day when we got into Kathmandu and stopped after Kala Patthar. I would have taken it twice a day if I had developed altitude sickness symptoms.
    2. Decadron (Dexamethasone): Steroids are life saving if you develop severe altitude sickness and cerebral edema. 4-8 mg once or twice a day by mouth only if symptomatic.
    3. Anti-diarrheal (Loperamide) vs. anti-constipation (e.g. docusate): GI problems are very common here.
    4. Others: anti-histamines, tylenol, NSAIDs, cough drops (Khumbu cough is really dreadful), Moleskin for blisters, etc
  3. Iodine pills: make sure you bring enough of these little guys. It is recommended that you drink 4-6L of water/person/day while trekking in this altitude. If you are trekking 10 days, that’s 40-60L of water that need to be treated. You need 2 Amazon sold iodine pills for each liter of water. Each Amazon iodine pack has 50 pills per vial which treats 25L of water. So, you need at least 2 vials of iodine and 2 vials of neutralizer per person for a 10 days trek. Do your math carefully, you will not be able to buy iodine pills north of Namche. Of course, you can always buy bottled water. Make sure you bring enough cash to support that lifestyle.
  4. Electrolyte tablets: when you trek for extended period of time, you are not only losing water, you are also losing your electrolytes rapidly. Make sure you replete them appropriately. Dissolvable electrolyte tablets can be lifesaving, literally.
  5. Toilet paper: like most third world countries, you will need to pack your own toilet paper while traveling in Nepal. You will find many tea houses equipped with western style toilet (though more often you will find squatters), but virtually none of them have toilet paper for you. Fortunately, almost all tea houses sell them by the roll. They get more expensive as you get further in your hike.
  6. Rain gear: weather changes rapidly in this region. Make sure you are prepared. We saw a surprising number of people packing umbrellas on their small packs (large pack likely carried by their porters). It is mind boggling to me that people think it’s a good idea to open and hold up an umbrella while trekking on a narrow footpath next to a cliff that drops off hundreds of feet. No, it’s not a good idea at all!! Do yourself a favor and pack a set of waterproof jacket and pants. Also, don’t forget a rain cover for your backpack.
  7. Sunblock and lip balm: the sun is intense at this altitude. You will need plenty of sunblock even if you are dark skinned.
  8. High calorie snacks: this trek is demanding and you are unlikely to find enough calories from your diet at the tea houses. You will likely be in a constant calorie deficit during this trek. Make sure you pack enough high calorie snacks on this trip. No guilty feeling eating a ton of chocolate!! We packed 10 Cliff bars+ 10 fruit bars per person for our 14 days hike. We also packed a large bag of trail mix (nuts and raisins). They were only enough as snacks. We ended up buying lunches at tea houses along the trek on most the days we hiked.
  9. GPS or map and compass (make sure you know how to use them): if you don’t have a guide, make sure you know how to navigate your trekking route, especially over Cho La pass. Wayfinding can be very tricky there.
  10. Adequate amount of Nepalese Rupees: this part of the world has cash economy. After leaving Namche, I found one lodge in Lobuche (Oxygen lodge) and a couple lodges in Dingboche that accepted credit cards. We ended up using about $45/day/2people x 14 days = $630. If you are on a trip with two people for 14 days like us, you will be carrying 63,000 Nepalese Rupees starting from Lukla. That’s 63 x 1,000 Rupee bills. It’s a thick stack of money in their largest cash denomination. You may get cash in Namche both at an exchange or an ATM (though not always reliable).
  11. Garbage bags and Plastic bags: I almost always pack large garbage bags and smaller plastic bags when I hike. Since we anticipated lots of rain on this trek, I actually lined the inside of my pack with a garbage bag. Then I had my pack raincover on the outside when we actually encountered rain.
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A rescue chopping flying by us near Mt Thamserku. You want to be able to get on that chopper if necessary and hope it’s never necessary. Make sure you are adequately insured on a trek like this.

Usual trek packing list:

  1. Gears:
    1. 60-85L backpack (make sure it’s well fitted for your size and your back)
    2. 15-25L day pack (for summiting Gokyo Ri, Kala Patthar, etc)
    3. Liter size water bottles x3 (It can be a Nalgene or a water bladder; we had 3L of water between the two of us at all time).
    4. Sleeping bag (I highly recommend you bring your own sleeping bag. Almost all tea houses will provide blankets. Almost none of them wash the blankets probably EVER. I encountered one that had severe BO left from a previous user. We all smell bad and most people don’t shower for days if not weeks on this trek); Alternatively, you can bring a sleeping bag liner and use the tea house blankets.
    5. Hiking poles (long hikes will wear out your joints. Protect them by redistribute the burden with hiking poles)
    6. Headlamp (especially if you plan to watch sunrise from a summit or to avoid stepping into a squatter in the middle of the night)
    7. Camera (I brought a Nikon D5100 and 18-300mm lens: totally worth carrying the weight)
    8. Spare batteries (to your phone, your GPS, camera, etc) and cables for the charger.
    9. Sunglasses
    10. A digital Watch
    11. Microspikes: If you are crossing Cho La pass or Kongma La pass, you will probably wish you had spikes.

      IMG_2091
      we were really glad to have packed the spikes when we got to the glacier on Cho La pass
  2. Clothing:
    1. Underwear (x4): synthetic material may be preferred by some people here.
    2. Synthetic material short sleeve T shirts (x4 hiking + 1 night shirt to sleep in)
    3. Synthetic long sleeve undershirt
    4. Synthetic thermal leggings: mountain trails are very cold at this altitude pre-sunrise.
    5. Socks (medium thickness smartwool socks (W or M) x4p; heavy smartwool socks (W or M) x1p)
    6. Hiking boots: don’t bring new boots on this trek, break them in before your trip. I got mine a couple years ago. I spent two hours trying on different boots at Sports Authority. Then Tricia tried and loved them when I brought these home. She bought a pair for herself off Amazon minutes later. Fruit of my labor, shared.
    7. Sandals: you will want to get out of your boots after your hike.
    8. Hiking pants (x1)
    9. Shorts (x1)
    10. Fleece (long sleeve 1)
    11. Down Jacket (x1)
    12. Brimmed hat (x1; I brought a baseball cap, worked well)
    13. Winter hat (x1)
    14. Rain jacket and rain pants (x1 each)
    15. Buff: I wish I had one: good to protect you from dusty air of Kathmandu and dusty trail from Lobuche to Pangboche segment.
    16. Gloves (1 pair thick; 1 pair lightweight)
    17. My fleece PJs: Yes! I can see the jealous look from everyone in the tea house when i wear them. It’s so comfy that they wish they were in my pants!
    18. Sports bras: for ladies, obviously
    19. Microfiber towel: fast dry, light weight.
  3. Toiletries:
    1. Toothbrush and toothpaste
    2. Wet wipes: It is exhilarating to take a wipeable “shower” when there is no other shower options; I brought a pack of 15 wipes. Used them all.
    3. A small vial of shampoo
    4. A small Purell vial: I hang it outside my backpack for frequent use.
    5. A small vial of liquid soap: it is very difficult to find soap during the trek. I constantly wished I had brought soap with me on this trek.
    6. Dryer sheets: one for your clean clothes bag; one for your dirty clothes bag.
    7. Nail clipper: personal hygiene is critical for your health on this trek.
    8. Toilet paper
    9. Tampons
    10. Foot powder: on your feet for comfort, in your butt crack for chafing, in your shoes for odor control.
    11. Maybes:
      • body lotion: if you tend to have dry skin, it may be worse in this dry climate.
      • razor
      • deodorant: everyone smells on this trek. No one is judging you.
      • contacts and contact solution: you will not be able to find contact solution in the lodges or shops.
  4. Other items:
    1. Passport; TIMS card; various entrance fees receipts
    2. Paperworks:
      1. Insurance paperwork. You will want to know who to call if you run into any sort of emergencies.
      2. Lukla flights reservations.
      3. Hotel reservations.
    3. Solar charger (charging phone is $1.5-$3 each time in most tea houses)
    4. Food items
      • Cliff Bar (I’d bring one per hiking day. If you bring alternative bars make sure they are at least 250 calories each. Low calorie bars are not useful for you on this trek.)
      • Fruit bars
      • Chocolate bars and snacks
      • trail mix: nuts and raisins are high calorie and tasty!
      • Beef jerky: you will miss the taste meat more than you believe, trust me.
      • fresh fruit: this one is tricky because it’s heavy. I wish I had brought one small piece of fresh fruit on this trek. For someone who eats fresh fruit everyday at home, the craving was so intense by day 10.
    5. Playing cards
    6. Your journal, a pen and a lightweight novel.
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Ama Dablam, our favorite mountain on this trek. It looks like a giant ghost coming to hug you.

 

What do you think? Any other suggestions? Are you ready for the next section? Let’s talk about our actual itinerary and tea houses we used.

Need any more outdoor gear? Check out My Recommended Gear or Amazon Outdoor Gear Shop.

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Nepal
Part 1: The Planning- 1 2 3 4
Part 2: The Trek- 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Part 3: Kathmandu 1 2 3

Interested in reading about our food adventures in Kathmandu? Click here.

Are you planning a trekking trip of own? Don’t forget to read our trip report starting from Day 1!

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