Correct clothing and equipment are essential for a safe and enjoyable Himalayan trek. Relatively inexperienced trekkers should use this list, while more experienced trekkers will often take only a selection of these items based on what has worked for them in the past. Please find the equipment list below for your personal use during your travel with us, but keep in mind the 15 kg luggage limit imposed on flights to Lukla.
LIGHT HIKING BOOTS: 1 pair of sturdy hiking boots in which you should wear a light synthetic liner sock under a warm, heavy sock comfortably. Sole should be flexible but still provide enough support for your feet. Boots should be very water repellent or waterproof, in case we encounter snow/rainfall.
RUNNING SHOES : 1 pair of comfortable support shoes to be worn on lighter walking days or rest days, allowing your foot to have a break. This is optional though, as extra shoes will inevitably add weight/bulk.
SHOWER THONGS/FLIPFLOPS/JANDALS: 1 pair – stay off those cold shower floors, and allow your feet to air out, which prevents fungal misadventures. Definitely bring those, especially if you opt out of bringing the running shoes above.
HIKING GAITERS: 1 pair – keeps rocks out of shoes and boots, keeps feet dry in case of precipitation. Often seen as optional equipment, gaiters provide excellent protection on snowy days, and while we don’t usually experience those during the trekking season, occasionally freak weather strikes, and at that point it is better to be prepared.
WOOL SOCKS: 3-5 pairs heavyweight wool socks, to be worn over the liner socks. When layering socks, check fit over feet and inside boots. Remember to keep one fresh, dry pair of socks available at all times. Socks with padded shins are especially nice with boots.
LINER SOCKS: 3-5 pairs of smooth thin wool, Nylon or Capilene socks to be worn next to the skin. This reduces the incidence of blisters and hot-spots and makes the outer sock last longer before needing to be changed. They should fit well with your heavyweight socks.
LIGHTWEIGHT LONG UNDERWEAR: 2 pairs, tops & bottoms, Capilene, other synthetic, or wool (Merino wool is THE BEST, but also quite pricey). DEFINITELY NO COTTON! Lightweight is preferable as it is more versatile (worn single in warmer conditions and double layer for colder). Zip-T-neck tops allow more ventilation options. One set of white for intense sunny days and one pair of dark for faster drying gives the most versatility.
LIGHT TREKKING PANTS: 2 pairs of lightweight nylon pants designed to be used while trekking. They are extremely air permeable, dry quickly and provide sun protection. Zip-off lower leg sections are convenient for switching to shorts.
T-SHIRT: Lightweight crew style t-shirt that wicks away moisture. Shirt can be made of any synthetic quick-dry material.
BANDANA/NECK TUBE: Bring bandanas to use as face masks and for other protective tasks.
SYNTHETIC/SOFT SHELL JACKET: A full-zip version is easier to put on and has better ventilation than a pullover.
INSULATED DOWN-JACKET: Medium to heavy weight with hood. High down-fill count packs smallest, but this is always associated with higher cost, so make your choices. You will spend a lot of time inside this garment, so choose wisely, considering things like pockets, zipper quality, overall fit, and packing size.
HARD SHELL JACKET WITH HOOD: We recommend a waterproof breathable shell material with full front zipper, underarm zips, and no insulation. This outer layer protects against wind, rain and snow. GoreTex is an obvious top choice here.
HARD SHELL PANTS (optional, but lovely at high elevations): Waterproof, breathable. Any side zipper length is fine as long as you can get them over your boots. Once again, GoreTex is the fabric of choice.
FLEECE/SOFT SHELL GLOVES: 1 pair. A heavier fleece will do a better job of keeping hands warmer when wet than lighter polypropylene or Capilene.
SHELL GLOVES/MITTS WITH INSULATION: 1 pair. Insulation does not need to be removable, but it helps with drying. A good quality ski glove is sufficient. Make sure the gloves and mitts fit inside each other for the bitter cold of the top elevations.
WINTER HAT/BEANIE/TOUQUE: Once at the top elevations, temperature will drop well below zero, especially at night. A warm, fleece-lined wool hat will be very welcome, inside and outside of the lodges.
SUN HAT: The sun will be intense at high altitudes. A hat with a good visor provides nose and eye protection. Baseball hats work well, though they don’t do much for the ears.
NECK GAITER OR BUFF: A buff is preferred for covering the face and preventing sickness as it reduces the amount of dust inhaled while trekking and reduces the chance of infection.
HEADLAMP & SPARE BATTERIES: A good quality climber’s headlamp. For use at night, bring extra batteries!
GLACIER GLASSES/SUNGLASSES: 2 pair (you definitely need backup),100% UV filtering, high quality optical lenses designed for mountain use. Should have side covers, leashes, and a nose guard which is particularly helpful. If you wear contact lenses we recommend packing a spare pair of prescription glasses—it is a good idea to have these with “photo-gray” or equivalent light-sensitive material so they can double as emergency sunglasses. If you wear glasses we recommend prescription glacier glasses. Talk to your eye care professional to find out where prescription glacier glasses are available. Be wary of cheap sunglasses that are not dark enough and do not provide any UV or side protection.
SLEEPING BAG: A high quality “mummy” type rated to at least -20 degrees Centigrade. Down is lighter and less bulky, but more expensive than synthetics. Himalayan Trexplorers can provide you with a rental sleeping bag for this trek, but, as you can imagine, your own one will be cozier. A sleeping bag liner will add warmth, and help keep the bag clean.
BACKPACK: A day pack big enough to carry water bottles, camera, lunch and extra clothing. Maximum volume should be around 40 litres / 2,500 cubic inches if using our porter service, or between 60 and 80+ litres for those who want to carry their own gear. For maximum convenience, we recommend packs with dust/rain covers as well as outside pockets for water bottles.
ADJUSTABLE 3 SECTION TREKKING POLES: Unless you are an experienced hiker and find that you don’t need these, trekking poles offer great assistance on long uphill/downhill days. By offering more stability, they create a safer environment and prevent unnecessary strain or injury. Great for slippery days.
WATER TREATMENT TABLETS / STERILIZATION SYSTEM: Iodine or Chloride Dioxide tablets. Base your purchase around a consumption rate of 4 litres of water every day, for 21 days. If you choose to go with iodine tablets, ascorbic acid taste neutralizer tablets will remove most of the unpleasant iodine taste. Chloride dioxide formulas will not discolor water, although you still will have some of that “swimming-pool” taste. If you do not want to deal with pills or drops, you can opt for an ultraviolet treatment system such as the Camelback All Clear bottle which I have personally tested and believe to be one of the best water-treatment products on the market. Link HERE.
WATER BOTTLES: 2 wide-mouth “Nalgene” type bottles with minimum 1 Litre capacity per bottle. You can additionally bring a water bag or bladder system, but will still need a bottle to treat your water.
SUNSCREEN: The Himalayan sun is vicious, so don’t ignore this one: SPF 30 or better, 2 small tubes in case of loss, kept in plastic bags in case of spillage. Make sure that the sun screen is not older than 6 months as sunscreen loses its protective value over time.
LIP SCREEN/ZINC STICK: SPF 30 or better, not older than 6 months. Noses burn at alarming rates in the High Himalaya, so don’t treat this one lightly!
HAND/FOOT WARMERS (Optional): Recommended if you easily get cold hands and feet. 1-3 pairs.
[Despite the high-octane excitement of the Himalaya, there are bound to be quiet times. Whether you are relaxing in the lodge, snuggled up in your room, or taking in the views outside. A good book (or five..), and some music will make for a marvellous experience.]
E-READER: Many people like to bring a standard paperback, while others love their Kindles. If you opt for the electronic option, do not forget your charger.
MP3 PLAYER: Flash memory only players since hard drive players do not work reliably at high altitude (above 13,000ft). Chargers can be used at most lodges along the way, although lodge owners charge by the hour. Note: Himalayan Trexplorers have a strict “No Justin Bieber” rule.
CAMERA: It would be a crime against nature to do this trip without a camera. Any camera. Whatever you bring, remember spare batteries, chargers and memory cards. Things are dusty up there, so a cleaning kit/Lens Pen would not hurt either.
With the amazing technology available out there these days, you might want to combine all the above into one slick option like an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy. However, we are of the opinion that you will get much better photos out of a dedicated camera with a big lens and many knobs which will make you look like a pro, and get you those great Facebook pics.
OTHER TRAVELING ACCESSORIES
LARGE DUFFLE BAG WITH TRAVEL LOCKS: 1, for transporting and storing gear. These bags are needed to transport your clothing/gear by porters OR for storing excess gear at your Kathmandu hotel while you take off for the trails.
PLASTIC BAGS (5-8): For lining stuff sacks & pack to keep gear dry. Trash compactor bags work best.
TRAVEL CLOTHES: Based on your preference, you may need street/casual clothing for air travel days and time spent in Kathmandu.
TOILETRY BAG: Contents should include toilet paper, soap, small bottle of shampoo, camp towel, toothpaste and toothbrush, as well as hand sanitizer. Optionally, some people choose to bring wet wipes (1-2 per day), as well as moisturizer cream.
Himalayan Trexplorers routes are quite safe and we do not take any unnecessary risks, and so the first aid kits seldom come out. However, occasionally there are some gastro-intestinal adventures, and, despite the purposely slow ascent schedule, altitude related headaches. To manage those, we recommend bringing a personal first aid kit.
(Note: The guide team carries a comprehensive First Aid kit, but it is a very good idea to have personal kits depending on individual requirements. Consult your physician regarding the specific medical supplies you should bring on the trip.)
BANDAGES: Gauze, Adhesive tape, Band-Aids/plasters.
DRUGS/MEDICATIONS/PRESCRIPTIONS: Trekkers should bring:
-Some sort of topical antibiotic cream such as Bactroban, for scrapes and cuts.
-Ciproflaxicin (Cipro) 500mg tablets for traveler’s diarrhea and for urinary tract infections.
-Loperamide (Imodium) for controlling diarrhea.
-Acetazolamide (Diamox) 125 or 250mg tablets for altitude sickness. For more information about Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) and related problems, CLICK HERE.
-Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) 200mg tablets for altitude headaches, sprains, aches, etc.
-Excedrin and Acetaminophen (Tylenol), as needed.
This above list is only a very general guideline for you. While you should bring items on this list, there are numerous options, brands, and variations. Consult your physician regarding personal medications you may require, as well as their interactions with other medications you are likely to take on the trail (Ciproflaxicin, Imodium, Diamox).
If you have any questions regarding this list, please do not hesitate to contact us.