I was really freaking out before I arrived in Kathmandu about what I needed to buy and was afraid I wouldn’t find everything in Nepal, so I vastly overpaid for things that I realistically only used for two months (I was hiking in Nepal from November to January).
Here is my most important piece of advice: Besides the clothes that need to fit properly (leggings, underwear, bras, etc), BUY IN KATHMANDU. Shona’s Trekking Shop is legendary and incredibly cheap. You can rent your down sleeping bag for a US dollar a day, and your down jacket for USD $0.60 per day. Although they might be a bit bulkier than a new one, its a lot more affordable. My second piece of advice would be to ditch the sleeping bag as well, unless you are trekking in October. I was there from November to December and they are plenty of blankets that were more than warm enough. But if you plan to be there in October, there might not be any blankets due to the crowds.
2 pairs of leggings (one for 0-15 degrees Celsius, and one for 15-30 degrees Celsius)
Both pairs must be extremely moisture wicking, and comfortable. A lot of the other bloggers I saw kept trying to recommend really expensive name brands, but I ended up buying both of mine on Amazon and was really happy. For the leggings for extreme warmth (0-15 degrees), I can recommend Sugoi Midzero Tights for women. They also have a subzero style, but these were plenty warm for the passes in December for me.
2 longsleeve shirts
This is completely a personal preference, because I didn’t want to put on sunblock every day (especially because you get about 3 showers the entire time you’re up there). It also doubles as warm shirts. Both of my long sleeves were very moisture wicking and tight fitting, with high necks. One should be for extreme cold, like merino wool.
1 sleeping shirt
This should definitely be long-sleeved and fleece, if you can manage.
1 pair of sleeping pants
The warmer the better.
3 pairs of socks
I can only strongly suggest Darntough. Make sure you get the ones with the most cushion – this will help you prevent blisters and keep your feet happy. You need two pairs for trekking, and one pair for the lodge at night.
6 pairs of underwear
I’m partial to Exofficio, to the point that they are actually the only kind of underwear I own. Fast drying and cute, what else do you need?
2 sports bras
When it’s really cold out, this is also good for insulating. I don’t normally wear bras, but I brought two and I’m glad I did.
You can get them in a bunch of colors, and I carried two – one for the day and one for the night. I strongly recommend this, because if you wear one at night while you’re sleeping, you create humidity and prevent the dreaded “Khumbu cough”. I didn’t get sick once in my two months trekking and I owe it all to my buff!
Self explanatory. Don’t skimp out on these. Pay what your feet are worth. I use Lowa and I love them. Furthermore, the boot part is important. It should lace up beyond your ankle. I saw a lot of people trekking in tennis shoes and that’s pure madness. Take care of your ankles!
Your midlayer. Please buy this at Shona’s or elsewhere in Kathmandu, for about 6 USD. There is just no need to spend ten times that on one from Patagonia, or wherever else, unless you already own one.
Again, please rent this from Shona’s for 0.60 USD. They are incredibly large and fluffy and will keep you plenty warm. They come with a pack sack, so don’t worry about that. Also, if you’re applying this list to the Annapurna Region, please don’t think you can rent downjackets in Pokhara – you can, but not nearly as cheap or the same quality as Shona’s in Kathmandu.
You can buy a really smart one at Shona’s for about 10 USD. They are plenty breathable, and I actually still use it.
Nobody needs waterproof pants, because your moisture wicking leggings should do the job – but if you get cold easily, you’ll need a pair windproof pants for the passes. Like I said, I used my Sugoi by themselves and was just fine in November and December, but that’s just me. You can some hilarious Gwen Stefani-esque windproofs in Kathmandu for about 10 USD.
You need a baseball cap for the sun, and a beanie that should be the definition of fuzzy. I only wore mine at night and on the passes. They sell them everywhere in Kathmandu for less than a dollar.
You need two pairs, a windproof pair, and a lining pair that can fit inside your windproofs. I needed both pairs nearly every day from after 4000m. You can buy both pairs in Kathmandu for less than 10 USD.
This shall be your salvation. You need many, as any shower on the trail is at least 5 USD, and is not as hot as you’d want it to be. It 22 days, I took 3. So, babywipes. They are obviously a lot cheaper in Kathmandu, but you can find them in Namche Bazaar (packs of 60 for about 8 USD), and that might be the better option, rather than carrying the extra kilos for days.
If you’re going in winter, remember to pack a stick, because at high altitudes the lotion will freeze. This is no joke, you need 50 SPF and you need it every single day, multiple times a day. Keep your face cute! I also used Heliocare pills every single day, and I can recommend them as well. Bring your sunscreen from home.
This means a lot of different things to different people, but I packed:
- ibuprofen with codeine
- diarrhea medication
- vomiting and nausea medication
- Diamox, for altitude sickness
- two knee braces, which I wore every day going down hill, just in case (I have perfectly healthy knees)
- plastering tape, a lot of people prefer blister plasters, but for me they always rub off, so I just use tape and call it a day
- electrohydrate sachets, because you never know when you’ll need to be rehydrated
*some people insist on probiotics, which I brought but never used. If you have a sensitive tummy, though, bring them.
Travel soap/shampoo and conditioner
I use bar soap from the markets in Nepal that can double as shampoo. It’s important to get in bar form so that you can use this to wash your shirts and underwear occasionally. The conditioner is for when you finally make it to those sought after showers.
I used my Thinx (period panties), which in hindsight was kind of gross, I admit, just because cleaning them was such a task. However, as an eco-defender, my choice was those or the cup, and I still can’t bring myself to the cup. Trash is a huge issue in Nepal, and even though Everest Region is quite wealthy, there is no official trash deposit, which means everything you dump stays there. So, do not come with tampons or pads, please, ladies.
I didn’t use this, which I don’t regret. Nothing is really ate with your hands, unless you want to, and there is enough sinks with soap around. If you find comfort in it, though, take it.
All of the tissues! At least 15 packets of them. Your nose will be running because of the cold, and you’ll need them to wipe.
Please bring them, you won’t regret it.
I didn’t bring a towel, because if you’re going to shower, often the lodge has one you can borrow.
I read this in a blog and got one before I left and never used it. Most of the lodges have bathrooms inside now, and this is never necessary.
Water purifier by UV light. I saw a lot of people use purifying tablets that tasted gross, and I saw a lot of people buying water bottles. DON’T! Steripen is about 60 USD and I don’t know why it isn’t more popular. If you buy the Classic 3, you need to 4 AA batteries (that last approximately one week with the cold). You can buy the batteries in Kathmandu, but the Steripen must be bought online. Honestly, my Steripen made my trip!
2 Trekking Poles
So before Nepal, even though I’ve always hiked, I always thought people with trekking poles were incredibly lame. I shamefully admit my ignorance. My trekking poles saved my life more than once, and I am a complete convert. You can get them in Kathmandu for 5 USD.
Headtorch and batteries
Bring this from home, but it wasn’t very necessary. Most bathrooms are inside and have lights.
Unless you’re planning on being in snow consistently, don’t worry about snow blindness. Just your regular sunnies will do.
Sleeping bag liner
For extra warmth, and hygiene, because I rented my sleeping bag. I bought from Sea to Summit.
Rented from Shona’s for 1 USD, as previously mentioned. Most nights I was hot and used it like a blanket instead. If you’re going any month except October, I would skip the bag altogether. I was there in November and December and had plenty of blankets provided by the lodges to keep me warm. In October, there is a lot more guides on the trail, because its the peak season, so if you plan to go then, you can’t rely on the blankets (as they are for the guides).
I bought two from Sea to Summit to increase space, and I used both of them. The downjacket and the sleeping bag come with their own, if rented.
Okay, so it’s probably obvious by now that my list is a lot more minimal than everyone else’s, but I really didn’t want to carry not even an extra kilo if I could manage it. So everything fit inside 50 liters. That was more than enough for me, but most people like a bit more stuff and a bit more space. I didn’t carry a daypack, either, because it’s not necessary.
Are really not necessary unless you’ll be there during wet season.
Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Not only will this make hiking more fun, but you’ll be an insistent hit with all the porters, who also carry their own. I had many a mountain dance party.
For the speaker and your phone.
Hot Water Bottle
Okay, this is the real take away from my post. If you read nothing else, fine – this is the important part. Bring a kid’s hot water bottle made of rubber, and get boiling water poured into this bad boy every night. It will completely change your trip, warm your toes, keep you happy. You can use the cooled water in the morning to drink.
I brought a hiking Nepal Lonely Planet, which I was happy about, as well as a secondary book that I exchanged along the way at all the different lodges that had books also left behind.