Trekking Gears

Trekking Gear Advice

Contact Nepal Sherpa Treks

To help you plan your trek, Nepal Sherpa Treks   offers these trekking gear suggestions, based on high season camping treks to Annapurna and Everest regions. Gear list includes personal rucksack and large duffel bag but not personal or dining tent. Your actual gear requirements will vary according to your taste and budget.

 

Major Items

Recommended Gear Characteristics

Sleeping Bags

Down or synthetic mummy bag is best, must be cold-rated. On a camping trek, porters will carry your sleeping bag in your big duffel bag. High-quality Synthetic is better below the tree line, it's easier to wash, and should you decide to give your sleeping bag to a devoted Sherpa as a gift after a long trek, the synthetic bags are much better for *their* laundry system, which is washing with soap bricks in cold rivers.

Sleeping Bag Liner

For super-cold nights when you are definitely *not* going to sweat, a vapor-barrier liner (usually coated nylon) gives maximum warmth. If your environment is warm enough outside, that body heat will warm up your bag inside, a flannel liner or polartec liner is very nice. Liners keep the inside of your bag clean, are easy to wash & dry in the sun, and create a barrier to the fleas that can breed inside down bags. Especially if you plan to rent a sleeping bag in Kathmandu, bring a washable liner!

Rucksack

Large enough to carry an extra sweater, hat & gloves, 2 water bottles, snacks, flashlight, journal, etc. Book-packs are usually too small with no frame, and climbing packs are usually too big for normal trekking. Rucksacks are in the middle, they usually have an internal frame and some carrying loops (for ice-axes, umbrellas etc.) Daypack should weigh 12-15 lbs fully packed including two full liter-size water bottles.

Duffel Bag

Large-size nylon cordura. Not super-large. Your porter will only carry about 35 kilos according to government weight law. Pleeeeze: ID clearly marked *both* inside and outside bag.

Mosquito netting

For hanging over your bed in a hotel in hot areas such as Pokhara and Chitwan/Terai, or parts of Kathmandu in Monsoon season. Not necessary on high trails such as Annapurna or Everest, and not necessary in Kathmandu in dry season. Critically important to carry almost everywhere in India.

   

PERSONAL ITEMS

Recommended Characteristics

Water Bottle

Bring two liter-size with attached cap.

Personal Drinking Cup

Very good idea to bring one unbreakable travel mug ideally LEXAN for times when the rural dishwashing may not be perfect, also for tooth-brushing & hair-rinsing on the trail.

Water Purification

We recommend Iodine Crystals as the broadest spectrum purifier. Portable pumps and chlorine tablets are not adequate in the 3rd world.

Snacks

Raisin & roasted nut packets, dried soup packets, granola bars, other pick-me-up small treats are very nice along the way. Although optional, we recommend taking personal snack-packs for trail morale. Herbal tea bags, coffee dip-bags, and other instant-drink singles also nice in tea-shops.

Sunglasses

Mountaineering-style sunglasses with *side-blockers* are essential on glacier ice, good in high wind, easier on eyes on normal days. In thin air sun gets brighter.

Sunblock

Essential at all times, critical at altitude. If you will be in Chitwan National Park or anywhere in monsoon season, get sunblock mixed with mosquito repellent for best results. [Avon skin-so-soft is still the best in the world!]

Umbrella

Optional, but recommended for shading rest-stops, or carrying parasol-style on super-hot days in springtime. Also good for rain! Light-frame, collapsible.

Walking-stick

Although some people bring high-tech telescoping walking sticks to Nepal, most people are quite happy with a local "latee" or hand-carved Nepali walking stick. The Swiss metal collapsible walking sticks are however well designed, and a nice accessory for the Trekker who has everything! And a *wonderful* gift for an elderly Nepalese in the mountains.

Flashlight

Water-resistant Headlamp with hi-lo beam, backup batteries and backup lamp. Small backup hand-held should go in rucksack. Replacement NiCad batteries are difficult to find in Nepal. Headlamps make a *great gift* to your Sherpa guide but if you want to give one as a present buy the kind that takes regular AAA batteries, since fancy batteries are hard to find in Nepal. Solar Battery re-chargers are great if you can remember to use them, in time!

Soap & Shampoo

Concentrated & Low-foaming for ease in cold-to-lukewarm water with minimal rinses.  Biodegradable if possible.

Camera

Manual cameras are best at altitude, where electronic components often freeze. If you want to risk an auto-anything camera, tuck it inside your sleeping bag at night. Be sure to have an *attached lens cap* (Best $5 you'll ever spend!) Telephoto lenses ideal for stunning Himalayan views. Lens filters are *required* for photographing your friends in intense light on snow and ice.

Pack it out!!

The rural Nepalese who live in your trekking areas are all "organic farmers."  Their simple village system has *no way* of disposing "properly" of our western plastic garbage. There is only one place for "waste" in Nepalese homes:  that is the manure pit ("chaarpi") where your host's  sewage goes until its ripe enough to spread on the fields. Unfortunately western junk is not very organic and it never ripens in the manure pit.  Remember that any rayon tampons, plastic soap bottles, disposable razors, batteries, etc etc. which you leave behind for "disposal"  are going to end up in somebody's potato field.

Basically, if it can't be composted, don't leave in in the mountains.

CLOTHING

Recommended Characteristics

Jacket

Polartec polyfleece inner jacket with hood, Gore-Tex (or similar micro fiber) outer shell with hood

Warm Hat

Polartec hat with ear coverage *no cotton edging or binding* to get wet or stay wet

Sun Hat

Broad-brimmed crushable trekking hat, sun at altitude is *intense*

Neck gaiter

Polartec neck gaiter with no edging or binding to get wet or stay wet

Gloves

Thin inner gloves, plus thicker Polartec outer gloves, plus Gore-Tex outer mitts if you're going into the ice, is the best system. "Driving" grips on two outer pairs will be good.

Boots!

There is a very wide range of opinions on trekking boots. On the economical side, some addle-brained tourists have trekked almost to Everest Base Camp wearing cheap New Delhi sandals. Some people claim to be warm and surefooted in tennis. Most of these people eventually suffer damaged feet & legs. We powerfully recommended that you buy, and wear, good strong hiking boots on Himalayan trails.

Your boots should be waterproof because you will be fording small streams. (Sometimes big ones!) They should be tough because you may be walking through rubble and scree. Gore-tex liners. Orthotic supports. Leather outers. If you want synthetic outers be *sure* all seams are sealable. Double-seal *all* the seams. Vibram or other *replaceable* outsole. If you are on a tight budget you can skimp on almost anything else but do not skimp on your boots. Also consider taping your feet (like athletes do) to prevent blisters, and always wear thin inner sox and thick wicking outer socks. Happy trekkers have happy feet!

Socks

Two layers of socks must be worn with hiking boots. An inner thin wicking layer of silk or synthetic fleece, plus outer thick wicking layer of polar fleece, wool,

Skirt/Pants

Synthetic or poly/cotton blends are best. Thick cotton clothes will never dry in the mountain damp. Elastic-waist rayon skirts are ideal for ladies. You will be urinating outdoors, a skirt is much easier. Pants should be loose, durable, and dark-colored to wear longer.

Sweater

Polartec is best by far.

Shirt

Most people sweat after a few hours on the trail. Breathable synthetic or poly/cotton blends in dark colors work best.

Underwear

Long underwear: lightweight fleece or silk for daytime, heavyweight polar-fleece for nighttime and high altitude. You will get quite hot walking during the day, and quite cold sitting in the High Himalaya at night!

Inner-layer underpants must be breathable as most people sweat while walking. Any wicking fabric is OK for men, but ladies, to avoid vaginal infections (utter misery on the trail) we recommend silk or microfiber "performance" underwear. Cotton underpants are great at home with your washer & dryer, but on the trail they will be forever damp and uncomfortable!

Wristwatch

Water-resistant scratch-resistant wristwatch with beeping timer is ideal for timing water-purification.

Words to the Wise

For the International Airplane Trip

We recommend buckwheat-hull travel pillows with polartec cover to add comfort to your long plane trip & prevent stiff neck getting worse with altitude changes, sleeping on the ground, etc.

DRINK WATER DRINK WATER

Be sure to drink water CONSTANTLY while on the airplane, and continue to drink a great deal of (treated) water after landing in Kathmandu and continue to Drink Drink Drink while on the trail. This water habit will keep you healthy plus it helps prevent jetlag & altitude effects. Make sure you drink AT LEAST 2 liters of water every day even when you don't feel like drinking!