Basic Trekking Gears

Basic Trekking Gears


The choice of equipment always provokes heated debate. Use your own experince to guide your choices – recommendations here are made without deferring to the cost of particular items.

BOOTS. Fabric boots may be light and comfortable, but they are never totally waterproof, provide less ankle support and are less durable than leather boots. Generally, but especially if you will be going above the snow line, a well broken in pair of leather walking boots is a wise choice. The less stitching on the uppers the better. Keep them waxed.

SOCKS. Modern loop stitch construction is recommended, with as high a percentage of wool as possible.

Synthetics stink, cheap ones rub.

GAITERS. For use in camp and wading rivers, a pair of Teva-type sports sandals are unbeatable. Carry them with you always, and change into them whenever you stop. Airing your boots and socks every lunchtime will keep your feet happy.

WALKING POLES. These are not cheap, but don’t dismiss them until you’ve tried them. Modern, lightweight, adjustable walking poles will save your knees a lot of punishment on descents, especially if you’re carrying a heavy pack. Many models are now available.

SLEEPING BAG. Though it may be hot in the valleys, night time temperatures can plummet below freezing at any time of year above 4500m (14765ft). If you’re camping, a warm sleeping bag will make the difference between misery and bliss. Down is still, weight for weight, 100 percent more efficient than the best synthetics. Keep it dry and air it daily.

SLEEPING SHEET LINER. Choose either cotton (adequate) or silk (luxury). It keeps your grime off the sleeping bag and is great at lower altitudes when you would fry in a down bag. A liner is far easier to wash than a sleeping bag.

SLEEPING MAT. There are some people still using closed-cell foam mats – but only those who have not tried Thermarests. Carry a repair kit.

RUCKSACK. Err on the generous side in terms of size. A capacity of 40 liters should be sufficient for lowland trekking, 60 liters if you’re planning a longer tour or going high. A large rucksack half full will carry better than a small one stuffed to the brim. Chose one with a padded hip-belt, contoured shoulder harness and effective closures. Make sure it fits you correctly – many manufactures offer different back-lengths. Your retailer can advise you on this.

STOVE. The only fuel widely available in Nepal is kerosene, and the quality is usually poor. High-tech stoves hate it. If you’re going to rely on a stove, take one you can easily strip down and clean – by far the best is the MSR XGK.


Generally you should be prepared for extremes of temperature during a trek. In the lowlands it is likely to be swelteringly hot and humid, whilst above 5000m (16405ft) it can be dry, intensely cold and very windy. Never underestimate the burning power of the sun, especially at altitude or on snow.

For trekking in the lowlands, generously cut shorts or light cotton/synthetic trekking pants are ideal. Women may find skirts more comfortable and convenient. I often wear the baggy shalwartrousers favoured by men in Pakistan – the Nepali equivalents are called suruwal. These have a drawstring waist, can be tailor-made for a small fee and are supremely comfortable. Cotton t-shirts are ideal in the heat, though chilly when soaked in sweat at altitude.

Modern mountaineering clothing for higher altitudes is not cheap, but the technology involved in fabric manufacture today has revolutionised the levels of comfort provided. Basically you should choose your high altitude wear according to the layering principle. Next to the skin, wear a set of thermal underwear made of some sort of wicking material that takes sweat away from the surface of the skin before it can perform its natural colling function. Patagonia’s Capilene is a good example.

Over that, use a combination of different weights of fleece fabric, depending on conditions. The latest types are durable, light and quick-drying. Many such fabrice are now available, but the original is still the best- Goretex.

Apart from the superb way that this system works when used together, its other major advantage is that each element may be used individually, giving the flexibility required to meet a variety of climatic conditions. Use the same basic principles to keep your extremities warm – gloves, lhats and socks.

If you’re planning on spending much time over 4500m (14765f), or going between late November and March, a down jacket is probably worthwhile. These are not cheap. Chinese versions can occasionally be purchased in Kathmandu, or you may be able to rent one.

General Equipment

Airline Tickets, Itinerary and Passport: Make 2 photocopies of each of these. Keep one copy with you and leave one copy with someone at home, just in case.

5 Passport-size Photos: 2 photos will be collected at Kathmandu airport as well as a $40 visa fee (no change will be given, and the dollar bills should not be old and worn). The other two photos will be collected for trekking permits.

Duffel Bag: 1st checked bag (bag to take on trek) should be a large, sturdy canvas bag with a strong zipper. Eagle Creek Brand is recommended (1.800.874.9925). You will be packing all of your trekking equipment in this bag (approximately 30 – 36 inches long, and 24 – 30 inches in diameter). Porters or pack animals will carry your trekking bag. All trekking gear must fit into your duffel bag – including your sleeping bag. Please do not over pack. Maximum allowance: 35 lbs. fully packed.

Note: some airlines will charge a $100 fee for oversized bag or 3 pieces checked baggage.

Extra Bag: 2nd checked bag or carry on (suitcase) for keeping your non-trekking, clean clothes, souvenirs, at the hotel in Kathmandu while trekking and any other items you acquire in Kathmandu. We strongly encourage a wheeled bag or backpack for this bag.

2 Luggage Locks: One for your trekking duffel and one for the bag you store in Kathmandu while trekking. Note: Locks on checked baggage may be broken for bags to be searched by security.

Small Day Pack: During the day, you will carry a small day pack that will contain your water bottle, camera, extra film, sweater and/or jacket, snacks, and any necessities you will need to get at during the day. Note: Mountain Smith brand, “Tour Pack,” or similar pack has been recommended by past trekkers.

Sleeping Bag: A four-season down or synthetic sleeping bag that can provide warmth at 25 – 35 degrees Fahrenheit. A sleeping bag may be provided to you upon request from our trekking office in Nepal.
Thermal Sleeping Pad: Used for insulation. We recommend the Thermarest brand. We will provide you with 2-inch thick sleeping pad for cushioning.

Camera, Film, Spare Batteries for Camera: To capture the stunning views of the Himalayas….and anything else you want to remember. Extra memory stick. CD burning in Kathmandu and Pokhara for pictures


Hiking Boots: Lightweight sturdy boots are recommended. They should have good foot and ankle support. Look for good traction, breathability, and durability. Remember that Gore Tex/waterproof boots will not breath as well as water-resistant boots will. It is essential to break in new boots prior to departure. Remember, you will walk in these boots for 4 – 7 hours per day.

Boot Laces: A spare set for your hiking boots.

Teva-type or River Sandals: For wearing around camp, bathing in rivers, or walking through streams.


Keep in mind that the following clothing list is designed for wearing a single outfit for 2-3 days and then changing into a new outfit for the next 2-3 days.

There is an opportunity to wash clothing in the evening and hang dry on your backpack the following morning. On sunny days, clothing dries in a few hours, but you must be prepared for inclement weather, when clothing dries in about 1-2 days. Lightweight long sleeve layers are essential because of constant temperature fluctuations.

1 Rain Jacket: A waterproof jacket or shell, such as Gore-Tex, that will keep the wind out and which can also be used for rain. You will be wearing this at night when the sun goes down.

1 Pair Rain Pants: Waterproof rain pants that can be worn with hiking boots and taken off easily over boots. Zipper or buttons at ankle cuff make this easy.

1 Lightweight Windproof, Water-Resistant Jacket: For the cool mornings, evenings and brief showers. Should have room to layer underneath this jacket.

1 Medium-weight Fleece Shirt or Jacket: Essential to wear in early morning or after sundown (should fit underneath lightweight jacket).

3 Technical Fabric Short-sleeved Shirts: These shirts are ideal for everyday use at lower altitudes, they will keep you dry and cool (no cotton).

3 Shorts/Skirts: Shorts are fine for men during the day. Women should not wear shorts (with the exception of during the run). Women should wear loose fitting comfortable pants or skirts (must cover your knees). Long, wrap-around skirts, known as Lungis, are great for trekking as you can wear tights underneath to stay warm at higher altitudes. Lungis can be purchased in Kathmandu for a few dollars. Nepali women wear sarongs/saris/lungis to cover their legs, and it is appropriate for foreigners to respect the culture and wear them as well.

1 Pair of Pants: Loose-fitting quick drying, khaki, or light pants. Remember, it is inappropriate in Nepal for women to show their knees or figure (therefore tights are not acceptable without a Lungi over the tights). Zip-off pants are useful for men, and Capris are great for women.

1 Pair Warm Fleece pants: Loungewear for evenings after trekking and for sleeping in.

1 Pair of Long Underwear: Polypropylene thermal underwear is recommended for cool nights, mornings and underneath pants while trekking.

2 Sports Bras: For comfort during hiking. No cotton.

1 Pair of Socks for Every 2 Days: Socks that wick moisture away (not cotton). Thorlo makes great trekking socks. Practice wearing your socks with your hiking boots before the trek.

Sunglasses: Essential on all treks. Adequate UV protection is needed, especially at higher altitudes. They are not available for purchase during the trek.

Croakies or Sunglass Holders: Useful for hands free photo taking.

Light Gloves: For cool mornings and nights.

Sun Hat/Cap: To keep the sun off the face while trekking.

Warm Hat: Used for cool mornings and nights and during sleeping.


2 Water Bottles: It is essential that you drink a lot water throughout the day. Nalgene brand, 1 liter size, sturdy, plastic bottles, with leak proof tops are best. Large mouth bottles are easier to fill. No bike water bottles. Your water bottles will be filled at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Bottles need to be able to withstand boiling water. You can get bottles at camping stores. Powder sports drinks may be good to add to the water if Iodine is used to purify the water.

Running race water bottles or hydration system: Bring whatever works for you during a run. You will not be able to purchase it there.

Headlamp/Flashlight: With spare batteries and bulb. Headlamps are recommended to free up hands.

Clothes Line Cord: Useful for hanging wet clothes to dry between the tents at camp.

Money Belt: A money belt is ideal to carry money around Kathmandu. Your airline ticket and passport will be kept in a safe at the trekking office in Kathmandu while on the trek.

Plastic Bags: Large, sturdy trash bags to line the duffel bag and sleeping bag. (Having dry clothes and a dry sleeping bag at camp is great!) Ziplock bags or small mesh bags are useful to separate clean and dirty clothes, as wells as to stay organized.

Small Towel and Washcloth: The towel is used for drying off after bathing in the river, and a washcloth is used for daily sponge baths during the trek.

Sun Screen and Lip Protection: Small bottle of high SPF is recommended — 15 to 25 SPF or higher. Remember that the sun is very strong in the mountains, and we walk for hours every day in the sun.

Personal Medical Kit: Bring any medication and prescriptions you anticipate using. Medicine for cough, cold, and headaches, anti-inflammatory, or any prescription medicine you may need. Bandages, Moleskin for blisters, and first aid cream. Imodium and Pepto-Bismol tablets are great for upset stomach. Vitamins and throat lozenges are also good to bring. The trek leader will bring an emergency medical kit with any necessary medications. Most antibiotics and prescription medicines are available over the counter in Kathmandu and are MUCH less expensive than at home, but must be purchased prior to the trek, as they are not available for purchase during the trek. These are used for stomach problems you may encounter during the trek.

Personal Hygiene Items: Toiletries should be carried in leak proof containers. Duck tape bottle caps and pack all liquids in plastic Ziploc bags as they may leak during the flights and while trekking.

Travel-sized Handy Wipes: Great for cleaning hands before meals.

Ear plugs: Essential for any travel.

Eye cover: Useful for sleeping on the airplane. Sometimes given out on flights.

Small Travel Pillow: Useful on long flights and for sleeping while on trek.

Toilet Paper: One roll of Scott 1,000 sheet brand is recommended. The Asian quality tends to be “scratchy”.

Iodine Tablets: 1 small bottle of Potable Aqua brand tables for backup water purification.

Biodegradable Soap: Used for washing clothes if necessary during the trek.

Extra Glasses or Contact Lenses (for those who wear them): Disposable contact lenses are preferred for trekking.

Insect Repellant: Usually not needed while trekking, but useful if rafting and visiting Chitwan National Park if you will be extending your stay. Small stick type recommended.

Walking Stick: A collapsible walking stick or ski pole may be very useful if so desired.

Small Travel Alarm Clock: Useful in Kathmandu, but not needed on trek.

Swiss Army Type Knife: Make sure this item is in your checked baggage while flying.

Journal and Pen: To capture all experiences while in Nepal. Remember to always put the journal in a Ziplock bag, in case we encounter rain. The journal should be about 4 x 6 or smaller in size and should easily fit in your daypack.

Snacks: Chocolate, power bars, trail mix, nuts, Crystal Light drink mix are a few favorites of past trekkers. Emer’gen-C brand vitamin, drink mix is highly recommended. Some snacks are available during the trek, but not all.

Energy Bars, Sports Drink Mix and Gels: Bring your personal favorites.

Nepali Language Phrasebook: For daily interactions with the local trekking staff and people we meet in villages during the trek.

Small book to read: Should be small enough to fit in your daypack.

Lots of extra clothing: To give to our Nepali staff and to locals that we meet along the way. The Nepalese have very little clothing and appreciate any good quality, used clothing that you can give away. This also will leave you with extra room for souvenirs that you want to take back with you.


  • Two-Man Tents: These tents have a rain fly as well as a sewn in ground sheet. Ample for two people.
  • Mess Tent: You will be dining in our rainproof mess tents in the evening.
  • Toilet Tent: Will be put up at the camp sight and taken down after breakfast the next day.
  • All Cooking Equipment: Food, kerosene fuel for preparing our meals, plates & eating utensils, and water purifiers.
  • 2-Inch Foam Mattress: For sleeping at camp.

This equipment list provides you with general guidelines based on our trekking experience. Please feel free to contact us for more information or our recommendations:

Remember to pack efficiently. Porters or pack animals will carry your personal equipment. Items that are not needed on the trek can be stored and locked at your hotel in Kathmandu for FREE.

We will be happy to answer any questions and to provide recommendations for personal equipment and gear.

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