Trekking in Nepal – is a very popular destination for lovers of mountains, exotic countries and hiking. This country is a concentration of bright impressions, stunning scenery and fresh cultural experience. In this short article we will help you properly prepare yourself for the meeting with the country of eight-thousanders, yaks and Buddhism.
WARNING: This list is as valid for spring treks as it is for fall and winter tracks. Except that the comfort temperature of the sleeping bag and down jacket are slightly different. All of the following things are needed in any season, as the temperature during the trek can vary from -15 to +25!
Most tourists plan their trips in spring or fall – these times of the year can be called the season for Nepal. The weather during this time is more stable and predictable and better suited for travel than the monsoon period.
The peculiarities of the climate when traveling in the mountains of Nepal.
You almost always start from Kathmandu, which is usually quite hot and dusty. Sometimes the program may include a trip to Chitwan National Park, located in the jungle. When you get directly into the Himalayas, you usually pass all the altitude belts that everyone knows from their geography classes. In Nepal, you go from the tropical climate of the lowlands to the real highlands, in some programs you will sometimes be at altitudes above 5000 meters. Even in late spring or early fall there will be snow and temperatures at night will be well below freezing.
Therefore, your clothing should be suitable for both the heat and the cold conditions. To avoid taking too many things, stick to the principle of modularity in clothing – that is, if necessary, you should be able to put some things on top of each other to protect you from the cold or bad weather.
Another important feature of most Nepalese programs is the absence of the familiar tent life of many tourists. Overnight stays in the mountains, as a rule, are planned in so-called “tea houses” – lodges or small hotels with minimal facilities. It is also where the process of eating takes place. This means that you do not need to bring a tent and a mat, as well as equipment for cooking. All of this will greatly facilitate both your backpack and your wallet.
Now here is a rough list of recommended clothing and gear with a few notes. Of course, the list will be individually adjusted depending on the characteristics of the program and your preferences, as well as the time of the trip – early spring and late fall are colder. Before you start packing for a trip, carefully study the information on the website of the trip organizer, and if necessary, ask thoughtful clarifying questions to the trip manager. If you are planning to travel on your own – even more so, take seriously the selection of clothing and equipment.
The difficulty of most trails in Nepal is not too high, in most cases well worn lightweight trekking boots (mandatory for all winter trails) or even reliable trekking sneackers (in case your route will not pass through deep snow or at altitudes above 5000 meters) will do.
Trekking sandals work well in the cities and as a shoe changer on top. You can get versatile crocs that are good for shifts, the city, and even the shower, so you don’t have to get a third pair.
2-3 pairs of thin trekking socks for hiking is enough, for sleeping take a pair of warm socks. Do not take unnecessary. In addition, you can buy good enough socks in Kathmandu for $ 1.5, we ourselves wear them and recommend you 🙂
A complete set, top and bottom, thin, long sleeve. It makes sense to take not 100% synthetics, but with a significant addition of merino wool, such as the well-known manufacturer of wool thermal underwear icebreaker or other manufacturers you trust. The thing is that it will be used mainly for sleeping or leisurely monotonous movements at altitude, so that particularly intensive removal of moisture from the body is probably often not required. In this case synthetic fabric has no equal yet. But wool is more hygienic, which is important with limited opportunities for washing, it keeps warm better and it is more pleasant to be in it for a long time.
Do not forget to take thermal underwear strictly in size – it should fit you as snugly as possible.
Two synthetic T-shirts – fast drying, not wrinkled, weighs almost nothing and doesn’t take up much space. A pair is enough.
A trekking shirt made of thin fabric, preferably with long sleeves that can be rolled up to the desired length. A very practical piece of clothing – it protects from the sun, the collar can be raised, and thus protect the neck. In the heat you can unbutton the buttons to improve ventilation. Not obligatory, but highly desirable element of clothing.
Both t-shirts and shirts can be worn over thermal underwear if necessary.
Trekking shorts – made of synthetic material, comfortable for you length with the right number of pockets and not interfering with carrying a backpack with a tightened belt. Since at altitude it can be just ballast for you, it makes sense to take pants-transformers, which with an easy move of your hand turn into …. elegant shorts))). Suitable for May and early fall treks. No need to wear them on winter hikes.
Also a useful tip – in cooler air you can wear the shorts over thermal underwear.
You’ll definitely need at least one buff to protect your face from dust and sun and to put it on your head – this piece of clothing has many useful functions. It is possible not to buy it especially for the trek, but to get it as a gift before the trek.
For altitude, you need to have a warm hat (absolutely necessary, if you do not have reliable hoods in your clothes, and buffs; if you have, it’s just desirable). You can buy a Nepalese knitted mesh wool hat right down the road.
Reliable, warm enough gloves will definitely be needed! It is desirable that they do not blow through and dry quickly. If your route is at altitudes of 5000m or more, be sure to take warm mittens. Often on early exits before dawn, the air temperature is below freezing and your hands get very cold.
Sun hat or panama. May come in handy in sunny weather, especially if you have sensitive skin
Not too thin, should breathe well (good if there is a closing ventilation) and not too breathable. Of course, synthetic. Very practical if the pant legs can be unbuttoned (see above).).
Still the most popular intermediate layer of outerwear. Take a medium thickness.
Useful on high altitude treks as well as in early spring, late fall and winter treks. Otherwise, not usually necessary. Check with your trek manager.
Or an analogue made of synthetic insulation. Hardly anything compares in lightness, compactness and warmth with a good down jacket. No need to take a thick winter model, something lighter is enough. But still, if you easily get cold – do not take a down jacket, bought in duty-free, which is packed in a bag the size of a large apple. You’ll obviously need something warmer.
For trekking in Nepal you do not need to buy the most expensive, with several layers, super-impregnation, etc. You can get one of the simplest, but high quality (for example, Marmot about $100). It should withstand rain and wind, have ventilation underarms, comfortably sit on you without restricting movement, including when you’re walking with a backpack. If you buy in Nepal – beware of buying a cheap fake.
It is highly desirable – the weather in the mountains is unpredictable! Thin and lightweight membrane pants are enough. For example, marmot precip or analog of other manufacturers – they are not very expensive, take up little space, very lightweight and good protection from the weather.
A rain cape can come in handy, especially if you don’t trust your jacket and pants. Also, the cape will additionally protect your backpack. But in windy weather or on difficult terrain it is not very comfortable to go in a cape. In most cases, a membrane jacket and pants are enough. And the backpack can be protected by a special cape.
The main thing is to have a reliable head flashlight – you will not have to walk on the trails at night often, and when you need it, you will hike in a line of other tourists, and a head flashlight will hinder you rather than help. So it makes sense to take a simple model of a famous producer, rather than a no-name model from the mall with a hundred of suspicious quality LEDs. Take care of fresh batteries.
POWERBANK/Solar battery. For recharging your phone/photo camera might not be superfluous – if you can find a free socket at the lodging places, it’s for a fee. Of course, there are cunning adapters for the lamp socket, but you can not always use it. Decide for yourself.
Trekking poles – a highly desirable piece of equipment, even on simple programs. Take care of your knees and back, increase safety on descents and ascents. Almost any poles will do. You can buy them in Kathmandu.
A sleeping bag is a must in Nepal! Don’t be afraid to take a warmer bag, no one complained about the heat on Nepalese nights. But there were cases of freezing. In the warm period (late spring / early fall) can be taken with the comfort of 0 – -5C, in the cooler months (March, November, December) recommends having a sleeping bag -5 – -15C. For girls it is better to focus on the lower temperatures, as they freeze more often. Remember that unlike, say, European shelters, lodges in Nepal are not heated and it can be very cold to sleep. Blankets are not provided everywhere. A down sleeping bag is the best, it’s warmest with minimal weight, and you can hardly get it wet, except for wetting your backpack on the hike. But there are hermetic bags for that.
Backpack. Since you are not carrying food (except for a small amount of goodies), dishes and a tent with a mat, you can take a smaller backpack than usual. However, it depends on the trekking program – ask the manager. Usually 50 liters is enough for you – a little more for some people, a little less for others.
Often in Nepal to carry the goods they hire a porter. If you do not have a lot of luggage, you may take one porter for two (12 kg/person) and carry only your camera, first aid kit, water and clothes in case of bad weather.
In this case you will need additionally a small backpack for 20-25 liters in addition to the main one. You will put your luggage into a carrier bag which we give to our participants, and leave your backpack/bag with which you arrived in Kathmandu. Take a roll of garbage bags from home to pack your belongings in the bag, plastic bags are hard to find in Nepal, as everyone there has long ago switched to reusable cloth bags.
A document bag is not necessary, but it is very handy. It will come in handy when you are walking around Kathmandu. You can take a banana, a ksivnik, a waist purse… What you have and what you are used to walking with.
Sun glasses are just a must-have piece of gear! Should fit well, protect your eyes from ultraviolet light, have a secure case, preferably a safety strap. UV protection level should be 3 or 4, we recommend choosing Julbo models.
First aid kit, repellents, sunscreen. Be sure to take care of a small personal first aid kit that takes into account the peculiarities of your health and keep it with you, rather than give it to the porter on the march. Repellents may only be needed downstairs; sunscreen should always be on hand. Hygienic lipstick and moisturizer, wet wipes and toilet paper will also not be superfluous.
Almost all equipment and clothing can be purchased locally upon arrival. Often it will be very cheap, but rarely of high quality. But for one trip it will probably be enough. Sometimes the thing you bought “cheaply” will serve you well for many years, and sometimes it breaks down after a few days. The choice is yours. Be especially careful when buying high-tech things on the spot – clothes with a membrane and down, sunglasses, backpacks supposedly cool firm. There are a lot of fakes here. It is good if your guide can show you the “places of power” where you will not be cheated. In Kathmandu it is safe to buy trekking poles, fleece, hats, T-shirts, and other small things. Expensive and high-tech gadgets are better to be bought in a reliable outfitters’ center or online at the producer’s web-site or at some other well-established store. Read more about buying gear in Nepal here.
We wish you successful preparation for your Trekking – it is not very difficult to do and we wish you many impressions! See you on your journey.
Author: Sergei Lakhotsky.