It is very important to pack wisely for any trek. Unless you are an experienced trekker you may be confused about is really needed for your Everest Base Camp trek. So we hope this page will help with your decision making and packing. There is only one rule: pack light! On the flights into Lukla the weight limit for checked bags is only 10 kg. So that should give you an indication as to how much or little to pack! You can leave your other belongings in your hotel in Kathmandu. Most of the hotels provide free storage for up to one month.
A 60 ltr backpack is highly recommended. Make sure it is comfortable for your body and before buying one it’s a good idea to check the reviews on line first. Although you can buy a backpack in Kathmandu, locally made ones may not be as comfortable as ones made overseas and (genuine) named brands may be more expensive in Nepal than in your own country.
There is nothing quite as demoralizing as having sore feet on a hike. It is very important to get good, well fitting hiking boots. Ankle boots are highly recommended. Do not bring new boots or rent second-hand ones. Buy your boots at home and wear them in before you come. New boots seem to almost always come with a guarantee of blisters. You might have seen people running the Everest Marathon from Gorakshep to Namche in running shoes. But that doesn’t mean you can do it – boots are essential.
Even on the warmest day in the Everest Region, the mornings and evenings are going to be cold. A down jacket will keep you warm. If you can, bring a real goose feather jacket from your home country. Many of the ‘down’ jackets in Kathmandu are made of synthetic materials and will not be as light weight. In addition, even if they state they are good to negative 20, it is likely that they are really only good to negative 10 at maximum. The cost for renting down jackets is around USD 1 per day in Thamel and USD 3 in Namche Bazaar. There are places where you can buy good down jackets in Kathmandu, such as the following stores: North Face, Sherpa, KAEMP 8848, Mountain Hard Wear and Black Yak.
Rain (Windproof) Jacket
This is a very handy jacket. It is protection against wind and rain and can also be used when it is sunny and too hot for a down jacket. These can be easily bought in Thamel. Those with detachable layers are particularly handy. Waterproof trousers are also recommended during the monsoon season.
What are camp shoes? Well you will probably find it inconvenient to wear your boots inside the hotel at night. And you will also want to give your feet a rest anyway! Flip flops (easily available in Thamel) or some other light shoes are recommended.
Something as simple as good socks can make all the difference to your trip. Look out for those with extra insulation which are especially made for hiking. You can easily buy socks in Thamel. It is recommended you bring 6 pairs so you have fresh socks all the time. It is unlikely you will have the ability to wash and dry anything on the trek.
What you bring will depend on the time of year you are trekking. During October & November and April & May it may be possible to hike in shorts during the day. In winter you will definitely need proper hiking trousers. A good alternative is the two-in-one type that unzip to create shorts. Thick, fleece lined trousers are also recommended for the colder days and a lighter sweatpants for sleeping in. Bring water proof over-trousers in the monsoon. In brief two lighter trousers and one thick pair for walking in, and one pair for sleeping in.
Bringing thermal inner wear is recommended, particularly for after Tengboche. Trousers and tops are recommended, but buy lighter ones as thicker thermal wear can be sweaty.
Due to the extreme cold, heat, strong sun rays at higher altitudes and wind skin can easily burn. Long sleeved shirts or t-shirts are recommended rather than short sleeved ones. Lightweight, self drying is recommended to absorb sweat.
Waterproof gloves are the best. If you can get ones with detachable layers so much the better. These are hard to find in Kathmandu so better shop at home.
A sun hat is an essential piece of equipment for trekking! Lightweight ones which can be easily folded are available in Thamel. You might want to bring a warm beanie type hat for evenings and early mornings.
Unless you are planning for peak climbing, normal sunglasses are fine. Make sure they are polarized for protection from UV rays. Buy at home as the ones in Thamel are almost always fake, despite the UV protection stickers.
The majority of hotels will have blankets but it is still essential to bring your own sleeping bag. No need to bring a mattress. Sleeping bags can be easily rented or bought in Thamel. Again, note that they rarely offer as much protection from the cold as it says on the label. An inner liner will keep you up to 5 degrees warmer and will keep your bag clean, or feel more comfortable if your sleeping bag is rented. Sleeping bags can be rented at around USD 2 in Thamel and USD 5 in Namche.
Water Bottle & Purifier
Bottled mineral water is available on the trails but it can cost up to USD 4 per bottle! A water purifier will enable you to collect tap water from teahouses along the way. UV filters such as SteriPen or purifying drops and tablets are good. Bring your own non-plastic bottle if using drops/tablets. Good for using as a hot water bottle at night too!
Trekking Pole (Walking Stick)
If you are young and think your knees are strong you might not need a pole or stick. But it is always a handy thing to have on more tricky up and down paths. It is best, and not expensive, to buy a pole. You can buy them in Thamel for around USD 8 and even if you never trek again, they are a good souvenir to take home!
These might be very useful if there is fresh snow. Unless you are peak climbing, the locally made ones are good enough for the Everest Base Camp trek.
Micro spikes are recommended if you are going over any of three high passes. These are like mini crampons but made of rubber and fit any shoe. These lightweight spikes are extremely helpful on slippery surfaces.
Particularly helpful if not going with an organised trek! While planning, you can use this online Everest base camp trek map. Maps are also widely available in Thamel.
- Hand sanitizer: You won’t be able to wash your hands at every stop
- Torch: Buy a head torch that takes normal AA or AAA batteries in Thamel. Your phone might not be able to be recharged.
- Personal toiletries and prescription medicines: You probably won’t get your favorite brands in Kathmandu so bring your own. Maybe decant your toiletries into smaller, lighter bottles or jars for the trek
- Do not forget to pack enough prescription medicines in case of flight delays
Here is a trekking packing list as recommended by Nancy and John from the UK and did Kanchenjunga Trek. World travellers and friends of Magical Nepal.
Medical Kit List
It is always better to be safe than sorry so pack a small medical kit for your trek. Most basic medicines are readily available in Thamel without prescription. (headache tablets, antibiotics for stomach problems, eye drops etc). Remember to bring your own medicines from home if you required prescription medicines in your own country. These maybe not be available.
Clinics and Health Posts
There are health posts in Pheriche, Machhermo, Namche, Khumjung, Phakding and Lukla. There is also a volunteer doctor at the International Porter Protection Group in Machhermo.
Note: medicine will be expensive at these clinics and health posts.
Happy packing! And remember “pack smarter and pack lighter”.