These are the things you need for trekking Nepal – it’s a comprehensive list. You need to find a balance between having everything you need and travelling light! If in doubt, leave it out!
We recommend that your backpack weighs no more than 12-13kg, as our porters can safely carry a maximum of 20-25kg each and we assign one between two people (unless you pay for an extra porter). You’ll need to carry your own essentials in a daypack, to make sure they’re always handy.
You don’t need to get everything before you arrive in Nepal. It’s often cheaper to buy your equipment in Nepal and there’s always time for a bit of shopping before your trek! Your guide can help you get what you need.
If you’re trekking in winter please scroll down to see our special note.
Things you Need for Trekking Nepal – Our Tried and Tested Packing List!
MUST haves! These are the things you MUST pack:
- Backpack, and day pack so you can keep essentials on hand.
- Hiking boots (wear them several times before the trek if possible to break them in).
- Down jacket – it’s possible to hire a down jacket in Nepal, but the quality can really vary. Therefore we recommend that you bring your own, or buy your own when you arrive in Nepal.
- Rain jacket.
- Sleeping bag (approximately 0˚C to 15˚C in spring and autumn; -10°C to 5°C in winter); many of the teahouses supply a blanket but you don’t want to risk being cold at night. It’s possible to hire a good quality sleeping bag in Nepal for around $3-4 per day.
- Maximum of two sets of comfortable hiking clothes (only one for shorter treks) including very warm layers. You might feel like you’ll want fresh, clean clothes every couple of days. But once you start trekking, you’ll realise it’s just not important as your clean clothes will soil within minutes!
- Warm hat, scarf, and gloves.
- Sunscreen and sunglasses – all year round.
- Beeswax lip balm (if you usually use lip balm).
- Hand sanitiser.
- Toilet roll.
- Head torch.
- Ear plugs – teahouses have very thin walls!
- Reusable drinking bottle and water purification tablets – plastic bottles destroy nature.
- First aid kit.
SHOULD haves! These are the things you SHOULD pack:
- Trekking poles – again it’s possible to hire these, but it’s actually cheaper to buy your own when you arrive in Nepal. Then you’ll have them for next time!
- Spare light/comfortable shoes to wear in the evenings.
- One set of comfortable, warm clothes for the evenings/sleeping – fleece or merino is great!
- Secure padlock for your room, sometimes teahouse rooms don’t have locks on the doors.
- Biodegradable personal hygiene wipes – the very best way to stay hygienic without facing icy cold showers!
- Minimum toiletries (you’ll use wipes more often that washing). And trust us, you won’t need any makeup!
- Sweet snacks or energy gels to give you a boost when you need it most!
NICE to haves! These are the things that are NICE to have but not essential:
- A book/e-reader/notebook and pen/pack of cards to entertain you in the evenings.
- Binoculars – you won’t believe the beauty of the Himalayan peaks up close!
- Compeed Anti Blister Stick – use this every morning to help prevent blisters.
- Hand and Foot Warmers – when yours hands or feet just won’t warm up, these are perfect to take off the chill! Available in most sports/outdoor recreation shops.
- Berocca (or similar effervescent vitamin drink) – I put one in my bottle of water daily. It tastes great and boosts my immune system at the same time.
- Biodegradable nappy bags – take a handful for your own rubbish. It’s difficult to dispose of rubbish when you’re trekking and you don’t want to leave it behind.
Trekking in Nepal is not a fashion parade! So, only bring what you need and enjoy being at one with nature! Even if you don’t usually leave the house without make-up on, you’ll quickly learn to love it!
Trekking in Winter (November to February)
Temperatures can get as low as -15°C at night during winter. So, it’s important that you have a good quality sleeping bag suitable for the season. Teahouses do provide an extra blanket to varying degrees of warmth. But it’s never fun to be cold at night and it’s even harder at high altitude – so better to be prepared. If you don’t have a winter sleeping bag, you can hire one in Kathmandu or Pokhara for around $4 per day.
Naturally you’ll need very warm clothes. We recommend breathable layers that you can add and remove as you need and a good down jacket to lock in the warmth. Fleece clothing is perfect for the evening when you want to get out of your dusty trekking clothes. Most teahouses will light a fire but sometimes you need to be practically sitting on it to feel the benefit. If you are very cold in the dining room, sit in your sleeping bag and enjoy the warmth, and smiles from other trekkers! (Yes we’ve been there!).
Snow isn’t always guaranteed, but at this time of year it’s useful to pack crampons just in case. If you don’t own crampons, you can buy a light pair in Kathmandu or Pokhara for around $20.
Note About Fragile Items
Your porter will likely attach a rope or strap tightly around your backpack to make it easier to carry. Most porters support the weight using a strap across their forehead. If you have any fragile items, we recommend that you either carry them in your own day pack or make sure they’re well protected and in the centre of your backpack. This include tubes of cream or liquid – you don’t want them exploding in your bag!
Shop for Gifts and Souvenirs After Your Trek!
As soon as you arrive in Nepal, you’ll likely be tempted by all the amazing things you can buy for low prices. But wait until after your trek to shop ’til you drop and fill up your backpack with colourful souvenirs and gifts!
It’s possible to leave some of your things at your hotel in Kathmandu or Pokhara, and pick them up after your trek. So, only take the things you need for trekking Nepal with you on the trek. Leave everything else behind!