Trekking on a budget as part of a round the world trip isn’t easy. Making sure you have the right gear isn’t simple either, so after much research (and subsequent testing) here’s our Nepal trek gear list.
When we arrived in Nepal to head on the Everest Base Camp trek via the Cho La Pass we had been traveling for 10 months. Our travel was mostly in warmer climes. We carried only a 40 litre Osprey Farpoint backpack each (they’re great, we love them, buy one today.). We are still carrying them to this day (March 2018). We put together our Trek Gear List for Everest Base Camp and I still stand by it.
As we arrived in Kathmandu overland from India to Nepal we didn’t have gear for trekking, so we had to shop. Our plan was to shop for trekking gear in Kathmandu, buy the minimumm needed and not break the bank and then donate our unwanted items to a Nepali Porter charity, as we would be carrying on backpacking into India and wouldn’t need the gear.
What's in This Article?
- Details of our Nepal Trekking
- Gear we left in Kathmandu
- Here’s Our Everest Base Camp Trek Gear List:
- Download our Trek Gear List Recommendations
- The Most Important Trek Gear You can Take
- TREK GEAR LIST: BAGS & PACKS FOR EVEREST BASE CAMP TREK
- TREK GEAR LIST: FOOTWEAR for EVEREST BASE CAMP TREK
- TREK GEAR LIST: CLOTHES FOR EVEREST BASE CAMP TREK
- TREK GEAR LIST: OUTER CLOTHES FOR EVEREST BASE CAMP TREK
- TREK GEAR LIST: TOILETRIES
- TREK GEAR LIST: FIRST AID KIT
- TREK GEAR LIST: OTHERS
- TREK GEAR LIST: HYDRATION & TREKKING GADGETS
- Was our Trek Gear List Enough?
- How Much Did we Spend on Trekking Gear in Kathmandu?
Details of our Nepal Trekking
We would be trekking on the Everest Circuit and over the Cho La pass.
We trekked with Australian Company World Expeditions, who sent a trek gear list to us. they also provided certain items.
- A large down jacket for wear in the evenings
- Sleeping bags – We had 4 season bags provided
- Fleece Liners for the sleeping bags
- 80 litre kit bag – these duffle bags are preferred by porters
80 litres! All that room was like Christmas after managing for 10 months with 40 litres!
Gear we left in Kathmandu
We left our 40 litre Osprey Farpoint 40’s in Kathmandu with our laptops, swimsuits and other items that we wouldn’t need. We locked them with padlocks and left them at the hotel we were staying at.
IMHO the Osprey Farpoint isn’t suitable for the Everest Base Camp Trek, as it opens almost fully. Most of the time when I was trekking I didn’t take off the day pack I had someone else reach into it and grab what I needed. That’s not possible with the Farpoint because of how it opens. The mesh pockets on the side are also not big enough to fit water bottles into.
Here’s Our Everest Base Camp Trek Gear List:
(Note that what we bought in Kathmandu was mostly from Shona’s Alpine – details on Shopping for Trekking Gear in Kathmandu here🙂 Note that Shona’s also rent trekking equipment like backpacks, sleeping bags, down jackets if you don’t want to buy. Tell them ASocialNomad sent you!
Download our Trek Gear List Recommendations
The Most Important Trek Gear You can Take
Before we get into the detail of our Trek Gear List, here’s the single most important thing that you can take on your trek in Nepal and that’s insurance. The fittest member of our group was airlifted out of Machhermo with Acute Mountain Sickness. That’s altitude sickness. He couldn’t walk more than a few steps, his lips were blue and he spent the night in an oxygen tent before he was medevaced out. The doctors in Kathmandu indicated that if he’d tried to walk out he would have died. His helicopter evacuation cost US$5,000. He had to provide his credit card before the helicopter could be called. His insurance company paid in full.
We have claimed twice on insurance in the last year, taking emergency flights back from both Central America and Central Asia for (unrelated) family emergencies. In both cases our travel insurance company have paid in full. In total we would have been out nearly US$10,000 if we hadn’t had coverage.
Trekking at altitude carries risks. We insured ourselves through World Nomads – buying specific altitude coverage in case of altitude sickness that affected Tim on our trek. As our trip was longe than 12 months, we were also able to renew our policy while out of our home country. Get a price for your travel and health insurance now.
TREK GEAR LIST: BAGS & PACKS FOR EVEREST BASE CAMP TREK
- Day Pack (35litre, top opening, bought in Shona’s Kathmandu, donated after)
- Rain cover for the Day Pack
- 80-litre kit bag. Provided by World Expeditions.
TREK GEAR LIST: FOOTWEAR for EVEREST BASE CAMP TREK
- “Salewa” hiking boots ( bought in Kathmandu, donated after)
**** We normally hike in Merrells, but were glad we’d bought the hiking boots, as some days we were trekking in knee deep snow. Our feet would have been drenched just stepping out of the tent in our Merrells ****
- 1 pair of crocs – showers/camp shoes – giving your hiking boots a break is good for them and your feet each day. Plus you may need to dry them overnight if you’ve been hiking through mud, snow or water.
- 1 pair of crampons (bought in Kathmandu, donated after)
**** We used crampons on several days when there was a lot of ice and snow on the trail. I found them useful one day and then not the next. There were a couple of slopes I would not have been able to get up without my crampons and trekking poles. ****
- 4 pairs of Bridgedale socks (already travelling with them)
- 1 pair of thick fake North Face socks (bought in Kathmandu, donated after)
TREK GEAR LIST: CLOTHES FOR EVEREST BASE CAMP TREK
- 6 pairs of underpants/knickers (already travelling with them)
- 2 bras /sports bras
- 2 pairs of “thermal” bottom pants (bought in Kathmandu, donated after)
- 2 pairs of zip-off hiking pants (already travelling with them)
- 1 cheap “thermal top” for hiking in (bought in Kathmandu, donated after)
- 1 “Kolon Sport” thermal top to sleep in (bought in Kathmandu, still carrying)
- 3 quick dry Tshirts (already travelling with them)
- 1 long sleeved quick dry Tshirt (already travelling with it)
- 1 quick dry long sleeved shirt
- Lightweight Full Zip Fleece (already travelling with it)
TREK GEAR LIST: OUTER CLOTHES FOR EVEREST BASE CAMP TREK
- 1 pair of inner fleecy, outer waterproof gloves (kept the fleece, donated the outers)
- 1 pair of waterproof trousers -zip open to the knee (bought in Kathmandu, donated after) – these are really useful, as you can take them on and off without taking your boots off.
- 1 pair of Gaiters (bought in Kathmandu, donated after)
- 1 lightweight Go Outdoors waterproof/windproof stowaway jacket (already travelling with it)
- 1 fleece beanie (hat) (bought in Kathmandu, still carrying)
- 1 sun hat (already travelling with)
- 1 baseball cap (already travelling with)
- 1 Buff (bought in Kathmandu, still carrying) (keeps the greasy hair out of your eyes. Adds warmth under a hat.
- Sunglasses – I always wear Maui Jims
The Go Outdoors stowaway jacket was the only outer jacket that we had. (Apart from the down jacket provided by World Expeditions). We contemplated buying a windproof jacket, but this stowaway jacket was also windproof, and when I got cold I just added layers. My record was five layers plus the jacket. I was cosy.
TREK GEAR LIST: TOILETRIES
- 1 large quick drying towel between us (already travelling with) – I would just take a small one, we even contemplate cutting this up to reduce weight.
**** We took one shower on the trail, a smaller travel towel is useful for drying your hands/face/other areas if you have a bed bath. Walking around with wet hands and face is likely to lead to chapping. ****
Our guide to buying the best travel towels is now available – our favourite dries us well and fits in the palm of our hands. Find out more about how to buy the best travel towels.
- Toilet Paper & Tissues (we should have brought 2 x the amount – it’s expensive on the trail)
- Facial Moisturiser
- Menstrual Cup (Women)
- Shee Pee – saves going out of the tent in the night!
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Two packs of wet wipes each (allowing 2 wipes per day)
- A small bar of soap, a small bottle of shampoo (I’d leave the Shampoo behind and just wash my hair when I returned to Kathmandu)
- Hand Sanitizer
TREK GEAR LIST: FIRST AID KIT
Our trek leader Ramesh was carrying a full first aid kit. The team also carried a portable oxygen chamber too. So we were light on first aid equipment. It’s advised to take antibiotics with you, I didn’t have any, but Ramesh gave me some of the team antibiotics when I had stomach problems.
- Carmex – the best lip salve EVER
- Germolene for breaks in the skin (I used it on my blistered peeling nose, which caught the sun)
- Elastoplast for blisters (I didn’t get any)
- Ibuprofen for headaches and any aches
- Cold Remedy
- Suncream Factor 50 – you’ll need it!
- Hydration salts
TREK GEAR LIST: OTHERS
- Heavy Duty Sticky Tape & Superglue (in case the boots had a problem!) – didn’t use
- Small sewing kit (freebie from the Radisson hotel) – didn’t use
- Plastic bags, Several Ziplock Bags – always carry anyways
- A notepad, pen and pencil
- A decent watch – hiking trails in Nepal are measured in hours and minutes not distance. Its always good to know how long you’ve been on the trail.
- Swiss Army Knife
- Passport Photos – you’ll need these for your trekking passes
- Chocolate, Candies, Mints
TREK GEAR LIST: HYDRATION & TREKKING GADGETS
- A wide-mouthed Nalgene bottle (bought in Kathmandu, donated after)
- 750ml water bottle (already travelling with) – if I didn’t have this, I’d have bought 2 wide-mouthed Nalgene bottles.
**** A widemouthed water bottles is best, as you’ll be getting refills from boiled kettles and its easier to fill. If you’re using a Steripen then the wide mouthed bottle is a necessity. Not all the Nalgene bottles you’ll find in Kathmandu are legitimate. Either buy from home, or from Shona’s to be a real one, rather than a fake one ****
We carry a filter water bottle – you can find out how we selected which one we bought in this buying guide for water filter bottles.
We also carry a steripen and a water filter bottle (we didn’t use the filter bottle in Nepal as we were getting boiled and treated water from World Expeditions).
- Regular small torch (already travelling with)
- Head Torch / Head Lamp (bought in Kathmandu, still carrying))
**** Be sure to take extra batteries for your headlamp or better still buy a rechargeable one and take a portable battery pack ****
- 1 trekking pole (bought in Kathmandu, donated after). Now I trek with two poles, as my hands swell at altitude if I don’t use poles.
TREK GEAR LIST: ELECTRONICS
We left electronic kit behind in Kathmandu, taking only the following with us
- iPhone 5 (as a camera only, turned to airplane mode to save battery for the entire trek)
**** Wifi was available at various tea houses and lodges along the trail (Namche, Dingboche definitely). It’s not cheap, but you can be in contact with the outside world if you want to be. Consider the drain on your battery, you can also buy access to electricity too when your battery drains. Or take a portable power pack with you. ****
- Panasonic TZ60 Camera – rechargeable from our portable battery pack
- Spare batteries for your camera if you don’t have rechargeable ones.
*** Sleep with batteries inside your sleeping bag and keep cameras in pockets or bags when trekking – your battery will drain quickly in the cold. ****
- Nikon Cool Pix backup camera
- Small portable battery pack (it lasted us the entire trip when supplemented with the solar charger) Electricity is expensive on the trail, take power/solar power with you
- Mini Solar charger (bought in Kathmandu)
**** We trekked with the solar charger hanging off the back of my day pack. It charged up fully throughout the day. once we arrived at our end location for the day, I hung it on the outside of our tent too. We charged the camera/kindle/phone overnight and then recharged the solar charger the next day. It worked very well for us. ****
- Kindle eReader
Was our Trek Gear List Enough?
And the kit list was spot on. We didn’t need a separate heavier windproof jacket, our layering (I had five layers plus my raincoat on at one point) was enough. Sleeping in thermal tops, bottom, gloves, socks and hat meant that we weren’t cold at all at night. – even when the temperature dropped to negative 10 degrees.
How Much Did we Spend on Trekking Gear in Kathmandu?
We spent US$260 on boots and kit and I don’t think we could have spent less, our regular travelling clothes are all quick dry and well used, but still completely serviceable. Everything is negotiable in Kathmandu, but we bought most of our gear (apart from the boots) in Shona’s where we felt we got a fair price and decent gear.
You can read our day by day progress on our trek to Everest Base Camp, starting with Day 1 – where we go from Lukla to Monjo.