What gear do you really need for Nepal. Trekking gear companies tell you to buy x, y and z before you even think of setting foot on the Himalayas for fear of death. I’m here to be more realistic. You don’t need everything they try to sell you. So keep your money in your pocket a little longer and read on. We’ve trekked Everest region (2016) and the Annapurna Circuit(2001) in winter and in 2017 we’re back for Everest Base Camp ( with kids!). So let’s get real here about the trekking gear and equipment you will need for Nepal.
I’m not going to advise you, just tell you what we found necessary or unnecessary, obviously you know your body and its comfort levels. You have to make your own call and tell me what you decide in the comments. OK? The gear you need will also totally depend on how long you’re trekking and how high you’re going, at what time of year. All of our treks have been in winter to early spring.
Buying Trekking Gear in Kathmandu
The Thamel area of Kathmandu is packed with trekking gear shops. Some is genuine and sports a hefty price tag, most is fake but does the job just fine. Always negotiate on price. If you have a few days to spend in Kathmandu or Pokhara before your trek you can easily kit yourself out. If you have children or you’re a larger size, this is harder. Whether or not to trust the quality of the fake gear? It’s up to you. I have a lot of equipment bought in Kathmandu, as mentioned in this post, it’s always done me just fine. If you’re short of time then bring your trekking gear with you. You’ll want to spend your time enjoying the sights of Kathmandu, not traipsing from shop to shop.
Buying Trekking Gear on a Budget
Don’t scrimp on anything that could put you, your toes or fingers at risk. Everything I tell you on this page will help you keep your costs down, but be wise, stay safe. Trekking in Nepal is expensive. It just is. If you’re really low on funds maybe wait a year or so.
Electronic Equipment for Trekking and Visiting Nepal
You Will Need Power Packs and/or Solar Chargers in Kathmandu, Pokhara and the Himalayas
The power is off more than it’s on in Kathmandu and Pokhara. If, like us, you’re reliant on electronic devices like phones, laptops and Kindles, you will need electronic power back-up. In the mountains it’s normal for guest houses to charge you to plug in. Sometimes the fee is per charge, sometimes it’s per hour. It’s a couple of dollars here and there and costs quickly add up. In 2016 we took 2 rechargeable power packs, in 2017 we’re travelling with bigger better ones and solar charged power packs. We can charge as we walk. If you are travelling long-term it’s always a god idea to carry these anyway.Nekteck Solar Charger 10000mAh Rain-resistant Dirt/Shockproof Dual USB Port Portable Charger Battery with High-Efficiency SunPower Solar Panel Backup Power Pack for All USB Supported Devices, Black Anker PowerCore 10000, One of the Smallest and Lightest 10000mAh External Batteries, Ultra-Compact, High-speed Charging Technology Power Bank for iPhone, Samsung Galaxy and More
A Good Camera, Spare Batteries and Extra Camera Memory
The cold of the mountains makes batteries lose their charge quickly, you will need spare batteries. As you most likely won’t be taking your laptop on trek and internet coverage is spotty at best, you’ll also be best taking plenty of memory. As a professional travel blogger, I travel with a Nikon D3300, it was the most compact, most lightweight DSLR I could find at a non-scary price. It’s a popular camera because it’s so good, an excellent entry level DSLR and for the Himalayas and the wonders of Kathmandu, you will want a good camera.
Tip: Put your camera, phone and batteries inside your sleeping bag at night, tuck your camera inside your fleece during the day. Try to keep everything warm
Other Gear for Nepal and Trekking
On trek you will certainly need a large water bottle, maybe two. Wide mouthed is best, you will often fill your bottle with boiled water or even black tea in the trekking lodges. Make sure you can fasten it easily to the outside of your pack. Camel back type drinking systems are also useful. You can buy Nalgene type water bottles in Katmandu but I’m not comfortable with them, are they real? Are the BPA toxins in the plastic going to leach into your water? I’d buy these at home and know for sure they are BPA free.NALGENE Everyday Tritan Wide Mouth Travel Water Bottle – 32 oz – Cosmo w/Platinum Cap
Not essential, but they certainly make trekking easier and your knees last longer. I hike with one, others use two. I have one I bought in Kathmandu but there are some amazing ones available to buy online.
This one is a tough call. We’ve taken our own sleeping bags, bought cheap bags in Kathmandu and trekked without sleeping bags of any sort. Trekking lodges supply blankets but I doubt they ever wash them. They are plenty warm enough, but do you want to use them? A good solution is to take a sheet sleeping bag liner, see below. Sleeping bags are terribly bulky to carry and it’s a difficult decision to make, take one, or risk it?
Sheet Sleeping Bags
Sleeping bag liners, in cotton, silk or thermal materials are a very good travel investment. They’re not essential if you have your own sleeping bag, but if you plan on hiring a bag or not taking one at all, they’re gold.
You are fairly unlikely to take a shower during your trek, it’s too cold and the guest house owners charge per hot shower, that is, if their solar heating is working. Lower down, yes you may find showers and they will be variably hot. Take a travel towel , they aren’t usually supplied by the trekking lodge. You’ll want one for drying your hands or cleaning your teeth anyway. Micro towelling is good, we have towelling travel towels that are 20 years old, but microfiber is lighter and easier to wash and dry. We even use these Mountain Warehouse travel towels at home.Mountain Warehouse Mega Microfiber Travel Towel 150 x 85cm Turquoise
For you for Pinterest
Trekking Clothes and Trekking Boots
Trekking Boots for Nepal
Don’t feel you have to go out and buy the best trekking boots on the market just because you’re going to the Himalayas. My husband has been high in the Himalayas in running shoes and in top of the range crampon-ready leather Scarpas . I’ve been up there in light summer trekking shoes and in summer-weight hiking boots, the latter in deep snow. One of the kids had hiking shoes bought in Kathmandu, the other had street shoes, winter type basketball boots, he got to Tangboche Monastery. We did just fine in all of the footwear mentioned above. My husband preferred trekking in his running shoes right up past Namche Bazaar and into light snow, he found he slipped less and walking was easier. Once the snow gets thicker, boots are better. My summer hiking boots did OK in snow, but I was hitting them with waterproofing spray every day. In snow, always add gaters ( buy these on the trek or in Kathmandu, quality isn’t critical), they help keep the snow out of the top of your boots. I’m not advising you not to buy serious hiking boots, I’m just telling you not to worry too much particularly if you’re not going into deep snow.
Do Trekkers Need Crampons?
Trekkers don’t normally need crampons, but on certain hikes, where there’s ice, they do. You can buy crampons on a stretchy rubber frame that slip over your boots and shoes in Kathmandu and in Namche Bazaar.
You will be wearing the same socks for multiple days without washing them. Unless of course you hire a porter to carry your wardrobe. Sometimes I trek in thick hiking socks, sometimes in thin street socks, to me it makes little difference in well broken-in shoes or boots. The extra cushioning on the bottom of designated hiking socks can be very nice though. You can pick up socks in Kathmandu but we struggled to find kids’ sizes. I’d recommend bringing at least a couple of pairs of good socks with you from home. Quality trekking socks like these are a good investment and can last decades ( mine have!) Bridgedale are a classic, quality brand. You absolutely can’t go wrong with Bridgedales.Bridgedale Mens Trekker Merino Fusion Socks, Large, Charcoal with Sock Ring
Trekking Pants and Waterproof Trousers
We’ve never bought trekking pants so can’t comment. We’ve trekked in a strange mixture of jeans, leggings, yoga pants and shorts and did just fine. If you’re going high or into snow add waterproof over trousers or special cold weather trekking pants.
Base Layers, Thermals Jumpers and Jackets
People recommend thermals and merino this and that. We just wear long-sleeved T-shirts, fleeces, hoodies, etc. I’ve never owned nor needed thermals for trekking or skiing.
We’ve taken down jackets brought from home as well as those bought in Kathmandu or even hired in Pokhara. We’ve carried waterproof jackets and used them in blizzard conditions on the Thorong La ( Annapurna’s High Pass, see video below). What you take, as always, depends on how high you’re going. I’d still steer clear of trekking stores’ ” must buy” lists. You can buy huge, thick fleeces very cheaply in Kathmandu, I’ve had mine 15 years.
Absolutely, you don’t want snow blindness. We trekked with a guy who’s glasses had broken, he had snow blindness for days and it’s not nice.
Fingers are particularly susceptible to cold. Yes, you need gloves of some sort.
Hats and Buffs
You’ll want something on your head but it doesn’t have to be top of the range. Buffs are great, but a cheap one from Decathlon does the job just fine.
Check out what we’re wearing here, this was in the worst possible weather you’ll get, serious cold, blizzards ( we were stuck up there at high camp for 3 days) and 5,416m at the top of the Thorong La on the Annapurna Circuit. The height is similar to Everest Base Camp.
A sun hat, a kramer from Cambodia and a buff, along with the hood from my waterproof jacket, did me fine. A cap is great too, to keep the sun off your face. If you’re long-term backpacking you simply can’t fill your bag with the perfect piece of gear for every occasion. If your trek in the Himalayas is a one-off, big event and you have cash to burn, sure, buy all the designer gear. I’m not trying to give advice, just present you with options that will help you ignore the marketers, save the planet through consuming less and save your cash.
That’s it for now, all can think of. I hope I’ve managed to put your mind at rest a little and help you realise that you don’t have to buy all of the trekking gear on the list, to an extent you can make do with what you’ve got. If you have any questions just put them in the comments and maybe I’ll bump into you somewhere high one day. You can go back to our main Nepal Travel Blog page here