If you’re reading this list, you’re probably feeling exactly what I felt as I prepared for my trip to Nepal: excitement, anxiety, and confusion! There are many different types of treks in Nepal, from those taking climbers up to Mt. Everest’s Base Camp and trails that wind through the lower-elevation valleys and villages.
While information abounds on what to pack for Everest Base Camp or the Annapurna Circuit, those who are trekking slightly off the beaten path will not find a lot of resources. I went in largely blind despite doing my best to research extensively, so I vowed to keep a detailed list of exactly what I brought and what I did and didn’t need to share when I got home.
This list is appropriate for trekkers who will experience a mix of elevations throughout their trek (my two weeks varied from 5,000 feet to 14,000 feet in elevation).
I visited Nepal in mid-October and experienced mostly comfortable days and cold nights. Expect to feel warm or even hot during the hiking portions of your trek and very cold at night, especially at higher elevations. Pack for temperatures ranging from 30-90 degrees, but pack light. You have to carry everything, after all!
Your tendency will be to over pack. Don’t do it! You need less clothing than you think you do. Although I packed reasonably well, there were some things I definitely did not need, and some things I could have used more of.
Layering is your friend – you can always put on more clothing! Anything that you will sweat in will take a long time to dry because it gets really cold at night, so take that into account when packing. It’s not as simple to wash clothes as it seems if you have long hiking days with little time at camp.
Remember: no one looks their best on a trip like this, and no one smells their best. Make peace with it now and don’t over pack.
- 2 lightweight technical tank tops
- 3 sports bras (2 for hiking, 1 for hanging out at night)
- 1 puffy/down jacket – I recommend the KÜHL Firefly Hoody, which was the perfect weight for this trip!
- 1 long sleeved shirt for night time – I loved my KÜHL Alina Flannel for its warmth and easy layering
- 1 short sleeved shirt (for sleeping or hanging out in)
- 1 long sleeved lightweight button down, like the KÜHL Airspeed – I lived in this shirt!
- 1 pair of hiking shorts, like the KÜHL Kendra Shorts
- 1 pair of leggings or pants to hang out in at night
- 1 or 2 pairs of lightweight hiking pants (I took 2 pairs of the KÜHL Mova Skinny, but could have gotten away with one)
- 1 pullover – I recommend the KÜHL Adriana ½ Zip because its merino wool helps regulate your core temperature whether you’re hot or cold, making it extremely versatile.
- 1 pair of hiking socks for every 2-3 days of your trip. I brought 4 pairs.
- Sturdy hiking boots
- Closed toe shoes for relaxing (e.g., Toms)
- Lightweight gloves
- Waterproof Rain jacket
- Outfit for sleeping in
In rural Nepal, there is nowhere to buy anything you’ve left behind. You can purchase everything you need in Kathmandu prior to starting your trek, but keep in mind that the quality may not be as good. I chose to bring everything I needed from home so I could make sure that it all fit easily in my pack and that I was able to carry everything I needed.
- Trekking poles! Even if you’ve never used them in your life, you’ll want them in Nepal.
- A headlamp and extra batteries
- A journal – you won’t have access to the internet, so record your memories the old fashioned way
- Camera and extra batteries (I went through 3 batteries on my Sony a6000).
- A portable charging bank, if you have one, or if you don’t want to buy extra batteries. If you are staying in lodges, you may be able to charge your phone or camera at night. Home stays will not have this option
- Toilet paper/wipes
- Hand sanitizer. Lots of hand sanitizer.
- Multi-purpose soap (for washing, laundry, etc)
- Water bottle and filter (I recommend this two-in-one bottle – so easy!). The water is not drinkable in Nepal, so come prepared. Smaller villages will not have bottled water for purchase, so don’t rely on it.
- Ziploc and spare grocery bags in every size and shape! You’ll find a million uses for compartmentalizing your stuff.
- Ear plugs and an eye mask. Whether you’re sleeping next door to a noisy neighbor or listening to a pack of dogs fight at 3 a.m., you’ll be glad you had them.
- A sleeping pad if you’ll be doing home stays. While some lodges have mattresses, most beds in Nepal are hard wood platforms. Buy a good one!
- A backpack that is well fitted to your body – get fitted at a local outdoor store!
- A warm sleeping bag and a sleeping bag liner
- Any medication that you can possibly think of needing – there is nowhere to buy it!
- Wet wipes or a reusable washcloth
- A multi towel
- Any toiletries you might need
- A comfortable day pack
If this seems like a lot of stuff, well – it probably is. There are undoubtedly lighter ways to pack, but if you’re a little neurotic (like I am) but still want to be practical, this list is a great compromise.