A Kit List for the Everest Base Camp Trek
One of the questions we most commonly get asked from clients who are planning a trek to Everest Base Camp is what do I need to pack? In reply, here's a comprehensive clothing and equipment kit list for the trek, together with some helpful information and advice.
The key to being comfortable on trek is to adopt a system of several layers rather than one item of bulky warm clothing. Sun hats are an essential item, with a wide brim and something to protect your neck. Temperatures can drop very quickly in the evening at altitude and you will need to put on a number of layers once the walking has finished for the day. There are few warmer combinations than a pair of thermal leggings and roomy trekking trousers, with your trunk insulated with a base layer, micro fleece, thermal fleece jacket and a duvet jacket. A disproportionately large amount of body heat is lost through your head (about a third), so just as important as warm body clothing is a warm hat, together with the hood of your waterproof jacket. Don’t forget that your waterproof jacket (which should always be in your day pack when you're not wearing it!) makes a very effective outer warm, windproof layer and is likely to be as often used for this as for its waterproof qualities.
Tight fitting, figure-hugging clothing, such as those made with Lycra can often be offensive to locals, especially on women. If you find these items comfortable as a base layer then please pack something to wear over the top of them. Similarly, wearing shorts is culturally insensitive so leave them at home. Calf-length cut-off trousers are fine to take instead.
Your boots are your most important item of clothing. Generally speaking we would recommend you use the boots you already use for hill walking. If you do not have any suitable footwear or the pair you have are on their last legs (or feet!) make sure you buy a new pair several weeks before your trek to enable you to fully break them in. In general price is a good indicator of quality – good quality boots will normally cost between £80-£120. Normally an all leather boot is harder wearing and more waterproof but nowadays there are many reputable makes which utilise a mix of leather/nubuck and fabric. It is useful to have Gore-Tex lined boots. Take time in choosing a boot that fits you well (remember to take your favourite pair of walking socks with you when trying boots on!). Tell the assistant exactly what you are going to use the boot for and choose a boot with a good degree of ankle support and a good quality sole such as a Vibram sole.
Your luggage allowance - a word of advice:
In March 2013 CAAN (Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal) instituted new rules on luggage limits for flights to STOL airports - which Lukla is. The new weight limit is 15kgs, to include hand luggage. This means that they will now weigh both your kitbag and your day pack at the airport which should be within this limit. So you will need to be careful when packing for trek. Our advice is to make sure to wear your down jacket and walking boots for the flight to Lukla and also not to carry too much water on that day - you will be able to fill up with water and repack any extra clothing you're wearing into your kitbag when you arrive in Lukla.
Here's our full clothing list:
- Walking boots - with spare laces
- Trainers or comfortable shoes - for wearing in the tea house or lodge in the evening
- Waterproof jacket and over-trousers - preferable made from breathable material
- Gaiters - may be necessary late or early season
- Duvet / down jacket - essential for colder evenings especially at altitude
- Trekking trousers - suggest two pairs
- Cut-off trousers - below the knees
- Thermal underwear - two sets
- T-shirts / undershirts - preferably breathable material
- Long-sleeved shirts - to cover arms against the sun or insect bites
- Micro fleece
- Warm fleece
- Socks - walking socks and liners/thin socks
- Warm headgear
- Sunhat - ideally one that provides cover for your neck as well
- Scarf or Buff - for warmth and also for protection against wind or dust
- Gloves - 1 x heavy duty and 1 x lightweight
- Casual non-trekking clothes to wear in Kathmandu
NB - So that you don't take unnecessary clothing with you on trek, we recommend you take a spare small lockable bag for any kit you do not need for the trek. This can be left at your Kathmandu hotel, and will give you some clean clothes to come back to.
Equipment and accessories
Try and keep your equipment lightweight whenever possible. This is our suggested list:
- Small day sack - 30-40 litres
- Sleeping bag - you need a good quality 4-season sleeping bag and liner. Mountain Kingdoms provides these for you together with a sheet and pillow cover
- Trekking poles - We recommend that you take walking poles to help negotiate hills and difficult conditions should they occur but, if you're not a regular user of trekking poles, try them out beforehand
- Small lockable suitcase or bag - to leave your spare clothes in at your hotel in Kathmandu whilst you're on trek
- Assorted stuff bags - Preferably waterproof, to keep your clothes and kit dry on trek. Plastic bags are a cheaper option
- Water bottle - 1 litre at least, preferably metal or a Nalgene (plastic-type) bottle - which can be used as hot water bottle at night
- Penknife - Swiss army type with tweezers and bottle opener is useful. Pack in hold baggage
- Sunglasses / Glasses - Sunglasses are easy to lose or break, so bring a cheap spare pair. If you wear glasses, bring a spare pair. Contact lenses can cause problems due to dust.
- Personal first aid kit - see list below
- Head torch - with spare batteries
- Camera - with spare battery and memory cards
- Binoculars - although not essential, a lightweight pair will add to your experience
- Wash kit - biodegradable soap / shampoo, flannel, toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, sunscreen
- Antibacterial gel and/or wetwipes
- Hand warmers - useful for very cold days
- Toilet paper / travel tissues
- Repair kit - needle, thread, safety pins, small pair of scissors
- Inflatable pillow
- Earplugs - especially if you're a light sleeper
- Spare batteries for electrical items where necessary and a power charger
- Electrical adaptor suitable for Nepal - Standard voltage in Nepal is 220-240 volts. In the Kathmandu hotel there are normally a two-pin razor socket in the bathroom and in rooms generally sockets are round-three pin but can also be European or British variety sockets. Best advice is to use a universal travel adaptor. Tea houses on trek usually have recharging facilities (they will make a charge) but if it's busy there may be a queue for recharging.
- Books, journal, pens, cards, travel games etc. - for your spare time
Personal first aid kit
- Any personal medicines or antibiotics (tell your trek leader if you have any conditions and are taking medication)
- Antiseptic cream
- Anti-fungal foot powder
- Antihistamine - tablets and/or cream
- Sunscreen - Factor 20 at a very minimum
- Lipsalve - must have a high sunscreen factor. Apply liberally and often at altitude. Zinc blocks are also excellent for burnt lips
- Insect repellent
- Anti-blister plasters
- Assorted plasters and zinc oxide tape
- Throat sweets
- Dioralyte rehydration powders - make sure you have enough to cover an emergency
- Analgesic tablets - paracetamol, aspirin or whatever you normally take as a standard painkiller
- Water purification tablets
So there you have it, everything you need (and a little more besides) to help get you to Everest Base Camp. If you've got any questions, or need any advice, then just contact one of our specialist staff who will be very happy to help.