Getting ready for trekking in Nepal? Are you wondering what gear you need to bring along with you on the trip? Don’t worry, that’s why we are here.
In 2016, we spent a better part of the year exploring the Everest region. In 2001, we trekked the Annapurna Circuit in winter. This year, 2017, we are back to take kids for Everest Base Camp. Therefore, it’s important to understand what you need to buy for your trekking trip in Nepal in terms of equipment and gear.
Since you know your body best and what you find the most comfortable, we’ll only tell you what we found necessary in our trip and what didn’t really count.
The type of gear you need will be dependent on the duration of your trek, how far high the mountain you anticipate to go and the time of the year you want to engage in this activity. Almost all our treks took place between winter and early spring.
Buying Trekking Things or Gear in Kathmandu, Nepal
We bought a number of trekking gear in Kathmandu, Nepal. In one of the shops we visited, the lady who attended to the shop sold us some fleece and two ‘down’ jackets for the kids we brought along. About a year later, the down jackets are still in top shape, making them ideal for the cool mountain conditions in Romania. What’s more, the jackets go for lower prices than what you would pay for back home.
Kathmandu is a small town in Nepal. It is home to many shops that sell tracking gear in the Thamel area of the town. Whereas some of the items for sale are authentic and come with hefty price tags, others are not genuine, but work just fine.
Negotiate for a good price every time you need to buy something. In fact, count yourself lucky if you have some days in Pokhara or Kathmandu before embarking on the trek. This gives you the chance to buy all the items and gear you need for trekking in Nepal.
However, this can be more difficult if you’re a plus size or plan on bringing your children along with you for the trek. It’s completely up to you to trust the quality of the things you buy in Kathmandu for your trek. I have a large collection of the items I bought in this town for my trek and they always worked just fine.
In case you won’t have time to buy trekking gear in Kathmandu, bring the items you’ll need with you. After all, you want to spend most of your time exploring Nepal and sight-seeing the town’s beautiful, breathtaking scenes and landscape, not walking from one shop to another.
Buying Trekking Gear on a Budget
Although I’ll be sharing tips with you, don’t risk anything that might harm you. What’s important is that you keep your costs down, stay safe and be wise with your decisions. You need enough funds to sustain your stay in Nepal, which is expansive. Work on a budget to keep your costs as low as they can be. If your finances are not right, take more time to save for your trekking in Nepal.
Solar Chargers and/or Power Packs
When visiting Pokhara, Kathmandu and the Himalayas, you need solar chargers and/or power packs. In Pokhara and Kathmandu, the rate of power outages is high. If you often use electronic devices such as laptops, phones and Kindles, just like we do, a power back-up system will come in handy.
Guest houses in the mountains normally charge fees for plugging in electronic devices to charge. The fee can either be paid per hour or per charge. Although charging your electronic devices only costs about $2, the charges can easily add up. We used two rechargeable power packs in 2016.
In 2017, we’re bringing with us larger, more advanced power packs and those powered by solar. The power packs ensure that we get to charge our devices even when on the move. These gadgets are ideal for your trip, especially if you plan to go for a long trek.
DSLR Camera, Additional External Memory and Spare Batteries
Take a good DSLR camera with you for the trek. Capture images and videos of the special moments during your trek and trip in Nepal to share with friends and family back home. What’s more, the images and videos captured will always bring good memories of the great time you had far away from home.
I use a Nikon D3300 DSLR camera for my trips because I am a professional travel blogger and need to capture great scenic photos to share with my audience. I picked this specific camera because it’s lightweight, compact and affordable. Although it’s a beginner DSLR camera, it is popular for the quality of images it produces and the fact that it’s easy to use.
You need a good camera to capture the wonders of the Himalayas and Kathmandu at large. You won’t go wrong with this camera. However, there are other great cameras in the market just as good. Simply pick what works for you budget-wise. Buy extra batteries and external memory for your camera to guarantee many shots once you embark for the trek.
Note that the cold mountains drain power off your batteries fast and so the more you can carry the better. At night, keep your batteries, phone and camera next to you inside your sleeping bag and tuck the camera in fleece during the day. This helps keep your gadgets warm, preventing any damages that might arise from the cold weather.
If possible, find a camera built for weather-resistance and dust-proof.
13 Other Things You Need for Trekking in Nepal
Although trekking poles are optional for your trek, they can help ease your treks and support your knees. Although I use one pole, others prefer two for additional support. Kathmandu has lots of trekking poles for sale and I have one I bought there. Consider online poles for trekking, you’ll find some amazing sticks for retail.
It goes without saying the essence of a water bottle on your trek. Buy a large wide-mouthed water bottle. Before leaving the trekking lodges, fill your bottle with clean boiled water or tea and easily fasten it on the bottle pouch of your pack. Consider camel back drinking systems as they might come in handy. Although many shops in Kathmandu sell Nalgene water bottles, I am not sure about their authenticity. I have never been comfortable with these water bottles as they aren’t BPA-free. I prefer buying my BPA-free water bottles back home.
We’ve bought sleeping bags in Nepal, brought some with us from home and even trekked without any. Although you’ll find blankets at trekking lodges, their cleanliness is questionable. I am not sure whether they ever get washed. However, they are warm enough to keep the cold from the Himalayas away.
Do you prefer using them? Consider bringing with you a sheet sleeping bag liner to use with the blankets. The bulkiness of sleeping bags can be a disadvantage and it’s important to travel light. This one is tricky, but you have to decide anyway. Take a sleeping bag with you or risk using the blankets at the trekking lodges. Decide.
4.Sheet Sleeping Bags
Sheet sleeping bags are liners that come in silk, cotton or thermal materials. They come in handy if you prefer to forego the weight that comes with a sleeping bag. Invest in one if you consider using blankets at the trekking lodges or hiring a sleeping bag in Kathmandu.
Chances of taking a shower in your trip are minimal for one, the weather doesn’t allow. Guest houses also charge fees for every hot shower taken, that’s if their solar heating systems are functioning. Although you’ll find showers at the trekking lodges, with varying heat levels, no towels are supplied.
Go for micro towels for their lightweight and ease-of-washing and drying. We like our travel towels so much that we even use some back home.
6.Trekking Clothes and Boots
We’ve used running tights, shorts and running shoes to cross some of the scariest bridges in Nepal. Consider light clothes and boots for your treks. Don’t spend a fortune on the best trekking clothes and boots because, finally, you’re going to visit and trek the Himalayas.
We’ve trekked in crampon-ready leather Scarpas, running shoes, summer-weight boots for hiking (in winter) and light summer shoes for trekking. Some of the kids have used street shoes, Kathmandu-bought hiking shoes and basketball boots for winter, and we did just fine.
Running shoes worked well for my husband; he used them right after Namche Bazaar to easily walk on snow without slipping often. Boots are ideal for trekking on thick snow. I sprayed my summer hiking boots with waterproofing spray and they worked just fine. Buy gaters (to keep snow off the top of your boots) in Kathmandu or on trek to use in snow as quality isn’t important.
I am not saying that hiking boots aren’t important for your trek, just saying other options can work just fine, especially if you don’t plan to trek into deep snow. At the end of the day, it’s you to choose what kind of trekking boots you want to use.
7.Are Crampons a Necessity for Trekking in Nepal?
Crampons only come in handy when ice is involved in your hike. Namche Bazaar and Kathmandu have shops selling crampons. Buy those on a stretchy frame made of rubber so they can easily slip over your shoes or boots.
I have trekked in thick hiking socks and street socks. They made little to no difference whether I wore them with trekking boots or broken-in shoes. I like the comfort that comes with the additional cushioning (at the bottom) on certain hiking socks. Although you can buy these in Kathmandu, bring a minimum of two pairs from home.
If you’re bringing kids along, buy for them socks back home. We always struggled to find sock sizes for kids in Kathmandu. Since you’ll be wearing your socks for many days unwashed, buy quality socks that you can use for many years. I have used mine for decades. Consider Bridgedale for high quality and classic socks.
We’ve trekked in leggings, jeans, yoga pants and shorts all the time as trekking pants have never been on our buying list. Go for waterproof trousers or special trekking pants meant for cold weather to wear over your trousers if you plan trekking high into snow. Consider what you find comfortable to walk in for prolonged durations.
10.Thermal Jumpers, Base Layers and Jackets
I have never bought thermals when going skiing or trekking. We simply wear long-sleeved fleeces, T-shirts, hoodies and so on. We’ve bought jackets in Kathmandu, brought some from home and even hired on certain occasions. When we trekked Thorong La, a High Pass on Annapurna, we brought with us waterproof jackets.
Whatever you need totally depends on how high you plan to trek. The thick and huge fleeces we bought in Kathmandu were affordable; been using them for at least 15 years. I keep off ‘must buy’ lists recommended by trekking stores.
11.Gloves and Sunglasses
Buy good gloves to protect your hands from the cold weather in the Himalayas. Invest in a pair of good sunglasses to protect your eyes from snow blindness. If possible, bring an extra pair for back up. I’ve seen a guy who broke his glasses and had snow blindness for many days. Your goal is to have fun, not nurse your blind eyes.
12.Buffs and Hats
Buy a cheap buff at Decathlon as there’s no need to spend so much on this. Blizzards and colds can get serious on high altitudes. A Kramer, a sun hat and a buff together with your waterproof jacket hood will work fine to protect your head from the cold. Consider a cap to protect your face from the harsh sun rays.
Of course when it comes to food, you should definatley try our MREs. Our self-heating ready to eat meals give you a huge advantage, they are fill up with the nutrition, each pack contain approximately 1300. And best of all, you do need a fire to warm them up.
If you’re planning to begin a long-term trekking adventure in Nepal, it’s wise to watch your budget and learn on-the-trek. However, if your trek is a one-off thing and you’ve got some good money to spend, buy designer gears and equipment for your trek.
These tips are meant to help you trek on a budget without breaking the bank and having nothing to pay your bills once you’re back home. I hope this article is of help to you as you plan your trekking in Nepal.