If you are reading this blog you are probably in the state of panic that I once was. You have signed up for the challenge of a lifetime, further more the trip of a life time! The only thing standing in your way is what the hell do I need to pack and take with me!
The trek to Everest Basecamp is without doubt one of the top 5 experiences of my life, and one of my greatest achievements. It is without doubt physically and mentally challenging but also something that I believe every one can do if they are prepared and determined.
You can read a lot of blogs and packing posts about basecamp, a lot of the equipment is unnecessary and you really don’t want to be carrying any excess on the trek.
Here is my experience of the trek, and the things that will make your experience just that little more comfortable.
First things first, the daunting packing list!
This will sound like a lot of stuff but don’t worry it will all fit! Depending on how you are doing your trek will really depend on what you need. I did mine with G-adventures which was an incredible experience. If you do it this way you will have a porter that will carry the bulk of your luggage and provide you with a duffle bag. What you will need is a really comfortable day pack to carry things you need while walking and extra clothes etc as the weather is very changeable.
I bought the Osprey Tempest 20 which is made to fit a women’s body and super comfortable, always make sure it has a waist strap as you will want to carry the majority of the load on your hips. Which ever one you decide to go with just make sure it is fully adjustable and its really helpful to have lots of pockets. Its also important that your day pack is compatible to carry a 2L hydration pack. This will save you! My full day pack was roughly 6-7kilos including three litres of water which doesn’t sound a lot but for 7 hours a day uphill trust me it is enough!
I bought my backpacks from Blacks as sometimes they have a 10-15% sale.
- Take photo copies of all your confirmation documents, sometimes a photocopier in Nepal is a no go.
- Money pouch – I found this really helpful for my day to day money on the mountain, it will also keep your phone warm so that the battery doesn’t die.
- Day pack – as mentioned above
- Waterproof cover for your day pack – I was lucky and it didn’t rain for us but if it does you will want to protect what is inside your day pack especially electricals
- Micro fibre travel towel – Its light and if you get a chance to have a shower it will dry quickly
- Dry bags – to keep electrical items safe
- Trekking poles – these are personal preference, I took them and didn’t use them others used them every day. If you are unsure buy some cheap ones in Kathmandu then if you don’t use them its no great loss.
- 2L hydration pack – hydration is key for trekking, you have to drink a minimum of three litres a day. If you take Diamox tablets you will need to drink 4L
- Aluminium water bottle – to top up your hydration pack, you can also put boiling water in this at night time to use as a hot water bottle to keep you warm.
- Canvas bag for your dirty clothes
- Charging devices for your electricals
- Power bank – you will need a good one of these, a lot of the tea houses don’t have any electricity to change cameras etc.
- Solar charger – not something I took with me but a great idea that others did, you hook this on to you backpack and it will solar charge all your devices! Genius!
- Headtorch and pocket torch – Again you won’t always have electricity and a lot of the time there is none in the toilets so these are a must to see where you are going at night time.
- Headphones – Sometimes you might need a little music to get you up a steep accent, sometimes you’re just not able to talk!
- Diamox tablets – this is personal preference, these tablets are to help with the effects of altitude sickness. I took them and found they were great, I had a headache one day but no other symptoms. I would really recommend taking them.
- Take 1 to 2 small packs of tissues per day – the bathroom facilities don’t supply any toilet paper so it is really handy to take tissues. I found that tissues are more sanitary and easy to manage that a toilet roll.
- Small shower gel – Only take a very small amount, I only showered once on the trek so taking too much is just excess that your porter will have to carry.
- Shampoo – Again very minimal if you take it. My advice would be to plait your hair and leave it in for the whole thing. I have very long hair and there are no dryers etc and it is COLD! It is under a hat most of the time so I didn’t wash my hair at all during the trek.
- Deodorant etc – Take your normal toiletries that you like to use
- Multivitamins – The mountain food is very carb heavy with not many veg, it’s very hard to get them supplied up the mountain so it’s not always the most nutritious. The best thing is the Dahl Baht but good to top up with vitamins.
- High factor suncream – needless to say that at the highest mountain range on earth the sun is strooooong!
- Hand sanitiser – and lots of it! As with the toilet roll no soap is provided so take a lot of hand sanitiser with you. This is really important.
- Sanitary products – Girls be prepared incase you get your period, the products out there aren’t the same as ours and you want to be comfortable.
- Good walking boots – I bought some leather walking boots with Gortex lining which were amazing, they softened up really quickly and I finished with no blisters! Thats right… Zero blisters!
- Trainers – its really nice to put on some other footwear in the evenings and the floor is cold in the teahouses.
- Flipflops – for if you have a shower, some of them are outside
- Silk sleeping bag liner – This saved me! The nights are very cold and the silk liner kept me lovely and warm.
- -20 degrees sleeping bag – up to you if you hire or buy, I hired mine from G Adventures which worked out perfectly
- Lining socks – something that I didn’t know exist, lining socks are great for avoiding blisters and preventing your feet from getting too sweaty.
- Hiking socks – I didn’t take enough of these! Take enough pairs for the trek, medium and thick options depending on the weather.
- Sports bra – no need to explain why!
- Thermal leggings – for those cold days higher up
- Sports leggings – I did my trek and the beginning of November and most days wore nike leggings.
- Thermal tops x3 – Make sure these are Merino wool its the best for not sweating.
- Fleece lined tracksuit bottoms – for these evening in the teahouses
- Fleece lined hoodie – Also for the evenings
- T shirts x3
- Down coat – This will be one of your most expensive but essential purchases. I bought mine from North Face and went for a lightweight down that you can layer up with base layers.
- Windproof coat – Also from North Face, it can get very windy up there and these jackets are great to whip out your day pack to put over the top.
- Waterproof trousers – just incase it rains!
- Baseball cap – It can be super bright up there especially with the reflection off the glaciers
- Walking trousers – not the coolest looking things but do some in really handy
- Neck warmer – The route can get dusty due to the amount of Yaks and Mules on the track so these don’t only keep you warm but protect your face from the dust.
- Warm gloves and lining gloves – the lining gloves are great for lower down and just keeping the chill off, when you get higher on the early mornings you will need some good gloves. Depending on what time of year you go it can be -20!
- Baby wipes – A must! Take 2-3 packs basically this is how you will wash for 15 days!
- Playing cards – sometimes you will get to the tea houses at 3-4pm its good to keep entertained and get your group involved in some cards. And the laughs will keep you warm!
- Sunglasses – I won’t lie I took my ray bans not the cool mountain ones and they were fine, and make you look slightly more stylish in your pictures!
- Silicone ear plugs – these were up there with the best thing I took with me, the walls in the tea houses are paper thin and there is a lot of snoring going on! With the help of these I was out like a light and was blissfully unaware of the howling dogs in the night!
- Standard medical kit – you don’t need anything too fancy, just some blister plasters scissors etc.
- Rehydration salts – great to have if you do get a funny tummy but even if not these are great to put in your drink after a long day walking and will set you up great for the next day.
- Snacks – these are very expensive up the mountain and you will need them. Stock up in Kathmandu with your favourites, I brought Grenade protein bars with me too which were amazing. You will be burning so many calories no matter what you eat you will 100% lose weight! KitKat chunkys were a real treat!
A dietary tip, when you are up the mountain…. DO NOT EAT MEAT! This will be hard if you are a big meat eater but trust me you don’t want to, they can’t store the meat in the correct conditions up there and one of the biggest reasons people don’t make it to basecamp is due to food poisoning. I saw a lot of people being helicopter rescued for this exact reason. Stick to veggie food and take protein bars. My stomach was fine for the entire trek.
As I mentioned This all sounds very scary, but it’s really not and just things to make you more prepared and comfortable during your trek.
Things to remember….. Take Lots of photos! My goodness they are the most spectacular views that you will ever see! Get ready for the flight to Lukla, this was one of my favourite parts of the trek it is incredible!
Relax and enjoy it, it is one of the most rewarding incredible things and a massive achievement to get to basecamp.
Please let me know if you think of anything that I have missed off and I will update the list!
Tell me your basecamp stories in the comments below as I would love to hear them all!
Good luck on your venture up the mountain!
Book your accommodation for Kathmandu here
All my love,