Recommended Gear for Trekking into Everest Base Camp
Bridget, Chris and Paul shopping for a down jacket inside a very small gear shop in Kathmandu. Yes, you are looking at the entire shop in this photo! Photo Fiona Adler
Checking out sleeping bags for Chris and Bridget in Kathmandu. A bigger shop this time. Photo Chris Garrard
All our Everest climbing and trekking gear is laid out in our lounge room for final checking before packing it into kit bags. Photo Fiona Adler
Hi everyone, Fiona here.
Ever wondered about trekking into Everest Base Camp or the Annapurna Circuit and what sort of gear you would need?? Based on MC’s suggestion, I’ve put together here a list of the gear that I’d recommend for anyone thinking of doing a trek into Everest basecamp.
I’ll post more info about my trek in Everest Base Camp later, but I would love it if a few people wanted to come and trek with me into Base Camp. We’ll be organising it direct through a local Kathmandu agency, hopefully the same company that Paul goes with. We are not looking to make any money out of this, and I imagine that we will each just pay the trekking agency direct. Nepal based costs will be less than US$2000 (hopefully more like $1300), including accommodation in Kathmandu, flights to and from Lukla, porters, food on the trek and tea house lodging to and from base camp.
Depending on who Paul ends up going with, those who want to should be able to stay a few days in Base camp, which is something I recommend if you want to experience the Base Camp atmosphere.
Buying Gear in Kathmandu?
There are lots of gear shops in the Thamel area of Kathmandu – most of which are far cheaper than it would be in other countries. However some things are better to buy from home so that you can be sure about their quality and fit (especially boots and jackets). But you really can buy just about anything in Kathmandu. If you’re intending to do this you might want to allow an extra day or two in Kathmandu and you need to be careful because lots of really cheap items are copies. But if it’s not a life and death piece of equipment, then I’d recommend stocking up. We bought great synthetic trekking pants, and Chris and Bridget purchased down jackets and sleeping bags.
Gear List for a Trek into Everest Base Camp
• Good, sturdy hiking boots - ones that are quite stiff through the soles and come up to your ankles to protect your ankles from rolling. Make sure you have enough room in the boots so that your toes don’t hit the front of them when going downhill (slightly looser is better than being too small). It’s best to get these from a good gear shop that can fit you out properly. It’s also important to wear the boots in before doing any serious hiking in them – take the dogs for walks in them, etc
• Walking Socks – several pairs (maybe 5) so that you always have dry ones to use. It’s good to have a few different types of socks that you can use, so that you can mix it up a bit if one type becomes uncomfortable
• Thin Socks – some people prefer to wear a thin pair of socks under their thick ones when walking. I personally don’t bother with this but you might want to try it out and see if it’s more comfortable for you
• Sandals or another comfortable shoe – to wear around the lodges for when you’re sick of wearing your boots
• Synthetic Pants – preferably the ones that convert into shorts because even in the mountains it can get quite warm (maybe 35C / 95F). These are really handy to have for any hiking and you may even want two pairs for the trek. You could easily buy these in Kathmandu but it may be better to get them from home to ensure they fit you well
• Synthetic T-Shirts / Singlets – these are much better to use than cotton because they dry out quickly and can breath. Again, there’s plenty in Kathmandu but you might find less sizing and cut options than you would at home. I’d probably recommend bringing 2 T-Shirts and one singlet. When I buy outdoor clothes, if I see cotton in them, then I look for something else
• Synthetic Shirt – with a collar to wear for sun protection if it’s warm, or with a thermal underneath if it’s cooler
• Fleece Jacket – a fairly warm fleece jacket is recommended. The wind-stopper ones are nice but if you don’t have this, it doesn’t really matter because you can just use your rain jacket as well if there’s a cold wind blowing. A fleece vest can also be quite useful for those in-between temperatures. If you’re looking for an extra fleece, there are lots in Kathmandu
• Fleece Pants – these are nice to wear in the lodges during the evenings if you’re prone to getting cold. Warm-bodied people may find they don’t need them though. Again, they are plentiful in Kathmandu, and Paul bought some this time for around US$4.50.
• Rain Jacket – the longer styles that come half-way down your thigh work best. You should also have a hood on the jacket.
• Thermal underwear – Probably two sets of long pants and two long sleeve tops. I’ve found that the new style woollen ones last a lot better than the polypro ones and don’t smell as much. But thick polypro, is warmer and cheaper, so some of both is good.
• Down Jacket - You will probably want to wear a down jacket for the nights that you spend above 4000m. Unless you already have one (or have someone you can borrow one from), this is something definitely worth buying in Kathmandu. Fluffier is best, and it’s important to get one that is baffled and not sewn through (so that it is more 3D than 2D). If the stitching in the panels is sewn straight through from the outside to the inside then there is no down in that area and heat can escape.
HEAD AND HANDWEAR
• Fleece hat
• Scarf / neckwarmer
• Sun hat – the synthetic ones with the neck protector are best
• Bandana / Silk Scarf – or something you can wear over your mouth to protect it from dust, but still allow you to breath easily
• Gloves – there are lots of options for different combinations, but you’ll want some that are warm (eg fleece or polypro), and some that are waterproof (ski gloves would work fine)
• Good Sunglasses – it’s very bright up there so high UV protection is needed. If you wear prescription glasses, you might want to consider getting prescription sunglasses, or getting sunglasses that can fit on top of your regular glasses. Bring a spare pair of sunglasses.
• Head torch / flash light – some of the lodges don’t have good lighting in the bedrooms so you’ll need some sort of light
• Trekking poles – some hikers love them and others don’t, but if you’re going to use them anywhere, Nepal would be the place. Light-weight is best and I prefer to use two (some people like just having one). I find they help with balance – especially when walking downhill on a rocky surface. Also when going uphill, I find that they help give me more momentum (and keep me going!) Mine are actually ski poles which do the job just as well. Can easily buy these in Kathmandu.
• Sleeping bag – a good down sleeping bag is recommended. This is something else that you can buy quite cheaply in Kathmandu. Fluffier is best.
• Sleeping bag liner – these keep you a bit warmer and are nicer to sleep with. Silk is best.
• Small pillow – not really necessary, but very nice to use. We bring a full size one!
• Plenty of sunscreen
• Anti-bacterial hand cream – to use before eating (available in pharmacies). Alcohol based.
• Playing cards, books, MP3 player or whatever other entertainment you prefer
• Water bottles – 2 x 1 litre bottles is plenty. We just use a single bottle each.
• Snacks – there are lots of places to buy snacks along the way but if you have a preference for something to munch on while you’re walking, it’s a good idea to bring that along
• Toiletries – including extra toilet paper and face wipes (these are always nice to have along for hikes)
• Day pack – a small backpack that you can fit your rain jacket, fleece jacket, bottle of water, camera, some basic first-aid stuff, and a couple of snacks for the day
• Duffle bag – this bag would have everything else in it and would be carried by a porter between towns (you probably won’t have access to it during the day). We bought some more of these in Kathmandu for around $8 and put our good duffle bags inside these ones.
• Plenty of spare batteries – for torches and music
You’ll also need a first-aid kit – but I’ll write more about that later, but there are a couple of items you really can’t be without. The good news is that you can easily pick these up in Kathmandu.
This gear is all that would be required for climbing (walking) Kala Patar. But if you’re looking to climb anything more than that you’d probably want to add the following items to your list;
• Climbing boots – it would depend on the peak you’re climbing, how warm and stiff you’d need these to be
• Crampons – make sure that they fit your climbing boots properly and they have anti snow plates.
• Ice Axe – nice and light, not too short.
• Climbing Harness, some rope, carabiners, figure 8, ascender, a couple of slings.
• Ski Goggles
• Gortex pants or overalls
• Down mitts
A lot of this would depend on the actual peak you were climbing and the group you were going with. There are quite a few peaks that would probably be good for a first climbing experience (perhaps Island Peak) but as you can see, it would require you to have some specialised equipment.
Let me know what other information would be useful. I’m hoping that a few of you can join me for the basecamp trek.
Ciao for now,