Packing for a hike in the Himalayas is more involved than throwing things in your carry-on for a getaway weekend, but it does not need to be overwhelming. OneSeed has provided you a packing list with the basics of what you will need for your trek. Some of you – especially those with outdoors experience – will take that list and run with it, needing no further guidance. For trekking novices, hyperplanners, and the rest of you, here are some tips on packing gleaned from my experiences in Nepal.
• First Step: Mind Your Step. Perhaps the most important thing you will bring with you on the trek is your footwear, which will be with you literally every step of the way. To avoid blisters and other surprises, buy your boots well in advance of your trip and take the opportunity to break them in. Outdoor outfitters can help to fit you with the boots you will need and make sure they suit your feet comfortably – take advantage of their expertise. If you are prone to blisters (and even if not) consider wearing a pair of liner socks in addition to your thick nylon/wool blend pair. To ensure proper boot fit, wear your trekking socks when trying on and purchasing your hiking boots.
• No Place Like Teahouse. The temperature on any given day will dictate your exact attire on the trail, but do not forget to consider what you will wear once you arrive at your teahouse lodge each evening. After a hard day’s trek, having dry, comfortable footwear and undergarments to change into can make that evening’s dal bhat that much more enjoyable. Plus, no one wants to lace up boots for that midnight jaunt to the bathroom. Quick-drying materials (think rubberized sandals or Crocs) mean your footwear can also double as shower sandals.
• Keep it Clean. You will be in the wilds of Nepal, so do not expect ample hand soap. In fact, do not expect ample hand sinks. Travel-sized hand sanitizer: so small, such a big help.
• H2Oh My. Hydration is your best friend. I have a strong and somewhat embarrassing attachment to my one-liter water bottle, and I highly suggest a model with a CamelBak brand bite valve and straw. This device may seem foreign at first glance, but it is ingeniously designed to help you drink easily while on the go – a huge benefit when walking for hours each day. The OneSeed staff will work with teahouse owners to provide you with safe, purified drinking water using practices that avoid the waste of single-use plastic bottles.
• Book it! Actually, don’t book it. Having something to read during trekking evenings (not to mention on long-haul flights to and from Nepal) is a good idea, but lugging your library halfway around the world is not. Consider splurging on an e-reader. One lightweight device can store your entire library and some models conveniently run about a month between power charges. Speaking of charging, Nepal runs on a system different from the US. This adapter will help you plug in when in Kathmandu. Access to outlets is sparse on the trail, but many teahouses offer charging for about $1.50 per hour.
• Backpack Attack. Your day pack should be your friend, not your enemy. Invest in a high-quality bag that will wear well for hours at a time. OneSeed suggests a size of 1500-1700 cubic inches (25-28 liters). Outdoor outfitters can ensure you buy the proper size and model for your body. A pack with a hip belt can be very helpful for distributing the weight to save your back and shoulders from strain.
• Lighten Up. In terms of carrying things on the trail, less is more. To lighten your load, bring travel-sized toiletries. Camping towels compress to next to nothing and weigh even less. Ziplock bags make for inexpensive, weightless, water-resistant organizers for loose items.
• Flight Baggage. When packing for your flight to Nepal, remember that OneSeed can store things for you in Kathmandu while you are on the trail. Just make sure to check your airline’s baggage allowances to avoid unpleasant fees at the airport. To avoid surprise overweight charges, consider investing in a luggage scale for home use. For the health and safety of the guides in training that help to carry baggage and equipment, OneSeed has a 10kg/22lb carried pack weight limit. A luggage scale will also help you determine whether you are within that limit when packing at home.
• Savings and Loan. Check with friends to see if they have gear you can borrow for your trip. Look into buying items used and check to see if there are any shops that rent equipment like sleeping bags.
• Safety Net. Forget something? Not to worry. OneSeed does a gear check before hitting the trail. In a pinch, must-have items can be procured through OneSeed’s store or otherwise in Kathmandu before you head off to the mountains.
Packing is not likely to be the best part of the trip. But without thoughtful packing, you won’t have the chance to see this: