Trekking Packing List for Annapurna Base Camp, Nepal for the savvy saver

When I initially booked my trip to Nepal, I thought all I had to buy were some hiking boots – boy, was I wrong! The list of things you need for a long trek can be very overwhelming, especially when trying to figure out how cold or warm it will be up there. I’m the type of person who likes to have good quality stuff, but also loves a bargain. I’ve done my research on products that have the best reviews and where you can get it at a good deal. The gear I thought I might not use again, I left to hire in Nepal.

Weather: I travelled in the first two weeks of November 2016. It got pretty sweaty for most of the trek during the day, especially when there was no shade . It was only towards the last couple of days going to ABC that I really layered up. In the evenings it gets pretty cold, and that’s when I used my thermals. In Kathmandu and Pokhara it was stinking hot!

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HIKING SHOES

Shoes vs. boots – the general advice is that if you aren’t carrying a heavy load and don’t have ankle problems, get hiking shoes because they’ll be lighter. Go a size up because your feet will swell with the hours of walking. Make sure you get gore-tex in case your shoes get wet (you will be walking through some streams). Try them all on until you find one that is most comfortable for you. I ended up with Merrell Moab GTX W and I loved them! I’m usually a size 8-8.5, I got them in 9.5.

Merrell Moab GTX RRP $249.95. Anaconda were having a 25% off shoe sale in March, so it was a bargain at $187.50! 

OTHER SHOES:

  • Slip on shoes to wear around the tea house – I brought my Skechers runners.
  • Thongs for the showers

SOCKS

Get a liner sock and outer thicker wool sock. To reduce blisters between your toes, I  got toe socks (yes, awesome TOE SOCKS!) worn by runners by Injinji. I got the Liner Lightweight CrewMax, 2.0 Run Lightweight No Show NuWool and 2.0 Run Lightweight Mini Crew Coolmax Xtra Life Toe socks – I got them all to try them out – they were all good.  I purchased them on ebay from the US for $13.50-$14.50 including shipping. Other US stores will not ship Injinji to Australia.

Wool socks are meant to be warmer and quickdry – two brands that have top reviews are Darn Tough and Smart Wool. Darn Tough have the better reviews overall and a lifetime guarantee – can’t beat that! I purchased mine from Socks Addict. I got the Darn Tough Women’s Merino Wool Hike-Trek 1/4 Crew Socks (16.95USD) and Mini crew Socks (19.95USD), with $12.95 shipping. Sign up to their newsletter and get 10% off first order. They had an awesome deal in early October with 30% Darn Tough socks, but I missed out on that sale! I also brought my old Holeproof Explorer socks as a spare third pair, they also served me well even though they didn’t feel as nice on, and weren’t as quick-drying.

BACKPACK

I thought I might be able to get away with a normal backpack I already had, as I have a porter organised to carry most of my gear. But when you’re still carrying 7kg for hours on end, you need a comfortable backpack with good hip support. I went with the Osprey Mira AG 34L – comes with a 2L hydration pack, and has lots of pockets. The only annoying bit was that it was squeaky at times, otherwise it was super comfortable. They do come in different sizes, I’m 164cm – and got the S-M size. (Who knew backpacks had different sizes and were gender specific too?!) It also has a lifetime warranty!  Bagged at bargain at Wild Earth $180 (RRP $249.95) during one of their online sales. Tip: a lot of the adventure stores in Brisbane will do price matches.

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MERINO WOOL THERMAL WEAR

Merino wool is the best – the warmest and the least smelliest after a few days of wear. I got mine at a bargain at Anaconda at the end of winter season sale – 50% off. I tried all the different thermals at Kathmandu, they definitely didn’t feel as comfortable for my body shape. I purchased the Cederberg Thermalslong sleeve top $50, pants $35. (Tip: if you are small, you may get away with kids sizes, it’s cheaper – I got the bottoms in a kid’s size). 😉 I only wore my thermals to bed.

TOPS/TSHIRTS

Quick dry is a must – for sweat wicking and also drying after washing! I brought 4 different ones with me – 2 short sleeve and 2 long sleeve that I already owned. Cotton on make basic active wear that is affordable. I also got some pretty awesome bargains at Anaconda and Country Road DFO store (less than $25!).

SOFT SHELL JACKET

Windproof , waterproof and breathable are all important. I picked up the Cederberg Kimberley 2 layer jacket earlier in the year. It was the best bargain buy at $50 during an Anaconda sale 50% off sale items – RRP $250.

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I wore my fleece jacket a lot – especially when we stopped for tea/lunch and around the tea houses. I brought an old one that I purchased from mountain designs a few years ago. It was probably about $50 on sale.

HIKING PANTS

What are special about hiking pants? Do I need hiking pants?! Can I wear my active wear tights? My trackpants?

You don’t need special hiking pants. But I did end up buying up a pair of hiking pants from Kathmandu – Eris softshell pants on clearance at the end of winter sale for $70.

I found that having pants that were length adjustable were quite handy. Initially in the mornings it was cold so it was good to have long pants on. As you trek it gets quite warm, so it was handy that I could roll up my pants. I also brought a pair of old Lorna Jane knee length pants – they were good when we were at lower elevations on warmer days. I did bring a pair of full length tights thinking I might use them to layer underneath. I only used them for the day at ABC when it was really cold, I could’ve just worn my thermals underneath also.

I would go with long pants that are rollable or zip off, a pair of long shorts, and maybe a pair of full length tights.

For around the teahouse: I wore fleece lined pants I already owned (from Cotton On), and my fleece jacket (Mountain Design) over my thermals.

GLOVES

I only used fleece liner gloves that come with waterproof gloves I use for the snow from Dakine. I didn’t find the need to use waterproof/wind resistant gloves. Tip: bring a spare pair of gloves in case you lose one!

BEANIES/HATS

Sun protection is important! I got given a wide brimmed hat on my trek, it was a bit daggy, but it did the job.

Beanies – lots of beanies to buy from Kathmandu. I personally didn’t like the ones I saw there, a lot were dusty and itchy looking. I’d suggest buying one from home. I only used it in the evenings.

WATER BOTTLE and STERILISATION/FILTERS

Bring two water bottles – one for drinking and the other one for cooling the hot water. High recommended is a Nalgene water bottle – they are safe to use with boiling hot water (also nice to put in your sleeping bag at nigh). I also brought my insulated metal water bottle from Oasis – it’s keeps the water warmer for longer . Hydration packs are also handy – I have a 2L one that came with my backpack. It was great during trekking – I didn’t have to stop to get my water bottle out all the time.

Boiling water kills all pathogens – and is sold throughout the ABC. Avoid buying plastic water bottles as it’s not environmentally friendly and difficult to dispose up in the mountains. You can also help support the Nepalese by purchasing the boiled water.

If you’re worried that boiled water isn’t boiled for long enough – you can also use instead various water filters/purification tablets or sterilisation pens – all have their pros and cons. I don’t like chemical tablets, and the steripens are quite expensive. I ended up getting a mini Sawyer filter pen ($33AUD incl shipping) as a backup – Pro: filters any gunky bits, doesn’t require batteries/power source, lightweight, relatively cheap. Cons: doesn’t get viruses .

SILK SLEEPING BAG

I’m not sure why the silk sleeping bags are so expensive – $100+ in adventure stores. Isn’t it just a sheet sewn into a rectangle? I was contemplating making my own, but found some on ebay from Spirits of Vietnam. $14AUD including shipping. It comes with a pillow cover attached. Felt lovely… and silky. 😉

GEAR I HIRED/PURCHASED in NEPAL:

  • Trekking poles: I purchased them for $10USD in Pokhara, they weren’t much cheaper at all to hire. Not the best quality but it does the job. At a couple of teahouses along the way were selling bamboo walking sticks – they’d work too. Not everyone uses trekking poles. But I found them quite useful when walking along the streams and muddy parts of the trek – I felt much safer and more stable with them as it can get quite slippery. They also were better for my knees on the hikes downhill.
  • Duffle bag 90-110L are a good size. Often if you’re going on an organised trek they will provide one for you. This is what the porters will carry your gear in.
  • Down jacket: I didn’t use mine much. Mostly as a pillow some nights. But definitely need it higher up when you’re not trekking.
  • Buff: used it to keep my neck warm, and on bad hair days (everyday). I also brought a lightweight scarf to alternate between the two.

BITS AND BOBS:

  • Passport and plenty of copies of your passport photos. Tip: If you do your photos with Australia Post, you can pay a bit extra to get the photos emailed to you. Then you can print out as many copies as you like.
  • Insurance documents
  • Cash only on the trek
  • Sunnies: any will do, but make sure they’re polarised.
  • Medications/first aid kit: Diamox (I’d highly recommend it, especially as I experienced altitude sickness), cold and flu tablets (seemed like everyone in my group got sick!), cough lozenges, pain killers, bandaids, blistercare (very useful!), azithromycin tablets (antibiotics for food poisoning), rehydration electrolyte sachets, antinausea tablets, sunscreen.
  • Laundry detergent + pegs: If your clothes get smelly you can wash them, lots of clothes lines around the tea houses. Higher up, our clothes just wouldn’t dry. But it’s handy if you can peg stuff to your backpack during the day if you’re desperate.
  • Headlamp + spare batteries: I got mine for cheap at Aldi – $10-$20. Definitely need it at night for toilet runs, and if you’re doing a walk before sunrise (story for anothertime)
  • Camera of course! Extra battery and memory cards.
  • Charger/socket converters: quite handy to have one that has multiple USB ports
  • Book/Kindle + playing cards + notebook: to kill time in the evenings.
  • Massage Ball: I often get sore back/shoulders. So this was quite helpful for me getting into the tight spots in my back.
  • Quickdry travel towel: I love the one I got from Aldi. It’s super compact and very quick drying, and also a bargain buy. An extra one would be handy – to squeeze the water out of wet clothes when washing them
  • Underwear: quick drying, made in synthetic material not cotton.
  • Swimming togs: if you get to go to Jhinu Hot Spring (high recommended). I forgot mine and just wore my sports bra and undies… no one seemed to care, and looked like a lot of people forgot also. 😉
  • Sleepwear: I wore my thermals to sleep in, my silkbag liner and sleeping bag were warm enough. On colder nights I wore my fleece lined pants and jacket.
  • Toiletries: body wash, shampoo, toothbrush/toothpaste/floss, dedodorant, wet wipes for days it’s too cold to shower (there are hot showers at all the teahouses we stayed out, but when I was ill I didn’t shower… yes eww), dry shampoo, antibacterial gels, lip balm (it’ll get dry and chappy).
  • Tissues: you’ll have constant runny noses. You can buy it at teahouses along the way.
  • Toilet paper: you need to BYO, you can also buy it at the teahouses.
  • Multitool knife: you’ll never know when you need it.
  • Earplugs: you’ll be sharing a room, so if you’ll probably need it if you’re a light sleeper

Things you probably won’t need:

  • Shewee… yes the shewee. haha Plenty of teahouse stops along the way to relieve yourselves. ;P
  • Thermarest – beds were decent enough.
  • Gaiters – won’t need them in November
  • Don’t need makeup. You will find you will probably not even look into a mirror for the whole trek – it’s refreshing.

Hope this list helps someone! If you have any questions, feel free to send me a message!

Happy trekking! xx

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