• WHAT TO PACK FOR TREKKING IN NEPAL

    Header image for 'What to Pack for Trekking in Nepal', featuring trekkers, guides and porters crossing a suspension bridge on the Everest Base Camp route
  • TREKKING IN NEPAL

    WHAT TO PACK

    Mobile header image for 'What to Pack for Trekking in Nepal', featuring trekkers, guides and porters crossing a suspension bridge on the Everest Base Camp route

WHAT TO PACK FOR TREKKING IN NEPAL

In this guide we share a comprehensive list of what to pack for trekking in Nepal, based on personal experience from 7+ Nepal trekking routes over four visits to the country. We cover what items should be on your Nepal packing list, and outline why we recommend them. We also include advice on equipment and material choices, and recommendations for specific gear based on our own extensive use. Additionally, you’ll find practical gear-related tips throughout the guide, information about buying or renting trekking gear in Nepal, and a downloadable Nepal Trekking Checklist which you can print off or fill in digitally.

You can jump to each section using the heading links below, or expand the boxes for a quick checklist and links to individual items.

Note that this Nepal packing list is aimed at those doing a ‘teahouse trek’, staying in guesthouses every night, although the information is still largely relevant for those embarking on a camping expedition.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links – if you purchase a product or service via these links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps offset the cost of running this blog and keeps us travelling so that we can continue to produce great content for you. We greatly appreciate your support!

Display image of a downloadable checklist of what to pack for trekking in Nepal

Download our handy Nepal packing list to
print or fill in digitally using a PDF reader

Download our handy Nepal packing list to print or fill in digitally using a PDF reader


PACK FOR TREKKING IN NEPAL // CLOTHES

WHAT TO PACK FOR TREKKING IN NEPAL //

CLOTHES

It’s best to have two sets of clothes – one for trekking, and one for changing into when you arrive at your guesthouse.

CLOTHES FOR TREKKING IN NEPAL

CLOTHES FOR TREKKING

You will want comfortable, breathable, and versatile clothes for trekking in Nepal. You will likely encounter both hot and cold weather, so layering is key. It is important to be able to easily take layers off or add extra ones on, depending on the weather and your own level of exertion. The key principle of layering is to have a breathable moisture wicking base layer, an insulating mid layer, and a wind and waterproof outer layer.

The materials you choose for your trekking clothes is important. You should absolutely avoid cotton, as it retains moisture easily (whether that’s sweat or rain) and just refuses to dry, weighing you down and making you cold and smelly.

Merino wool, on the other hand, is a trekker’s best friend. It wicks moisture away from your body, keeps you cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cool, and (amazingly!) doesn’t stink even after days of wear. This makes it an ideal choice of material for your underwear, socks, and base layers, as you will be hiking in both hot and cold weather, and hand-washing your clothes regularly is not convenient or practical.

For waterproof and windproof outer layers, opt for Gore-Tex or a similar material that is breathable and will keep you warm and dry.

TIP

Packing cubes are great for keeping your clothes together in one place. It makes it easy to grab all of your clothes at once, instead of having individual items stuffed into every nook and cranny of your backpack. We love our Eagle Creek packing cubes and have them in a variety of sizes.


UNDERWEAR

We’d suggest packing three pairs of merino wool underwear: two for trekking, and one for the guesthouse. Aim to wear one pair for 2 – 3 days (remember merino wool doesn’t stink even after a few days’ wear!), giving you time to wash and dry the alternate pair.

For women, two sports bras (again, we’d suggest merino wool) should be enough for any length of trek. Personally, I don’t bother taking a bra for the guesthouse, but you may want to pack one.

TREKKING T-SHIRT

It’s a good idea to pack one long-sleeved T-shirt for higher altitude trekking, and one short-sleeved T-shirt for lower elevations. You may want to add a third T-shirt, either long or short sleeved depending on your trek itinerary and how long you will be at higher altitudes for. Make sure your T-shirts are made from breathable, moisture wicking material. Merino wool is our recommendation, and Icebreaker has been our go-to brand for many years.

TREKKING TROUSERS/SHORTS

A pair of zip-off hiking trousers is ideal for trekking in Nepal, where it can be hot at lower elevation, near the start and end of a trek, but very cold at higher altitudes. If you aren’t too concerned about weight, or are trekking for a couple of weeks or longer, you may want to pack a second pair of hiking trousers.


TREKKING SOCKS

If there’s one thing you should definitely change regularly during your Nepal trek, it’s socks. Moist, sweaty socks can lead to hot spots, blisters, and nasty fungal infections. But, thick wool socks can also take a long time to dry after washing them. Therefore, we’d recommend packing at least three pairs, and consider using liner socks as well. A thin pair of liner socks will help to avoid blisters, and they are much easier to wash and quicker to dry than thick trekking socks.

Merino wool is an ideal choice of material, and you can pack a variety of thicknesses to suit different elevations. Darn Tough, Bridgedale, and Icebreaker are all great options for quality wool trekking socks. Make sure your socks are long enough to rise above the top of your boot, helping to avoid friction.

TREKKING BOOTS/SHOES

The terrain on Nepal trekking trails is usually quite mixed, with uneven surfaces underfoot and the potential for slippery mud/scree/ice and snow. Your chosen trekking boots should have good grip, decent waterproofing, and provide ankle support. Some people prefer to hike in lightweight trail running shoes, which can be a good option at lower altitudes, but at high altitude where the temperatures are likely to fall below zero and you may encounter snow and/or ice, these don’t provide enough warmth or protection from the elements.

If your trekking boots are new, make sure you break them in properly before your trek, otherwise it’s possible you will suffer from blisters.

TIP

Insoles, such as Superfeet, are a valuable addition to your trekking boots. They help to reduce foot fatigue, improve shock absorption, and stop you pronating (which can cause knee or hip ache over the course of a multi-day hike). The supportive heel cups in Superfeet insoles keep your feet in place, reducing the chance of blisters or hot spots developing. You can just remove the insoles that come with your boots and cut your new insoles to size (if necessary) using the original ones as a template. Be sure to remove them from your boots at the end of each day to help your boots release built-up moisture.


FLEECE

A light to mid-weight technical fleece makes a perfect mid layer, adding warmth when needed while remaining breathable. On cold mornings or at higher altitude you will likely end up wearing your fleece to trek in, so you want it to be comfortable, not too bulky, and easy to put on and take off.

INSULATING JACKET (DOWN/PUFFY)

This is essential for staying warm at higher altitudes, whether on the trail or at your teahouse in the evening  (where there is no heating outside of the dining room). Down offers the best warmth-to-weight ratio, but it is generally more expensive than synthetic filling. You can get lightweight down jackets such as the Rab Microlight Alpine (his/hers), which packs down small into a stuff sack and is much easier to pack than a thick, heavy down. Layered with your baselayer, fleece, and outer shell jacket, a lightweight down jacket like the Microlight Alpine should keep you warm enough. It’s possible to rent or buy a down jacket in Kathmandu or Pokhara.

WIND AND WATERPROOF JACKET

Another essential bit of Nepal trekking kit is an outer shell jacket to keep you dry and warm in wet, windy, or cold weather. Opt for material that is waterproof yet breathable, such as Gore-Tex, which keeps out the rain and helps avoid a buildup of sweat which can’t escape. You will likely wear your outer jacket both on the trail and in the evening at your guesthouse in colder weather at higher altitude.

WATERPROOF TROUSERS

Again, the purpose of waterproof trousers is to keep you dry and warm in wet, windy, or cold weather. You can use them as an extra layer for warmth at high altitude, and they are much easier to remove on-trail than an extra layer under your trousers (for example thermal leggings). In rainy or snowy conditions, waterproof trousers will keep your trekking trousers dry, and a quality pair should dry quickly enough in the evening, ready to pack or wear again the next day.

SILK LEGGINGS

If you’re trekking at high altitude (4000 m +) or in winter, you may wish to pack a pair of silk leggings to wear under your trousers. These will add an extra layer of warmth, without being too bulky or movement-restricting.

GLOVES

It’s useful to have a pair of thin liner gloves (ideally merino wool or silk) that can be worn on their own, or along with a pair of thick winter gloves for higher altitude. These cold weather gloves should be wind and waterproof, and ideally thick enough to keep your hands warm at sub-zero temperatures, but flexible enough that you can still hold your trekking poles (if using them).

HAT

We recommend packing two hats: one for sun protection, and one for cold weather. For sun protection you could wear a cap or a wide brimmed trekking hat, and for warmth it’s best to have a woollen beanie which covers your ears.

BUFF/NECK GAITER

A Buff (or similar kind of neck gaiter) is a lightweight and versatile piece of kit that can be used for sun or cold weather protection around your neck, as a headband to cover your ears, and as a face covering in dusty or cold conditions.

SUNGLASSES

These are welcome in sunny conditions, but absolutely essential if trekking in snow. There is a very real risk of snow blindness from the sun reflecting off snow, and it does not take long for your eyes to be damaged. We have witnessed a trekker being carried down from the mountains, strapped to a plastic chair on a porter’s back, after developing snow blindness by crossing a snowy pass without wearing sunglasses. Carrying a spare pair of sunglasses is wise, as replacements are not easy to come by on the trail should you lose or break your sunglasses.

TIP

A sunglasses retainer cord will keep your sunglasses safe and secure, and make it easy to take them on and off quickly, letting them hang around your neck instead of having to put them away.


SEE MORE FROM NEPAL

Featured image for the Everest Base Camp trek guide, featuring a trekker walking on a rocky trail with mountain peaks in the distance
With Ama Dablam as a backdrop, a trekker and guide stop to enjoy the views while doing the Nangkartshang acclimatisation hike on the Everest Three Passes trek
A hiker and guide cross a flat, rocky section before Kongma La on the Everest Three Passes trek, with the snowy ridgeline to the east visible behind
A trekker and guide climbing the snow covered slope towards Laurebina Pass (4650 m), with the blue surface of Gosainkunda shining in the morning sun below
Snow covered guesthouses reflected in the bright blue waters of Gosainkunda
Trekkers enjoying mountain views and a well earned rest atop Kyanjin Ri (4586 m) in the Langtang Valley
Snowy mountain view with colourful prayer flags in the foreground, seen from the first Kyanjin Ri viewpoint (4300 m) on the Langtang Valley trek
Featured image for 'What to Pack for Trekking in Nepal', featuring trekkers, guides and porters crossing a suspension bridge on the Everest Base Camp route
A narrow trekking trail in Upper Mustang stretching off into the distance amidst some bizarre rock formations, with the snowy peak of Dhaulagiri in the background
Trekkers on a trail approaching a round orange rock formation with a plateau stretched out into the distance in Upper Mustang
Sunrise hitting the Annapurna Mountains in Nepal
Trekkers look out while descending from the Larke Pass on the Manaslu Circuit Trek
Featured image for the Everest Base Camp trek guide, featuring a trekker walking on a rocky trail with mountain peaks in the distance
With Ama Dablam as a backdrop, a trekker and guide stop to enjoy the views while doing the Nangkartshang acclimatisation hike on the Everest Three Passes trek
A hiker and guide cross a flat, rocky section before Kongma La on the Everest Three Passes trek, with the snowy ridgeline to the east visible behind
A trekker and guide climbing the snow covered slope towards Laurebina Pass (4650 m), with the blue surface of Gosainkunda shining in the morning sun below
Snow covered guesthouses reflected in the bright blue waters of Gosainkunda
Trekkers enjoying mountain views and a well earned rest atop Kyanjin Ri (4586 m) in the Langtang Valley
Snowy mountain view with colourful prayer flags in the foreground, seen from the first Kyanjin Ri viewpoint (4300 m) on the Langtang Valley trek
Featured image for 'What to Pack for Trekking in Nepal', featuring trekkers, guides and porters crossing a suspension bridge on the Everest Base Camp route
A narrow trekking trail in Upper Mustang stretching off into the distance amidst some bizarre rock formations, with the snowy peak of Dhaulagiri in the background
Trekkers on a trail approaching a round orange rock formation with a plateau stretched out into the distance in Upper Mustang
Sunrise hitting the Annapurna Mountains in Nepal
Trekkers look out while descending from the Larke Pass on the Manaslu Circuit Trek

CLOTHES FOR THE GUESTHOUSE

It’s best to have a completely separate set of clothes to change into when you arrive at your guesthouse, including underwear, socks, thermal base layers, and trousers. This is important to keep you dry and warm. Your trekking clothes will retain a certain amount of moisture, and at rest this will make you cold, so it’s best to change as soon as possible after arriving and settling in for the day. It’s also advisable to have a pair of ‘guesthouse shoes’, ideally something lightweight that can be slipped on and off easily and worn with socks.

There is usually a stove in the common dining area that is lit in the evening, providing the only form of heating in the guesthouse, and you can usually hang trekking clothes and lay out boots around the stove if they need to dry. One set of ‘Guesthouse Clothes’ should be enough for your entire trek.

UNDERWEAR

We’d suggest having one pair of merino underwear specifically for wearing at your guesthouse, which you’ll be able to keep relatively clean. You can then change back into your ‘trekking underwear’ in the morning.

SOCKS

Again, it’s a good idea to have one pair of socks just for wearing at your guesthouse. Make sure these can be worn in conjunction with your ‘guesthouse shoes’.

THERMAL BASE LAYERS

Thermal leggings and a long-sleeved thermal top are essential for any trek at altitude (2500 m+) or in colder weather. We’d recommend merino wool for its warmth and no-stink qualities. You can wear the leggings under your trousers and the top layered under your fleece, down jacket, and outer shell jacket if necessary. It’s common to sleep in your thermal base layers, too.

THERMAL TANK TOP

If you’re staying at high altitude, a thermal tank top (aka vest top/singlet) is ideal for wearing under your long-sleeved thermal top to help keep your core warm in the evening/at night. It can also be worn as an extra base layer under your long-sleeved trekking top if you are trekking in very cold conditions.

TROUSERS/SHORTS

For added warmth in the evening, it’s a good idea to have a pair of trousers (or shorts if you prefer) to wear over your leggings at the guesthouse.

BUFF/NECK GAITER

A second Buff to wear around your neck for warmth at your guesthouse is a good idea, as your trekking Buff will likely be damp with sweat/rain/snow.

GUESTHOUSE SHOES

A pair of shoes to change into when you arrive at your teahouse is highly recommended. This will give your feet a chance to breathe, and your hiking boots a chance to dry out from any moisture. Be sure to remove your insoles from your boots to help them dry. Lightweight sandals that can be worn with socks are a good option. If your sandals have a toe-thong, you can buy toe socks to wear with them.

OUR RECOMMENDED NEPAL TREKKING AGENCY

We partnered with Himalayan Masters for our Langtang Valley, Gosainkunda, and Everest Three Passes treks, and found them to be professional and committed to a high level of service

To enquire about booking your own trek, get in touch via email at info@himalayan-masters.com and mention the code HOGG5 to get a 5% discount off the cost of your trip


PACK FOR TREKKING IN NEPAL // TREKKING GEAR

WHAT TO PACK FOR TREKKING IN NEPAL //

TREKKING GEAR

There are a few essentials that we would recommend packing for every Nepal trek, plus some add-on items that can be very useful on the trail.

BACKPACK + WATERPROOF COVER

You will need a backpack for trekking in Nepal. The size of your backpack will depend on whether you are carrying your own bag, or trekking with a porter. If you’re carrying your own bag, you will likely need a 50 litre backpack (perhaps smaller if you are a light packer, perhaps larger if you are carrying extra equipment like camera gear). If you’re trekking with a porter, you’ll just need a daypack large enough for your on-the-trail essentials like extra layers, snacks, and water. Around 20 litres is big enough for most people. In either case, your backpack should be comfortable enough to wear for 6+ hours, day after day.

It’s handy to have a few different pockets/sections for easy organisation of your gear. You should also think about whether you want to carry a water bottle and/or a water bladder on the trail, and choose a bag accordingly. Stretchy side pockets are ideal for stashing a water bottle, and some backpacks come with a dedicated section for clipping in a water bladder and feeding the hose through the back. If you’re carrying more than 5 – 8 kg, a hip belt and sternum strap will help take the strain off your shoulders and back. And if you plan to use trekking poles, consider how you will carry these when not in use. Some backpacks have built-in straps specifically for stowing your trekking poles.

A waterproof cover is also essential, in case you’re caught in rain or snow. Lots of backpacks come with a waterproof cover that stows away in a built-in pocket, otherwise you can buy one separately. Make sure the size is appropriate for your bag. If it’s too big, water will pool on the cover and you risk it soaking through into your bag instead of draining off.

TIP

Our favourite backpacks are Osprey. They are durable, intuitively designed, and very comfortable to wear. The back support provided by their Anti-Gravity AG system is fantastic. It uses a single piece of flexible mesh from the top to the hip belt, which moves with your body and hugs it perfectly. A large gap between the mesh and the back of the pack makes it incredibly breathable, and the seamless design minimises rubbing or sore spots. The AG system also does an amazing job at weight distribution, making a heavy load feel lighter than it actually is. If you’re looking for a new backpack for trekking in Nepal, we highly recommend checking out Osprey backpacks. We use the Aura AG 50L (Kim), Mira 22L (Kim), Aether AG 70L (Del), Talon 44L (Del) and the Talon 22L (Del) and are happy with all of them.


DUFFEL BAG (IF TREKKING WITH A PORTER)

If you plan on trekking with a porter, you will need a daypack as well as a separate bag which your porter will carry. Generally speaking, porters prefer carrying duffel bags to backpacks, due to the manner in which they strap their load together. If you’re organising your trek through a trekking agency, they will likely provide a duffel bag which you can pack for your porter. But if you’re organising your trek independently, you’ll probably need to provide a bag yourself. You can buy large duffel bags easily in trekking shops in Kathmandu and Pokhara. The standard duffel bags used in Nepal are usually waterproof, but if not, make sure you have an appropriate cover.

WATERPROOF BACKPACK LINER

It’s wise to use a waterproof liner inside your backpack as an extra layer of protection. You can pack anything you need to stay dry inside this liner, and pack anything you want quick access to that doesn’t need to stay dry (waterproof jacket and trousers) in the top (or bottom, if you have an access zip) of your bag.

PLAN YOUR TREK TO EVEREST BASE CAMP

TREKKING POLES

Trekking poles are a great help on steep and/or slippery terrain, and can give you a big boost at any time you’re feeling tired. Folding trekking poles are convenient for travelling, however these tend to be less durable and are a fixed length. Non-folding poles have varying lengths which is very useful depending on whether you’re going uphill, downhill, or along a flat section. The material of the hand grips is also worth considering. Cork is the best at dealing with hot, sweaty palms, and it moulds to the shape of your hands over time, while foam or plastic handles can easily cause blisters and sore spots. Snow baskets that attach to the tip of the poles are useful in snow more than a few inches deep.

WATER BOTTLE/WATER BLADDER

Buying bottled water during your trek is bad for the environment and your wallet. It’s much better to carry a reusable water bottle, filling and treating water as you go. On some days during your trek you may come across taps regularly, but on other days water sources may be few and far between (for example, when crossing a high pass). Therefore, it’s good to plan ahead and make sure you have the capacity to carry enough water for your specific trek itinerary. If you’re unsure, aim for a capacity of 2 – 3 litres.

Using a water bladder, carried in your backpack with a hose to drink from, is very convenient on the trail. Bladders can carry up to 3 litres of water, and they usually sit right next to the centre of your back, the best position to carry such a heavy weight. The hose dangling over your shoulder makes it very easy to drink on-the-go, with no need to stop, remove a water bottle, drink, and put it back again.

For trekking at high altitude (4000 m+), or in winter, a thermal hose sleeve is a good idea to prevent the water in your hose from freezing. In addition to the thermal sleeve, make sure you take regular sips, blowing back into the mouthpiece when you finish drinking to force the water back up the hose.

Even if you plan on using a water bladder while on the trail, it’s still helpful to have a water bottle to use for drinking at your guesthouse at night.

TIP

At high altitude, or in extra cold conditions, always fill your water bottle and water bladder at night, ready for the following day. If you wait until morning, there’s a good chance the pipes will be frozen and there will be no water flowing! You can leave your water bottle next to the stove in the dining room to warm up freezing cold water, then stash it under your blanket or in your sleeping bag during the night to retain some warmth.


HEADTORCH

A headtorch (headlamp) can be useful both on and off the trail.

It’s quite common to leave early in the morning, before sunrise, to trek to some viewpoints (such as Poon Hill, Gokyo Ri, or Kala Pathar) or when crossing high passes (such as Thorong La, Larke La, or Kongma La). For this, you’ll need a torch to see where you’re going. As headtorches can be used hands-free, these are the most convenient option to pack (instead of relying on the torch on your phone or a handheld flashlight). A headtorch is also an important item to carry in your daypack, in case something goes wrong and you find yourself still out on the trail after sunset.

You will have a lightbulb in your room at your teahouse, but power cuts are not uncommon so it’s always a good idea to keep your headtorch handy. It’s also good for trips to the toilet during the night as working lights in the hallway, or in the toilet itself, aren’t always guaranteed.

Opting for a headtorch that is rechargeable via USB is best.

MICROSPIKES

For some trekking routes, such as Everest Three Passes, microspikes (commonly referred to as crampons locally) are always recommended. However, we would also suggest packing microspikes for any trek above approximately 3500 m – 4000 m. Climate change is causing very unpredictable weather in the Himalayas and you may experience snow or ice on the trail at unexpected times. During our spring 2023 treks in Nepal we packed microspikes specifically for crossing the icy glacier before Cho La on the Everest Three Passes trek, but ended up using them on multiple occasions during our Langtang, Gosainkunda, and Everest Three Passes treks. We were very thankful that we had them with us.

Microspikes attach to the bottom of your boots and provide traction on slippery terrain. Using them in snowy or icy conditions will not only prevent you from slipping, but you’ll save energy while walking. You can buy cheap microspikes for about 1000 NPR ($7.50 USD) in trekking shops in Kathmandu and Pokhara, and elsewhere along some trekking routes. If you want microspikes that will last for future trekking trips too, Kahtoola are a great option.

GAITERS

Gaiters are worn over your boots and lower legs to protect your footwear and trousers from snow, mud, and rain. They can also provide an extra layer of warmth in cold, windy weather, and can be very useful while trekking in Nepal in all sorts of conditions, especially snow.

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