Everest Base Camp Trek Packing List for the Female Trekker

Yep, that's me at the top of Kala Pattar with Everest in the background!
Yep, that's me at the top of Kala Pattar with Everest in the background!

I trekked the Everest Base Camp trek, starting in Jiri, with my boyfriend from mid-April to mid-May 2011.  While trying to figure out what to pack for this epic journey (which ended up taking us 26 days!), I found that there were tons of packing lists for men, but not that many for women.  Especially not for a woman like me, who is definitely a city girl who loves to travel, but has had limited trekking experience.  So, for all of you ladies out there wondering just how many bras you should pack, here is the list for you!  I may have forgotten some of the little things, but this is pretty much everything I brought.  Feel free to add some of your own suggestions in the comments area.  And remember, this reflects what has worked best for me and may not be perfect for you.  These are just recommendations, a jumping off point for you to make your own packing list.  Enjoy and have a fabulous trekking adventure!

Backpack

Your pack and your hiking boots are probably the most important purchases that you will make in preparation of your trek.  You want the pack to be comfy, as water-resistant as possible and not so big that you'll be tempted to bring too much.  A good, lightweight interior frame and straps with multiple ways to adjust the fit are important.  I also love exterior pockets where I can put water bottles, chapstick, my headlamp and emergency whistle for easy access.  After trawling all of the backpacker websites, I decided on the Gregory Deva 60.  It has all of the features above, plus it's made specifically for women.  I love that!  I love gear specifically designed to fit women's bodies - especially backpacks that don't have a strap going right across the boobs!  Though I will always love the pack that I took around the world with me, it pretty much killed my back.  Though I did experience some discomfort with the Deva while trekking to Everest Base Camp, the pack would also have to come with a porter to carry it if I didn't expect to feel anything while trekking for 9 hours uphill at altitude with 30 lbs on my back.  You should always go to your nearest REI or outdoors store and test out packs to see what size, brand and model work best for you before purchasing, but I would start with looking at the Deva.  

Matching Gregory Packs
Matching Gregory Packs

Pack Raincover

A pack cover is SO important while hiking in the Khumbu region!  I did the trek mid-April to mid-May and it rained for at least an hour every day once we hit Namche.  Granted, it was also the worst trekking/climbing season in 25 years, but it's still a nice piece of gear to have and does not cost much.  Any pack cover will be fine as long as it is the right size for your pack - double check this before purchasing.  I used the Gregory just because I could ensure that I was getting the right size.  If you want to be doubly sure about sizing, bring your fully stuffed pack in to the store and try different pack covers.  Pillows make good pack-stuffers for measurement purposes.

Sleeping Bag and Sleeping Bag Liner

There are a billion and one sleeping bags to choose from out there; finding the right one for you can be quite a challenge. Here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Do you want a down or synthetic filling? I chose down because it's lighter weight, it's easier to compact into a smaller stuff bag, and it's warm. However, down also tends to be a bit more expensive and you're SOL if it gets wet.

2. How warm do you want the bag to be? My first instinct was to get the warmest bag possible, but then I remembered that the weather can be quite warm in the lower elevations from Jiri to Namche. At the higher elevations where it can get SUPER cold (as in seeing your breath in your guesthouse room), blankets are often provided. I ended up using a 21 degree bag for the trek, thinking that it would be more versatile than the ones built for super freezing temps. Plus, the price tends to go up for the colder weather bags.

3. How much are you willing to spend? Sleeping bags can be SO expensive!!! I didn't quite realize this when I started looking. If you have the money, get as state-of-the-art as you want. If you do not have the money, get ready to still spend at least $150 for a good bag. Or sacrifice on the weight or warmth. Or do as I did and look out for deals on www.steepandcheap.com. I got my Rab Summit Alpine for a great discount there.

4. Do you want a sleeping bag liner or not? I always travel with a silk liner. I don't always use it, but it's a small, lightweight piece of equipment to have. Alone, it's good for use on sheets you don't want to touch, and it can add 10 degrees of heat when used inside a bag. I go with silk because it feels nice and adds more warmth when needed. I wouldn't say that the liner is the most important thing in your pack, but it's nice to have if you have some extra cash to shell out.

I ended up with the Rab Summit Alpine 400 because I saw it on sale on steepandcheap and it met all of my criteria.  There are better bags out there and there are worse bags out there.  This one was in my price range and, let me tell you, it definitely did the job!  On the really cold nights, I was only ever truly warm when I was in my bag.  Having to leave its warm cocoon for that midnight pee break was absolute torture!  

Loving my Rab Down sleeping bag!
Loving my Rab Down sleeping bag!

Hiking Boots and Insoles

As I said before, your boots and your backpack are the two most important purchases that you will make before the trip. There are tons of great websites and knowledgeable salespeople out there that can give you advice on how to pick the perfect boot, but here are a few of my thoughts:

1. Go to your local outdoors store and try on every boot in the place. Figure out what feels good and what doesn't feel good. I've found the REI salespeople to be very knowledgeable and a great help when fitting boots, but go wherever you think you'll get the best guidance. Every woman's foot is different, so this is the only way to really know what will work best for you. When you go to the store, bring the socks and insoles that you plan to wear.

2. Definitely get insoles! I had no idea how awful the insoles are in even the most high-end, expensive shoes. My feet love the made-for-women berry Superfeet insoles, but my boyfriend goes for the Soles. It's up to you, but insoles can mean the difference of completely dead, aching feet after a day of hiking, or just tired legs.

3. Get a half size larger than your normal tennis shoes. Nobody wants black or falling off toe nails, which results from "toe bang" - your toes banging into the toe of your boot every time that you take a step going downhill. Make sure, however, that the larger size does not make your heel come up in the back. This will result in heel blisters - also not very much fun.

4. Wear your boots on a few good hikes, walking to work and/or at the gym to break them in. See how they feel after 20 miles of use. Expect some blisters at first, but they should feel fine after a couple months and hikes. If they don't, look into getting a different size or different shoe all together. That said, start the shoe buying and breaking in process as soon as you know that you're going on the trip so that a lack of time does not pressure you into settling for a boot that doesn't feel right.

5. Once you know what boot you want, shop around online and in stores for the best deal. www.backcountry.com and www.moosejaw.com are fabulous! As is www.steepandcheap.com. REI also has some great sales. Try to buy at the end of the fall season or beginning of the winter season when all of the hiking stuff is on sale.

I decided on the Asolo Stynger GTX. While I did get some blisters, it was still a pretty awesome boot - very comfortable! I have a weak right ankle due to a high school fall down the stairs, so I love the extra ankle support. They are also waterproof, have great traction, and they are super cute!

Socks

I suggest bringing 3-4 pairs of Smartwool hiking socks - 1 lightweight, 1-2 medium-weight and 1 heavy-weight. Any merino wool sock will do, but Smartwool is the best in my opinion. They really seem to know what they are doing - their products hold up under all sorts of wear and washing, and they have a lot of variety to choose from. Go to any hiking website for the reasons why wool totally kicks ass, but my biggest two are 1) you have to do a whole lot for them to stink and 2) they wick moisture away from your feet while keeping them cool. You'll probably live in the medium-weight sock, using the lightweight only for the warmer lower elevations and the heavy-weight to change into at night while walking around in the guesthouse and sleeping.

Lounge Shoes

After a day of strenuous hiking, the first thing you'll want to do when you get to the guesthouse is take off your shoes. No matter how comfy your boots, it is an enormous relief to take them off at the end of the day. This is why I suggest bringing some lightweight slippers or shoes to wear just around the guesthouse. My boyfriend brought slippers, but I went with my quarks. Yes, they are perhaps the ugliest shoes that I have ever worn, but wearing them is like walking on air. Plus they are really ultra lightweight and can double as shower shoes if needed. They are not too hot in the warm weather, and I wore them with socks in the colder weather. Quarks are also cheaper than Crocks (which I also find to be quite ugly). I bought my lavendar Quarks at www.QVC.com.

Trekking Pants

Believe it or not, you will only need two pairs of pants - one pair for hiking and the other pair for wearing around the guesthouse and sleeping. Therefore, they should both be made from durable, breathable material in a color that won't show dirt. I also suggest getting ones that are quick-dry because you will sweat...A LOT...and you will get caught at least once in a sudden downpour without time to put on your rain pants. I like trekking pants that roll up to be capris much more than the zip offs because I have yet to see or try on a pair of zip offs that are actually flattering. But this is just my opinion. Go with what makes you happy, but don't bother getting pants that zip off above the knee. It will be too cold most of the time for shorts and, as a woman, it's best to dress more modestly than you would back home. Even I looked with disdain at a group of American school girls tromping up to Namche in mid-thigh length shorts. You just don't see that kind of dress in those parts of the world. Trekking pants that are just pants and don't roll up or zip off are fine too. I found that I wore my pants long most of the time - for warmth in higher altitudes and to protect me from the sun in the warmer altitudes.

Shirts

You will need, at most, four shirts.  Some will find that they can get away with less, but I guarantee you that any more will just be dead weight.  I brought 1 lightweight long sleeve shirt, 1 lightweight short sleeve shirt and 2 heavyweight long sleeve shirts.  All of them were Icebreaker because, quite frankly, they are the best.  I sweat like a man and would be wearing them all the time, so I needed shirts that would wick sweat and breathe, hold up to a lot of wear, not stink too much and not stain.  Icebreaker shirts did all of this.  I wore the lightweight long sleeve shirt the most from Jiri to Namche because it protected my arms from the sun and regulated my temperature really well in the heat.  The lightweight short sleeved shirt was good on warmer days when I didn't want to wear long sleeves, or just wanted a change of pace.  I wore the heaviest weight long sleeve shirt at night and as a layer while hiking when it got colder.  It ended up being more versatile and warmer than my fleece.  Up until Namche, I would change into the second heaviest weight long sleeve shirt after a day of hiking.  I liked preserving one clean shirt to sleep in.  You can't imagine how good it felt to peel off my sweaty trekking shirt at the end of the day and put on a nice dry, clean shirt.  When it got colder and I stopped changing clothes, I wore both long sleeve shirts all the time.  

Underwear

My favorite store in the entire world is Victoria's Secret.  It's like a candy store for me.  There have been periods of my life where I have actually had to ban myself from looking at the VS website or walk past their store because I was spending too much money on undies.  I just LOVE underwear!  So you can understand my horror when faced with the prospect of having to purchase travel underwear.  I immediately had flashback images of getting ready for a family trip to Greece.  My mom excitedly waving nude-colored granny panties in front of me, explaining that they are quick dry and that she got us each a pair.  Eeeeeeewwwwww!  But, thankfully, the world of travel clothing has evolved and, while there are still a plethora of granny panties out there for those so inclined, there are actual honest to God CUTE travel undies now!  We can be tough and sexy at the same time!  Rugged and cute!  Strong and soft!  Welcome to the 21st Century, ladies!  There are now lacy travel panties, thongs, low-rise bikini, and boy shorts!  Exofficio has a great offering, as does icebreaker.  They are both expensive, but they are also both very good quality.  Look for sales.  I also recommend only bringing 4 pairs.  At the most.  I know, it's sort of torture bringing so little, but every ounce counts at altitude.  Trust me.  If I can do it, you can too.

Bras

You only need two bras. You could even get away with one, but if you are like me and sweat like a man, then it's nice to be able to have one to wear while the other one is drying. I took one sports bra, and it wasn't heavy duty. You aren't exactly running up the mountains, so all you need is one that you might wear to yoga class. The other "bra" I took, which I found to be absolutely fabulous, was ExOfficio's built-in bra cami! It dried quickly, provided just the right amount of support without being too restrictive and was a nice extra layer when it got colder. I also liked it when it was hot because it soaked up some of the sweat so that it didn't show so much on my light blue top layer shirt. It's always a little gross to look down after a nice, fulfilling climb and see that your shirt is a different color it is so soaked in sweat. Although possible, I never wore the cami alone because it wouldn't have been appropriate given the area's cultural norms (check out my hub, Do's and Don'ts of Single Female Travel, for more explanation). Also, a caveat. I'm talking from the B-cup perspective. For those more busty ladies out there, you may want to look into the sports bras that provide more support.

Down Vest or Jacket

I trekked to Everest Base Camp when it was supposed to be warmer. All of the guide books said that a down vest wasn't necessary. So, I didn't bring any down, except for my sleeping bag. Unfortunately, it was the worst weather that the April-May trekking/climbing season had seen in 25 years. By the time I got to Namche, it was become quite clear that I was going to need something else besides my icebreaker shirts, fleece and rain jacket. Luckily, there is a shop in Namche that sells real brand name gear and not just the knock-off stuff (look in Jamie McGuinness's Trekking in the Everest Region for the name of the store).  That is where I found what became the most valuable piece of clothing that I had on the trek - my Rab down vest.  It is a beautiful purple, nicely fitted for a woman's curves and amazingly warm!  So, moral of the story:  Even if it's supposed to be warm, bring at least a down vest.  If you are trekking in the colder seasons, DEFINITELY bring a down jacket.  Any down will do, but Rab is awesome and less expensive than the name brands more widely known in the US (ahem, NorthFace!).  The great thing about down, too, is that it is lightweight and easy to smush up so that it won't take up too much space or poundage if you don't end up wearing it.  But I'll bet that you do at least once!

Rain Jacket

A rain jacket is SO important! Even if you are going when it is supposed to be dry (I went right before the rainy season and it rained almost every day), bring one. At the very least, it will also act as a windbreaker. And trust me, sometimes the wind is so strong on those high plains that it feels as if you are in a wind tunnel. Choose something that is rated well for protection against the rain and the wind. I didn't realize that there are varying degrees of waterproof-ness, but this can make a HUGE difference. Get something that is proven in torrential downpours. I also recommend a jacket with pit zips (there may be a more technical term for this, but you get the idea). You'll be sweating and it may be windy and rainy, but hot. Pit zips are do an amazing job of cooling you off without sacrificing wind and rain protection. Also, sometimes you just don't feel like taking off your pack so that you can take off your jacket when you get hot. Pit zips are great then. I chose the North Face Venture Women's Rain Jacket because it is really highly rated by over 100 women on Backcountry.com, it was cute and I couldn't afford GoreTex. It worked super well, even when I got lost and ended up hiking in the woods in a downpour for over an hour. Though it was a miserable experience, at least I was dry!

Rain Pants

Ahhhh, rain pants. How I love thee and despise thee. Rain pants are hot and dorky and a paint to put on in even the best of circumstances, but they are essential. When you only have two pairs of pants, you want to make sure that you keep them as dry as possible. Rain pants will do this for you. When it's so cold out that you can't bare to take off your pants to put on long underwear, you want something to put on over your trekking pants to keep you warm. Rain pants will do this for you. They are, in a word, awesome. Even though I hate them. I hate the swishing noise they make when you walk in them. I hate that they never feel quite right, even if they fit perfectly. I hate that you can never EVER get them on over your boots gracefully. But, I do wear them. Which is definitely a testament to how important they are. Get a pair. Make sure that they are waterproof, that they have a zip that goes up the whole leg for easier access and durable enough so that they won't tear when you are desperately trying to get them on over your boots before the rain starts pouring down. A good pair of rain pants can be pricey, so look for sales.

Sun Hat and Winter Hat

Yes, sun hats are generally dorky, but they will save your face and neck from major sun damage. Baseball hats will get you face well enough, but a wide-brimmed sunhat is just infinitely better. So, put vanity aside and just get one. Nylon won't let any sun in and will dry quickly if it gets wet. I found a hemp one in Kathmandu that I thought had a bit more style than the nylon North Face ones, but it did let some sun in and it was actually a little heavy.

Winter hats, on the other hand, can be super cute. Definitely check out the ski section of your local outdoors store and find one that you like. I just used my old ski hat and it worked perfectly. I actually wore it all the time (including while sleeping) once we hit altitude. Not only did it keep my head warm, but it covered up my hair that hadn't been washed in two weeks. Fabulous!

Gator and/or a Bandana

I brought a turtle fur gator to wear when it was really cold, which worked out really well to keep the chill off my neck. It was one of those old ones that I got for skiing purposes in the mid-90s, but there are plenty of newer ones that work just as well, if not better.

I didn't bring a bandana, but wished I had one for the lower altitudes. I saw a lot of people wearing them and couldn't figure out why until my cough started. The Khumbu cough. Most trekkers get it due to the thin dry air that just tears apart your throat. A bandana over your mouth catches the water vapor in your breath as you breathe out, so that when you breathe in, the air is moister and not as punishing on the throat. The gator works well for this when you are in colder altitudes, but it is too hot to use comfortably before Dingboche. A bandana is a lightweight, little extra piece of gear that can really make a difference in your comfort level while trekking.

Keeping warm with winter hats, gators, rain jackets and rain pants
Keeping warm with winter hats, gators, rain jackets and rain pants

Gloves

Gloves are imperative after Tengboche! You don't need to go all out with ski gloves, but fleece ones will work fine. The only time when they weren't totally warm enough was when I was doing the last two hour trek up to Kala Pattar from Gorek Shep before the sun had come up. My hands felt like frozen claws around my trekking poles and I was terrified that I would get frostbite. Of course, this was not going to happen; lack of sleep, food and oxygen was messing with my mind. At all other times, my hands were surprisingly warm - even when hit by major wind near Dingboche.

Sunglasses

Polarized sunglasses that protect against UVA and UVB rays are an incredibly important piece of gear at such high altitude where the sun is all the more intense. Eye health is just as important as skin health. So hit your local outdoors store and start trying them on! If you're like me, you'll try on about a hundred pairs before finding the one that both protects my eyes and doesn't make me look like a googly-eyed monster from outer space. I decided on the Suncloud Optics Cookie Sunglasses because no others fit my surprisingly small head, they have great polarized lenses, they weren't super expensive and they were purple tortoise shell - super cute!

Water Bottles

I brought two water bottles so that I could would always have about two liters of water to begin with. I know the metal ones are in style right now, but they are usually a bit heavier than the plastic, which can make a difference higher up. Also, you may want to buy boiled water instead of bottled water for both price and environmental reasons. The guesthouses often give you the boiled water when it is still very hot. When this hot water is put into the metal water bottles, they heat up very quickly and make it impossible to handle easily. So, I recommend packing two plastic water bottles. You can't go wrong with a Nalgene for one of them - or even both of them if you want. I took one Nalgene and one Camelback Groove. Why was the Goove so cool? Because there is a filter inside it that improves the taste of water. It doesn't filter out all of the microbes and stuff that make you sick - you still boil your water or use purification tablets - but it makes it much more enjoyable to drink safe water that generally either tastes flat or like chlorine depending on your purification methods. I stored my water in the Nalgene and then transferred it to my Groove to drink. It was a great system that worked well for me!

Headlamp

A good rule of thumb is to never go hiking without our headlamp. You never know what could happen and you don't want to be caught in the dark without a light. Flashlights are fine, but I prefer being able to keep my hands free - especially since I use trekking poles. You will also be staying in guesthouses with no electricity in the rooms and outdoor toilets. A headlamp is absolutely mandatory for those midnight trips to the outhouse because, trust me, you will not be able to hold it until morning no matter how much you try.

Trekking Poles

I had never used trekking poles before the trek and was a little hesitant to invest in a pair, but my friend who had done the Annapurna Circuit said that they saved her knees.  I decided to get a cheap pair of Leki knock-offs in Kathmandu, just in case I might need them.  They weren't the best quality, but they got me through.  And boy, was I glad I had them!  They take a bit of getting used to, but they are awesome once you get the hang of them.  I found that the poles added nice support going downhill, but they really helped me out on the uphills!  That extra bit of leverage made all the difference on those ultra-tough climbs where I thought I might cry from frustration and fatigue.  Getting into the rhythm of plant, step, breathe, plant, step, breathe also made those uphill climbs much easier to take.  After awhile, it was a lot like walking meditation.  

You can definitely get a cheap pair of trekking poles in Kathmandu, but you never know how long they will last.  My friend's didn't make it through her whole journey, while mine did (with a little help from some duct tape).  If you have the cash, I suggest on just investing in some good, lightweight poles that you know will get you through the trek (and hopefully others).  

Camera

I love photography and had vowed to myself after my last big trip that I would invest in a D-SLR for the next one. Point and shoots can make some great photos, but a good D-SLR in manual mode can take your pictures to the next level. Taking a class prior to the trip so you actually know how to work your camera in manual will also make a ton of difference. If you live in the DC area, Sam D'Amico is an amazing teacher that I would definitely recommend!

After a ton of research, I decided on the Pentax k-x for my first D-SLR. It's lightweight and I had experienced the durability of Pentax cameras on my round the world trip a few years back. It is relatively simple, with an easy, intuitive operating system. It is also the highest ranked camera at its cost level - which is pretty reasonable considering the quality of photos that it produces. And to add to all of that, it comes in cool colors!!! I get as many compliments on my sexy little red camera as I do on my pictures. I just adore my camera!

If you have the extra cash to spend, though, definitely go for the Canon 60D. I love my little Pentax, but the 60D is quite a beautiful piece of equipment. It's more expensive by a lot and heavier by a fair amount, but operating this baby is like like driving a Porsche versus driving a Volvo. I'm not a car person and I love my '86 Volvo station wagon, but I can appreciate the luxury of a Porsche...the one I've ever been in. The Canon 60D is just faster, more versatile and just an all around smoother camera.

I also recommend bringing a telephoto zoom lens for the trip, in addition to the kit lens. And, if you have the money to invest, also bring a wide angle lens to get those stunning mountain range pictures.

My boyfriend in front of Ama Dablam, taken with my Pentax k-x
My boyfriend in front of Ama Dablam, taken with my Pentax k-x
Everest from Kala Pattar taken with my boyfriend's Canon 60D
Everest from Kala Pattar taken with my boyfriend's Canon 60D

Camera Carrying System

Everyone has their own system for carrying their camera while also carrying a pack on their back. The trick is to make sure the camera is safe and not in the way, but still accessible enough to pull out easily for those breathtaking views or that hilarious baby goat on the side of the trail.  I would suggest trying out a few different systems to see what feels good, but this is what worked best for me.

I got an M-Rock holster carrying case that was big enough to hold my camera with the biggest lens attached.  This I attached to the chest strap of my pack by size 3 s-biners so that it hung down my chest and torso.  When it started raining, I would just cover the carrying case with its waterproof cover.  Yes, it looked a little goofy, but it fulfilled all of the above criteria.  

Me with my sunhat, pack, trekking poles and camera carrying system in place
Me with my sunhat, pack, trekking poles and camera carrying system in place

Books

I love reading and couldn't imagine not going on a trip of any length of time without a full selection of books. It is important to remember, however, that you will be lugging all of your reading material around for a month. Limiting your reading material to two books, three if they are short and light, is a good idea. If you finish them with a few weeks to go, try trading with other trekkers or hit up some of the book exchanges in Namche. The deals aren't great, but the selections are actually pretty decent if you're desperate. As to what to bring for your journey, I always like to read stuff that relates to where I am - either set in the region and/or written by a local. To round out the more practical reads, I also like to bring along an inspiring travel tale that will leave me contemplating the meaning of my adventure. Here are some reads I recommend for the Everest Trek:

1. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer - This is an obvious choice and everyone reads it. You'll find it in all of the book stores in Namche and Kathmandu. But obvious though it may be, it's not only a well-written account of an incredible story, but it is really cool to actually see the terrain that Krakauer describes in the first half of the book. I read it at the end of my trek in about two days.

2 & 3. Arresting God in Kathmandu and The Guru of Love by Samrat Upadhyay - The first is one of the first books sold in the Western market written in English by a Nepali. It is a collection of short stories that gives a unique, nuanced look at modern Nepali culture. The second is Upadhyay's first novel, which also provides interesting insight into Nepali culture during the 1990s. I would start with Arresting God in Kathmandu and then seek out The Guru of Love in Namche. Both are quick reads.

4. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho - I recommend this book to anyone embarking on any kind of journey. It is, again, an obvious choice, but a good choice. When read slowly and carefully, this wonderful piece of literature shows the reader the importance of savoring the journey and not rushing to the destination. This is especially important to keep in mind on the Everest trek because of the rich culture, beautiful scenery and incredible people that you will experience on the road. I was lucky enough to have a breathtaking view of Everest from Kala Pattar, but I had such a fulfilling experience making it up there that it wouldn't have been the end of the world if the day had been cloudy and the view obscured.

Guidebook

I love Lonely Planet, have toted all sorts of their guidebooks all over the world. Their Nepal Himalaya guide book, however, is terrible. Do not waste your money on this inadequate, heavy book. Instead, check out Trekking in the Everest Region by Jamie McGuinness. This fabulous guide will provide you with advice on packing, insights into sherpa culture and history, detailed maps, descriptions of towns and humorous stories. I had read the book so many times that, by the end of the trek, I considered Jamie a good friend. Even referring to him by his first name as I flipped through the pages to see where he thinks I should stop for lunch between Junbesi and Ringmo. Jamie is awesome and you will love this guidebook! You really don't need anything else. He also gives some good suggestions on where to eat and stay in Kathamandu.

Journal

Everyone should keep a journal while travelling. Find one that is lightweight and about the size of your hand, but also has a lot of personality. Check out my hub, Do's and Don'ts of Solo Female Travel, for a more detailed explanation of why journal-writing is so important.

Water Purification Tablets

Stock up on a bunch of these babies - enough for four liters of water a day. In the low lands it is cheap and easy to buy boiled or bottled water, but this becomes much more expensive at the higher altitudes. Also, water that is boiled on a wood-burning stove tends to taste like smoke and I don't even want to know what water boiled on a yak dung-burning stove tastes like. Another thing to keep in mind is that all of those plastic bottles of water that you buy and throw away don't just disappear. They are burned or buried, neither of which is good for the environment. So, make things cheaper and easier and more environmentally-conscious. Stock up on water purification tablets. I used the chlorine tablets and they worked perfectly, especially with my camelback groove, which got rid of the pool water taste.

iPod

I didn't use my iPod while hiking because I think that the sounds of the trail are part of the experience, but I saw a lot of people with headphones on. I used my iPod for the busride to Jiri, which is eight hours on a public bus. Music and podcasts make the trip go a lot faster! I wouldn't consider this an essential piece of technology to bring, but some might and it's not bad to have.

Toothbrush, Toothpaste and a Steripod

So, duh, you'll want to bring a toothbrush and toothpaste, but what, may you ask, is a Steripod?!  It is one of the coolest stockingstuffers I have ever received (thanks Mom!).  It's this little plastic capsule that you clip on around your toothbrush head to keep in clean.  But get this, it gets cooler!  Not only does it protect against dirt getting into the bristles, the inside is actually sanitizes your toothbrush for up to three months!!!   When your hygiene is so bad that you start grossing out yourself, at least you can rest easy that your toothbrush is germ-free!

Duct Tape - I used it to patch a rip in my pants, to fix my trekking pole and to cover blisters.  Just imagine how you will use it?

Trash bags - Don't want your dirty, wet clothes to touch your less dirty dry clothes?  Put them in a trash bag!  

Ziplock plastic baggies  - Put your underwear, your toiletries and your electronics in them.  Separate your shirts from your pants with the big ones.  Have extra bread from breakfast, put it in a bag for later!

Twisty ties - Twist them around your zippers for a cheap anti-theft lock on your pack.

Extra batteries - For your camera, headlamp and other electronics.

Small travel hair brush - Even if your hair hasn't been washed for two weeks, it's nice to brush it every once in awhile.

Hair ties  - I kept my hair in braids or pigtails for almost the entire trek.  A definite must for those with long hair.  And if you're like me and always tend to lose these things, pack extra.

Sunscreen - You'll need SPF 30 or above.  Remember when you are at high elevation, the sun is way more intense than at sea level.

Tampons - These are hard to find and often expensive.  Pack enough for the whole trip.

First-Aid Kit - band-aids, pain-killers, antiseptic wipes, Cipro, Ambien, Diamox, Neosporin, dayquil and nyquil, anti-fungal cream, gauze, small scissors, moleskin, laxatives, anti-diarrheal medication, birth control pills and the morning after pill.   

Beef Jerky - A perfect afternoon snack to get your energy up

Granola Bars - Paired with the beef jerky, this will make your afternoon!

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Comments 16 comments

PiaC profile image

PiaC 5 years ago from Oakland, CA

Even though I dont really see myself climbing to the base camp, reading your Hub made me believe that I could! Towards the end, I was all raring to go look for a down jacket in warm purple, and rain pants!


Corinne 5 years ago

I'm leaving for Nepal in 2 weeks and your page has been so much help! Thank you!


Jen 5 years ago

Thank you! This is exactly the list I've been looking for! I'm heading over in a few months, your page will make my packing so much easier :)


Mick 5 years ago

Well written and a top resource for these types of trips for the ladies.


Kirby Mosenthal 4 years ago

Thank you for writing this Hub! The female hikers could use more info like this. It's very useful, and makes me want to be out on the trail right now!


Nanette 4 years ago

Thanks for your detailed list. I'm leaving in 2 weeks and your list has been very informative.


Shane 4 years ago

Getting ready to head on a trek to BC and chasing some help from your experience. How many sets of clothes did you take for the length of your trek? Do you wash them on the way or we all agree that everyone wears their clothes a couple of days and shares the joy. Great page by the way, stumbled across it by accident.


Shelley 4 years ago

I will be leaving to EBC in six weeks, and this has really helped me out allot! I love your sence of humour! Hopefully I will be able to give like minded advice to future female trekkers out there.


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 3 years ago from Iowa

What an awesome list! Everest Base Camp is on my bucket list and if I am ever fortunate enough to go, I will revisit this.



Matt 3 years ago

Im trekking in sept and trying to sort out my list to take. Thanks your blog was very helpful and fun to read.


Sam 3 years ago

I am heading to EBC in a few days and your write up helped me realize a few things I had missed. Thanks!


Eun Young Choi 2 years ago

This is an amazing list. Thank you so much for writing it. It's answered so many questions for me. I'm heading to EBC + Island Peak in a week. I do have one question. With 4 pairs of Ex Oficio underwear, did you ever wash in between wears? Or not necessary? How often did you have to wash them? It seems like water is highly conserved along the trek, so I won't have a chance to wash underwear along the way. Thanks!


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 20 months ago

Just going through the list wore me out. I will watch from my armchair!


Vita 14 months ago

Super helpful thank you! I'm doing the manaslu trek


Alpineecotrek 11 months ago

Wow, what a great list of the essential gears, its really helpful for the newcomers who would like to trek in Nepal. We are a leading trekking agency in Nepal, our official website is http://www.alpineecotrek.com please visit once and let us know if we can provide any information about your possible journey to Nepal and Mt. Everest base camp.

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