What To Pack For Trekking In Nepal + Tips On Gear & Renting

Nepal is widely considered the trekking mecca of the world, catering to hikers of all skill levels, from fresh beginners to the ultimate hardcore mountaineers. The most common treks for beginner to intermediate hikers are teahouse treks, which offer the convenience of lightening your load by providing food and accommodations along the entire route.

We recently completed two teahouse treks in Nepal – the popular Annapurna Base Camp Trek and the lesser-known Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek. Through these adventures, plus countless multi-day hikes through New Zealand and Australia’s remote and rugged mountains, we have gained extensive experience in packing for various trekking styles.

But this knowledge certainly hasn’t come without hours of turmoil trying to decide what to pack and fretting that we’d forget essential items! That’s why we’ve created this essential Nepal trekking packing list to help alleviate your packing worries. 

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll list all the essential items required for trekking in Nepal, offering detailed information on specific gear where necessary. Additionally, we’ve included useful tips on renting gear in Nepal, dress code etiquette, and more.

Trekking in the Kanchenjunga Region with Jannu peak in the distance

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Tips And Information On Packing For Treks In Nepal

Avoid Overpacking!

Let’s start with the number one mistake we all make when beginning our hiking careers – over-packing!! We’ve all been guilty of this, but when you’re trekking for a week or more, it’s even more imperative to pack as lightly as possible.

Even when hiring a porter to carry your gear, there is usually a limit of 10 kg per person. Some companies may allow up to 15 kg, but it’s best to pack lighter to make it easier for your porter.

The easiest way to save weight is to limit the amount of clothing and toiletries you pack – keep in mind, you can wash quick-drying gear as you go! In our Nepal trekking pack list below, we’ve included our recommended quantity for each clothing item and offered suggestions for keeping the toiletries light.

Buying Gear In Nepal

Sherpa Outdoor store in Nepal
Sherpa Outdoor

You will certainly have no trouble finding trekking gear stores in Kathmandu or Pokhara – the two major cities in Nepal where you’ll most likely begin your treks. However, finding a store that sells quality and legitimate gear is not so easy.

Most trekking gear stores in Nepal are stocked full of counterfeit or poorly made gear. While they may bear popular brand logos such as The North Face, Osprey, and Arc’teryx, their quality is seriously lacking.

Street Store with Fake Gear in Nepal
Street Store with Fake Gear

The easiest way to tell if a store is selling legitimate gear is to check the price. For example, if you find down jackets from The North Face for more than 50% off – and the store owner is still willing to haggle, you’ve found yourself a fake!

With that said, there are some stores that sell legit and quality gear, which we’ll list below with their locations. However, it’s important to note that bartering isn’t accepted in these stores – typically a sign of their authenticity.

Note: Generally, you will pay the same price in Nepal for renowned outdoor brands as you would in Western countries such as Australia and the US.

Trekking Gear Stores You Can Trust In Nepal

  • Sherpa Adventure Gear: This is a Nepalese brand dedicated to sustainability and giving back to the community. They have a store in Kathmandu and Pokhara. Along with their own gear, they stock several brands like Osprey (the only ones we found in Kathmandu), Black Diamond, Sea To Summit and Rab. Sherpa was our go-to store for all our gear needs during our time in Nepal.
  • Lukla Outdoors: This is a local brand, located in Kathmandu. Their gear is quite reasonably priced and reliable for basic clothing needs.
  • The North Face: There are two TNF stores in Kathmandu (almost next to one another) and one in Pokhara. Along with the usual TNF gear, you’ll find a small range of Black Diamond climbing gear and Exped. While these are legitimate stores, they don’t offer returns so we suggest being careful buying big-ticket items.
  • Columbia: Located in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
  • Marmot & Rab: Located next to Columbia and The North Face in Kathmandu, this store sells Marmot and Rab gear, along with La Sportiva shoes, budget-friendly Lowe Pro backpacks and some climbing gear.
  • Mountain Hardwear: This store is located in Kathmandu, also next to Columbia and The North Face, and sells predominantly climbing and camping gear from Grivel, Black Diamond and Sea To Summit.

Renting Gear For Your Trek

Many of the trekking gear stores will also offer rentals at a daily fee per item. But you’ll still be met with the same problem – the quality of the items. We advise against renting important gear such as hiking shoes or backpacks whenever feasible – especially if you’re carrying all of your own gear.

Hiking over boulders with snow capped mountgains in the backdrop

If you need to rent gear for your trek, we recommend going through your trekking agency. Most will either provide these free of charge or rent them to you at an affordable price. And even if they don’t have these items, their suggestions are typically the most reliable.

The most common items to rent for teahouse treks in Nepal are trekking poles, microspikes, sleeping bags and down jackets. While the trekking companies do try to give you the best gear they can, it will still most likely be of lower quality compared to legitimate outdoor gear.

When it comes to trekking poles and microspikes, quality is less crucial. However, for down jackets and sleeping bags, examine their thickness and hold them up to the light to confirm the fill is sufficient – if you see lots of sunlight through the fabric, this is a bad sign!

If you’re not trekking with an agency or private guide, the top recommended gear rental shop in Kathmandu is Shona’s Alpine. However, we don’t have personal experience renting gear so don’t forget to check the quality before committing.

Why Trek With Himalayan Masters?

If you’re struggling to find the right trekking company, we highly recommend Himalayan Masters. They are approachable, professional, fun, caring, and environmentally conscious. We completed two treks with them successfully, but fell ill on the third. It was then we realised the excellent organisation and compassion of Sandip, the owner. From coordinating our rescue to handling insurance, everything was done smoothly. He even took time out of his day to visit us in the hospital and kept checking in on us afterwards.

If you decide to take our advice, don’t forget to mention that Candace & Dylan from Tracks Less Travelled referred you and you will receive a 5% discount!

Gear Provided By Your Trekking Agency

When you book your adventure with a trekking agency, the guide typically handles items such as travel and trip documents and the first aid kit. We recommend verifying with your company beforehand to ensure everything is arranged correctly.

Here is a list of items that your guide will likely handle for you:

  • Trekking permits
  • Travel insurance documents (you must provide a copy)
  • Satellite phone or communication device
  • Topographic map (often given to you to keep for the trek)
  • Water purification tablets (we still used our own)
  • First aid kit – including emergency oxygen and a pulse oximeter

How To Dress Respectfully In Nepal

Nepal is a very religious country, with Hinduism and Buddhism as the predominant religions. The Nepalese people are generally traditional and conservative in the way they dress, and although there are no specific laws regarding attire for foreigners, it is considered respectful to adhere to their dress code.

Ghunsa viewpoint during sunrise with prayer flags on the peak

The guidelines on what to wear in Nepal are easy to follow and don’t require too much change – especially for hiking. It’s recommended that both men and women cover their shoulders and wear pants or shorts that fall just above the knee at the very least. For women, you should also avoid low-cut or cropped tops that are too revealing.

When we were in Kathmandu – especially in Thamel, wearing the appropriate attire didn’t feel as necessary as some younger Nepalese people are starting to wear Western clothing. However, once we got into the Himalayas, we definitely felt more comfortable wearing conservative clothing.

I wore a lightweight pair of hiking pants and t-shirts or long sleeves for our treks and felt completely comfortable. I also wore hiking leggings in colder temperatures, which technically doesn’t follow the dress code as they don’t wear form-fitting clothes, but it didn’t seem to bother the locals.

The Ultimate Nepal Trekking Packing List

The following packing list is directed at those intending to complete a teahouse trek, where you’ll stay at guesthouses each night. If you’re planning a camping expedition in the Himalayas, you will also need to include all of your cooking equipment and sleeping gear. You can find a list of our recommended gear for camping in our Hiking Essentials Guide.

  • Passport (plus a copy of your passport)
  • Nepalese Cash
  • Travel Insurance Documents
  • Trekking Permits
  • Socks & Underwear
  • Thermal Base Layers
  • Hiking Shirt
  • Camp shirt (optional)
  • Hiking Pants
  • Camp Trackies
  • Fleece Jumper
  • Down Jacket
  • Rain Jacket
  • Rain Pants
  • Beanie
  • Hat
  • Neck Warmer
  • Gloves
  • Camp Shoes
  • Backpack & Rain Cover
  • Duffel Bag & Day Pack (if using a porter)
  • Waterproof Pack Liner / Dry Bags
  • Hiking Shoes / Boots
  • Trekking Poles
  • Gaiters (optional)
  • Microspikes (optional)
  • Headtorch
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping Bag Liner
  • Pillowcase or Inflatable Pillow (optional)
  • Earplugs
  • Mobile Phone
  • Portable Charger
  • Charging Cables
  • Travel Plug Adapter
  • Camera (optional)
  • Earphones (optional)
  • Water Bottles & Hydration Bladders
  • Electrolytes
  • Water Purifying System
  • First Aid Kit
  • Sunscreen & SPF Lip Balm
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  • Hairbrush & Hair Ties
  • Biodegradable Multi-Purpose Soap & Cloth
  • Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Quick Dry Travel Towel
  • Toilet Paper
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Insect Repellent (optional)
  • Polarised Sunglasses
  • GPS Tracker & Trekking Map
  • Stuffable Day Pack (if you’re carrying your own gear)
  • Cards
  • Book
  • Snacks
  • Travel Clothesline

Trekking Documents & Money

Let’s begin with the most important items on your Nepal trekking packing list. If you’re trekking with an agency or a private guide, they will most likely take care of the travel insurance documents and trekking permits. Ensure you check this before departing.

Here is a list of essential items that are required for your trek:

  • Passport – you must carry your passport with you when you trek in Nepal. You’re required to show your passport at each checkpoint along the trails. It’s also a good idea to bring a photocopy of your passport just in case.
  • Nepalese Cash – on most of the treks in Nepal, there are no ATMs or EFTPOS at the guesthouses. We budgeted 1,000 NRP (just under $10 USD) a day for our guided treks. If you’re trekking solo (without a guide), you will need roughly 3,000 – 4,000 NRP a day.
  • Travel Insurance Documents – Our guide kept our travel insurance documents, but if you’re solo, you should print them out and keep them with you at all times.
  • Trekking Permits – again, our guide took care of these. Double-check with yours that they have everything they need as they might require a passport photo for some permits. If you’re travelling solo, ensure you have researched what trekking permits you need and how to obtain them.

Clothing

During your treks in Nepal, you’ll likely experience various climate and weather conditions. It’s essential to nail your layering strategy with lightweight, breathable and comfortable clothing. The best materials to wear are merino wool, polyester or nylon (or a blend) for your base layers, and fleece or down for your warm layers.

Another advantage of the materials listed above is their quick drying ability. This means you can wash items in the afternoon once you arrive at your guesthouse and have them dry by the next day.

Remember, the number one rule in outdoor gear is to avoid cotton! Cotton traps moisture, keeping you wet from sweat or rain for an extended period. This can result in smelly odours and may lead to problems if you’re stuck in wet and cold clothes.

Socks

The best hiking socks consist of a merino wool, nylon/polyester, and elastane blend. Merino wool wicks moisture, nylon boosts durability, and elastane adds stretch for comfort.

We suggest bringing 3 pairs of hiking socks. This way, you can have one pair drying, one to wear, and one spare in case your feet get sweaty during the hike.

XTM hiking socks, perfect for trekking in Nepal
XTM Otway Hiking Socks
XTM camping socks for backpacking in Nepal
XTM Heater Camp Socks

Our go-to hiking socks for trekking in Nepal are:

In addition to your hiking socks, pack 1 pair of warm socks to wear at night. Again, merino wool is a stand-out choice – or a polyester blend.

Our favourite warm camp socks:


Underwear

You’ve probably already guessed, but merino wool underwear is also a fantastic choice for trekking. They offer ultimate comfort, odour resistance and dry very quickly. However, they’re not cheap! We have yet to splurge on merino wool or other hiking-specific underwear and haven’t had any issues thus far.

That being said, we still avoid cotton or bamboo as they take forever to dry!

We recommend packing 3-4 pairs of underwear and 2 sports bras, allowing you to have a spare or two while washing the other.

Wildearth has a great range of hiking-specific sports bras and underwear to choose from. The most popular and reliable brands are Patagonia and Icebreaker.


Thermal Base Layers

Thermals, base layers, long johns – whatever you want to call them, they’re essential for a warm sleep in the Himalayas and to layer up at higher altitudes.

Base layers are typically categorised based on warmth. For trekking in Nepal, we suggest packing 1 pair of either midweight or heavyweight thermals.

Although merino wool remains our top recommended material, there are some great synthetic options out there like the Macpac Geothermal Base Layers. However, they generally have a higher weight-to-warmth ratio.

XTM hiking thermal, a great hiking shirt for Nepal
XTM 230 Thermal Top
Hiking thermal bottoms for teahouse treks in Nepal
XTM 230 Thermal Bottom

Our go-to thermals:

For more information on how to choose the right thermals for you, check out our guide on the best base layers for hiking.


Hiking Shirt

We recommend packing three hiking shirts for your treks. Whether that is two long-sleeves and one short-sleeve or vice versa depends on what you prefer to walk in and the temperatures you’re predominantly expecting.

We took two short-sleeves and one long-sleeve, which was perfect for the Annapurna Base Camp Trek in March. Having three also allows you to keep one clean to wear once you arrive at your destination.

A merino blend is our ultimate choice for hiking shirts. They provide exceptional breathability, durability and moisture-wicking and odour-resistant capabilities.

Merino hiking tee shirt, a great shirt to bring hiking in Nepal
long sleeve Merino hiking shirt to add to your Nepal Trekking Packing List

Our favourite hiking shirts are:

Check out our guide on the best hiking shirts for women for more information and suggestions.


Hiking Pants

The ultimate choice for the changing weather in the Himalayas is convertible hiking pants. They allow you to pack just one pair of hiking pants and be prepared for all weather conditions. 

I don’t own convertible pants and instead, packed one pair of lightweight hiking pants and a pair of warm tights. You can also choose to pack one pair of shorts and a warmer pair of hiking pants or tights – but remember to ensure your shorts are modest and fall close to the knee.

Nylon is the top choice for hiking pants due to its exceptional durability while maintaining breathability. Polyester is a close second, offering more flexibility but slightly less durability.

hiking zip off pants, a great addition to any hiking packing list
XTM Zip-Off Hiking Pants

Our top choices for hiking pants and tights are:


Camp Trackies

Having a pair of warm trackies to throw on once you reach the guesthouses isn’t a necessity, but that extra element of cosiness was well worth the extra weight in my pack!

Fleece track pants are our top pick for your Nepal trekking packing list, providing exceptional warmth for their lightweight design.

The North Face Alpine Polartec 200 Fleece Pants

Our top suggested camp trackies:

  • The North Face 100 Glacier Fleece Pants – I own the 200 Glacier pants, which are a bit too warm for everyday use. These would be more versatile. However, it’s frustrating that debris gets caught in the fleece, making it hard to sit outside without getting dirty.
  • XTM DWR Water Resistant Trackies II – these are fleece-lined cotton and our newest addition to our track pant collection. They’re heavier than the first option, but you can sit anywhere without worrying about debris getting caught in the fleece.

Fleece Jacket

A fleece jacket serves as an excellent mid-layer, providing an outstanding warmth-to-weight ratio and incredible comfort. One great feature of fleece is its capacity to keep you cosy even when damp, along with its quick drying time.

For trekking in Nepal, we recommend packing one light to mid-weight fleece jumper that you can comfortably wear on the trails or under your down jacket at night.

Midweight hiking fleece, a warmer fleece for trekking in Nepal
XTM Solo Fleece
Lightweight hiking fleece jumper, great for backpacking treks
XTM Seawool Fleece

Our favourite fleece jackets are:

For further information about the various styles of fleece jackets and how to choose the right one for your climate, check out our guide to finding the best fleece jackets.


Down Jacket

If there’s one item of clothing that always has a space in our packs, it’s our down jackets. These are invaluable in the mountains, offering exceptional warmth compared to their weight. However, not all down jackets are made equal.

For trekking in Nepal, we recommend packing a down jacket that has at least 600 fill power – this will be displayed on the jacket’s tag. 

Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody, our favourite down jacket for you backpacking list
Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody

Our favourite down jackets are:

  • Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody – this has been my favourite down jacket for over 4 years, but it isn’t cheap.
  • Macpac Halo Hooded Down Jacket – for a more budget-friendly option, you can’t beat this jacket. The extra fill weight makes it feel like you’re wearing a sleeping bag – but it also makes it heavier and bulkier.
  • XTM Grazer & Highlander Puffer Jacket – these are the jackets we took to Nepal and we loved them, but I missed not having a hood on the Highlander.

Check out our guide on how to choose the best down jacket for more information.


Rain Jacket

Breathability is the top priority for a rain jacket for trekking in the Himalayas – aside from high waterproofing abilities of course.

You’ll most likely have to wear your rain jacket at least once while walking. Choosing one with top breathability will prevent you from sweating beneath your jacket.

XTM Takayna Rain Jacket for trekking in Nepal
XTM Takayna

The rain jackets that we swear by are:

  • XTM Takayna Rain Jacket – this jacket is the ultimate budget-friendly jacket that offers incredible breathability and comfort for an affordable price. We’ve worn these jackets for years now and can always rely on them.
  • The North Face Dryzzle Futurelight Jacket – while this is a more expensive jacket, it has even better breathability than the XTM rain jacket – but the trade-off is it isn’t quite as waterproof.

Many factors contribute to a good rain jacket, which we’ve explained in detail in our guide to finding the best rain jackets.


Rain Pants

Although you can skip adding rain pants to your Nepal trekking packing list to save money and weight, they do offer versatility. Besides keeping you dry while hiking in the rain, they can also provide extra warmth at higher altitudes.

We didn’t use our rain pants once during our treks, as we were fortunate enough to dodge all the rainstorms, which generally come late in the afternoon every day. Nevertheless, I’ll always pack them just in case!

If you don’t already own a pair, I wouldn’t suggest buying some are essential for trekking in Nepal.

Patagonia Hiking Rain Pants, good for hiking in bad weather
Patagonia H2No

Our trusty rain pants are:

For more details on other factors to consider, take a look at our guide to choosing the best rain pants.


Camp Shoes

Some may say camp shoes aren’t essential, but we disagree. There is no better feeling than pulling your boots off after a long day of hiking. The choice for camp shoes is often a light and well-loved pair of runners or sandals.

We both chose sandals for our Nepal trekking packing list, which was perfect for the warmer climate at lower altitudes. And once you reach colder temperatures, you can simply pair them with warm socks.

However, if you’re planning a trip to Nepal in the colder months, you might want to consider down booties instead for your camp shoes. I was recently introduced to this ingenious item and am in love…

Teva Hiking Sandals for camp, A great item to add to your Nepal Trekking Checklist
Teva Sandals
TNF Down Booties for backcountry hiking in winter
TNF Down Booties

Our top recommendation for camp shoes:

  • Teva Original Universal Sandals – we recently joined the Teva family and will never go back! These sandals are incredibly comfortable and highly durable.
  • The North Face Thermoball Traction Booties – I didn’t take these to Nepal and I regretted it. These synthetic down booties are the best we’ve found, providing a durable sole so you can wear them outside without worry.

Sun Hat

The style of hat you choose for your Nepal adventure is totally up to you. We personally prefer caps as broad-brimmed hats tend to interfere with our backpacks. But if you’re only carrying a day pack, this won’t be an issue.

Our favourite style of hat for hiking is a soft, quick-drying running cap, like the Ciele caps, that allows plenty of breathability and takes up very little space in our packs.

The one thing we did miss about a broad-brimmed hat is the drawcord. High winds are common as you gain elevation and we spent much of our days holding onto our hats to avoid losing them!


Cold Weather Accessories

When it gets chilly in higher altitudes, you’ll want some extra warm gear like a beanie, a neck warmer (buff), and gloves. We used all of these items on multiple occasions during our treks in Nepal.

Merino beanie, a great item to pack for you treks in Nepal
XTM Scree Beanie
Mittens for hiking in cold weather, a great item to add to your Nepal packing list
XTM Ascent Mittens

These are the items we took with us and highly recommend:

  • XTM Beanies – over the years, we’ve tried many of the beanies from XTM and love them all. Look for fleece-lined ones for extra warmth.
  • XTM Merino 230 Wool Neck Warmer – these are highly breathable, yet warm. Making them the best buff to walk in.
  • XTM Ascent Gore-Tex Infinium Mittens – we thought mittens might be overkill, but they weren’t. These are lightweight, water-resistant gloves that are a little less warm and bulky compared to typical snow gloves. We highly recommend bringing gloves that are at least water-resistant.

Trail Essentials

Backpack & Rain Cover

If you’re carrying your own gear, you’ll need a hiking backpack that’s supportive and comfortable. After spending almost a month on the trails in Nepal carrying our own gear, we would suggest a 65-litre backpack, though you could get away with a 55-litre one if you pack light.

The ideal situation is that you’ve already got a trusty backpack that you know will be comfortable. But if you need to purchase a new pack, our top recommendation for backpacks is Osprey. They are super reliable and offer incredible support – which is essential for such long treks.

Osprey Aura Trekking Backpack
Osprey Aura
Osprey Aether Plus hiking Backpack for trekking in Nepal
Osprey Aether

Our current well-loved backpacks are:

  • Osprey Ariel / Aether – this is our current backpack, which is Osprey’s top back for supporting heavy loads. We have the 85 plus, but I also have the Ariel 65 that has been going strong for over 6 years.
  • Osprey Renn / Rook – this pack is more budget-friendly and more than capable of keeping you supported on a teahouse trek in Nepal.

You can use our guide on finding the best hiking backpacks for more information on what to look for in a suspension system, along with plenty of other helpful tips and suggestions. Or check out our full review of the Osprey Aether Plus.


Duffel Bag & Day Packs

If you will be hiring a porter, you’ll need a daypack and a duffel bag for the porter. Most trekking companies will supply you with a duffel bag, but ensure you check this information beforehand.

If you need to provide your own duffel bag, you can get a reliable and affordable one at Sherpa Adventure which is made by a local brand called Soul Khumbu. They are waterproof and durable, two top priorities for your duffel bag. We purchased two of these for our return journey to Australia and they are great thus far.

For your daypack, it will need to fit some extra layers, water bottles, sun protection and perhaps some snacks. We recommend a volume of 25 – 30 litres and sufficient chest and hip straps.

The best hiking daypack, a great daypack for trekking in Nepal
Osprey Mira
The North Face Duffel Bag for porters trekking in Nepal
TNF Duffel Bag

Our top recommendations for daypacks are:

  • Osprey Talon / Osprey Tempest – this pack has all the bells and whistles you’ll need to comfortably carry your daily needs for hours on end. They come in a huge range of volumes as well, so you can pick the perfect one for you.
  • Osprey Mira / Manta – I own the Osprey Mira 32, which I love. This pack is a little more expensive, but it provides extra support for a heavier load – plus, it comes with a water bladder! You can also find this pack in volumes of 22 and 24 respectively.

For both daypacks and backpacks, ensure that you have a rain cover that fits snugly over the pack. Many will come with a rain cover included, but if yours doesn’t, you can purchase Sea To Summit rain covers in a range of sizes to fit your pack.

Check out our resource on the best daypacks for hiking for more information on how to choose the best one for you.


Waterproof Pack Liner / Dry Bags

Whether you choose to carry your gear or hire a porter, we strongly suggest packing your belongings, especially valuables, in a waterproof pack liner or separate dry bags.

A liner to pack your Nepal Trekking Gear into to keep them try
Waterproof Pack Liner

While the duffel bag you’ll likely use is waterproof, they’re not perfect. The same goes for the rain cover on your backpack. The cheapest option is to use a durable garden garbage bag that matches your pack’s volume. However, the best choice is to purchase a pack liner. Using separate dry bags is better for a duffel bag and organisation, but they’re not cheap.

We used a pack liner for years before switching to individual dry bags. While the transition was costly, we love having our gear neatly organised in separate bags for convenience. However, it’s important to note that using individual dry bags does take up more space in your pack.


Hiking Shoes / Hiking Boots

Your hiking shoes or boots are arguably the most crucial piece of hiking gear to get right. Sore and blistered feet can easily ruin your experience, especially when you have to walk repeatedly for at least a week!

When it comes to choosing between hiking shoes and hiking boots, the decision varies for each person. I opt for hiking boots on most trips due to weak ankles and bad knees. However, Dylan prefers lightweight trail runners because his feet sweat and he doesn’t need as much support.

For our treks in Nepal, I wore my Lowa Mauria GTX Hiking Boots. They are overkill for most, but I loved the exceptional support. Dylan wore The North Face Vectiv Fastpack Futurelight Hiking Shoes, only needing to change to his boots when we encountered snow at Annapurna Base Camp.

North Face Vectiv Fastpack Futurelight hiking shoe in olive
TNF Fastpack
Midweight hiking boots, an essential item to pack for overnight hiking trips
Lowa Mauria

For the most versatile solution, we recommend a lightweight mid hiking boot – like The North Face Vectiv Exploris Mid Futurelight Boots or the Scarpa Kailash Hiking Boots. They offer extra protection in light snow and mud, yet are still breathable and comfortable enough for everyday use.

With that said, if you have a well-loved pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, we suggest sticking with them rather than purchasing something new. And we most certainly recommend breaking in any new shoes or boots before arriving in Nepal!

Note: If you are planning a winter trek or you know you’ll encounter rougher terrain and deep snow, then you’re better off with a durable pair of hiking boots. You can always pack both your hiking boots and a lightweight pair of trail runners so you don’t have to wear your boots when it’s unnecessary.


Trekking Poles

Trekking poles will be your best friend while tackling the significant elevation changes in Nepal. Even using just one pole can save you a lot of energy and protect your knees during descents.

Many trekking companies will provide you with hiking poles either free of charge or for a small fee. However, the quality of these poles isn’t fantastic – to say the least.

If you have your own set, we suggest packing it. You can bring it in your checked luggage when flying.

Trekking poles, a great addition to your Nepal Trekking Gear LIst
Black Diamond Trail Cork

These are our top suggestions for hiking poles to use in Nepal:

  • Black Diamond Trail Cork Trekking Poles – these are the poles I use and while they’re a little more expensive than the basic options, they have been extremely reliable on rough terrain and comfortable to use for hours on end.
  • Macpac A3 Trekking Poles – these are an affordable entry-level set of hiking poles that are well-loved by casual hikers. However, they may not hold up as well to highly technical terrain.

Pro Tip: We suggest opting for aluminium trekking poles over carbon. They’re cheaper and less likely to fail completely. This is because aluminium will bend while carbon will snap.


Gaiters (Optional)

Gaiters are an optional item on your Nepal trekking packing list that we would generally recommend leaving at home. They are great for muddy trails and offer extra protection in deep snow, but these are trail conditions that you won’t find often on the popular teahouse treks in Nepal.

We encountered deep snow near Annapurna Base Camp, but due to the high foot traffic on the trail, the snow was compact and didn’t require the use of gaiters – or even rain pants.

If you book your trek just after the summer monsoon season, you’re likely to encounter more mud. In this circumstance, we would recommend bringing gaiters.

Hiking Gaitors, a perfect for hiking in the mud or snow
Sea To Summit Quagmire

These are the gaiters that we own and love:


Microspikes (Optional)

Often mistakenly called crampons, microspikes are small chains with dull spikes that attach to the soles of your shoes to enhance traction on icy and compacted snow. They work with all types of hiking shoes and boots and can be easily packed down.

Generally, your trekking company will provide you with microspikes when needed. If not, you can rent them from the trekking villages close to the popular base camps. If you own a pair, it’s worth packing them if you’re planning to trek near the winter season.

Microspikes for hiking boots, great to pack for trekking at high altitude in Nepal
Kahtoola Microspikes

Our trusted microspikes:


Headtorch

If you want to catch any magical mountain sunrises, we highly recommend packing a headtorch. You can get away with using your phone torch for some scenarios, but a headtorch is essential if you plan to do any sunrise missions.

The minimum amount of lumens that we recommend in a headtorch for hiking is 300. This will allow you to sufficiently see the path in front of you and locate trail markers in the near distance.

Headtourch for hiking, a luxury for trekking in Nepal
Black Diamond Storm 500

Here are our top suggestions for a headtorch:


Sleeping Gear

Sleeping Bag

Most teahouses provide thick blankets, but it’s best to bring a sleeping bag for added warmth at higher altitudes. We brought sleeping bags on our treks and were grateful for our decision on several occasions.

Sleeping bag rentals are easy to come by in Kathmandu and Pokhara, with many trekking companies offering them as well. However, they’re not likely to be of the same quality as your own back home.

We recommend a sleeping bag with a comfort rating of at least -2℃, but aiming for -4℃ or higher is even better. If you’re using one from Nepal, look for one rated at -10℃ or higher for similar warmth. Remember to test the sleeping bag before renting it. Check the fill amount by holding it up to the light – if you see a lot of empty space, it won’t provide much warmth.

Macpac Azure Sleeping Bag
Macpac Azure
Macpac Serac 1000 Alpine Sleeping Bag
Macpac Serac 1000

These are our favourite sleeping bags:

  • Neve Gear Waratah Down Quilt (-14°C) – this is Dylan’s current sleeping quilt, a super lightweight and customisable option from a small Australian company. He loves the freedom of movement it provides and found it perfect for trekking in Nepal.
  • Macpac Serac 1000 Down Sleeping Bag – this is the current sleeping bag I own, which I purchased for winter expeditions in New Zealand. I absolutely love this bag, but I would only recommend it if you plan on camping in very cold conditions. It was slightly too warm for the Annapurna Base Camp Trek, but it was the perfect warmth for the higher altitudes on the Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek.
  • Macpac Azure 700 Down Sleeping Bag – this is our top suggestion for a slightly cheaper and versatile option for my sleeping bag. It’s still quite expensive, but you can almost always find it on sale. Plus, we’ve had several Macpac sleeping bags over the years and they are exceptionally good quality.

For more information about insulation options, durability and much more, read our detailed guide on how to choose the best hiking sleeping bags.


Sleeping Bag Liner

While most teahouses provide bottom sheets on the beds, they may not always be completely clean – especially during peak seasons on the popular treks. We felt more comfortable sleeping in a sleeping bag liner, which also added extra warmth on chilly nights.

The most common sleeping bag liner materials are silk, polyester, cotton or merino wool. Polyester and merino wool are the best choices for added warmth.

Sleeping bag liner for hiking in Nepal
Sea To Summit Reactor

These are the sleeping bag liners that we love, plus a similar budget-friendly option:


Pillow Case or Inflatable Camp Pillow (Optional)

To avoid sharing a pillowcase with strangers, many trekkers choose to bring their own pillowcases to cover the pillows provided in teahouses. We chose to pack our inflatable pillows instead as we were travelling with them anyway,

It’s not completely necessary to do either, but there were many occasions where the pillow was mouldy and I was happy to have my inflatable pillow.

Hiking pillow, a great addition to your Nepal Trekking Gear List
Macpac Inflatable Pillow

This is my favourite inflatable pillow:

  • Macpac Inflatable Pillow -this small, affordable pillow is incredibly comfortable. You can customise its size by inflating it to your liking.

Earplugs

Unless you’re well accustomed to a never-ending chorus of barking dogs, we highly recommend packing earplugs. These tiny little things were some of the most valuable items on our Nepal trekking packing list and I doubt we would have slept well without them.

You can pick up some affordable soft foam earplugs from your supermarket or pharmacy.


Electronics

The most important electronic for travelling through Nepal’s mind-blowing mountain ranges is a camera to capture the breathtaking scenery – whether that be your trusty mobile phone or a dedicated camera.

In many popular trekking areas, you have access to wifi and phone signal. Some teahouses have power outlets, but they generally charge per device for charging. Therefore, it’s important to bring a large power bank (portable charger) to pay once for charging it and then charge your devices.

Portable charger to keep your electronics charged on long treks in Nepal
Portable Charger

Here is a list of the electronic items we included in our Nepal trekking packing list:

  • Mobile Phone – Along with using my mobile phone for photos and keeping connected to family and friends when possible, I also used it to track our walk using AllTrails. Your guide won’t generally have accurate information regarding distance and elevation so it was cool to look back on these stats.
  • Power Bank Ensure you choose a power bank with a battery capacity to suit your needs. Typically, a 10,000 mAh power bank will charge a mobile phone 2 – 3 times. Due to the amount of camera gear we carried and the remote trek we did, we took two 20,000 mAh power banks.
  • Charging Cables – Don’t forget to pack all the essential charging cables you need and remember to check that the power bank you have has the right ports for your cables.
  • Travel Plug Adapter Of all the teahouses we visited, we didn’t end up needing a travel plug adapter. However, since they are compact and readily available at the airport, it’s worth packing one just in case.
  • Camera & Accessories (optional) – For photographers, we recommend packing at least a spare battery (I took 5!) and backup SD cards. We carried an SD card case, which was incredibly useful and saved us a lot of stress.
  • Earphones (optional) – If you have a long transit or rather listen to podcasts than read a book, then earphones are a very handy addition to your Nepal trekking packing list. You’ll likely have a lot of spare time in the afternoons!

Note: SIM cards are extremely cheap in Nepal and the most reliable network for trekking is NTC. The best shop to buy an NTC SIM card is from this location in Kathmandu. We tried other vendors wanting to rip us off and charge us as much as 70 USD.


Hydration & First Aid

Water Bottles & Hydration Bladders

On our Nepal treks, we took a hydration bladder and a reusable water bottle each. The hydration bladders are key to keeping hydrated while you walk, allowing you to sip without stopping. But once you get to the teahouses, a water bottle is much more useful.

Among the various hydration bladder styles, our favourite is the top slide-seal. It seems to be less susceptible to leaks compared to Camelbak’s twist cap located at the bladder’s centre.

Osprey backpack hiking water bladder
Osprey Water Bladder
A tough reliable waterbottle for your Nepal Treks
Nalgene Water Bottle

These are the water bottles and hydration bladders that we swear by:

  • Nalgene Water Bottles – you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more durable water bottle than Nalgene. Not to mention, they’re the only plastic water bottle we know of that you can fill with boiling water to create your own little hot water bottle – which is a game-changer at high altitudes!
  • Osprey Hydraulics Hydration Bladders – We own a 2.5-litre and a 3-litre Osprey Hydraulics Hydration Bladder, which have proven to be highly dependable and long-lasting. If needed, parts on the hose and the bite valve can be readily replaced – we found replacement bite valves in Sherpa Adventure in Kathmandu.

Water Purifying System

The water sources in Nepal aren’t safe for Westerners to drink. We wanted to be extra cautious as we were travelling for quite a while, so we filtered our water and also used a purification tablet.

Most water filtration systems eliminate bacteria, protozoa, and microplastics but not viruses. This is why we used a purification tablet as well, which kills viruses. Initially, we solely relied on the tablets. However, after encountering some dirty water sources, we began filtering the water first before using the tablet.

Water filter for trekking in Nepal
Sawyer Squeeze
Micropur Tablets
Micropur Tablets

Here are the products we use for our water purifying set-up:

  • Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter Kit – this is the most sustainable and affordable option and what we use. It’s user-friendly and efficient. By keeping the filter clean, this system will last a lifetime without requiring replacement.
  • Katadyn Micropur Tablets – these are the most trusted purification tablets and work by killing off pathogens, including viruses. Surprisingly, you will pay less for these in Kathmandu at Sherpa Adventure than you will online in Australia.

Note: Many trekking companies will supply water purification tablets, but it was a brand we didn’t and we had already purchased the Katadyn Micropur tablets, so we used ours instead.


Electrolytes

Staying hydrated can be challenging when hiking, and it becomes even more difficult when you add altitude to the mix! This is why we highly recommend packing electrolytes to have once you finish trekking for the day.

Electrolyte for hiking, an important thing to pack for your Nepal Treks
Koda Electrolite

Our go-to electrolytes are Koda Nutrition. They’re tasty without excess sugar! However, they are more expensive than the popular brand, Hydralyte, which we use as a backup option. Hydralyte can be found in most pharmacies and some supermarkets.


First Aid Kit

If you’re trekking solo, you will need to carry a complete first aid kit, including supplies for altitude sickness prevention. If you’re trekking with an agency or private guide, they should provide a comprehensive first aid kit – be sure to verify this.

Even though our trekking agency had a complete first aid kit, we still packed the following items:

Hiking first aid kit for trekking in Nepal
AKA First Aid Kit
  • Probiotics these are great for keeping your gut happy while eating food you’re not used to
  • Paracetamol and ibuprofen
  • Anti-histamines
  • Anti-diarrhoea medication
  • Throat lozenges – acquiring a cough is common at altitude
  • Band-Aid Advanced Footcare Blister Cushions these are incredible for already-formed blisters
  • Extra band-aids

If you’re travelling solo, this is a list of first aid supplies you will also need to include:

  • Diamox this medication prevents and reduces the effects of altitude. You can buy this product at pharmacies in Nepal, but make sure you understand how to use it and when to take it.
  • General first aid supplies – pack what you would for a regular hiking trip, such as wound and fracture care.

Altitude Awareness Tips

  • Drink plenty of water and electrolytes – Staying hydrated is crucial, and you may notice yourself getting dehydrated faster than usual.
  • Take it easy – Begin your walk at a slower pace than usual to avoid overexertion, enabling you to conserve energy for higher altitudes.
  • Walk at a slow, steady pace – When hiking at high altitude, it’s important to move at a slow pace.
  • Don’t skip acclimatisation days – If you haven’t been at high altitude within a week of starting your next trek, make sure not to skip the rest days at the altitudes chosen by your guide. These are designed to assist your body in adapting to the thinner air.
  • Avoid alcohol – Alcohol can worsen dehydration and intensify the effects of altitude.
  • Take plenty of rest breaks – Even if you feel well, it’s crucial to stop frequently during your ascent to allow your body to acclimate correctly.
  • Eat plenty of food – Consume as many calories as possible to maintain high energy levels.


Sunscreen & SPF Lip Balm

Getting burnt can drastically increase dehydration. While it may be cold when you’re at altitude, the sun is generally more fierce – especially if it’s reflecting off snow. We always use SPF 50+ sunscreen to be safe.

Nivea SPF 50+ sunscreen for hiking in the sun

In addition, the altitude, wind and sun can cause your lips to crack and hurt. We recommend applying SPF lip balm multiple times during the day.

It’s difficult to find reliable sunscreen and lip balm in Nepal, so we suggest bringing these products with you from your home country.

Note: Oil-based lip balms such as Pawpaw can have the opposite effect and cause your lips to burn in the sun. I pack Pawpaw to treat cracked lips overnight.


Toiletries

On most occasions, you will have access to a hot shower at some of the teahouses along your trek. Generally, the higher in altitude you hike, the less likely it is that you’ll find a shower.

We don’t like using wipes as even the biodegradable ones aren’t very sustainable. Instead, we packed a cloth that we could use to wipe the dirt off even when there wasn’t an option for a shower.

Biodegradable Wash for trekking in remote areas
Biodegradable Wash

Here is a list of the toiletries that we included in our Nepal trekking packing list:

  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  • Hairbrush & Hair Ties
  • Biodegradable Multi-Purpose Soap & Cloth – this soap can also be used to wash your clothes. For the cloth, we suggest a konjac sponge as they dry faster than a regular wash cloth and it can be used as an exfoliator for your face.
  • Shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Face Moisturiser
  • Sea To Summit Trek Towel this one is a little heavier compared to the Sea To Summit Drylite Towel, but we prefer the soft bath towel-like feel rather than the suede finish.
  • Toilet Paper – you will need to carry your own toilet paper as there will not be any in the toilets along any of the treks. You can purchase this at the larger villages along the trek, but it’s much cheaper in Kathmandu.
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Insect Repellent – we took this on one of our treks, but we never needed to use it. Ask your guide whether they recommend it for the destination you plan to trek in.

Note: Save weight by minimising your toiletries. Use small travel bottle packs instead of large shampoo or moisturiser bottles. Also, limit non-essential items. This will differ from one person to another, but we cut back by skipping conditioner and face wash – using a konjac sponge instead of face wash.


Miscellaneous Items

Now for the items that don’t quite fit in their own category. Some of the items listed below are still essential, but others like a book and cards are optional.  

2D Map of the Kanchenjunga Trek
Custom Alltrails+ Map of the Kanchenjunga Circuit We Have Created
  • Polarised Sunglasses – we don’t usually walk with sunglasses, but they’re essential for trekking in the snow – which reflects and hurts your eyes.
  • GPS Tracker – if you’re hiking solo, a GPS tracker can be very helpful to know where you are and to stay on track. We recommend AllTrails+, which has some of the more popular Nepal treks listed.
  • Trekking Map – our trekking company provided us with a map, which we enjoyed looking at during our trek. If you’re travelling solo, you will need to purchase a map to aid in navigation. You can find them at plenty of stores in Kathmandu.
  • Stuffable Day Pack – if you’re carrying your own gear, then we highly recommend packing a daypack to use for day trips. Some backpacks, like the Osprey Aether and Ariel Plus, come with a removable backpack. But if your backpack doesn’t, we recommend the Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack.
  • Cards – you will likely have plenty of free time in the afternoon.
  • Book – I carry a Kindle for travelling, which is amazing for storing multiple books and saving weight.
  • Snacks – snacks aren’t totally essential, but you won’t find any healthy muesli bars on the trail – only chocolate bars and cookies.
  • Travel Clothesline – we didn’t bother with a travel clothesline and some teahouses will have some pegs and a line. But they are handy, especially at busy teahouses!

Why Pay For A Premium App Like AllTrails+

The free version of AllTrails lets you track your movements via GPS without phone reception, which is handy if you get lost and need to backtrack. However, it lacks the feature to download your route for navigation purposes.

When you subscribe to AllTrails+, you are able to access, create and download maps to your phone along with any notes and waypoints that have been attached. This means you have access to a fully tracked map while ever your phone remains charged.

Utilising our customised Kanchenjunga map above as a reference, you can access it through our Alltrails profile, save it to your list, and download it for reference during your trek.


Final Thoughts

After reading our detailed Nepal trekking packing list, you might think it’s a lot of gear! But you’ll be surprised by how efficiently it all fits in your pack, especially if you follow our clothing suggestions!

We hope that our guide has cleared up any questions and concerns you may have had regarding packing for your Nepal trek. If you have any further questions, please feel free to reach out to us via email or Instagram.

Happy Hiking 🙂