So you’ve decided to do the Everest Base Camp trek? Well done you! We applaud this decision as brave, smart, and inspired. We know what you’re in for when you trek to Everest Base Camp: culinary firsts, new friendships from around the world, glaciers, Sherpa villages, stretching experiences, strengthened glutes, Tibetan prayer flags, birdsong, ancient monasteries, phenomenal mountain views, and so very much more.
Bill Bryson writes in his travel memoir Neither Here Nor There (1991):
“I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything. Suddenly you are five years old again. You can’t read anything, you have only the most rudimentary sense of how things work, you can’t even reliably cross a street without endangering your life.”
But not to worry. On our adventure trips we’re right beside you to ensure you not only cross roads, but also the Himalayan foothills, safely.
And looking after you starts right now, with advising you on your Everest Base Camp packing list. Because before any great adventure comes the necessary bit of planning. We don’t want you losing a pinky toe to frostbite or flying home with the infamous Khumbu cough. Far from ideal.
Before any great adventure comes a necessary bit of planning.
Everest Base Camp packing list
So let’s discuss your Everest Base Camp packing list. You can use the list below to navigate to a particular section if you wish.
- Duffel bag and daypack, or rucksack
- Daypack or rucksack cover
- Trekking poles
- Sleeping bag
- Sleeping bag liner
- Hydration bladder
- Water bottle
Clothing and shoes
- Base layers (and underwear)
- Middle layers
- Outer layer
- Trekking boots
- Neck gaiters or balaclavas
- Warm hat
- Sunhat or sports cap
- Inner gloves
- Waterproof gloves or mitts
- House clothes
- First aid kit
- Water purification tablets or UV water purifier
- Microfibre towel
- Head torch (flashlight)
- Dry bags
- High-energy snacks
- Spares (of everything)
- Passport and visa
- Portable charger and adapter
- Hand warmer and/or hot water bottle
- Safety whistle
- Playing cards
- Small gifts
- Journal and pen
Duffel bag and daypack, or rucksack
You need to bring a duffel bag and daypack or, alternatively, just a rucksack for transporting all of your things during the trek. The duffel bag and daypack are for those using the services of a local porter, while the rucksack is for those carrying everything on their own.
Follow Alice arranges one porter for every two trekkers. This means you’ll need a duffel bag to give the porter, who will place it on a yak. Note that we say duffel bag and not suitcase; hard suitcases are inappropriate as they’re more difficult to transport.
If you’re using a porter and giving them your duffel bag to carry (and since this provides someone with work, we encourage it), you’ll also need a small daypack. This is where you’ll carry your essential items like water, lip balm, cellphone and sun cream. Basically you should place all of the things you would like to have access to during the day in your daypack.
Think carefully about what daypack you bring. Even though it won’t contain everything you need, it’s still going to be heavy-ish since you’re carrying all of your own water. So you want comfortable, wide shoulder and hip straps. A chest strap is helpful for keeping the pack from sliding from side to side.
Also look into getting a daypack with a mesh breathing panel, so that you don’t get a sweaty back. Side pockets and straps for attaching things (like your trekking poles) are also very helpful. Be sure to use the pack before coming to Nepal to ensure it’s a comfy fit.
Finally, as discussed below, a daypack that has a a built-in hydration pack is ideal.
If you’d prefer not to use a porter for whatever reason, you’re more than welcome to carry all of your belongings yourself. In which case you’ll need a comfortable and durable rucksack.
There are more than a handful of things to consider when selecting a rucksack or backpack. From material to capacity, width of straps and more. Firstly, the capacity of the bag needs to be decided based on various variables. These include how many days you’re trekking, whether or not you’re going to use a porter, how much you need to carry, and how strong you are. Trekking to Everest Base Camp requires you to bring along quite a bit given the harsh climate. But you don’t have to concern yourself with food, crockery and camping equipment. So that’s a win.
You need a comfortable and durable rucksack for carrying all your personal items.
When it comes to the fabric of the rucksack or backpack, canvas is a traditional choice as it’s very hardy. However, it’s also relatively heavy. This is why most people now opt for polyester or very strong nylon rucksacks and backpacks. Either way, you want a quality bag to ensure there are no unnecessary tears, broken zippers and other frustrating nonsense. You can get rucksacks and backpacks that are rainproof. This isn’t a critical aspect as you can buy a cover quite affordably. That said, it’s a nice-to-have aspect to any pack.
What should I be looking for in my rucksack?
Look for a rucksack or backpack with wide shoulder straps as these distribute the weight better. You don’t want thin straps digging into your shoulders as you trek. You also want padded hip belts, especially with a rucksack. These let you carry some of the weight on your hips – a must! We also recommend a pack with multiple compartments besides the main bin. This makes it easy to store and find things.
The length of your torso is also a matter for consideration. There are online guides to guide you through measuring your torso and assigning the right pack size to your measurement. We recommend going into a brick-and-mortar building if possible and having an experienced sales clerk help you try on differently sized rucksacks or backpacks.
Finally, if you bring a rucksack then it’s likely going to have to go in the hold of a plane. Ensure it has double zippers you can lock with a cable tie or small padlock. If you’re bringing a backpack and duffel bag, then ensure the same for the duffel bag.
Daypack or rucksack rain cover
A wet bag is a heavy bag, never mind the state of its contents. A lightweight waterproof rucksack or daypack cover is therefore an important item to pack if yours isn’t waterproof.
As with all your waterproof gear, you’re going to want to pack this item in a side pocket. This makes it easy to lay hold of should there be sudden rain. Fortunately these can be bought cheaply, are lightweight, and don’t take up much space.
Most of the Everest Base Camp trek is done within the Sagarmatha National Park. The trails are rough and treacherous in places, as you’d expect from a vast mountainous park. Trekking poles are therefore important. They help with balance and confidence. Especially when tackling something tricky like a river crossing or uneven surface. They can also take some of the weight off your knees on steep descents.
A good trekking pole:
- has wristbands so you don’t drop them
- is made from a lightweight but sturdy material like carbon fibre or aluminium
If you have the option, choose adjustable trekking poles as they offer multiple benefits. Firstly, these are easier to transport and store. Secondly, you can tailor them to your height. Thirdly, if you’re walking along a trail that is cut into a hill, you can extend and shorten your poles to allow you to keep using them.
If you have ski poles and don’t wish to buy trekking poles then by all means use the former. A walking stick is an option, but not a great one.
“I always dreamt about Everest Base camp, and then came the day where I decided to take on this adventure. The trek was wonderful and truly unforgettable!” Luke Roberts
The average night-time temperature does of course vary depending on the time of year you do the trek. It also depends on where along the trail you are. Nepal, which lies north of the Tropic of Cancer, has a cold, dry winter from December to March. It has a warmer, wetter summer from June to September. October and November are some of the best months for trekking. You can expect the temperature to stay above a balmy -20ºC at night.
When it comes to your sleeping bag, it is better to play it safe. Get one that can handle an even lower temperature than what’s expected. That said, you need to consider the weight of the bag against the usual temperatures. Have a sleeping bag that’s rated around -6º or -10ºC? You can still bring that along for an autumn trek.
Most teahouses and lodges have spare duvets you can use if your sleeping bag isn’t enough. However, these shouldn’t be relied upon.
Remember to also factor in what you know about yourself. If you always get cold when everyone else is feeling fine, bring along a warmer bag than is the norm.
Note that many sleeping bag ratings are more a rough guideline than an exact science. Having spare thermals and layers is also important. If you want a relatively reliable sleeping bag rating, look for a Euro rating.
Which material should you choose?
Another thing to consider when choosing your sleeping bag is its insulation material. Down bags are excellent, as they’re very lightweight, compress easily (making them easy to stow), and are durable. Their only down side (pun intended) is that they can be pricey.
Note too that if you do decide to purchase a down sleeping bag, we encourage you to look for the acronym RDS (responsible down standard) or TDS (traceable down standard) on the label. This means the goose or duck down has been responsibly sourced.
Your other option of a sleeping bag – and still a good one at that – is a bag made with synthetic insulation. This option is more affordable.
What shape should you choose?
How about the shape of the sleeping bag? The mummy sleeping bag is arguably a better choice for this trek than the rectangular or semi-rectangular bag. This is because it weighs the least and the narrow foot end will keep your feet warmer. However, if you know you get claustrophobic in a narrow space, then work with who you are! You might also like to source a bag with a hood and stash pocket.
The mummy shape of sleeping bag is arguably a better choice for this trek.
Compression stuff sack
Finally, you’ll definitely need a compression stuff sack for your sleeping bag, as winter sleeping bags are bulky. A quality bag should have one accompanying it; if it doesn’t, why not suggest the retailer throw one in?
Renting a sleeping bag
Note that you can rent a sleeping bag in Nepal if you don’t wish to fork out for one. Thamel, a buzzing area of Kathmandu, is chockfull of businesses renting sleeping bags, which helps to keep prices competitive. But if you choose to go this route, you’re definitely going to want to purchase a sleeping bag liner.
Sleeping bag liner
A sleeping bag isn’t easy to clean, which makes a liner a good idea. Some people simply stitch together a simple liner at home with an old sheet. This is a viable option if you’d like to save some pennies. Otherwise you can purchase a thermal liner, which of course offers an additional layer of snuggly-ness. Some liners can actually offer up to 15 degrees more warmth.
Silk bag liners are popular with trekkers as they’re lightweight, breathable and warm. Fleece sleeping bag liners are also popular and comfortable. If you’re using a mummy-shaped sleeping bag, opt for a liner that’s also in the mummy shape. And those with a drawstring hood are also great.
As already mentioned, if you’re opting for a rented sleeping bag, a bag liner seems really rather non-negotiable.
You want to carry at least two two litres of liquid when trekking. But three litres is better. So you’ll need a hydration bladder (like a CamelBak) of that capacity or more. Ideally the hydration bladder and its drinking hose is built into your daypack.
Dehydration is a common issue amongst Everest Base Camp trekkers. The higher altitude increases urination, makes you breathe more rapidly, and causes the air to be drier. You want to regularly be sipping from your water supply.
A hydration bladder is generally a better option than a bottle. You don’t have to do arm gymnastics or wait for your friend to retrieve it for you every time you want a sip. And you’re therefore more likely to take the odd sip here and there.
Remember that you shouldn’t wait till you’re thirsty to drink – when you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated!
We recommend brining along a lightweight water bottle that you know won’t leak. Firstly, this will allow you to carry more water than can be stored in your hydration bladder. Secondly, you may like to add an electrolyte sachet to the water in it while keeping the water in your hydration bladder as just water.
Finally, a water bottle is very useful at night. The bedrooms in the teahouses and lodges aren’t heated, and at higher elevations you’ll wake up to find that all liquids in your room have frozen solid overnight. Those in the know put some water in their bottle in the evening and then place the bottle by their feet in the sleeping bag. This way you’ll have some drinkable water when you wake up.
You will be layering your clothes for the entirety of your Everest Base Camp trek. You will experience different weather conditions, so being able to ‘peel’ layers on and off is essential. These are split into your three layers that are arranged from the skin outwards:
- Base layer draws moisture away from the skin
- Middle layer keeps in your body heat
- Outer layer is wind- and waterproof
You’ll need at least a couple of snug-fitting, long-sleeved vests and long johns (or leggings) as your base or inner layers. The primary function of these items is offering you warmth. You want to choose thermals that have good stretch and are hardy (a well-placed hole can lead to all sorts of unpleasant friction!).
Also be sure that your inner items are very comfortable, with no troublesome seams. This means you need to wear them for long stretches of activity before the trek, as that’s the only way to know for certain that they’re comfy.
Further, you want all the clothes sitting against your skin to have a high wicking capability to help keep you dry. This applies to your underwear too. Cotton clothing stays wet and becomes heavy and uncomfortable. Rather, clothes made from synthetic fabrics like polyester, nylon, spandex and lycra are good options.
Finally, ladies, ensure you’re bringing moisture-wicking sports bras that don’t drag on your shoulders. You’ll need to be comfortable wearing them for many hours a day.
Your middle layers are:
- Trekking shirts
- A fleece jacket
- Trekking trousers
- Hiking shorts
Trekking shirts are lightweight, breathable shirts that you’ll wear every day on the trek. Mostly you’ll want long-sleeve trekking shirts, but not exclusively. Naturally you should consider the time of year you’re trekking to help you decide the ratio of short to long sleeves.
As with your inner layers, you want to buy trekking shirts made from materials like merino wool. These have good moisture wicking. (Side note: you are going to get smelly on the trek, but if you wear cotton you’ll scare the wildlife.)
A very important part of your gear is a good polar fleece or micro-fleece jacket. You will wear this inner layer over your trekking shirt to keep you warm. Fleece is fantastic at trapping body heat. You can’t wear it as base layer, however, as it absorbs moisture readily. This is why the fleece goes over your trekking shirt.
While wool is also highly insulating, we recommend a jacket made from fleece as it’s more lightweight.
Every day you’ll be wearing trekking trousers. Trousers with a few pockets, especially zipped ones, are a great option. They allow you to put things like your lip balm within easy reach. A good idea is to get trekking trousers with zip-off pants. These allow you to whip off the bottom half of your pants without undressing. The weather is very changeable in Khumbu (the northeastern region of Nepal). Being able to layer up and down quickly is incredibly useful.
In fact, we can’t stress the need for multiple layers enough. The weather can turn on a dime, and you need to be able to bundle up rapido style. Temperatures in Khumbu can, in fact, vary by 40º C within a day. (Though of course you should be tucked in bed during the worst of it.) The point is that you want to be able to layer up and down easily to allow for adjustments in temperature, as well as your own body heat as you work up a sweat.
If you don’t buy zip-off trousers, you’ll need a pair of hiking shorts. These will be worn during the lower and warmer parts of the Everest Base Camp trek.
“Everest Base Camp is one of the best attractions for the adventurous travellers or thrill-seekers. The base camp provides the complete Himalayan experience.” Tiffany Price
Next you need an insulating and waterproof outer layer. This final upper layer – sometimes referred to as your ‘shell’ – is very important because fleece, as already mentioned, isn’t water-resistant.
We recommend looking for a winter jacket made from down. This material, as already mentioned, is an excellent insulator while also being lightweight. If you go for a synthetic jacket, ensure it offers adequate warmth in ratio to its weight. A jacket with a detachable hood is a great option, as is one with closed (zip-up) pockets.
This jacket will likely be one of the more expensive purchases you make in terms of gear. We encourage you not to stint on this item. See it as an investment, because a quality jacket can travel with you through life. Alternatively, you can rent one in Kathmandu.
On days when it’s raining or snowing it is a good idea to head out in a pair of ski trousers. These are warm, insulating and also waterproof. You likely won’t want to wear these everyday, as they can get too warm.
It’s therefore a good idea to also pack lightweight overpants that can be slipped over your trekking trousers when there’s a downpour or unexpected turn in the weather.
Socks are a very important topic. Uncomfortable socks can ruin your trek by causing cold feet, or blisters, or both. We recommend packing not just hiking socks, but also thermal socks for the higher altitudes, and sock liners for extra warmth and further friction fighting.
The socks you wear can make or break your trek. We don’t advise you wear any brand new socks on the trek; like shoes, you should test them out beforehand to ensure there are no issues like a worrisome seam. And as with underwear, you want to avoid cotton socks as they retain moisture.
The main things you want in a hiking sock are comfort, cushioning, flat seams, and moisture-wicking capabilities. Sock technology has come a long way in recent years. We recommend you go to a store with a wide range or look online to find the best options. Merino wool socks are a good option as they’re very breathable.
The nearer to Everest Base Camp you come, the colder it gets. No surprises there! You will need some thermal socks in addition to your regular hiking socks. Especially if you’re trekking in the colder months. Merino wool hiking socks are wonderfully warm.
The same guidelines apply that we’ve given for hiking socks, only you’ll be looking within the thermal sock range. We suggest bringing at least two pairs of thermal socks.
Sock liners are thin inner socks that offer an extra layer of warmth while also reducing any possible friction from the main socks against your feet. Good sock liners are made from synthetic material to help wick away moisture. They’re also long enough so there’s no risk of them shifting down and bunching. We suggest packing at least two pairs of sock liners.
Speaking of boots, you’ll need to come with a good pair of hiking boots or you may as well stay at home! Your boots should be comfortable, light or mid weight, and waterproof. They should also have good grip. For the Everest Base Camp trek you should ideally wear backpacking boots. These are the hardiest and most supportive walking shoe out there. That said, hiking boots are also perfectly fine, especially for the hiking newbie. They take less time to wear in and still offer a decent degree of ankle support.
“It’s difficult to describe the Everest Base Camp experience in a few words. Once completing it, there was a great sense of accomplishment and a chance to see breathtaking views.” Danny Hudson
The right size boot
When it comes to choosing the right size boot, you first need to have the socks you’ll be wearing. Once you’ve got your hiking socks on, slip your feet into the boots. Leaving the laces untied, push your feet as far forward as they’ll go. Then insert an index finger between your heel and the back of the boot. You want your finger to fit in snugly (too much space and the shoe is too big, too little space and the shoe is too small). Also, about 60% of people have differently sized feet, so always try on both the left and right boots.
Highly experienced trekkers may well have nicely worn in leather boots. For most of us a full-on leather boot isn’t required and it adds unnecessary weight. We suggest you look for a shoe made from split-grain leather (which is leather paired with nylon or nylon mesh) or synthetic fabric.
Our blog post The best hiking boots for Kilimanjaro is a good one to read, as the conditions on the Everest Base Camp trek are similar, so the principles for choosing boots are the same.
It probably goes without saying, but just in case, we’ll say it: be sure to wear in your boots before coming on the trek. Wear them on a couple of decent hikes so you can suss out any potential issues.
It’s a good idea to bring along a pair of gaiters. You put them over your lower legs and boots on days when you’re trekking through snow or mud. They’ll keep your legs and feet dry when overpants are overkill. Gaiters also help prevent small stones and dirt working their way into your socks and boots.
Neck gaiters or balaclavas
We love the versatility of the neck gaiter. Unlike a scarf, it never falls off and it also moves effortlessly between being a neck warmer, headband or beanie. Importantly, it can also be stretched across the lower face to help protect you from the cold air. A balaclava is an alternate option to the neck gaiter and offers a warm hat into the bargain.
You already heard us mention the Khumbu cough. Many visitors to Khumbu develop a high-altitude hack known as the Khumbu cough. It’s believed to be caused by the extreme cold and dryness of the air, which dry out the lungs and bronchi. A quality neck gaiter keeps your neck warm. It also can be pulled over your mouth and nose to create more moisture and so help prevent the Khumbu cough.
Note that you’re going to need more than one neck gaiter or balaclava so that the one you wear when gripping a steaming drink and looking at the constellations at night isn’t the same damp one from that day’s hike.
We lose so much heat through our heads, as we know you already know. A warm hat like a fleece or down beanie is therefore essential, especially in the evenings. An aviator or pilot hat is a good option as it also offers ear flaps. Alternatively, bring a pair of ear muffs in addition to a hat. If you opted for the balaclava instead of the muff to keep your neck warm, this can double as your warm hat.
Sunhat or sports cap
Yes, the trek to EBC is mostly going to be cold. But it can also occasionally get warm. In Lukla, your starting point for the trek, temperatures can reach 20º C plus in summer. Though more likely the daytime temperatures will be lower than that.
But heat isn’t the main reason for bringing a hat; more importantly, you want to keep the sun off your face and neck. You may remember from geography class that the higher the elevation, the easier your skin burns. This is because the sun’s rays have less atmosphere to pass through. In fact, every kilometre upwards that you travel exposes you to up to 10% more UV rays. That means EBC trekkers who live at sea level have a 50% increased chance of burning!
A sunhat (or field hat) is preferable to a sports cap as it protects the back of your neck. And a sunhat with a drawstring is ideal to ensure it doesn’t get redistributed by a strong wind. If you go with a cap, we recommend one with a long, wide visor.
Inner gloves – also called thermal gloves or glove liners – are close-fitting gloves you wear to keep your hands warm. These gloves should not only fit your hands snugly, thereby insulating them and affording good dexterity, but be moisture-wicking.
Waterproof gloves or mitts
When choosing a pair of outer gloves, ensure you try them on over your inner gloves. While mitts can offer greater warmth, during trekking hours you might appreciate the dexterity afforded by fingered gloves more.
When you’re relaxing at a teahouse in the evening, you’re going to want comfortable clothes that can double as your PJs. Think along the lines of a long-sleeved fleece top and leggings, or a tracksuit, or stretchy sweatpants and a hoodie. We suggest you also pack a pair warm bed socks. And winter slippers.
Note that the teahouses aren’t heated. The dining room is generally snug, as there’s a fire. But your bedrooms when you’re high up in the mountains are icy, so you’ll need to combat this.
When you arrive at a teahouse for the night you will not want to wear your hiking boots! We recommend packing a pair of lightweight sneakers you can slip on. Be sure they allow plenty of space for warm socks.
First aid kit
A few things we recommend you include in your personal first aid kit are:
- antiseptic cream
- blister plasters
- anti-nausea tablets
- anti-diarrhoea tablets
- anti-constipation tablets
- allergy meds
- petroleum jelly or anti-chafing cream
- throat lozenges
- a good multivitamin
We do, naturally, recommend that your first aid kit be kept in your daypack, not your duffel bag.
A handy tip if you are planning to buy some medicines when you are in Nepal: always remember to check the packaging before.
Acute mountain sickness (AMS), which is the mildest form of altitude sickness, generally strikes at elevations greater than 2,500 m. The trek to Everest Base Camp starts in Lukla, which is 2,860 m above sea level (about 600 m higher than the highest town in Andorra!). The trek then has you climb to Everest Base Camp at 5,364 m above sea level. That’s a massive leap in altitude from an already very high location.
Triggers for AMS include exertion (which you’ll be experiencing) and rapid changes in elevation. AMS affects roughly 40 to 50% of lowland people who then go and sleep at high altitude.
Common symptoms of altitude sickness are:
- shortness of breath
While we don’t wish you to scare you, forewarned is forearmed. It’s best that you visit your GP before you trip. Get a check up, and then have him or her prescribe the anti-altitude sickness medication that’s best for you.
Water purification tablets or UV water purifier
You also need to pack water purification tablets or a UV water purifier. The drinking water in Nepal is not safe for drinking. At the teahouses you’ll be given boiled water, but during the day you’ll need to take care of things yourself. While you can buy bottled water, we wouldn’t recommend relying on this, and also single-use plastics are an environmental scourge.
Adding some electrolytes to your water is a good idea, especially on particularly strenuous days. So we recommend bringing along some rehydration sachets to add to the H₂0 in your water bottle.
Try to take only the amount of each item that you’ll need. To do this, decant your liquids into plastic, travel-size containers. Some items to consider are:
- face wash
- a hardworking moisturiser
- hand cream
- lubricant eye drops
- SPF lip balm
- wet wipes
- waterless hand sanitiser
- biodegradable soap and soap box
- ear plugs
- baby powder
- dryer sheets
- toilet roll
A few words on some of the above items …
We can’t stress the wet wipes enough. There are showers in many places in the lower areas of the EBC trek. Sometimes these aren’t hot as many rely on solar heating. Sometimes a shower is a bucket of water, the buckets of water are cold, or there’s no running water where there usually is because the pipes have frozen. And sometimes you have to pay for a shower. As you can see, you can’t rely on a wash (or a wash you’d want to take). Wet wipes are therefore your lifeline.
We encourage you to opt for bamboo eco wipes, or similar. Wet wipes made from long-growing trees and that contain harmful chemicals are unhelpful to the environment.
You’ll be sharing a room with one other person throughout the trip, so ear plugs could save you if you’re with a snorer! They’re useful for your flights as well.
The baby powder is for sprinkling in your boots after trekking to mitigate the pong. You might also want to put a little on your roots if a hair wash hasn’t been possible in quite a while. The dryer sheets are for rubbing on smelly clothes to help freshen them up just that little bit.
“Words can’t describe the achievement of reaching Everest Base Camp and seeing Mt Everest up close.” Mike Webb
There are many sunscreens on the market. You need to know what you’re looking for to ensure you purchase an effective one. The sun protection factor (SPF) promoted on sunscreens refers to the degree to which the cream protects you from ultraviolet (UVB) rays, which are the ones that make you turn pink. We now know that you also need protection from UVA rays. These rays penetrate deeper and are believed to be even more damaging over a lifetime. So look for a sunscreen that offers a high SPF as well UVA protection.
These are for placing inside your boots overnight to help absorb the smell.
The same goes for sunglasses. Ensure your sunglasses are actually protecting your eyes from solar radiation by purchasing a pair that offers broad-spectrum UV protection. The best option would be to have your optometrist evaluate your sunglasses. Many professionals now have instruments capable of measuring the exact UV protection offered by a lens.
Take note that you should wear your sunglasses even in the shade and on overcast days. Reflected rays are still harmful. And speaking of reflected rays, fresh snow can reflect up to 80% of UV rays. You’ll need to wear your specs at pretty much all times during the trek.
We recommend investing in a pair of wrap-around sunglasses to prevent sun rays sneaking in from the sides. We also suggest a glasses cord if you have one of those noses that tries to ditch your glasses every time you look down. With a cord you also won’t risk losing your specs when you take them off for a moment.
You’ll need a towel for drying off at times, whether it’s drying your hands or mopping your sweaty face. You’ll need that towel to dry quickly. We suggest you pack a small, lightweight microfibre towel or two. Microfibre is a synthetic material made from polyester and polyamide. It’s non-abrasive and can absorb up to seven times its weight in water!
The tea houses provide pillows, but the hygiene isn’t always spectacular. Bring along your own case to ensure you feel better about bunkering down with an unknown pillow. If you have a scarf, you could also use this for the same purpose by wrapping it around your pillow.
Head torch (flashlight)
Every adventurer needs a good headtorch. Choose one with an adjustable strap and use it before the trek to ensure it’s comfortable. Be sure to pack spare batteries.
Even with all the preparation and planning in the world, things will still get wet or damp sometimes. It’s important to having some dry bags to put them in. Dry bags come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s handy to have a few to store different items in. They also come in many different colours. To make things simple with your packing, why not assign a colour bag to a certain item?
For example, clean underwear in the green dry bag, and dirty underwear in the red one. This means that you will be able to head straight for the correct bag. Nothing worse than rummaging around for half an hour trying to remember where you put that last pair of knickers.
We recommend having a few of your favourite snacks with you to power you along the route. Experiencing Nepalese cuisine is part of any adventure trips. During challenging moments along the trail it can still be comforting to have a familiar treat. Think protein bars, dried fruit and nuts, and sweets or mints. Also, choose items that won’t fall apart when bumped around for days in a rucksack.
You can bring these snacks with you, or also buy them in Kathmandu before your trek commences. There are plenty of shops where you can buy snacks and chocolate bars etc. Have a particular favourite snack and not sure if you will find it? It may be best to bring it along with you from home.
Spares (of everything)
With many of the items discussed in this Everest Base Camp packing list you need to pack spares. The closer the item sits to your skin, the more spares you need. That said, understand that everyone doing the Everest Base Camp trek is temporarily and necessarily lowering their hygiene standards. Your BO won’t be noticed among the bevy of BOs.
That’s it for the essential items to pack for your Everest Base Camp trek! Now for a few optional extras …
Passport and visa
Given that this is a post about what to pack, we can’t leave off these two important items! You’re going to need to bring along your passport. As always with international travel, it must not expire within three months of your expected return to your home country.
Your tourist visa can be obtained quite easily at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu when your flight lands. Of course you may prefer to obtain one while still at home. To learn all you need to know about getting a tourist visa for Nepal, read more about Everest Base Camp trek cost.
You cannot obtain Nepalese rupees before entering the country. It is a closed currency. You can get cash once you arrive in country, from the foreign exchange desk at the airport to an ATM.
Learn about your options when it comes to getting your hands on Nepalese rupees. Read more on how much it costs to hike Everest Base Camp trek.
Most of our cellphones have inbuilt cameras that take fantastic photos, but we’re always concerned we’ll drop the darn things and smash the screens. We recommend bringing along an old-fashioned, single-purpose camera for this trip; not only are they hardier than cellphones, but they also offer no potential distractions. When you bring out your camera to take a photo, all you end up doing is taking a photo. Trekking to Everest Base Camp is all about stepping away from the regular, and we think you’ll be more mindful and present with a standard camera in hand.
Portable charger and adapter
While we recommend a regular camera, we also know your cellphone is still coming with you, so bring along a portable charger and power bank.
Nepal has types C, D and M power sockets and plugs, so you may need an adapter as well. The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.
More and more trekkers are opting for solar power banks that they clip onto their rucksacks while hiking. This option does of course insist on sunshine, so isn’t very reliable.
You’ll be happy to hear that there’s Wi-Fi in both Lukla and Namche Bazaar, the two towns you visit on the Everest Base Camp trek route. There’s also Wi-Fi at some of the more upscale lodges and teahouses in some of the villages. In some establishments the Wi-Fi is free or included, but at others you need to pay to use it.
Hand warmer and/or hot water bottle
It’s likely that you’ll be washing your hands in the evenings, no matter the water’s temperature. This can leave them achingly cold. Having hand warmers will warm your digits as well as your spirit. And as to going to bed with a hot water bottle on a cold night – we don’t need to explain this.
It’s a good idea to attach a safety or alert whistle to a hook on the outside of your rucksack for just in case. Some rucksacks come with in-built whistles, but they tend to be cheap and poor quality. A safety whistle is a great item to have for numerous outdoor activities, so it’s something you can use after the trek as well.
You might like to bring along your Kindle or other e-reader for diving into a book at night and on acclimatisation days. You always remember the books you read on holiday. They become part of the memory tapestry of that trip. So be sure to download the books you really want to read, not the ones you feel you ought to read.
Consider bringing along a deck of cards or a similarly small game for playing with your fellow travellers in the evenings. This can be a great bonding activity. However, if you’re rucksack is getting too heavy by this point, scrap the cards and instead go online to refresh your memory as to group mental games. The Everest Base Camp trek is a great time to reconnect with the games we used to play before tech consumed our leisure time.
Do you perhaps have a go-to game you take or initiate on treks, camps and the like? Please share it with us in the comments section as this might offer others a new idea.
You’ll be meeting and getting to know the locals as well as fellow trekkers from around the world. In setups like trekking groups you often experience fast-and-firm bonding. You may wish to pass on a small memento from your country such as a beaded bracelet or wooden figurine that represents your own culture. It will remind the person of your time together.
Journal and pen
We think we’ll remember everything, but of course we never do. It’s always amazing when looking over old journal entries, emails or letters to realise how much has been forgotten. Even just a few lines of scrawl can be the trigger to a happy or important memory otherwise lost to you. So we highly recommend a journal and pen find their way into your rucksack.
Further, you’re going to be witnessing truly phenomenal sights. You’ll be learning from people who live and think differently to you, and no doubt reflecting to some degree on the voyage, your life at home, and much more. While we all take photographs, possibly the best way to honour your investment in this trek is through penning your thoughts and observations. Years from now, you don’t know how valuable these might prove.
Sandra Marinelli writes: “When I look back on my personal story through my journals, it struck me my words had an unmatched power to heal me. To change me.” All that said, keep the journal small and light!
Everest Base Camp packing list
And that’s the end of the Everest Base Camp packing list. We recommend you download this packing checklist and work through it when physically packing for the trip. Also, if you have any questions, please give us a shout here or hit us up in the comments section. We’d love to chat with you – about the gear, your plans, or just your excitement over the upcoming trip.
More about trekking in Nepal
We have some further reading you might find useful or interesting …