Trekking in Nepal is one of the most challenging, dramatic and life-changing travel experiences you could possibly be lucky enough to embark on.
However, one of the biggest challenges is deciding what to include in your backpack. After tackling the Annapurna region, these are the travel gear items that I would include next time I go trekking.
Dazzling snow-capped mountains loom over you as you negotiate with snow, steps and (more often than you might think) herds of goats and donkeys. Himalayan eagles soar high above you as you sip on hot chia (tea) at the quaint teahouses dotted along the trail, perhaps enjoying a delicious hot meal of dal baat (rice, veggies and curry). It is a truly stunning part of the world that cannot simply be captured in photographs; you have to see for yourself just how beautiful it really is.
The friendliness of the people and the tranquillity make it a humbling experience. You also learn very quickly just how much (or how little) can be packed into your daypacks. While I thought I had the essentials covered – camera, phone, raincoat and water – there are certainly a few extras I wish I had taken with me.
Water Purifying Pen
Access to safe, clean water is one of the challenges when hiking and it’s not always convenient to boil water. Purifying tablets are what I took and they did the job, but next time I’ll be investing in a water purifying pen.
Quick and efficient, you simply stir your water with the pen and its ultraviolet technology purifies the water, making it safe to drink. It only takes around a minute, unlike the tablets where you often have to wait at least half an hour before the water is safe to drink.
Find it here.
There’s nothing like a blackout for six days to make you really appreciate electricity, and there’s nothing more heartbreaking than witnessing an incredible sunset only for your camera to die. Power is very temperamental in Nepal and power shortages are common, so having a solar panel attached to your backpack is a great way to make the most of the sunshine on your hike, which you can then use to charge your camera, iPod or phone. Brilliant!
It’s probably a good idea to pack a few spare batteries as well so you’re never caught out.
Find it here.
String, Pegs and Soap
I left my string and pegs at my hotel in Kathmandu thinking I wouldn’t need them and I really wish I hadn’t. These would have been extremely useful when it came time to washing and drying clothes; especially if you’re trekking with a group and space on the clothes line is limited.
Hang a line in your room and let your clothes dry overnight, or peg a few items to your backpack during the day so they can dry in the sun. A small bar of soap for your clothes is also helpful – teahouses often charge a premium for it!
Small, Fast-Drying Towel
I found out the hard way that packing a big, bulky bath towel to use on my trek not only took up lots of space in my bag, but it also took too long to dry, leaving my bag damp and musty – not ideal when trekking! Invest in a small, quick-dry towel and you’ll not only have extra space in your bag, but you won’t be stuck waiting around for it to dry.
Microfibre towels are pretty popular when it comes to things to pack for any backpacker where space is precious and hostels don’t provide towels. They don’t feel as good as regular towels, but they do the job, double as beach to lay on, dry quick and are real space savers.
Find it here.
Try and pack a few healthy snacks in your bag. Teahouses are plentiful along the way but are often filled with soft drink and chocolate bars. If you’re after a bit more variety, stock up on a few muesli bars or mixed nuts before you go to give you a healthy energy boost along the way.
I thought trekking poles would be awkward to use and a waste of money, but I quickly discovered how difficult it is to walk on snow without them. Pick up a pair in Kathmandu and not only will you find it easier to negotiate the slippery, snow-covered surfaces, but you’ll also build up your upper body strength, too.
Of course, the most important things you can bring with you on a trek to Nepal is a sense of adventure, a positive attitude and patience. It can be challenging at times, but the sheer magnitude and beauty of Nepal is well worth it and you’ll be rewarded with awe-inspiring views and a real sense of achievement. Namaste!
Image Credits: Getty Images, Images under Creative Commons License
What can’t you do without on your trekking adventures?