Trekking to the Everest Base Camp – Is Adventure Travel for You?
Part III: Warmer than a Witch’s Tit and Cleaner Than a Pig in Shit
Okay, so you decided to choose adventure over comfort, to forgo a jacuzzi and sauna for the hard-earned sweat and challenge of a high-altitude trek.
Good for you! And as a side benefit, you’ll earn bragging rights and enough great experiences to keep your friends and family intrigued for hours. And, let’s face it. Who tells stories about the 70-year-old who went on a cruise and spent the day in the jacuzzi?
So now let’s make it real and answer the question, “What do you bring on a high-altitude trek so you’re prepared for whatever Mother Nature will throw at you?”
Challenges Which Await
Here are the weather challenges:
- It’s going to be hot and cold
- Dry and dusty
- Rainy and snowy
- Windy and still
Here are the logistical challenges:
- If you plan on carrying your own pack, my advice is don’t exceed 9 kilos (approximately 20 lbs. including water)
- If you plan on having a porter carry your pack, (which I recommend for nearly everyone except for the super tough among you) 15 kilos is the maximum-allowable weight for a porter. (You’ll see trekkers taking advantage of the porters, but it is unethical and downright exploitive.) By using a porter, you’re supporting the locals who depend on tourism for their livelihood.
- Unless you’re a devotee of Wim Hof, and you love taking freezing cold showers, then don’t expect to have a hot shower more than once per week.
- Less is more. In other words, you want to take quality clothing that is light, rain and wind resistance, and highly rated for very cold weather (-20 celsius/0 Fahrenheit, or colder if you’re going above 5000 meters/16,500 feet.
Here is the complete list of what you need to take starting from your feet to your head. I’ve included links to all of the best products:
- Three pairs of good trekking socks with three pairs of thin socks that you wear underneath the trekking socks.
- A good pair of waterproof trekking boots that you must break-in for at least one month prior to the trek. If you have boots, make sure that the tread’s not worn, and the stitching’s not frayed.
- One pair of leggings/long johns. Should be very light and warm.
- Three pairs of underwear (counting the ones you’re wearing).
- Two pairs of trekking pants convertible to shorts. (Includes the one you’re wearing.)
- Lightweight waterproof pants to cover your pants.
- Two pairs of short-sleeve trekking shirts.
- Two pairs of long-sleeve trekking shirts (look for shirts with Merino Wool).
- One lightweight merino wool trekking sweater
- One Gore-Tex lightweight, wind and rain proof jacket
- Lightweight down jacket rated for – 20 C (O F) or warmer.
- Thin gloves
- Ski gloves
- Ski hat – best if it has a flap to cover the face and ears.
- Wool scarf if you don’t have a hat with a face mask.
- Trekking poles. Go here to learn how to properly use poles.
- Backpack and daypack (to carry water and extra clothes for rain and cold). Go here to learn how to pack your backpack.
- Crocs or a pair of light weight shoes that you can use on the rare occasion when you take a hot shower.
- Wide tape for your feet to prevent blisters.
- Advil, Imodium for diarrhea, antibiotic cream, sunscreen, sanitizing liquid, wipes, band aids, multivitamin, Chapstick.
- Antibiotics. You need to check online for what’s effective in the country you’re visiting. There are pros and cons about getting inoculations. Discuss it with your doctor.
- Diamox or an herbal formula to prevent altitude sickness. Personally, I’ve had great success with the herbal formula and they’re no negative side effects like there are with Diamox.
- Water purifying pen
- Head lamp, binoculars (small and powerful), and AA and AAA batteries.
- A fast drying towel
- Toiletries, makeup and shaving paraphernalia – as little as possible. No one cares how you look.
- If you tend to get cold, then here’s a tip that saved my wife. Bring a hot water bottle.
- If you’re trekking in Nepal, India, or the Alps, you don’t need a sleeping bag. Your guest house will provide blankets.
- Put all your reading material on your phone – need to be spartan about weight
And the most important thing to take is: a really, really positive attitude.
This list is the result of eight high-altitude treks throughout Asia and Europe where I managed to make every stupid mistake you can imagine until I finally mastered the art of less is more.
Good luck and God Bless. If you have any questions, feel free to write to me at email@example.com.