Having the right equipment on a trek is obviously important, though when you see how little porters get by with, you’ll realize high-tech gear isn’t essential. Bring what you need to be comfortable, but keep weight to a minimum. Our checklist is intended mainly for independent trekkers staying in lodges. If you’re planning to camp, you’ll need more, and if you’re trekking with an agency you won’t need so much.
A sleeping bag is strongly recommended for all but the warmest seasons. Most lodges will supply quilts or blankets on demand, but you don’t know who used the bedding last or what surprises might lurk therein – and if you’re trekking a major route in peak season lodges can sometimes run out. A three-season bag is adequate for mid-elevation treks; above 4000m, or in winter, you’ll need a four-season bag. A sleeping bag liner adds warmth, and makes cleaning much easier. Camera equipment involves a trade-off between weight and performance – and cold weather and stunning views can really eat up batteries. On the most popular trails, and often off them too, you can usually find somewhere with solar or other electricity to recharge camera batteries, often for a fee. Otherwise you’ll need disposables or a portable solar charger (you can buy ones specifically designed to fit backpacks, for charging on the move). If you’re taking an SLR body, be sure to bring a polarizing filter to cope with the Himalayan skies and snowfields.
By renting bulky or specialized items in Nepal, you’ll avoid having to lug them around during the rest of your travels. Kathmandu and Pokhara both have dozens of rental places; if you’re trekking in the Everest region, you can rent high-altitude gear in Namche. Even in Kathmandu, you might have trouble finding good gear of exactly the right size during the busy autumn trekking season. You’ll be expected to leave a deposit. Inspect sleeping bags and parkas carefully for fleas and make sure zippers are in working order. You can also buy equipment quite cheaply.