All the items listed below can be bought in Kathmandu and Pokhara, though branded, top-quality clothing and gear is rarely much less expensive than at home. Kit marked (*) can be rented. If you’re camping, of course, you’ll need all the camping gear as well. If you’re with an agency, you won’t need some of it – for instance the medical kit, which guides should carry.


Sunglasses – a good UV-protective pair, ideally with side shields if you expect to be in snow
Water bottle, plus iodine tablets or solution and/or a water-purification system
Sleeping bag* – though you can get by with borrowed blankets on lower trails
Toiletries – including biodegradable soap/shampoo and toilet paper
Headtorch/flashlight – spare batteries are available on main trails
Backpack* – though if you’re using a porter, any pack will do
Sunscreen, lip balm – at altitude you’ll need a high factor
Medical kit
Map and guidebook

Footwear and specialist clothing

Crampons and ice axes* – not needed on any standard treks, though should be considered, depending on season, for crossings of the Thorung La (Annapurna Circuit), Cho La (Everest) and other high, icy passes. Lightweight mini-crampons may be a good compromise if ice or snow is possible but unlikely
Waterproofs – breathable waterproofs are best, and provide crucial windproofing; you’re unlikely to need waterproof trousers outside the wet season
Wool sweaters or fleeces – fleece dries quickly and stays warm when wet; close-fitting layers are much warmer than loose ones
Down jacket* – fantastic on high or late-autumn/winter treks; down overtrousers and booties are rarely needed
Thermals – warm, breathable (not cotton) long johns and vests are essential for high-altitude or winter treks
Gaiters* – if snow is likely on passes; can help with leeches in the monsoon
Sun hat and warm hat – helpful at both low and high elevations
Bandana – to use as a handkerchief, sweatband or scarf
Hiking boots* – it’s hard to find good ones for rent

Other useful items

Telescoping hiking poles* – may be useful for keeping your balance and protecting the knees on descents
Stuff sacks – handy for separating things in your pack and for creating a pillow when filled with clothes
Plastic bags – a big one to cover your pack in the rain, small sealable ones for many uses
A book, journal or pack of cards – trekking days can be short, leaving long afternoons
Snack food – biscuits and chocolate can be bought along the way on the major treks
Sleeping mat* – for independent trekkers likely to sleep in basic accommodation
Umbrella – usually better than a coat in hot, often windless monsoon conditions
Mobile phone – for emergencies; coverage is patchy in the mountains
Toilet paper – refer to our “Conservation Tips”
Day pack – if a porter is carrying your main pack
Whistle – for emergencies
Sewing kit

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