Trekking to Everest Base Camp is a truly extraordinary experience. The scenery, the people you’ll meet, the climb and the overall sense of achievement at the end all add up to make it unforgettable. It is a big deal, and it’s something you’ll likely be preparing for months in advance. So, to help you on that preparation journey, we’ve pulled together a guide on what to pack for going to Everest Base Camp.
1. Clothing and layers
Jackets – warm down jacket, a lightweight jacket and a light hoodie or fleece to use as an extra layer are all essentials.
Trousers – you’ll have your own style of trouser that you use as you are already likely to be a regular walker / hiker. We find technical hiking trousers work well as they can deal with moisture and be lightweight at the same time. Sometimes close fitting fitness / running tights work well too.
Shirts – bring along short sleeve and long sleeve options. Merino wool is good for reducing odour, and always try to avoid cotton for the same reason. You could use technical (non cotton) t-shirts that are also designed to deal with moisture from the body.
Hiking socks – invest in some made from merino wool as they are known to reduce odour and you can use them again and again. You can bring some of varying weight to give yourself options.
Gaiters – these will protect you and your boots from rain or muck.
Underwear – light and long underwear for the trek is ideal. Sports bras are the best option, also. Keep extra underwear separate for wearing in the evening and perhaps some for bed also. It’s good to change from your hiking gear in the evening and into something clean (or relatively clean).
Waterproof layers – waterproof jacket and trousers are also essential. It’s best to bring some that can go over your trousers / other jacket or top. Also, make sure they are windproof too.
Gloves and Hats – waterproof and warm gloves and hats are important. Perhaps having two versions as you’ll use lightweight ones on the earlier part of the trek and warmer, heavier ones later on. A balaclava is a good option for the highest parts of the trek when it will be much colder.
Neck Gaiter or headband – these are ideal to keep you warm further up but also for keeping dust out of your mouth on the lower parts of the trek.
You should break in your hiking boots months in advance. If you already have a good pair that you trust then use them, but make sure there are no issues that will arise when you’re on your trek. What you need is something that gives you stability, are lightweight but still offer good protection and above all are comfortable. If you are buying new, visit a specialist shop to try some options on and receive advice from the staff there. Work hard to break them in before you leave.
3. Hiking Kit
Bring a water bottle like a camelpak bottle. You will need to stay hydrated all throughout the trek so this is an essential item. Some trekkers take the hydration sacks with them too to save them having to go into their backpack to get the water bottle. You’ll also need trekking poles and a four-season down sleeping bag and liner.The backpack needs to be big enough to carry your kit, but should also be relevant to your own height and build. You may want to bring a small daysack if you are using a porter to carry your other bag. Make sure you use polarized sunglasses and sunscreen, also.
Trekking our way to Everest base camp.
4. Non Hiking Clothing
You’ll want clean and non-hiking clothes to wear at night and in your bed. Bring along some long thermal underwear – perhaps again made from merino wool, as well as warm socks for the evenings in bed. In the evenings, many people find it good to wear a long sleeved crew neck shirt and a further layer like a fleece or hoody along with fitness style trousers and trainers.
Ama Dablam from the base camp trail – getting colder as we climb. So warm layers are important!
5. Documentation and Cash
Bring cash to buy snacks, food and drinks or any shopping you want to do at the start. (There are some options to buy some kit here en-route). Cash is also good for tipping porters if you are using one. You’ll also need your passport for registration, your visa and some passport-sized photographs for your trekking permits.
6. Medication and Toiletries
Make space in your bag for these essentials: toilet paper (which can also be purchased en-route), wipes, dry shower wipes, ibuprofen, paracetamol, rehydration sachets, plasters, blister plasters, general travel first aid kit, talc, hand sanitizer, travel shampoo, suncream, lipbalm or chapstick, sport / athletic tape and a little travel wash (for your undies!). Also, bring along medication that can prevent altitude sickness / acute mountain sickness – perhaps speak to your doctor about the best options for you before you leave.
7. Electronic Kit
Your camera and equipment plus extra memory cards and a hard drive to back up your pictures are essential. You will see some awesome sights that you will definitely want to capture. Bring along portable battery kits to keep your electronics charged, as electricity is not always free or available. Solar powered battery packs are also a good idea. Many bring along a their phones and headphones for use in the evening and also a tablet – for reading books or games etc. in the evenings. Drybags are essential to protect your electronic kit from moisture. Headlamps are also a handy and lightweight extra that comes in handy in the night.
These are the beautiful kind of sights you’ll want to capture with you camera.
All that’s left is to bring your senses, too. A walk to Everest Base Camp will stimulate you on every level!
About the author of this blog:
Nima Lama has been trekking in the region for over ten years. The managing director of Mountain Quests, he still regularly leads treks and loves it. The trek to Everest base camp is his favourite – and trekking with Nima means you’ll make a friend for life.Contact Nima and the team at mountainquests.com for more information on trekking in Nepal or trekking in India.