Nepal 2013

Trip Planning and Gear List


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Planning a trekking trip to Nepal is more a matter of becoming familiar with the treks rather than booking anything ahead.  For me, only my international flights and first hotel in Kathmandu were booked ahead (so I'd have a ride from the airport and a known place to stay after the long flights).  I had originally planned to do the Everest trek independent (like the Annapurna trek), but got nervous about the availability of flights to and from Lukla so I decided to book the guided trek, just a week before I left for Nepal.  This meant that with one booking I had a whole 16 nights and two flights taken care of.  Since my flight home didn't leave until two days after, leaving two nights unallocated, I booked two nights in Bhaktapur ahead as well, but that wasn't really necessary.  I booked the bus to Dumre and the flight from Pokhara to Kathmandu at my first hotel in Kathmandu, paying cash for both.


  Communication, Power, and Laundry


Internet – My android phone satisfied most of my communication needs, allowing me to write emails in advance and send them out whenever wifi was available.  Before Thorung La on the AC, there was very little internet access.  Chame had two internet cafes, and Manang had some internet access.  The other side of the pass was a different story, with free wifi in the guest houses being the norm through Marpha, but then it was sparse until Ghorepani.  The Everest trek had frequent internet access, but always for a price, sometimes available per minute.  I found wifi access in Lukla, Phakding, Namche Bazar, Dingboche, Gorak Shep, and Pheriche.  I used a separate gmail account for this trip, only used by family and friends, to avoid having to download extra email on limited time.  My best method for saving money was to just pay for a minute or two of wifi access and sync my email during that time.  Then I could read and reply at leisure with those emails sent on the next sync.

Electricity – My phone was kind of a power hog, and had frequent need for recharging if I used it for anything significant.  I did have a spare battery which helped a few times.  Generally charging batteries costs money in the guest houses on the treks (Rs 100 and up per hour).  The exception is after Thorung La on the AC, where I had an electrical outlet in my room at every single guest house.  The only time I charged my camera batteries was in Pokhara between treks.

Laundry – There are no laundromats in Nepal (at least not that I saw).  There are many places in the cities offering laundry service, and some guest houses do as well (including a few on the treks).  I had clothes washed only in Pokhara between treks and in Bhaktapur at the end (to have my traveling clothes cleaned for the flights).


  Gear List


My objective on gear was to travel very lightly, carrying everything I brought on the Annapurna Circuit without leaving anything behind.  I used my backpack as carry-on luggage containing most of my stuff.  A lightweight long, narrow stuff sack contained my trekking pole, liquids, sharp objects, water bottle, and a few items of clothing to fill it out.  This was my only checked bag for the international flights.  I left a few things at the hotel in Kathmandu during the Everest trek.  I had a loaner duffel bag for the porter on this trek, and I checked that bag with everything except my camera and phone on the Lukla flights.  There wasn't much risk of luggage getting lost on those flights, and there wasn't much room for carry-on baggage on the small plane.  Total weight of all of my gear (other than that worn including boots) was under 20 pounds.


General Stuff:

Phone – I had an old android smartphone with wifi but no cell service.  It really helped me save weight by serving several purposes mentioned elsewhere on this page.

Paperwork – including itinerary, confirmations, travel insurance documents.  Most of these were just pdf files on my phone to avoid adding weight.

Passport and copy

Maps and Guidebooks – I used the "Around Annapurna" map bought in Kathmandu, and an Everest map provided by the trekking company.  My guidebooks were ebooks on my phone.

Notebooks – a small notebook and a pen

Camera and accessories – Panasonic Lumix FZ35.  Also had a mini tripod (ultrapod).

Books – My books were ebooks on my phone.  No physical books.

Music Players – My music player was my phone.  Two sets of earbuds.

Batteries– A charger for my camera’s special Li-ion batteries also traveled with me.  I left it in Kathmandu for the Everest trek since I had three batteries which was plenty.  Also carried a spare battery for the phone, and the phone's charger.  Many places I could plug directly into the (universal) electrical outlet, in some places I needed my round-prong European adapter to plug in.

Ear Plugs – very light but very important!  I wore these frequently in the guest houses while sleeping.

Clothes Line – a short piece of rope to string up in the room at guest houses.  Used frequently on the wet Annapurna Circuit where I had a private room every night.

Padlock – a small padlock was used on a couple of guest houses (although they generally provide you a lock), and to lock my duffel bag for the porter.

Toiletries – the standard things.  Sunblock is also important.  I found that I used lip balm (Carmex) much less than at home, probably due to the humidity.

Drugs – I brought a sleep aid for use on the red-eye flights.  Also bought some Cipro antibiotic in Kathmandu which I used two different times.  Brought some Immodium from home, but only used once.  Also had some ibuprofen which I used only once.


Trekking Gear:

Backpack – Jansport Katahdin 40, with pack cover.

Sleeping Bag – Feathered Friends Swallow down bag, rated at 20 degrees F.  This was plenty of warmth; I used it as a blanket unzipped.

Towel – a small backpacking towel, kind of small for showers but wanted to save weight.

Trekking Pole – I carry one pole while backpacking.

Essentials – first aid kit, small knife with scissors, whistle, aqua mira for water purification.  Eyeglasses and sunglasses.

Water Bottles – Brought one Nalgene bottle from home, reused a bottle from bottled water as my second.

LED Headlamp – Essential due to frequent power outages.



Pants – one pair of nylon pants for travel and to keep relatively clean to wear in guest houses, one pair of convertible long/short nylon pants for hiking.

Shirts – two polyester t-shirts for hiking, one cotton t-shirt to wear for travel and in the evenings.

Socks and Underwear – synthetic, three pair each plus two pair thin liner socks.

Fleece Jacket and Pants – the jacket was my only “warm” jacket, worn frequently, including while hiking on cold days.  I wore the fleece pants only once, would have been fine without them.  I rented a down jacket for the Everest trek, I didn't find it necessary but wore it in the higher guest houses.  Too warm for hiking.

Rain Jacket and Pants – used for rain and wind protection.  Didn't really need the pants, but I didn't have any heavy cold rain while hiking.

Hats – wide brimmed sun/rain hat (Tilley), and a knit hat for warmth.  I also frequently use a headband under the Tilley hat to absorb sweat and keep it from dripping on my glasses.

Gloves – fleece gloves, worn while hiking on cold days.

Bandana – essential gear for covering your mouth and nose in the Khumbu (Everest trek).  This serves three purposes.  One, it keeps at least some of the trail dust out of your lungs.  Two, the moist bandanna keeps the super-dry high altitude air from causing the famous "Khumbu cough."  And three, it helps keep your face warm!  I wore mine most of the time above Namche on the Everest trek and didn't develop the bad cough.

Water Shoes – light slip-on shoes that flatten down for packing.  Very handy in the guest houses, especially for late-night bathroom runs, since my only other footwear were my hiking boots.  They don't keep your feet warm though.

Hiking Boots – I used full leather Asolo hiking boots.  These are waterproof and durable.


Obtained in Nepal – hiking maps, extra water bottle, and Cipro antibiotic


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