Himalaya trekking tips and advice: Part 1

Steve Wroe is Peregrine's General Manager as well as one of our in-house Himalaya hiking veterans. He's tackled numerous hikes over the years, in Nepal, Tibet, India and beyond. Here, he talks about what to pack for an expedition and offers some insight that you simply couldn't find in any guidebook:

Packing and clothing

- Take two long and one short sleeve merino tops, and one long pair of merino pants. Skins are fine to trek in if you desire, but they’re not really warm enough to replace long thermals.

- Two pairs of long pants and one pair of shorts. Remember to be culturally sensitive and wear long shorts that sit - at the very least - just above the knees. Shoulders should also be covered). If the sun is out on the lower altitudes, shorts and t-shirt will be more than comfortable.

- Two to three t-shirts for lower areas and sleeping.

- Good socks. They may be pricey, but they’re worth it.

- Liners (Coolmax etc) to blister-proof your feet. They’re also easy to wash and hang on your backpack to dry as you trek, meaning you can get more wear out of your socks.

- Two fleece – a lighter one (100gram) and heavier (300gram).

- A beanie (to sleep in if you really feel the cold).

- A Gore-Tex jacket or water-proof.

- Boots. Mid to full ankle boots are best. Either Gore-Tex or leather, although leather isn’t really necessary.

- Take a set of clothes to leave behind with your pack/suitcase in Kathmandu. There is nothing like coming back and having a proper shower and a fresh set of clothes to put on.

- Lodge attire - you might want to bring some comfy warm trackies to change into for nights at the lodge, and some comfortable footwear, such as Crocs. I really regretted having my runners last time – after all day in your boots the last thing you want to do is put your feet in sneakers and tie up those laces. Plus night time runs are difficult and your feet will freeze in thongs.

- UV lip care/zinc and UV sunglasses (wrap around) and a peaked cap - very important for the sun glare when you begin getting into the higher altitudes.

- Walking poles are really useful to have, especially if anyone has any knee or ankle issues. I prefer to use one, especially for the downhill sections.

Food and drink

Snacks - You might want to bring some snacks/gels/protein bars with you, particularly for the longer trek days. You can buy chocolate bars on the trail but you might want something a bit more substantial or healthy for some of the days. There are supermarkets in Kathmandu you can get nuts and muesli bars in, but any gels/protein bars you should bring from home.

Water - We highly recommend a bladder (eg. Camelbak) to keep hydrated. Also a Sigg or bottle that you can fill up with hot water – at the tea houses you can buy boiled water (cheaper than bottled) and your bottle can be used as a hot water bottle at night. By morning it’s cooled down. I do that at night, then in the morning tip it into my bladder and get a newly filled boiled one, which will cool down as you trek and by lunch you can top up. For the extra, you can buy bottled water which is a good way to give back to the lodges.

- It’s good to bring some sachets of Hydralyte or Gatorade powder to assist with hydration and also can make the water taste better (especially when its boiled over the yak dung-fuelled fire!)

- If you really want to drink, we strongly advise against alcohol over 3000m. I highly doubt you will feel like one anyway. The cold and the altitude don’t really lead to wanting a cold beer at the end of the day!

- Go Veg. There is hardly any meat available the higher you go, but what is there isn’t going to be the most sanitary. To avoid getting sick we generally say no meat on trek. Kathmandu is usually fine, but check with the leader as we have had people get sick from it there too.

Next week, Steve will break down how to physically prepare for a trek before you leave.

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