One of the more daunting tasks you will encounter on the Everest Base Camp Trek is packing for the trek itself! To help you get a head start we have compiled an easy to navigate and complete list of what you will need for the typical 12 day Everest Base Camp Trek and similar treks in the region.
The guide is by no means definitive in that you have to pack everything listed. It can and should be tailored to your personal need and preferences.
Throughout the article we have linked our personal recommendations for gear that we have either owned and used. These recommendations are based on past experience of trekking in the area as well as feedback from guides and travellers who have completed the trek. We believe this equipment offers the best performance as well as good value for money, ensuring you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy the beauty of Nepal.
Most of the equipment listed can be rented or purchased in Kathmandu or in Namche Bazaar, but understand that you run the risk of being sold cheaper, local equipment that may not be up to the standards of equipment bought before you travel.
It is important to purchase good quality and reliable clothes and footwear as you will be facing very cold conditions on the trek.
We recommend using Amazon as a one-stop-shop for your EBC packing list; the links below take you to items we recommend on Amazon and should help you find the needed items faster.
What clothing you pack for the Everest Base Camp Trek will depend heavily on the season in which you trek as well as which specific trek you plan on doing. We provide packing advice for the typical trek to Everest Base Camp which involves ascending in altitude by almost 3,000m.
The large variation in altitude, and therefore temperature, makes layering a key concept of the trek. Being able to add or remove layers of clothing while you trek will allow you to readily adapt to the temperature and ensure that you remain comfortable and safe.
If you plan on trekking in the colder winter months of December through February, you will definitely need to pack a bit warmer. Check out our guide on what to expect weather-wise.
As the first layer of clothing you wear, the base layer is important for higher altitudes and colder parts of the trek. This means you will probably not wear it during the first and last parts of the trek.
The fit and material are the most important considerations when deciding on a good base layer.
The second layer is the insulation layer and it is usually made from a fleece type material. They are sold for both legs and torso but we only believe a torso second layer is necessary.
This layer consists of warm and waterproof jacket and trousers often called the outer core layer. These will mainly be used for higher altitudes of the trek or if the weather gets very cold and/or rainy.
As one of the more important and lasting pieces of clothing you will buy, paying a bit more money for a good quality winter jacket should be viewed more as an investment than an expense.
Our recommended brands for jackets are these North Face jacket for men (for women), Mountain Hardware jacket for men (for women) and Patagonia jacket for men (for women). Of these the North Face Nuptse Jacket (for men), (for women) takes the money, as it is seriously warm for its light weight and offers quality second to none. Jackets can be bought from Kathmandu, but will likely be fake.
Hiking clothes are needed in addition to the three layers mentioned above.
We recommend taking 1 x pair of hiking trousers and 1 x pair of hiking shorts (for the lower / warmer stretches of the trek). There are many good trekking trouser brands, including: Craghoppers trousers (for men), (for women) Trespass trousers (for men), (for women) and Columbia trousers (for men), (for women).
You will need around 5-6 shirts that will be worn on most days. Avoid cotton as it absorbs moisture instead of wicking away sweat, resulting in bad smelling shirts after a few uses. Ideal fabric is a breathable, lightweight and quick-drying polyester, merino or nylon. Make sure that your shirts are not cotton. A combination of short and long sleeve shirts are recommended.
Encountering rain on the trail is always a risk, especially if you plan on hiking from June to September (we definitely don’t recommend trekking in the region during these months). As a general precaution we recommend that you bring along some rain clothing – ideally a gore-tex membrane hard shell jacket. The North Face make really good waterproof gear. Check out the North Face Resolve Jacket (for men), (for women).
As for trousers you can usually get away with a cheap pair of waterproof pull-overs.
As one of the most exposed parts of your body, you will want a warm pair of gloves for the colder segments of the trek. I recommend taking two types of gloves, a lightweight inner glove that can be warm when there is a little nip in the air, and a heavier more insulated pair of gloves.
Your outer gloves or mittens must be warm, waterproof and durable. They don’t need to be super well insulated unless you plan to do some climbing in the region, for example Island Peak, but they should keep your hands nice and toasty when in sub-zero temperatures. Ideally you are looking for a mid-weight fleeced glove. The following brands make good outdoor winter gloves:Black Diamond (for men), (for women), The North Face (for men), (for women) and Outdoor Research (for men), (for women).
Footwear is without a doubt one of the most important pieces of gear that you need to get right.
Think about it, your feet are what get you to Base Camp and back, so you want to make sure you have comfortable trekking boots.
Aches and blisters are a nightmare that no one wants to experience, so spend a bit more money on some good quality boots and socks.
TIP: Make sure your boots are well worn-in before starting your Everest Base Camp adventure. Brand new boots will give you blisters.
Getting a comfortable boot that is the right size is probably more important than the brand of shoe. You should be able to fit one finger behind your heel to ensure proper fit. Too much space for your finger means too big a boot and not enough room means too small.
Find a middle to light-weight hiking boot that offers good ankle support and that has waterproof uppers. Make sure you can tie and untie the laces with ease and check that the boot has deep cut traction on the sole.
We recommend that you hike in boots instead of shoes as the former provide a lot more support. The last thing you want is a twisted ankle!
However, you would need a lightweight and comfortable pair of shoes to wear in and around the tea houses after every day’s trekking.
Good hiking socks should be breathable and moisture wicking, so don’t choose anything made from cotton.
Merino wool is our preferred material for trekking socks. Good brands include: Bridgedale (for men and for women), Coolmax (for men and for women), Smartwool (for men and for women) and Point6 (for men and for women).
We recommend bringing 5-6 pairs of socks.
Thermal socks are slightly thicker than standard trekking socks and are used for colder conditions, such as those experienced near or at Base Camp.Smartwool (for menand for women), Bridgedale (for men and for women) and Wigwam (for men and for women), all make comfortable and warm thermal socks that are highly recommended.
Bring 1-2 pairs of thermal socks.
Gaiters cover the ankle-high opening to your boots and are designed to prevent water, mud, rocks and basically anything else from getting into them. From our experience, gaiters are not an absolute necessity for trekking during peak season when it is warmer.
The type of bag you will need varies depending on whether you will have a porter or will be carrying your own gear. In the case of a portered trek then we recommend a 80L duffle (see details below), otherwise, if you are unsupported and carrying your own gear you will need a 50-65L backpack (see details below).
If you do have a porter, you will still need something small to carry water, rain gear, your camera, snacks and other personal items or things that you will want to have access to on the trek.
The Osprey Talon 20-22 (unisex) is the perfect size for carrying things such as water, sun cream, camera, hats and snacks.
You should also invest in a rain cover for your backpack / daypack. An Osprey Backpack Raincover will do the trick – just check that you have the right size for your backpack / daypack.
Encountering rain on your EBC trek is a possible, especially if you plan to trek on the shoulder monsoon months – late May / early June or late August / early September. If you are concerned with the waterproof capability of your duffel or backpack then taking a dry bag is a good idea. These types of bags can fit comfortably inside a duffle, are waterproof and can easily double as a source separator for clean / dirty clothes.
In terms of recommended brands, check out this trendy Duc-Kit Pro bag, available in the UK only.
Along with your hiking boots, your sleeping bag is another critical piece of gear. Teahouses along the route usually provide basic sleeping facilities with blankets but they are generally not clean and certainly not warm enough!
Once you get above 3,000m in altitude the temperature inside teahouses, especially during the dead of night, is very cold. Most teahouses are not well insulated and do not have heating outside of central yak furnaces in the common lounge areas. Therefore a warm 4-season sleeping bag (rated for at least -10°C) is a must. The best sleeping bags are generally made from duck or goose down, but nowadays there are good quality synthetic options too.
Your bag should be a good fit to the shape of your body (mummy-shaped is ideal) and should have an insulated hood for added warmth.
If you rent instead of purchasing a sleeping bag, a liner will give you a clean environment in which to rest. Any mummy shaped liner, such as this one, will suffice.
For most trekkers, the use of trekking poles is recommended as they significantly reduce the impact and stress on your joints. If you have trekked with poles before and don’t like the experience then they are not a mandatory requirement.
Lightweight, packable poles such as those from Black Diamond are recommended.
A good pair of UV protecting sunglasses are a necessity due to the higher strength of UV at altitude and the glare from snow-covered peaks as you approach EBC.
100% UV protection and at least 80% light reduction glasses such as those from Julbo are recommended.
A headlamp for getting around the teahouses at night should be brought along as many of the teahouses are poorly lit.
A Petzl Tikka headlamp with some spare batteries should prove to be useful.
As dehydration contributes to altitude related sicknesses, proper hydration is vital on the trek.
You should aim to drink between 2-3L of water a day. Some people like water bottles, but we prefer water bladders. In terms of the latter we recommend the Platypus Hydration water bladder, which fits snuggly into the back of most daypacks. Alternatively, if you prefer water bottles then bring 2x 1L standard Camelbak water bottles made from hardened plastic.
Please make sure you purify all water you drink (more on this below!).
A smallish towel is useful for drying yourself after a wash. Quick drying trekking towels such as these are recommended.
All teahouses have toilet facilities, ranging from the most basic squat ceramic toilets to actual flushing loos. Nonetheless, as you get higher up on the route, facilities inevitably get more and more basic. Coupled with super cold nights and poor lighting, the thought of making a toilet run can be a little frightening! A pee funnel is one way you can answer the call of nature without having to leave the warmth of your room. Freshette Pee Funnels are pretty good.
Usually a good idea if you are using porters or carrying around some more valuable stuff – see these cheap locks.
Does as the label says – will keep valuables dry. See this one for example.
You will definitely want a good camera to document and remember your time in the Himalayas. A smartphone, despite being really good nowadays, will just not do justice to the amazing mountain scenery in the Everest region. If you want to invest in a DSLR camera, check out this one for a more a more affordable price. The prices for good DSLR cameras usually start from $250.
If you plan on bringing anything electronic like your phone, camera or Kindle, a USB charger is highly recommended! In the 21st century there is nothing worse than running out of battery and having no means to recharge.
Some tea houses have charging facilities but they will likely make you pay and reliability isn’t great.
As there is a lot of free time, especially towards the night, a book or e-reader can pass some free time and also allow you to sharpen your knowledge on the Himalayas! Just make sure you get one with a backlight!
No trekking trip is complete without a set of cards. We highly recommend bring cards!
Don’t forget all your travel documents such as your passport and visa. Also draw plenty of cash in Kathmandu as ATM’s tend to be sparse on the Everest trek! The last Cashpoint is in Namche Bazaar.
You should definitely get adequate travel and trekking insurance from a reliable insurance provider. Almost all good tour operators will require that you have insurance. When it comes to the Everest Base Camp trek, standard insurance will not cut it. You need to get insurance that 1. will cover you for trekking up to 6,000m in altitude, and 2. include coverage for helicopter evacuation. The latter point is important as if you experience severe altitude sickness the fastest way to get you to safety is via helicopter.
We are not insurance experts so we recommend you speak with insurance providers to see if they cover the Everest Base Camp trekking adventure and also read the small print. But from our experience, the insurance company, World Nomads, tick the box!
To get a quick quote use the calculator below.
You need to make sure that all water that you drink on the Everest Base Camp trek is purified before it touches your mouth (this includes water you brush your teeth with).
There are many methods to purify water, including boiling, reverse osmosis and treating with iodine tablets. Some tour operators will purify water for you. In all cases we still recommend that you use water purification tablets before drinking water. These water purification tablets will do the job!
If you are not keen on tablets, you can also purchase a UV water purifier such as the SteriPEN Adventure Opti Mini Pack.
When added to your water, this Isotonic powder will help replace lost electrolytes and keep you fit and healthy.
If trekking with a tour group or guide, they will likely have adequate first aid items. If not, bring a first aid kit such as these compact ones.
For quick cleaning and refreshment bring a pack of baby wipes.
Basic toiletries such as a travel toothbrush and toothpaste as well as 2 rolls of toilet paper should be part of your basic toiletries. You can buy some cheap toiletries such as toilet paper (single ply!!) on the trail.
This optional device will measure the effects of altitude on your body. It gives you spot read on oxygen saturation and your heart rate.
Rough rule of thumb: Oxygen saturations below 80% should be closely monitored. Below 70% and you should descend immediately until you are better acclimatised (this is by no means gospel, and should be used in conjunction with other altitude symptoms to decide the best course of action). Check out these finger pulse oximeters.
Very useful for a quick wash before eating – you can buy some portables ones here.
If you have any further questions on this Everest Base Camp Packing List, please leave a comment below and we will respond within 24 hours.
Hi, I'm Mark! Welcome to EBC Trek Guide - the Web's No.1 Trekking Guide to Everest Base Camp. I have trekked all over Nepal, but the Everest region remains my favourite. I hope you find all the answers you are looking for on this site. If you have any questions don't hesitate to drop a comment below! Happy Trekking!
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