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 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.
EBC Packing List
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.
We recommend merino wool base layers as they are very good at wicking moisture away from the body and are retailed at an affordable price.
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 for EBC only a torso second layer is necessary.
We recommend a Polartec 200 Fleece Jacket, which is very lightweight allowing for easy movement when trekking. They are also warm but still breathable and well-priced.
Good brands that make fleece jackets include The North Face, Helly Hansen, Columbia, REI and Patagonia.
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 North Face, Mountain Hardware, Eddie Bauer, Rab, Hagloffs and Berghaus. If you are in the USA then the Eddie Bauer CirrusLite is great. For UK readers the Berghaus Tephra is a good shout.
Jackets can be bought from Kathmandu but will likely be fake.
Recommended brands for fleeced ski-like trousers include O’Neills and Trespass.
Hiking clothes are needed in addition to the three layers mentioned above.
Trekking Trousers and Shorts
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. A combination of short and long sleeve shirts are recommended.
Waterproof Jacket and Trousers
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 example.
As for trousers you can usually get away with a cheap pair of waterproof pull-overs.
A neck gaiter or warmer is another great piece of cheap yet irreplaceable clothing.
It will keep your face and neck warm while also preventing the infamous Khumbu cough as you breathe in the cold mountain air.
The TYTN Bandana is fantastic.
If you plan on travelling in the winter months, you may want to consider a balaclava.
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.
Outer Insulated Gloves
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, The North Face and Outdoor Research.
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.
Top 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.
Goods brands of boots include: Salomon, Hi-Tec, Berghaus or Karrimor. If you want top of the range, check out Meindl or the Scarpa Kailash.
Trekking Shoes / Sandals
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, it is worthwhile bringing a lightweight and comfortable pair of shoes so that you can use them in and around the tea houses after a days trekking.
If you are a sandals person check out these trekking sandals that can be worn with socks or, if not, here are some great trekking shoes.
Warm 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.
That being said, they are not a large expense and some people swear by them.
Bags and Backpacks
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).
A duffel bag is the best option if your gear is going to be carried by porters. Your duffle bag should be water-resistant, durable and lockable.
For a great value duffel bag that is specifically designed for multi-day treks like EBC, check out the TYTN Duffel Bag 90L for Expeditions.
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 22 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.
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 sleeping 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 these, will suffice.
Ear plugs are a good idea if you are a light sleeper and hate the snoring of fellow adventurers!
Poles and Headgear
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.
A headlamp for getting around the teahouses at night should be brought along as many of the teahouses are poorly lit.
A Petzl Tikkina headlamp with some spare batteries should prove to be useful.
Water Bottle / Hydration Bladder
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 Big Zip Water Reservoir, 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!).
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 TSA Locks
Does as the label says – here some cool dry bags by Duc-Kit Pro.
Technology and Entertainment
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 these.
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.
Check out the Portable Charger by Anker PowerCore.
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!
Passport / Money
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.
Medications and Toiletries
Water Purification Tablets
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!
When added to your water, this powder will help replace lost electrolytes and keep you fit and healthy.
Diamox is the most popular medicine used to prevent the onset of Acute Mountain Sickness and related conditions. Please note, Diamox is a preventative medication and does not treat AMS. If you unfortunately get severe altitude sickness symptoms the only effective treatment is rapid descent. Read up on proper acclimatization techniques and consult your doctor before using Diamox.
First Aid Kit
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 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.
For small cuts and blisters – we recommend compeed blister plasters.
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 – buy some 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.