Putting together an Everest Base Camp Trek Packing List requires A LOT of preparation! What to pack for Everest Base Camp took me hours of research and shopping to find – thus I kept a detailed list to share with you! And I was often asked about my physical preparation so that is below. Although I suffered from altitude sickness I never once suffered from sore muscles. Here is my Everest Base Camp packing list and my EBC trek preparation tips!
For those of you who are short on time, I’ll start with a quick guide overview. Or head straight to the area that is of most interest:
1. Everest Base Camp Packing List: The Essentials
Let’s start the Trekking Pack List with the all-important day pack! This is an absolutely critical item for any Everest base camp packing list. As you will be wearing this item for quite a few hours every day of the trek it is important to get the right daypack for you.
So what should you think about? The first thing is the type of frame. Day packs come with a frame or without. Daypacks with a frame bring more weight with it but will allow you to carry more. I would recommend buying a day pack with a frame for this trek as it is necessary to carry quite a bit of gear based on water alone. Plus, due to the length of the trek and the number of hours you will be wearing the pack a full-frame will provide greater support for your back.
Pack access is another factor. Different packs have one or multiple openings across the top, front, bottom and side. Personally, I very much like a pack with a top opening. It is a total pain to open your pack from the front on a rest stop and have to work your way through everything in your pack until you find what you want! I like keeping the things I know I will want on the next stage of the trek in the top eg sunscreen, snacks and then have things like waterproof layers in the front.
Side pockets are fantastic for holding water bottles. However, if you prefer a hydration bladder then you may not need a side option. If you are planning on using a hydration reservoir or bladder then do make sure that you choose a day pack with an internal sleeve. These are generally labelled as hydration packs which are helpful.
Many day packs come with a rain cover these days which I find very helpful. Also, I personally prefer a mesh back as it keeps the material farther away from your back so it is good for circulating air and reducing perspiration.
I used the Osprey on my trek and I would highly recommend it.
Many trekking companies will issue you with a kit bag for your key items. These tend to be carried by a yak rather than you which is great! I found it very helpful to use packing cubes within my kit bag. It essentially turns your kit bag into a portable chest of drawers! Much easier to find things and to keep track of where all your gear is in your bag. I do one for underwear and socks, one for tops, one for trousers etc and keen all of my clean things separate. I would fold things inside out once I had worn them and put them in the cube.
Dirty Clothes Bag
The final destination for items I wouldn’t be wearing again on the trek was the critical dirty clothes bag! Very helpful in keeping track of things you literally can’t bear to wear again!!!
Sleeping Bag Liner
High altitude sleeping bags are expensive. Most trekking companies will allow you to hire one. Unless you are planning on becoming a serious trekker I would recommend hiring one and then bringing your own sleeping bag liner – this is a critical piece of base camp gear.
Top Tip: Bring a pillowcase from home and put that on the pillows at the tea houses for a fresher feel
Top Tip: You will need 4 passport-sized photos for your Nepal Visa and your national park pass.
2. Everest Base Camp Trek Gear List: Medications
I am no doctor but I did some heavy chemist shopping before my trip so that I was prepared for as many situations as possible!!! It is not easy to buy these types of items on the Everest base camp trek. Paracetamol and Ibuprofen are absolutely essential to helping to deal with altitude headaches. And I loved having my Berocca every morning in my water!
-Diamox (I bought this in Kathmandu)
3. Everest Gear: Toiletries
Some of the items on this Everest Base Camp Trek Packing list may appear unusual but they are there for good reason! I wish I had taken two travel sized shower gels with me. There are more opportunities to shower on the trek than you may expect. For both men and women nail scissors are great. Altitude and being outside so much thin your nails and they get brittle and break. This can be quite painful if you can’t trim them.
Please take some type of lip balm with a high sunscreen! As you get higher it is easier to miss your lips and for them to get very sunburnt! You can’t take too many tissues as you will need them at all times. I also took 4 rolls of toilet paper but wished I had taken 6 – and I didn’t get any stomach problems. There is literally no toilet paper in the toilets on the trek. You can buy toilet paper but it is that really raw rough stuff.
I have put dryer sheets on the Everest base camp packing list. I appreciate this sounds odd as you won’t be encountering any dryers on the trek! Where they are very useful is your kit bag and within your packing cubes. Dryer sheets weigh virtually nothing and can help keep your clothes smelling fresh through the entire trek. I even put a couple in my dirty clothes bag to stop them smelling so bad. It was lovely to open my kit bag and be met with a fresh scent!
Finally, there are virtually no mirrors in the tea houses. Whilst this is probably a blessing it is good to be able to check out the details to see if you have any issues so a hand mirror/compact is really useful and takes up virtually no space.
4. Trekking Equipment List: Hardgoods
I would advise taking 2 pairs of sunglasses in case one pair breaks – you do not want to be without sunglasses on this trek! For all of your key electronic devices, it is also a good idea to take extra batteries.
Staying adequately hydrated is absolutely essential on the trek. There are so many different types of water bottles and hydration packs – it can be quite challenging to make a decision! I’ll let you know what was on my trekking equipment list. I am no major expert but this worked for me on my trek. I had a water bladder in my day pack. I like a water bladder because you can thread the end of it through your pack and therefore can drink at any time whilst walking. Stopping to get your water bottle out is a pain.
I also took a classic metal water bottle. This was great at night. Generally, you will be able to get hot water at the tea houses. Fill your water bottle up with hot water and then pop your travel towel around it for a hot water bottle! I also took a plastic wide neck water bottle. This was useful for drinks at the tea house as well as carrying extra water.
Once you are at a higher altitude I took my metal water bottle out during the day. Put it on the side of your day pack and put it upside down. This helps the area near the opening to defrost faster so you can get some water out and not just ice.
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I used walking poles on my trek. I did feel like I was being a bit weak using them but I am very glad I took them! They are most useful when you are descending. I found them very helpful for taking the pressure off my knees and in increasing my confidence getting down tricky bits.
5. Everest Base Camp Trek Packing List: Food
The coffee was generally pretty awful on the trek. I took some Lavazza instant coffee and was very pleased that I did!!!
6. Base Camp Gear: Electronics
Keeping everything charged is a super important area of the Everest base camp trek gear list!! I found a power bank to be very helpful. It is possible to charge power banks at the nepal tea houses. However, many of the tea houses only have limited power points. This makes power banks perfect as they can be charged and then used to charge multiple items.
I am very into photography so I took my DSLR camera with its charger. It is extra weight. Considering how good the cameras are on phones these days I wouldn’t bother taking another camera unless you are really into photography. Of course, I had my phone and its charger. I also packed my phone with downloaded podcasts which were great to listen to (I’ve got a few sports headphones in the table below).
⇒ Check out my Real Run Down on Everest Base post to find out all about how charging and electronics work on the trek (including wifi!).
7. Everest Base Camp Trek Packing List: Clothes
Here is exactly what I took:
⇒ I pair of yoga leggings for first and last days
⇒ 2 pairs of zip-off leg trousers – these were brilliant
⇒ 1 pair of walking trousers
⇒ 1 pair of thermals (I only used these on the day we went to base camp)
⇒ 2 short sleeve dry-fit t-shirts
⇒ 4 long sleeve dry fast tops – I wish I had bought more short-sleeved ones as it generally got quite warm at some point most days
⇒ 1 fleece
⇒ 1 light jacket
⇒ 1 down jacket
⇒ 1 pair of loose yoga trousers and a long-sleeved top which was my “evening” outfit in the tea houses
⇒ 1 t-shirt and pair of leggings/thermals for sleeping-4 bras
⇒ 12 pairs of underpants
⇒ 9 pairs of socks – 3 super warm, 3 mid and 3 light (I put aside one pair as my evening socks)
⇒ 3 hats – 1 cap, 1 fleece hat, 1 super warm cap with flaps
⇒ 1 fleece and 1 cotton neck warmer
⇒ Looking for more valuable information on trekking to base camp? Check out this post on The Things No One tells you about Hiking to Everest Base Camp.
8. Everest Base Camp Trek Packing List: Shoes
For Hiking Boots, Salomon is my favourite. Definitely, take some Runners/light shoes for the evening as you will want your feet out of your boots. And flip-flops are beyond essential for showers and middle of the night loo visits!
This ended up being a pretty good packing list. I have noted above any amendments I would make but apart from those, there isn’t anything that I would do differently with what I packed.
What to Take to Everest Base Camp: Some Extra Tips
1. A key factor is the weight limits on the flight from Kathmandu to Lukla. Everything is weighed – your hand luggage and your checked luggage – together. The target weight is 15kg. I was 3kg over and paid 450 NPR and that was fine. Someone in our group was 6kg over and just paid the extra.
Now our flight was full with exodus people (a 14 seater) so maybe this was why we were allowed to have extra and pay – I’m not sure how this would work in other circumstances and it is probably not worth taking the risk. I carried my camera with me and filled my jacket pockets with heavy chargers -they don’t weigh you!
2. During the day keep your chocolate in with your bladder in your day pack to stop in melting
3. I took the equivalent of 800 pounds in Nepalese rupee with me. It helped getting in a good day ahead as ATMs in Nepal only give out small sums so I needed to use a few and do several transactions. I also got quite a good rate at the hotel and changed pounds over. I did not want to have to worry about running out of money. You need about 40 pounds a day roughly plus tips for the lead guide and the guiding team.
How to Prepare for the Everest Base Camp Trek
I started my ebc trek preparation six months out from the trip. I am no expert or a personal trainer so this is more what I did and I suffered very little in terms of sore muscles on the trek.
I saw a personal trainer once a week for one hour and focused on weights. We did endless squats/lunges/leg presses with heavier and heavier weights. I then did 2 x 1-hour sessions a week on my own in the gym which was cardio focussed. These usually consisted of a mix of:
⇒ Rowing machine intervals – 5 x 500m with a 1-minute rest in between each 500m
⇒ Running machine intervals – 45 seconds at 11km an hour followed by 45 seconds at 4km an hour for 15 minutes
⇒ Stair machine – 20 minutes levels 6-8, adding my daypack filled with books once I got to level 8. I tried to go up a level and then add my hiking boots and then day pack every 3 weeks.
⇒ 4 x 1-minute planks each session
⇒ Once you’re back in Kathmandu treat yourself! Here is my guide to how to have some post-trek treats in Kathmandu
How to get to Kathmandu:
I flew to Kathmandu with Qatar Airways business class from London and it was a fantastic experience. Check out my reviews of business class on Thai Airways and Malaysia Airways and premium economy on British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.
This is one trip where you MUST take out travel insurance! I certainly ended up using mine!
How to get to Everest Base Camp – Tour Options
There are several options for getting to Everest Base Camp from Kathmandu. Option one is to start your tour from the actual base of the mountain. This means a longer, more expensive trip but I have heard from those that took this option that they suffered considerably less from altitude sickness and overall had a much more enjoyable experience.
The second option is to fly to Lukla. This is by far the most common choice. Lukla is 2400m above sea level and a short flight on a small plane from Kathmandu (don’t miss my tips above on getting through the luggage restrictions!).
It is possible to hike to Base Camp on your own but I very much would not advise this. Safety is, of course, the number one reason. The weather changes massively during the day and visibility can drop to poor levels. Also, it would not be hard to get lost or take a less efficient path. Finally, as you head higher up there are fewer accommodation options and they tend to have already been booked.
Quite a few people find a guide and porter in Kathmandu. This is fine as an option although obviously, it is quite difficult to get a good feel for the quality of your guide.
Personally, I did the trek with a tour company. I definitely feel this is the best option. It is more fun to have several people on the trip. It also feels much safer to be with a reputable business (most of these tour companies source local operators so you are still providing a benefit to the people of Nepal).
Their processes and insurance are much better. Also, they will receive priority in the tea houses in terms of getting rooms, meals etc and organise all of this for you. Especially as you get higher you will be exhausted at the end of each day and lacking in energy.
⇒ If you’re planning on heading up to Everest Base Camp check out this really good comparison of tour options on Viator.
I did the Everest Base Camp Trek with Exodus. Exodus is the biggest tour operator for Everest Base Camp so there are quite a few benefits in going with them in terms of expertise, access to the best teahouses etc. They also know what they are doing and are very organised. As Exodus is a big deal in Nepal anyone working with them locally will be keen for this to continue and therefore service levels are pretty good. Exodus also offers tours for other popular trekking routes in Nepal like Annapurna Base Camp.
In terms of UK based tour operators, we saw quite a few G Adventures groups during our trek. They tend to stay at the same kinds of tea houses and have a similar setup. I have also heard that Intrepid is a good operator for base camp.
Boutique Hotels in Kathmandu
I recommend enjoying some luxury pre and post the Nepal Tea Houses! Without question, the best boutique hotel in Kathmandu is the lovely lovely Dwarika’s.
It isn’t exactly boutique but as options at a higher boutique end are a bit low in Kathmandu I am going to list the Hyatt Regency Kathmandu.
Aria Boutique Hotel & Spa is somewhat more modern with its offer. Uniquely for Kathmandu, its interiors are heavy on white!
If you’re after a real treat check out my post on the stunning Dwarika’s Dhulikhel Resort – stunning Himalayan luxury!
Who Paid for What in this Post
I covered my costs associated with most of this trip but Dwarika’s were kind enough to give me a discount on my accommodation costs. But as always my opinion is my own.
This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click through on them and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. This won’t affect the price that you pay. I just wanted to make sure that you were aware of this.
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Also published on Medium.