The following packing list for the Everest Base Camp Trek has been prepared by Tammy Lowe. All affiliate links are denoted by an asterisk*.
Trekking to Everest Base Camp is one of the most spectacular things you can do as a trekker, but it is really important to take the right gear with you. I did my trek in March and everywhere I looked beforehand said that the climate would be warm, which is partly true, but mountains can be mean in that sense and weather can change from one one minute to the other. Also while it might be warm during the day it gets freezing cold at night. So cold that the water in your bottle freezes. I am a person who feels the cold a lot (that’s why I moved to Cambodia) and I wish I had taken more warm clothes with me for these cold nights.
I trekked for 12 days, so here are my recommendations for the ultimate female packing list:
2 pairs of trekking trousers (one convertible, one that can be turned into shorts)
2 T-Shirts (all Icebreaker*, as they don’t smell. You won’t be able to do much washing during the trek, so have to wear your shirts a few days in a row)
3 long-sleeve shirts (Icebreaker* as well-I swear by these. They are comfy, they warm you when it is cold, cool you when it is warm and you don’t stink like a beast after those numerous steep ascents.)
1 vest top
6 pairs of socks (2 lining socks, 2 coolmax trekking socks and 2 padded trekking socks, under which you don’t have to wear lining socks.)
6 pairs of breathable underpants (Icebreaker is good, but I just bought some sports pants in a sport shop, which were much cheaper)
2 sport bras (you will sweat so much during the day that sport bras will be much more comfortable)
Long johns (not exactly sexy, but necessary for trekking above 5000m and at night time)
Fleece lined tracksuit bottoms or down trousers (I wore those at high altitude when it was cold during the day, in the evenings and at night on top of of my long johns)
Hiking boots (The most important piece of kit. They can make or break your trek. Make sure they are comfy, big enough to be able to wear two pairs of socks and are broken in properly.)
>> Read why these are so important in the article: My Camping & Hiking Packing Disasters
Trekking sandals (to wear in the evenings to let your feet breath a bit)
Down shoes (you can buy them during your trek and I wore them in the evenings to keep my feet warm)
Lightweight windproof fleece (for daytime trekking)
Warm fleece (for the nights – I slept in mine)
Down jacket (it is too hot wearing it during the day apart from when you reach base camp which is freezing cold, but I wore it in the evenings and at night in my sleeping bag)
Synthetic raincoat (should also be windproof)
Waterproof raintrousers (the ones you can wear above your normal trousers)
Fleece headband (mine had a lining on the inside which wicked away sweat. You can get these in sport shops in the running section. I wore my headband in addition to a hat when it was really cold.)
Fleece hat (this one had a lining as well)
Lining gloves and windproof gloves (normal fleece gloves are no good, as they let the wind through)
Neckband (can be worn as a scarf, facemask and headband to keep your hair out of your face)
>> Check out the Buff for this purpose.
Balaclava (you do look like a bank robber, but you really need it above 5000m, as the winds can be really icy)
Diamox tablets (They can help you prevent symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness [AMS], such as headaches or dizzyness. They don’t necessarily prevent you from getting AMS though [I got it at 4900m despite taking Diamox], but they certainly helped me at lower altitude. I usually suffer from a lot of headaches, and was worried that I’d get them at high altitude too. I didn’t have a single headache. They do make you pee a lot though, which can be annoying at night when you have to leave your warm sleeping bag to venture out to the freezing outdoor toilets.)
Blister plasters (my trekking boots and socks were so good that I didn’t need them, but a lot of other trekkers did)
Painkillers for those altitude related headaches (If you are taking Diamox check with your doctor which ones to take. I used Paracetamol.)
2 trekking poles (They saved my life literally. When I got AMS my guide had to hold my left arm to aid me down the mountain and if I hadn’t had my poles on the other side I would have stumbled a few times. They are also invaluable for steep ascents as you can lean your whole bodyweight on them and they help your knees getting less battered during descents as well.)
Head torch and spare batteries (some mountain huts don’t have electricity at night and you will inevitably have to go to the toilet at night – it is the mountain air and Diamox tablets that make you pee a lot)
Trekking towel (I personally didn’t have to use mine very often, as I didn’t tend to wash with water. Disgusting I know, but when it is that cold in the mornings and evenings, the last thing I wanted to do was to wash with cold water.)
4 season down sleeping bag (You really need to get a warm sleeping bag. Even my English husband who usually doesn’t feel the cold was glad that he had one, as it really gets bitterly cold at night. I cannot stress that enough. They are quite bulky and expensive, so I hired mine from the trekking company and let our porter carry it.)
Sleeping bag liner (gives you an extra layer and is more hygienic if you are renting your sleeping bag)
Water sterilizing and neutralizing tablets (Buying water during the trek is fairly expensive and if you have to drink 2l plus each day it soon adds up. I used to ask for tap water in the mountain huts and then sterilized the water with chlorine tablets. After 20 minutes I added a neutralizing tablet which took away the chlorine taste.)
Rucksack (If you are carrying your own stuff it is really important to have a comfortable rucksack that is adjustable according to your height. My rucksack with most of my gear was carried by our porter, but it is nice to make it as comfy as possible for your porter too. They work really hard!)
Daypack (again comfort is everything, but I also recommend one with an airflow on the back, as it will make your back less sweaty)
DSLR camera (this is a trip of a life time and so photogenic, so you really need to make sure that you take a decent camera with you.)
Polarized sunglasses with UV protection that can be worn at 5500m altitude
Hydration sack (i.e. Camelpak. It is really important to drink plenty of water and I just find it too difficult reaching to the side of my backpack to get my bottle out all the time, especially when carrying trekking poles. A hydration pack includes a hose which can be put through the top of your backpack and you can then put it through your shoulder strap, which makes it really easy to drink the water, as it is always accessible.)
Camelpak drinking bottle (I always carried 2l of water with me and when my hydration pack was empty I used my bottle. I prefer Camepak to other bottles as it is more convenient to drink out of these, as you don’t have to unscrew the bottle.)
Gaiters (to protect your boots and trousers from mud or rain)
Waterproof stuff sack (for your electronics)
Baby wipes (They were the most invaluable thing I have taken with me on my trek. As mentioned above I didn’t wash with water as it was too cold for me, but I did clean myself with baby wipes, which was a great relief after a sweaty days trekking. Plus I was the only one in the mountain huts that smelled like baby.)
Foot wipes (you can use baby wipes, but I had some antibacterial foot wipes from Dr Scholl as well, which were great as foot hygiene is really important when trekking)
Talcum powder (Due to the sweat your feet will swell a lot and your skin starts looking like you have been in a bath for 10 days. Talkum powder helps take the moisture out of your feet and you will look less like a wrinkly old woman.)
Travel sized shampoo (used once during the trek)
30 SPF plus suncream
30 SPF lipbalm
Face masks (The ones that doctors wear. The trek is very dusty at times, which is not nice when you are breathing and it can cause you getting coughs, which is not good when you have to trek 6 hours each day for 12 days.)
Travel wash (I only used it to wash underwear and socks)
Deck of cards (it can get a bit boring in the evenings)
A book (Everest related books are good to get you motivated, i.e. Into thin air)
Electrohydrate sachets (they help you rehydrate, which is particularly important when taking Diamox, and will also make sterilized water taste better)
Happy hiking Ladies!
*All photos except for title photo by Tammy Lowe.
Book a Viator Tour Before You Go
7-Night Lhasa to Everest Base Camp Classic Tour – $798.00*
This is a classic multi-day tour that provides the opportunity to visit Lhasa and Everest Base camp. The tour will get you acquainted by covering all main tourist sites like Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkor street, Drepung and Sera monastery with Gyantse Kumbum and Tashi Lhunpho monastery. Tourists can also see natural scenery like the beautiful, sacred lake of Yamdrok Tso, and Karo glacier, and beautiful views of Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world, from Everest Base Camp.
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