We get lots of queries regarding what to carry and what not to carry during high altitude treks in Himalayas or Mountains. May it be in High Altitude mountain treks or a Desert trek or a Coastal trek one must keep in mind to carry certain items or gears which are mandatory and necessary to carry while trekking or backpacking trips.
Hereby we are providing the list and details of the items what to carry
1.Rucksack(50-60 ltrs.)+Sack cover(for rain protection):-
As we all know that while trekking we have to carry our own backpack(though there is an option nowadays for offloading but still Rucksack is mandatory). A 50-60ltrs Rucksack is mandatory to keep all your belongings in order. A double compartment Rucksack with multiple side compartments and pockets, and heads with bottle holder are ideal for backpacking trips. Should have a proper wide strap, to make your shoulder comfortable, more wider the strap, more comfortable it is to carry. Should have proper padding on the back side, since one will have to carry it for a long time, so a proper padding and support is necessary to make it comfortable. Must have a adjustable waist buckle, since the entire weight of the sack will come at the waist position, so must check it should have a proper adjustable waist buckle. And the shoulder strap should also be adjustable.
2. Windcheater/Padded Jacket:-
One must carry a proper windcheater or padded jacket during the Himalayan Treks. There is a difference between a hoodie and a windcheater, Hoodie provides body warm, but may not resist the cold winds of the mountains, but a windcheater or a padded jacket provides warm to the body as well as resists the high speed cold winds of the mountains. It is generally worn above all the layers which should be guided by the Trek Leader/Captain. Generally -5 degree to -10 degree range is suggested during any treks.
A trekker wearing windcheater at Bali Base Camp
3. Fleece jacket/Sweater(full sleeve woolen):-
Fleece Jacket or Sweater are made of pure synthetic woolen materials which is generally the base layer or the second layer. Fleece jacket or a pure woolen sweater is a must carry for a Himalayan Trek. It traps the heat and keeps the heat insulated inside the body.
Two of our female participants wearing Fleece jacket on the Singalila Top(Sikkim)
4.T-shirts-3 Nos, (Preferably Jersey):-
Polyester T-shirts with collars are recommended for the trekking, since it is light weighted and takes very small space in the rucksack, and above all it gets dried fast coz while trekking, hiking and walking the body sweats a lot, so a polyester t-shirt is recommended. Whereas a cotton T-Shirt may get wet due to sweat and feel uncomfortable. While trekking one must not carry extra clothes and accessories since the rucksack may get heavy, even a handkerchief may feel like a kilogram. So it is recommended to carry as much less as possible, so we suggest to carry minimum 3 numbers of polyester(Jersey) T-Shirts. One you should wear in the day while walking, and when you reach the campsite change it and wear the second one, keep the 3rd one as spare.
Participants wearing light weighted T-shirts at Kashmir Great lakes Trek
5.Thermals(Cots wool)/Thermal pant if possible:-
Thermals or Cots wool are must in the winter trek, it is considered as the base layer over the T-shirt which keeps the body warm and traps the heat at its best and provides best comfortability during the winter treks in Himalayas. It is a must carry during the winter treks and also in the High Altitude treks above 3600meters. One may not carry thermal pant, but it is highly recommended to carry a thermal upper wear. Thermal Pants are generally worn at night while you wrap yourself inside the sleeping bag.
6.Trek Pant/track Pant-2 Nos.(Don't bring Jeans as it makes the sack heavier and uncomfortable while on trek, don't wear shorts as you may get scratches while in forest):-
Trek pants, are generally quick dry and light weighted pants which have multiple pockets and convertible as well to shorts. One can use tracksuit pants as well which are generally used for jogging and for several sports purpose. But other varieties of pants, like cotton pants, formal pants, cargo, jeans are not at all recommended, since these makes the sack heavier and uncomfortable, one cannot walk a long distance on an uphill terrain wearing these varieties of pants. So a trek pant/tracksuit is recommended since it is light weighted, quick dry and provides ventilation for its clothing qualities. We suggest to carry only 2 numbers of Trek Pant/Tracksuit, one for the regular use, and another to keep it as a spare if the first one gets wet due to rainfall or snow.
Trek Leaders posing over the Singalila Top(Sikkim)(Wearing proper trek Pants)
Woolen gloves/fleece gloves/padded gloves are recommended for the Himalayan treks, though one may not need the gloves in the monsoon trek or during the hiking in low altitude. But the padded gloves/woolen gloves are mandatory during a high altitude trek above 4000meters, and a must carry during the winter treks. Since the Himalayan region receives the heavy snowfall during the winter months so the gloves are must carry to prevent frost bite, or numbness in the fingers and palm. During the technical treks or High Altitude treks the gloves are mandatory where the rappelling is needed or ascending with the help of rope is needed. Trek Leader will guide you where to wear the gloves.
Padded Hiking Gloves
Woolen cap which we generally use in our plain lands can be carried in the mountains. Woolen caps are generally required during the evening or at the morning when you hike to the sunrise point or summit. Must be carried on any Himalayan Treks.
Posing with Pretty Woolen Caps on Gorkhey River in Gorkhey(PhokteyDara Singalila Trek)
9.Sun Cap and Sunglass:-
Sun cap are mandatory for any treks, to prevent sunburn to a some extent on the face and keep the head protected from the Scorching heat rays of the sun. As we climb higher the scorching heat rays of the sun get more uncomfortable and UV rays creates a bad burning sensation over the face and skin. And one more thing is that covering the head keeps the acclimatization process of the body properly. So Sun cap is mandatory to keep with yourself.
Sunglass is another important thing which should not be missed anyhow, as told earlier the more altitude we climb the scorching sun rays get more uncomfortable even in the winter months, so to prevent the UV rays from entering the eyes the sunglass must be kept, and especially in the deep snow field or long snowfield one must wear the sunglass to prevent snow blindness. Sometimes the reflection of the snow creates an unusual sensation in the eyes which may lead to snow blindness. So in the Himalayan treks one must carry the sunglass.
10. Undergarments/Innerwear (as much less as you can):-
It is generally not possible to change the undergarments or innerwear to change on a regular basis(both male and female). So we recommend the trekkers to carry as much less needed(both male and female), and to minimize the regular change. In that case we suggest to carry an Abzorbic Powder, or any other Hygienic germ killing powders.
11.Trekking shoe(High ankle, rubber sole):-
One of the most important things to carry, without which you cannot move a single steps in the mountains or trails. Things to remember while choosing a trekking shoe.
a. A high ankle
b. Rubber sole, must having proper grip, and the sole must be thick.
c. Comfortable padding inside it.
d. Hooks on either side of the shoe to keep the laces tied tightly and properly.
e. Waterproof body(though most of the shoe looses its waterproofing qualities due to multiple exposure, multiple use, and walking through the rugged terrains and muddy patches, but still it resists the water to insert the inner core of the shoe, and resist the rainfall to get inside the core of the shoe)
f. Strong laces(one may have to walk through rugged terrains, muddy patches so strong thick shoe laces keeps the shoes tight).
g. Don't go for the sport shoes or running shoes since the soles of the sport shoes or running shoes are thinner and might get tear. Sometimes the sport shoes have plain soles which may not provide proper grip while walking through a boulder section or muddy patches and stones specially during rainfall.
h. Buy one size bigger than your actual size of the feet.
i. After you buy the trekking shoe, use it for at-least a week or 10 days on a regular basis so that you might not get any shoe bite, and make your feet and fingers comfortable and used to.
12. Light weighted Slipper:-
One might get uncomfortable by putting on the trekking shoes for a long time, so a very light weighted slipper/keto shoes/crocs are recommended to carry. And put on the crocs/keto/slippers after you reach the campsite. These are also needed at night when you go out of the tent for washroom or toilet tent.
13.Socks-4pairs. and Woolen Socks-1 pair:-
General socks with high ankle must be carried, otherwise one may get shoe bite. Must carry 4 pair of socks, there is a high chance that your socks may stink due to deposition of sweat on the feet, so it is advised to carry at-least 4 pair of socks, which may be changed in alternate days. And woolen socks are generally used in winter months at night when you get inside the sleeping bag.
14.Water bottle-1ltr-(2Nos. if possible):-
Carry strong plastic bottle or a flask(though it might get heavier but generally recommended for carrying in the winter treks, to keep the warm water for the night), which may be used multiple times rather than single use plastic bottles (Himalayan Passion doesn't encourage plastic uses, and littering the mountains with single use plastic water bottles).
We recommend to carry a Gamcha as it is light weighted and takes small space in the sack.
16.Wet Tissue if possible:-
Wet tissue are generally used to keep the face refreshed since you cannot wash the face in the mountains on a regular basis, and to keep the face, shoulder, neck and ears refreshed by wiping of the sweat, sunscreen deposited on these portions.
Torch or head torch is a must carry, since after the sunset you won't be getting any electricity and lights in the campsite, so to walk here and there you must carry a head torch. Sometimes in certain treks we have to start our movement early before the sunrise at dark, especially on a summit day, so a person must carry individual head torch.
18.Camera with Extra battery:-
Who would not like to click some amazing shots in an adventure trip, and especially who have an urge for photography. Photography is a passion, and specially in the laps of the Himalayas, one might find it difficult to miss any frame, of sunrise, sunset, mountain tops, high peaks, valleys, waterfalls, snowfields, glaciers and many more. So if you are thinking of carrying a camera, then remember to carry an extra battery, as due to drop in temperature in High altitude and in the winter months the battery gets drain soon.
Away from the luxurious city life, away from the cubicle desk, away from the network zone no one would want to connect to the city or plains again, coz we come in the Himalayas to get away from all those...Isn't it....? But, yes nowadays most of the people clicks pictures and videos in their mobiles. And the battery gets drain soon, with the drop in temperature, so a powerbank is recommended. And if you are trekking in the terrains where you will get Tea Huts, trekkers Huts, Homestays, you will definitely get a charging point.
20.Personal medicines if you take any:-
Himalayan Passion always keeps medical kit and first aid box, for the emergency and safety purposes. But still if you take any medicine on a regular basis like for diabetic patients/ person suffering from blood pressure/having cardiac issues etc. Female members must carry Sanitary napkins(for monthly menstrual problems).
21.Lip Balm/ cold cream/Hand Sanitizer/Moisturizer:-
All are advised to carry a moisturizer in the High altitude, since the exposure to cold makes the skin dry.
22.Sunscreen lotion above SPF 70:-
All must carry sunscreen as told earlier that as we climb the sun rays get more uncomfortable and provides burning sensation on the skin. And sometimes while on a long High Altitude trek, extreme skin burning may lead to irritation and sometimes to skin cancer as well, so it is advised to apply sunscreen on the bare portion of the body to keep it safe from the UV rays as well as from burning.
23.Tooth Brush+Toothpaste+Paper Soap/Small Soap/Toilet roll paper:-
These are basic necessary items which no one would like to share or forget, and must carry the Toilet paper, for the washroom purpose in the toilet tent.
Trekking Pole serves as a third leg while hiking in both uphill terrain as well as downhill terrain. Though some people doesn't uses trekking pole, but it is advised to carry one specially on a winter trek, to negotiate the snow and ice field.
Participant posing with a trek on the trails of Singalila Pass
Participants descending through the tricky section after crossing Bali Pass with the help of trekking pole
25. Raincoat/Poncho for emergency due to rain:-
Raincoat or poncho is a must carrying accessories in the Himalayan Treks, the weather conditions of the mountains are totally unpredictable, so one must keep the poncho or raincoat to prevent from being drenched in the rain. Whether in a Pre Monsoon trek, Monsoon trek, summer trek or a winter trek, Poncho is a must carrying item, to prevent both from rainfall, as well as snowfall.
A participant wearing Poncho in Bali Base camp due to Snow fall
27.Knapsack/Daypack(A small bag 10ltrs):-
A Knapsack/daypack is recommended to keep important belongings like wallets/ID's/Passport pictures/Electronic items etc.
A participant carrying a Knapsack/Daypack(White colored) in Kashmir Great Lakes
Above mentioned are the mandatory backpacking items which one must carry during a Himalayan Trek. Hope the trekkers and mountain lovers should keep it in mind, and arrange all the items in order.
Trek Leader/Captain of Himalayan Passion provides a demo of backpacking in base camp during the briefing session, and how to pack the stuffs in order during the trek, so that one may not get confused.