Nepal Trek Packing List for Women

Packing for a trek in Nepal means bringing way less than you think you'll need.

You’ve got plane tickets. You’re committed to going trekking in Nepal. Maybe you’re headed to Everest Base Camp, or the ever-popular Annapurna Circuit Trek. Or perhaps you’re going for the more off-the-beaten-path Manaslu Circuit or Mustang treks. Either way, you’re in for the adventure of a lifetime. Now it’s time to start planning.

 

It’s difficult to figure out what to pack for Nepal. You’ll be exposed to freezing temperatures and maybe near-tropical climates. You have to be prepared for wind, rain, and snow. But if you use this trek packing list for women, you’ll be prepared for everything the trail throws at you.

 

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to purchase through these links, I receive a percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you, which helps me keep this site up and running.

 

Luggage

 

One of the most important decisions you’ll make as you prepare to trek in Nepal is whether you want to hire a guide and a porter or trek independently. (Check out this post for more on the pros and cons of each option.) If you decide to hire a porter, you won’t need to carry everything you own on your back the whole time. But if you trek independently, you will.

 

Backpack: Osprey Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack

 

 

Your main travel pack needs to be big enough to fit all your trekking gear, but absolutely no bigger than that. Even if you’re hiring a porter to carry it, you will still be restricted to a reasonable size and weight for them to carry.

 

The Osprey Farpoint 55 provides the perfect balance between weight and size. It’s big enough to fit a sleeping bag, in addition to all of your usual trekking clothes. But it’s not so bulky that you’ll feel weighted down by it.

 

If you read this blog regularly, you know I’m a true believer in Osprey packs. They are incredibly durable. They load from the front, so they’re easy to pack and unpack. And they have just the right number of pouches so you can stay organized, without losing all your stuff. Your pack will endure a lot while you’re trekking in Nepal, and Osprey is the only brand I would trust to hold up to the elements.

 

Daypack: Osprey Day Lite

 

If you hire a porter in Nepal, you'll only need to carry a lightweight day pack.
Standing at the top of a hill with my lightweight Osprey Day Lite

 

Your trek packing list for Nepal only needs to include a day pack if you’ve decided to hire a porter. (If you’ll be carrying your own bag, you’ll need to fit everything in your main backpack.)

 

The Osprey Day Lite is the perfect size to fit everything you need during the trekking day, while still being small and lightweight enough to make the hiking easy. Despite its small size, it can fit a surprising amount of gear. It has waist and chest straps to help with weight distribution. And it has a pouch at the back where you can fit your water bladder.

 

Backpack rain cover

Packing a rain cover for Nepal can keep your electronics and clothes safe and dry.
You can’t always count on good weather in Nepal. Bring a rain cover to protect your stuff from flash storms.

Even if you’re traveling to Nepal during the peak trekking season of October-December, you never know what the weather will bring. Better to be safe than sorry — so don’t leave Kathmandu without a rain cover for your backpack.

 

All the trekking guides in Nepal use the Joy Walker rain cover. It’s affordable and it’s definitely waterproof. Be sure to choose the correct size for your backpack.

 

You may want a rain cover for your day pack too, especially if you’re traveling in off-season. But if that seems excessive, at least pack a few extra ziplock bags to put your electronics in in the event of a downpour or if you have to do a river crossing.

 

Trekking gear

 

You’ll need a few specialty items on your trek packing list for Nepal. If you want high quality, you’re better off purchasing in advance. But in a pinch, all these items are available cheaply in Kathmandu.

 

Down Sleeping Bag (rated to -15 degrees Celsius/0 degrees Fahrenheit)

 

A down sleeping bag is one of the few pieces of essential hiking gear for Nepal
Huddling in my down sleeping bag while camping at 4,400 meters.

 

If there is one item on this Nepal trek packing list you should not skimp on, it’s your sleeping bag. This will be your only protection from the frigid temperatures in unheated tea houses or tents at 4,000+ meters.

 

This option from Kelty will keep you warm all night regardless of the cold and wind outside. Alternatively, pick up a knock-off North Face one in Kathmandu — or rent one from a trekking agency. Just be sure to check for tears and leaking feathers.

 

Sleeping bag liner

 

See also  Southeast Asia Packing List for women

Many treks in Nepal actually start in near-tropical climates, where you’d be miserable sleeping in a down sleeping bag. And tea houses don’t provide bedding. So in addition to your big sleeping bag, also carry a lightweight sleeping bag liner like this one.

 

Even when you start using your sleeping bag, you can double up with your liner inside. This has the added benefit of keeping your sleeping bag clean throughout the trek — and sleeping bag liners are a lot easier to wash than sleeping bags.

 

Trekking poles

 

Trekking poles are important hiking equipment to conquer the steep descents in Nepal.
You will not regret packing trekking poles when you face a descent like this.

 

Even the most die-hard hikers, who have trained extensively in advance, usually find trekking poles helpful in Nepal. They take a huge amount of weight off your knees, especially on descents, and especially when you’re carrying your own backpack.

 

If you add trekking poles to your trek packing list once you’re already in Kathmandu, be sure to purchase from a reputable shop and test them out a bit in advance. There’s nothing worse than getting two days into your trek and breaking your poles, well before the big descents at the end.

 

For more information on why it’s so important to protect your knees, check out my post on hiking safety tips in Nepal.

 

Micro Spikes (seasonal and optional)

 

Many treks in Nepal — including Everest Base Camp and the Annapurna Circuit — involve snowy pass crossings or other slippery paths. Depending on your comfort level with icy conditions and the time of year that you’re traveling, you may want micro spikes (essentially low-key crampons) to avoid falling.

 

Having experienced the extremely-steep descent on the Manaslu Circuit Trek in the snow and ice, I would definitely recommend you bring micro spikes if you are at all nervous on descents. My guide recommended them to me, most of the other trekkers around us had them, and my trekking buddy was pretty miserable without them.

 

They’re not absolutely necessary, and I felt fine without them (although I did slip and fall several times), but I’m a very confident hiker and I don’t have knee problems.

 

This set works pretty well and is lightweight and easy to carry. You may have trouble finding micro spikes in Kathmandu.

 

Clothing

 

The golden rule for a successful Nepal trek packing list is to bring layers — but only one item for each layer. This keeps your weight down while still giving you the full range of clothing you need for the variety of climates you’ll experience.

 

Don’t skimp on buying the right clothing for trekking in Nepal. Fabrics like Merino Wool are expensive, but they really do work, and you can often wait for sales and get these items relatively cheaply. Merino is particularly amazing because it doesn’t absorb odor, it dries quickly, and it keeps you cool in hot weather and warm in cold weather. Whatever you do, don’t pack cotton — it takes forever to dry.

 

Tops

 

Merino wool clothes make for some of the best hiking gear
You really only need a handful of tops for trekking in Nepal — one option for each layer.

 

You really only need four shirts when you’re trekking in Nepal — three options for walking in, and one to change into at the end of the day (so you don’t have to sleep in sweaty, dirty clothing).

 

First, pack a base layer wool t-shirt. This should be something with sleeves, as trekking in sleeveless shirts is culturally unacceptable in Nepal. You can wear this during the day until you get up to around 3,000 meters.

 

Once it’s too cold to wear a t-shirt, switch to a wool long-sleeved shirt. This will be lightweight enough that you’re not sweating like crazy during the warm, sunny days, but warm enough that you won’t freeze when the wind picks up. As an added bonus, it’ll protect your arms from the sun — essential at altitude, where you’re more likely to get burned.

 

Your final trekking layer should be a wool fleece. This doesn’t need to be super-thick, as the wool fabric will keep you warm regardless.

 

In addition to your hiking clothes, you’ll also want a clean shirt to change into after hiking. A lightweight Merino wool sweater works best for both hot and cold climates.

 

Pants

 

You really only need two pairs of pants on your trek packing list — one for hiking in and another for sleeping in.

 

These hiking pants work well. You can beat them up, get them dusty and dirty, and not wash them for two weeks and they’ll be fine. They also convert into capris for those hot days in more tropical areas.

See also  Phnom Penh Itinerary: 3 days in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

 

For your post-trekking pants, pick up a pair of Merino leggings. If you have to, you can also use these as a base layer while hiking when it’s really cold.

 

Jackets

 

When you pack your trekking clothes, don't forget a down jacket and a rain coat.
You probably won’t trek much in your jackets, but you’ll need them for hanging out in town with no heating after you’re done walking for the day.

 

Your outer layers when trekking in Nepal need to accomplish two things — keeping you warm and keeping you dry.

 

Your rain jacket should be lightweight and un-insulated so you can trek comfortably in it in more humid, tropical climates. I like this North Face rain jacket.

 

Your last line of defense against high-altitude cold and wind is your outermost layer — a down jacket. You won’t necessarily hike in this, but it is absolutely necessary for sitting around tea houses in the afternoon and at night. Go with real down, even if it’s bulky. This option from North Face will definitely keep you warm. You can also rent decent-quality knockoff North Face jackets in Kathmandu.

 

Underwear, hats, and gloves

 

A good hat and thick gloves are essential hiking gear.
A good hat and thick gloves are essential when you get up high.

 

Bring at least five pairs of underwear on your trek. They pack light, and you don’t want to run out when you’re at altitude and it’s too cold for them to dry overnight. Avoid cotton — it dries too slowly.

 

You could probably get away with one sports bra, but I didn’t regret bringing two. It makes laundry easier, and again, they pack light.

 

Invest in a really good warm hat for trekking in Nepal. You’ll want a beanie-style hat that covers your ears and protects them from the sun. Merino wool is a good bet here — I like this one. Additionally, you may want a headband for when it’s not quite cold enough for a hat (or just to keep your hair out of your eyes). This is a good option.

 

Finally, pack a good pair of cold-weather gloves. These gloves offer excellent protection from the wind and snow. I especially like that they’re dual-layer — so you can wear the thinner liners on their own when it’s warmer, and then add the thicker shells when it’s really cold.

 

Footwear

 

The best hiking boots are Merrells -- they make it easy to take on trails like this.
When the trail looks like this, Merrell hiking boots come in handy.

 

The single most important item you will pack for Nepal is your hiking boots. You should definitely purchase these at home, and you should break them in well before your Nepal trek. I highly recommend these Merrells, which can survive anything and will never give you blisters.

 

You should also pack a pair of sandals for stream crossings and to wear after you finish trekking. Because you may need to wade through rivers in them, flip-flops won’t really work. Go for sturdier sandals like these Tevas instead.

 

You really only need three pairs of socks on your trek packing list — two warm-weather and one cold-weather pair. You can wash them as you go. Long wool socks are the way to go so you don’t get blisters.

 

Toiletries

 

Your Annapurna, Manaslu, or Everest Base Camp packing list should include wet wipes -- aka "trekker's showers"
No hot showers here…

 

You really don’t need much in the way of toiletries when trekking in Nepal. After all, you’ll go several days without showering. Even when you have access to running water, the water pressure is so weak you can’t wash your hair anyway.

 

Here’s a list to get you started on your trek packing list:

  • A bar of Lush solid shampoo — carry-on friendly and it lasts forever
  • A bar of soap
  • Travel towel like this one from REI
  • Toothbrush
  • One tube of toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Wet wipes (aka “trekker’s showers”)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Contact lenses (with at least two buffer pairs) and/or glasses if you need them
  • Razor
  • Hairbrush and hair ties
  • One small bottle of high-SPF sunscreen. This is hard to find in Kathmandu and absolutely essential at altitude.
  • Laundry sheets. You can do your laundry at tea houses.
  • Clothespins — Hang your wet laundry on the outside of your backpack while trekking, and it’ll dry before lunchtime.
  • Ibuprofin or other over-the-counter pain reliever.
  • Toilet paper. Always have a roll in your day pack.
  • Small packets of Kleenex.

 

Electronics

 

Add a spare camera battery to your trek packing list.
If your camera battery dies in the cold weather, you’ll miss out on the classic “I made it” trek photo. Bring a spare.

 

On popular treks like the Annapurna Circuit and Everest Base Camp, you’ll have pretty consistent access to electricity wherever you go. (You’ll often have to pay for it, though.) On more remote treks, electricity is a rarity and WiFi is nonexistent. If you absolutely must stay connected, pick up a local SIM card for your phone. Even then, don’t expect to have good enough connections to do anything besides check email.

 

Of course, Nepal is naturally stunning — so don’t forget a camera, and add a few spare batteries and memory cards to your trek packing list!

See also  Angkor Cycling Tour: Three days of temples by bicycle (self-guided)

 

Here’s a short list of what you really need:

 

Water and food

 

Pack some good hiking snacks like dried fruit and nuts before you leave Kathmandu.
Once you get on the trail, there is virtually no healthy food available. Just expensive Pringles and Oreos. Pack your own.

 

One of the cardinal rules when you’re on a Himalaya trek is don’t buy bottled water. It contributes to plastic waste, which as you’ll see pretty quickly in the mountains, is a huge problem. So your trek packing list should include a few supplies to keep you self-sufficient in terms of water.

 

The easiest way to stay hydrated on the trail is with a water bladder. This way you can drink while you’re walking, which means you’ll naturally drink more. The two-liter version is plenty — you rarely have to walk more than an hour between water stops.

 

You’ll also need a water purification method. I prefer the Steri Pen — a small, rechargeable U/V light that you stir in water from any source for 90 seconds to purify. It’s convenient, easy, and it doesn’t affect the taste. I used it the whole time I was in Nepal and definitely filled my bottle from some questionable sources, and didn’t get sick.

 

The one downside to the Steri Pen is it’s battery-operated. Batteries die quickly in cold weather, and you don’t want to be caught up high with no clean water source and no electricity to recharge. You can avoid this by putting your Steri Pen in your sleeping bag at night, but it’s also a good idea to bring some backup purification tablets just in case. You can pick these up in Kathmandu.

 

Additionally, with the Steri Pen you can only purify one liter of water at a time — so you can’t do it directly in your Camelbak. Bring a backup 1 liter water bottle as well. This also comes in handy if your Camelbak hose freezes.

 

When you arrive in Kathmandu, add a few snacks to your trek packing list. When you’re on the trail you won’t be able to buy much, and everything is very expensive. The backpacker district Thamel has a few big supermarkets where you can pick up dried fruits, nuts, and biscuits. I brought four packs of nuts and two packs of dried fruits and was set for two weeks.

 

Other miscellaneous trek packing list essentials

 

Don't go trekking in Nepal without your own map.
Bring your own map so you know where to find the good side trips — like this 6-hour hike to one of Nepal’s oldest gompas.

 

There are two small items that can make your tea house experience far more pleasant. The first is a headlamp. This comes in handy for midnight bathroom runs, trekking on high passes in the dark, and in case your bus to the trail head breaks down on the side of the road and you have to walk the last hour into town at 10 pm (it happens!).

 

The second thing to make trail life easier is a sarong. You can use this as an extra layer in chilly tea houses, a towel when you want to take a dip in trail-side hot springs, a scarf if you need more conservative clothing to visit a gompa, and a privacy screen for toilet stops along the trail.

 

Whatever you do, don’t forget a map on your trek packing list. Even if you’re trekking with a guide, you should carry your own. The best maps are the ones sold on the streets of Thamel, but this Lonely Planet trekking guide can help you interpret the local maps. (It’s not worth buying unless you’re doing Everest Base Camp or an Annapurna region trek — the rest of its coverage is pretty lame.)

 

Stick a pair of sunglasses with good U/V protection in your backpack. You’ll want to wear these once you get up to about 2,500 meters to protect your eyes.

 

Finally, bring at least one book, a few podcast episodes, or an audio book for your Nepal trek. Try to bring something lightweight but long enough to keep you occupied for long post-trek tea house afternoons and evenings.

 

And that’s it! Use this packing list and you’ll be completely prepared for trekking in Nepal — no matter which trek you choose.

 

Want to learn more about traveling in Nepal? Read my ultimate budget backpacking guide here!

 

Have you been trekking in Nepal? Did I miss anything you should pack? Leave a comment!

 

Like this post? Pin it!

 

Planning to hike Everest Base Camp or the Annapurna Circuit, but not sure what to bring? This trek packing list will help you prepare for trekking in Nepal. #nepal #trekking #travel

 

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josypheen
josypheen
5 years ago

Excellent post! I really hope I can do this one day…so all this detailed information is really helpful!

seekneverland
seekneverland
5 years ago

You’re so experienced. This was a great list. Well thought out with stuff even I would have missed *cough* rain cover. I hope to do this one day soon.

steph and zach dorworth

Although I won’t be trekking Nepal anytime soon, I am doing a week long hiking trip in the Grand Canyon. SO I can use many of these tips and gear for my trip too! I have my Osprey backpack and love it! Going to checkout some of these clothing ideas. Thanks for the ideas!

LDH Is TravelAtWill
5 years ago

Thanks for the great comprehensive packing list. We may not be going to Nepal, but many of the suggestions are good for other types of hikes. I would definitely try to pack light even if though I know I would want a porter. A good idea to make sure the day pack is light as well. Every time we have relied on just plastic bags to keep stuff dry, we regret it. We now have a rain cover for the backpack we use for day trips. I had never through of a sleeping bag liner! Trekking poles are something we… Read more »

Jenn and Ed Coleman
5 years ago

Definitely a solid list. I would up my pills from just ibuprofen to probably a dozen or so OTC essentials, and maybe a steroid and z-pack set. Would put in a roll of duct tape too. The microcleats are something I didn’t think of and sound super helpful.

Andi
5 years ago

This was a really in depth post! The photo of the store with Pringles is shocking! I’m sure 20 years ago things were a bit different. My hubby really wants to go to Nepal, I’ve kept this as a guide for a future trip!

Ann
Ann
5 years ago

This is such a thorough list — so helpful to anyone heading to trek in Nepal. This is the kind of journey that absolutely requires perfect planning, because if you forget something, replacing it is pretty much impossible once you’re out there. Great post!

Elaine Masters
5 years ago

Oh my goodness, this is so far from my comfort zone and yet tantalizing. I love hiking but altitude and long distances aren’t that appealing. Seeing these wild sides of Nepal are though. Thanks for your window into this adventure and all the planning involved.

Indrani
5 years ago

That is lot of planning involved before the trek. I guess it is essential too.
You have listed them out so well, very helpful for a first timer as guide.

Mei & Kerstin 👭🌍 (@_travelwithmk)

We’re not going to Nepal, but to Peru and Bolivia soon. The weather and air condition are different, but your packing list is also great for us! So thank you for this!

Cathy Salvador Mendoza

As Nepal been part of our travel destinations, it’s nice to read such a post to guide us from our expedition here. Hopefully we’ll make it next year. So, there can be some occasional rains even if it’s peak trekking season? A good quality or helpful backpack cover is a must then. And headlamp! That’s indeed an item that shouldn’t be forgotten!

Sarah
5 years ago

What a great packing list!! We are heading to Banff and I will have to copy some of your packing suggestions! Thank you!

Coco
5 years ago

Such a great guide. Nepal is at the top of my travel bucket list, although I don’t know if I could do any hardcore trekking!

Sarah - Borders & Bucket Lists

Wow thanks for such an extensive list! I usually cap my hikes at about three hours so food, water, and a cell phone for pictures are all I bring LOL.

Jean
Jean
5 years ago

I love my osprey bags! They are the bomb. So comfy to wear, easy to clean and generally a great peodicut. A bad bag can ruin your adventure so fast.

waitingforrain28
5 years ago

This is an amazing list! So comprehensive! I do have a specific question, since I see that you guys hiked in the snow. Were your pants good for the snow? Or did you feel the need for something waterproof as well?

twobytour
5 years ago

A headlamp is such a great call and one I’ve lamented not having before. Excellent list overall and your pictures are gorgeous.

tessdenoya
tessdenoya
5 years ago

First off, I love the title of your blog! I’m never make a trip like this, but regardless, your tips are useful for other types of adventures as well. Not to mention, I think I just picked up a few ideas for my son’s Christmas gifts!

pakulele
pakulele
5 years ago

Wow you are awesome! I recently did Rinjani volcano trekking in Indonesia and had similar impression. Hope to go to Nepal one day.

atruthfultraveler
atruthfultraveler
5 years ago

It seems like this is really an adventure where you need to pack diligently! I’ve seen more and more people doing it recently though and it looks amazing!

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