The Indian summer is harsh, even unbearable. But it brings respite in two awesome ways – mangoes and the snow capped peaks in the Himalayas. The joy of trekking on these peak is unmatchable. However, this is one place where you need to be equipped to the hilt for the unforeseen. The Bragpacking guide to the ultimate Himalayan hike is all you need to ensure there are no unforeseen obstacles in your way.
The weather is usually nice and sunny during the day but nights get bitterly cold (the higher you get the colder it gets). So you got to pack for both.
- Good Hiking boots: First things first. Don’t think you can beat the mountain terrain with your nifty sneakers or those doc martens. Hiking boots can make or break your trek. Make sure they are comfy, big enough so you can wear two pairs of socks in them (to prevent blisters). If you are buying a new pair make sure you have broken in properly before the trek.
- Trekking sandals: Your feet need a break after that long day. Get comfy sandals that can be worn with wear socks, otherwise your feet will get really cold.
- Trekking trousers: It is so cold you can barely wash your face, let alone doing your laundry. Make sure to pack at least 2 pairs of trekking trousers. They are made with special materials that not only absorb sweat but yet remain odourless and also insulate you against the wind.
- Fleece lined tracksuit: Essential when you are not hiking and relaxing at the camp sites or simply stargazing at night. The fleece lining will protect you from the cold. They are light weight and the bag won’t bulge.
- Fleece or wool hat: Usually available at the base camps or base towns of popular hikes, it is a must to keep the cold air from getting into your head and ears. It will keep you cozy and warm especially when you sleep.
- At least 6 pairs of socks: Ideally get various types- 2 lining socks, which prevent you from getting blisters; 2 trekking socks to wear on top of the lining socks; and 2 padded trekking socks, under which you don’t have to wear lining socks because of the padding.
- Lining gloves and windproof gloves: Head, neck, feet and body all secured; but don’t leave your fingers in the cold. Normal fleece gloves don’t protect against the the wind which can easily numb your hands. If you are using your phone camera, they also have touch sensitive gloves for that.
- Trekking pole: It is a lifesaver. They are invaluable for steep ascents as you can lean your whole body weight onto them. Your knees will also thank you during descents.
- Head torch and spare batteries: You are in the midst of nature and likely that some villages or camps don’t have electricity at night and you will inevitably have to go to the toilet at night. This will be your best friend to fight the fear of the cold, dark nights. Rent one easily!
- Sleeping bag: Of course, you miss your bed. But nothing is more warm and comfortable than a sleeping bag up there. They are quite high maintenance when not in use and expensive, so rent yours here.
- Sleeping bag liner: Great way to ensure hygiene especially if travelling in a group (where sleeping bags are provided). These will also give you an extra layer of insulation at night.
- Backpack: The true spirit of a hiker is one carrying his own gear. A durable, all weather backpack will not only accommodate all your stuff but also sit well on your shoulders thus being less bulky. Do not be stingy in your choice of a backpack – it will carry your world for the days on the trail and a well designed one will go a long way in carrying that load.
- Daypack: If the trip involves short day trips, a separate daypack will be a boon to carry all your essentials such as the camera, water bottle, snack, gloves .
- Photography equipment: This is where the options are limitless – depending on your appetite, you can go from a simple point and shoot (make it a superzoom one) or a GoPro, a 360* camera or the trusty DSLR with a solid lens or two. You will seldom do the same trek twice (all that effort, again?). Make the most of this trip of a lifetime and capture the views the best possible way. Take what you own, rent the rest from us
- Mountain sunglasses: Polarized sunglasses with UV protection that can be worn at 5500m altitude.are highly recommended as the sun is very strong up in the mountains and if there is snow it can blind you.
Apart from the basic toiletries- toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush make sure to pack a 50 SPF or above sunscreen & lip balm. The sunlight above 2000m is much stronger, so you want to make sure that your skin is protected.
Hand sanitizer is handy as you will be walking and climbing through the woods and you may not always find water to clean your hand before you eat.
Pack a personal medical kit that includes Diamox tablets(to curb altitude sickness), band aids, blister plasters, painkillers for those altitude related headaches, diarrhoea tablets, water sterilizing and neutralizing tablets (buying water during the trek is fairly expensive and sometimes unavailable). Besides, where else can you taste the water of melting glacier. Just sterilize them to make sure it is safe for drinking.
All this being said, the weight of your luggage is something you should monitor closely. Anything over 10kg is a cause of concern when doing long hikes. So choose your gear carefully and dont overplan your contingency packing
If you need expert help in anything suggested above, give us a call and the Bragpacker team will be happy to help 🙂