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Packing for your first Himalayan trek

As part of the preparation for our Hampta Pass Trek in the Himalayas (about which I have already written here) there were other aspects too which had to be taken care of before we actually head out to the mountains. After some basic research, tips from other people who have been active trekkers and the guys at my trekking agency, I was able to compile a list of all the things which we were supposed to carry on the trek. Let me share the same list here albeit, in a much more structured way (I bet you would not like it if I share it the way I used it).

How To pack for himalayan trek
Packing for your first Himalayan trek

What Food To Carry On a Himalayan Trek

No, you don’t have to carry all your food items (as that is your trek agency’s job) but as you will have to walk for long hours during the daytime, you will need a constant supply of energy. The best things to carry for such situations are dry-fruits and chocolates. We carried the following:

  • Cashews
  • Kishmish (raisins)
  • Almonds
  • Mixed dry-fruits
  • Snickers Nutri bars
  • Small Five Star choco-bars
  • Cadbury Toffees
  • Glucon D (forgot to take it)

It might sound a bit more to some but believe me, you will thank yourself every-time you put that sweet toffee in your dry mouth while you are on the move or maybe, taking a quick break on the side of a big mountain overlooking the fast-flowing river below.

Also Read: All You Should Know About Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)

What to wear for Hampta Pass Trek?

One good thing about packing for the mountains is that, you don’t have to carry a lot of clothes (you will hardly change or take a shower in the cold weather of mountains anyway 😉 ). The thing that worked brilliantly for us is, getting a couple of quick-dry track-pants and multiple layers of fleece jackets topped with a light but good rain-protection. You never know when it is going to rain in the mountains. No matter in which trek, you will start feeling hot (maybe even sweating) once you start walking but as soon as you stop, the mountains will make you feel themselves. Having multiple layers makes it easier to take them off & on.

Easy to take-off/on fleece jacket, Hampta pass trek
Easy to take-off/on fleece jacket, Hampta pass trek

Things to carry on a Himalayan Trek (what we carried on the trek)

  • Rain Coat (you can also take poncho if you prefer)
  • Backpacks (we had a 40L & a 60L) with rain covers
  • Trekking Shoes (Forclaz 500 for both of us)
  • 2 pair of Quick Dry Tees
  • 2 pair of Trek Pants
  • 6 pair of Socks (1 pair woolen)
  • Fleece Jacket ( 2 each)
  • Thermal jackets & pants (forgot to put them in the bag 🙁 )
  • Heavy Jacket (for both of us)
  • Sun Cap (very helpful)
  • Sunglasses
  • One Scarf
  • Light towels (2 pieces)
  • Fleece gloves (1 pair)
  • Woollen gloves (1 pair)
  • Inner-wears

Some random but useful stuff we carried for the trek

One of the best things about being in the Himalayas is the fresh air you breathe in, the virgin beauty you see whichever way you turn and, the sweetest water you get to drink, straight from the mountain streams. All you need to do is fill it in a bottle and have a sip or even better, drink directly from the stream 🙂 . Also, you need to make sure you don’t step on one of the cold streams and wet your socks when you get out in the dark, flowing beside your camp. To be on the safer side, we carried the following things:

  • 1 Water Bottle (Quechua)
  • 1 Torchlight with enough batteries
  • 2 pair of slippers
  • Extra poly-bags (for carrying wet clothes)
  • Walking pole
  • 10400 mAh Power bank
  • Three mobile phones
  • Safety pins
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Toilet paper (1 roll)
  • Tissue Paper (1 big packet)
  • Paper soap (1 packet)
  • Wet tissue (1 packet)
Cold yet not so cold while walking - Hampta pass trek
Cold yet not so cold while walking – Hampta pass trek

Medicines we carried for the trek

Every single time I have been to the mountains, the simple cold & cough or similar nuisances have vanished on their own in the pureness of the Himalayas. However, in the past, even though I have been in the mountains, I have always been in and around civilization and hence had never bothered to take any medicines along. Of course apart from Diamox which I religiously start taking whenever in the higher Himalayas. I took it during my Ladakh trip and we took it this time.

  • Aciloc
  • Eno
  • Avil
  • Metrogyl
  • Saridon
  • ORS (small packets)
  • Diamox 250 (1 strip)
  • Paracetamol
  • Hajmola
  • Vicks Vaporub
  • Iodex
  • Crepe bandage
  • Band-aid strips (10 strips)

Photography gear we carried for the Trek

Apart from the fact that I just love being in the Himalayas anyway, photographing in and around the Himalayas is also something I really enjoy. Going on a trek in the Himalayas gives you a much better opportunity to shoot and capture the pristine beauty of the majestic mountains than you would get during any other form of travel. To make the most out of it, I carried the following photography gear:

  • Nikon D3100
  • Nikon 18-55 VR
  • Nikkor 50mm 1.8 G
  • Polaroid XS 100
  • Lowepro AW 100 (with rain cover)
  • HOYA ND8 filter
  • SLIK Tripod
  • Monopod
  • Extra battery for DSLR
  • Nikon intervalometer
All packed and ready - Hampta Pass trekking
All packed and ready – Hampta Pass trekking

Of all the things we took, I would not say there was any extra thing which I should not have carried. In fact, I missed my thermal inner-wear on the third day of the trek.

Note: The advice applies only for multi-day treks where your sleeping-bags, tents, and food is taken care of by a trekking agency (or someone else).

Do you think I have missed something which should have been there in one of the lists above?

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You can also download the above listicles as pdf from here.

21 thoughts on “Packing for your first Himalayan trek”

  1. Nicely compiled list.
    I found safety pins,crepe bandage,bandaid, missing frm the list.
    The heavy jacket u carried, was used on which day of the trek?
    Was it used at nights all through?
    Another surprising ommission was glucon d,,,,
    One should keep on adding a heap full to one litre of water, all through.
    Far better than chocolates I guess to re energise.
    Yeh jaan mei jaan daal dae
    Pita hii.

    1. Thanks doc saab. Band-aid & crepe bandage are already listed. Glucon d was something I forgot at home, just like I forgot the thermals. Will add it to the list. We did not think safety pins would be needed and hence did not add it to the list but Ruchi had them anyway and guess what, we actually needed them. So will add them to the list too!

    2. Ah and yes, the heavy jacket was mainly needed on the 3rd day and night. If you don’t want to carry one, you can carry couple of extra fleece jackets and that should be fine.

  2. Oh My Lord!!… you can drink straight from the Himayalan sweet waters, for a minute I thought this was the amrita talked about in our Lore stories…. that blue baggy looks lovely… now I only wonder how you can stay wearing the same cloths and not have bath… Nice instructions… I can just see you will keep chanting about the beauty etc etc… and I take it we got to see it and feel it to understand. So that bike bag was for bike trip to another Himalayan place… How many kms did you trek, till hat height, and did you have some base camp stuff you had to come back to where you left those packed bags… good… I can understand we become cold resistant as we walk around there for a while… I don’t think chocolates is a brilliant idea, but they will be hard and unmelted in that weather?… anyway goodday!!

    1. Yes. Those bags were for the bike trip, and you are true when you say you have to be there experience it
      :-). The entire trek was of some 35-36 kms, to get an idea, think about it as walking more than double the distance in plains. We used to camp every night. And yed,the chocolates remained solid.

      1. Well… suggest marie and goodday biscuits as well. So another blog is coming on how you went there I reckon, from your place to Delhi via some plane, then bus to the destination etc (: … so while your trekking you obviously did not carry big bag… how was that brought…left somewhere?…carried by organisers… sorry if the question is silly but it intrigues me and I will it again some other comment then.

          1. by horses?… you mean the bag has to be carried around where ever we go, that will be difficult!!, others also put bags on horses, won’t horses find it difficult to trek, they also living things and need rest and refreashment like us…

          2. Haha… No no…! The horses are very powerful and carry luggage and people all around the world in difficult terrains. The luggage the horses used to carry was not something we needed in the day time. We used to arrange the bags accordingly.

  3. Wonderful compilation Rajiv. A nicely planned trip is target half achieved. Planning become more important when traveling in an unforgiving terrain like Himalayas. Can one hire a separate porter/horse for personal belongings like your rucksacks?

    1. Thanks Ankur bhai. Its not actually required to hire a pony altogether. You can pay a per bag per day price for your backpack. I paid 200 / per bag / day for the one bag I wanted carried by the pony.

      All you have to do is, inform the agency that you wish to give your bag(s) to a pony/porter to be carried so that they can arrange for it beforehand.


    1. Thanks a lot Ami, glad that you like it. Also, don’t hesitate to shoot me an email in-case you have any more queries which is/are not answered here.

  4. Good list Rajiv , this would be very useful for trek planners

    I usually carry a good Swiss army knife and Fire Starter during such trips.

    in addition to that
    a pair of specs and extra contact lens
    Small Hand sanitiser
    Toilet roll
    extra pair of shoe laces
    small sewing kit
    Sunscreen which I never use and regret later 🙂
    quart of brandy – purely medicinal in case of emergencies
    Thermal blanket

    Also its recommended to use a cap which covers your head completely when you are in the mountain.

    By the way 3 Mobile phone :O what were you guys thinking 😀

    One last point,
    I know many people have a difference of opinion on this but Diamox should only be consumed when you start having AMS symptoms. Diamox is not meant to be used as a preventive medication , its main purpose is to buy you time so that you can come back to safer altitude .

    Consuming Diamox will mask AMS symptoms, creating a dangerous situation where your symptoms are revealed too late 🙂

    1. Great additions Vinod!

      I thought of carrying my Swiss knife but as I planned to carry my back-pack as cabin baggage hence dropped the idea. You don’t actually need fire starting kit if you have a kitchen staff. Thermal blankets is a good idea but we did not have one and Hampta was not that cold anyway.

      3 mobile phones, well 1 was a backup torch and 2 were cameras for times when you don’t want to pull out the DSLR 😉

      About Diamox, well during the preparation of my Ladakh ride, couple of senior doctors suggested me to start taking diamox 24 hours before I head to the hills. The reason being something related to use of oxygen by the body. Also, have read the same elsewhere as well.

      I totally agree with you about the full head-covering cap. I however only took a sun-cap and luckily had no issues.

      We did take toilet paper. Also, tissue paper, wet tissues and paper soaps. Have added them in the list above. Thanks again.

      Sewing kit, I am not very sure and never actually thought about it because even if I had one, I would not have been able to use it anyway :p .

      But now that I think of it, I am pretty sure Ruchi must have carried these!

    1. One of the best things about the Hampta Pass trek or any trek for that matter is the fact that, you are totally disconnected from the world out there. You can be on your own.

      In case of Hampta pass trek, there will be no mobile network from Day 1 to day 5. You will get mobile network only once you near Manali.

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