What to pack for the Everest Base Camp trek
Leticia Dick is a longtime team member at Kathmandu, avid adventurer, photographer, and travel blogger. You can follow her at @livinglikeafreebird.
Ever since I could remember, hiking to Everest Base Camp (EBC) has been my dream and in 2019 I finally did it! Everest Base Camp is no walk in the park, I can assure you of that. What helped me throughout my hike was making sure I packed the appropriate gear.
Not only am I a photographer but for the last six years I have also been a Kathmandu team member. Both working as a Sales Assistant for Kathmandu and doing the Everest Base Camp trek have given me insight into what gear you should be packing for your next trip to Everest Base Camp.
During my EBC hike, there were a few things I noted which I didn’t realise initially going into my trip – baggage allowances, water, how much you should be packing of each item, and my favourite pieces of Kathmandu gear that I used. Regardless of whether you are doing this as a solo journey or if you are doing the EBC trek with a tour group, these tips will still apply.
Baggage weight in Nepal
As most of you would be well aware, your first pit stop in this long journey is flying into the infamous Tenzing–Hillary Airport in Lukla. Yes, these planes are very tiny, which is why there have to be strict baggage allowances for the safety of the aircraft.
10kg for your main luggage (big backpack) and 5kg for your carry-on luggage (small day pack). You can always pay for extra kilos, but it will cost you an extra USD$1 per kg. While this is cheap, I don’t advise this, because what you pack you have to carry. You should be trying to limit the weight as much as possible as it is a long hike.
I did my EBC hike with Intrepid Travel. I used them because they are not only a well-renowned travel tour company, but also hold responsible travel values for sustainable and ethical travel.
You will witness many donkeys, yaks and dzos (also spelled zo or zho, it is a half-yak, half-cow), wandering up and down the pathways. They carry hikers' bags, rice, food, water, dal bhat, just about everything that you see along the way. I do not advise you to go with a tour company that uses animals to do these jobs. Instead, give work to the porters so they can support local communities.
Porters have a 30kg limit to what they are able to carry – which is normally two 15kg bags. So please be aware of this and limit your baggage weight when packing.
What to pack for the Everest Base Camp trek
This all depends on what time of the year you decide to hike to EBC. My trip was in October which is during one of the peak seasons to hike to EBC. Even though this was the end of the Monsoon Season, I still did experience various types of weather (sun, rain and snow). This list is a general rule on what you should be packing, no matter the season.
The first item you should be purchasing is a good pair of hiking shoes. The hiking shoes that I used were the Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GORE-TEX Women’s Boots. I have been using these hiking shoes for years now and have never had an issue with them. It is really important to go and try on a few different pairs of hiking shoes just to see which ones suit your feet properly. Make sure to wear them in before your hike, as you don’t want to find out during EBC that they were no good. Learn more about choosing hiking boots here.
Make sure to always fit your hiking shoes with a nice pair of merino socks and merino liners. I used both the NuYarn Ergonomic Hiking Socks/Thermo Twin Pack Socks and MerinoLINK Liner Socks. I recommend five pairs of merino hiking socks and two pairs of the merino liner socks. Use one pair to sleep at night or your feet will get cold!
Browse more hiking footwear here.
Next, you need to decide on one of the most important pieces of gear: your backpack. If you have decided to do this without a porter, then a 60-70 litre hiking backpack is essential. If you are in a tour group they will normally provide you with a bag for the porters to carry. Make sure you get your pack fitted to you correctly. Kathmandu team members can help with this.
If you are in a tour group and have the option of a porter carrying your main pack, a daypack is essential. I found that the Katabatic 28L Pack is a good size to fit all the necessary items needed when hiking. You want a daypack that is lightweight and has a comfortable harness system.
Hiking Backpack - XT Incite Pack, Vardo gridTECH 75L Backpack v2
Daypack - Katabatic 28L Pack
Pack Rain Cover (Medium)
Browse more packs and bags here.
When deciding what items of clothing to purchase, it is crucial to think about how much to bring of each item. I found that I initially overpacked some things and other items I needed more of. Clothing can be divided into three categories: Base Layer, Mid Layer, and Outer Layer.
Base layers play a fundamental role in regulating your body temperature in shifting conditions. There are three different types of thermals – KMDCore, KMDMotion and KMDAccent. You will mainly be wearing thermals at nighttime and higher up the mountain as it gets cold. I suggest having two sets of thermals for hiking in (KMDMotion or KMDAccent) and two sets of thermals for sleeping in (KMDCore, KMDMotion or KMDAccent).
Thermals (leggings and tops):
Mid layers are what you wear over your base layers. Mid layers are a personal preference and will differ from my choices.
- Pack 1 x long sleeve collared hiking shirt, you may also use your thermals as a long sleeve shirt some days.
- 2 x hiking tops. Core Spun Merino Blend, driMOTION Active T-Shirt or the Zeolite Short Sleeve T-Shirt work really well.
- Either 1 x hiking shorts or hiking leggings. I didn’t end up using my Praca Hiking Shorts and instead wore the Aysen Women’s Hybrid Leggings.
- 2 x hiking pants. I mainly wore the Eris Women's Softshell Pants and XT Verso Women's Hiking Pants as I got higher.
- 2 x fleece jumpers, one for hiking in and the other to wear at night. I wore an older version of the Escarpar Women's Fleece Pullover when hiking and the Arenha Hooded Jacket at night/when relaxing.
Mid Layer Clothing:
Lastly, outer layers provide you with protection as well as warmth. Whilst hiking the EBC trek I encountered sunny and rainy days, even an unforeseen weather forecast when a snowstorm rolled in. The weather in the Himalayas is extremely unpredictable, so you must come prepared.
You will need to have a good down jacket and a waterproof rain jacket for your hike. I wore the XT Pinnacle Women’s Down Jacket and Aysen Women's GORE-TEX Jacket. The XT Pinnacle Down Jacket was amazing when I got closer to EBC, as the temperature was freezing and the XT kept me extremely warm.
Another option is to go for a 3-In-1 Jacket (Talas Waterproof 3-in-1 Jacket, or Isograd ngx 3-in-1 Rain Jacket) or a Benmore ngx 5-in-1 Travel Rain Jacket. These options allow you to have both a waterproof outer layer and an insulation layer combined in the one.
I packed waterproof rain pants in case of an emergency but didn’t end up using them. This was mainly due to my XT Verso Hiking Pants being softshell, which could repel some water off them and kept me warm. In saying this, it is always a good idea to carry some in your daypack anyway.
Outer Layer Clothing:
Down Jacket - Epiq Down Jacket, Talas Waterproof 3-in-1 Jacket, XT Pinnacle Down Jacket
Waterproof Rain Jacket - Aysen GORE-TEX Jacket, Bealey GORE-TEX Jacket
Waterproof Rain Pants - Trailhead Rain Pants