“In the Himalayas, carrying things in your backpack is more about the essentials. The lighter your backpack is, the happier you will be on the trail.”
Himalayan Trekking in India has a history that dates back to several centuries. While our ancestors and fellow enthusiastic trekkers and hikers have carved ways to summits of different peaks, trekking in today’s time has become much more relaxed, reliable and safe.
With a bit of planning, you can guarantee that you will take only the essentials. And on the trail, only care about the mystic views of the high altitude villages, passes, glaciers, frozen rivers, giant waterfalls, hidden caves, snow bridges, and vast meadows.
Also, preparing for 6 to 10 days for a Himalayan trek means that you have to give it a good thought while putting even a piece of paper in your backpack.
Here is a list of all the necessary items to Carry on a Himalayan Trek:
Carry two synthetic or mix fabric t-shirts, preferably full sleeved to prevent your skin from sun damage.
Although most of us prefer to wear cotton shirts, synthetic shirts would dry the sweat quickly. Plus, if it rains, the synthetic shirt will take much less time to dry than the cotton one.
Take two synthetic and one cotton shirt to wear in your tent for a cosy stay at night.
Here, you can follow the two plus one strategy. Smartness is in carrying two dry-fit pants and one cotton pants. Dry fit pants are light in weight and dry quickly. Cotton pants will come in handy at night.
Take at least three pairs of undergarments. If one pair gets wet, you can change it right away to prevent any kind of infection.
Plus, a cotton/jute towel is lighter and dries up quicker than a fur towel.
The temperature in the Himalayas can fall to negative in winters.
Down Jackets are made up of light and warm duck and geese feathers. It traps the heat that your body produces and keeps you warm.
On the other hand, Padded Jackets are also light in weight and made up of synthetic fibres. These are windproof, water-resistant, budget-friendly and easy-to-maintain. These can withstand colds of upto -5 degrees Celcius.
Also, both of these can be folded into a compact ball which makes it easier to carry them. You can buy one and layer it with other clothes to save yourself from the cold based on your convenience.
Thermals are used at night. This comprises the innermost layer of your clothing, above which you can layer up a T-shirt, fleece jacket and then finally your padded/down jacket.
A fleece jacket is a lightweight, cosy and breathable layer for outdoor activities. Also, fleece is hydrophobic, but don’t misunderstand it to be waterproof. It can hold up against light rain and snowfall.
Generally, in the Himalayan trek, you should carry three layers:
A lot of heat can escape from your head and ears, which can cause headaches or fever. That is why along with the thermals, you should carry a cap or a balaclava that can be used for the dual purpose of saving you from the sun and can help you during cold nights.
Socks keep your feet from rubbing against the lining of shoes and give you an extra cushion for walking. Additionally, they save the shoe from getting wet from the sweat – this helps prevent excess dirt or microbes from accumulating on the shoe and consequently saves it from foul smell.
Plus, during monsoon, socks help in preventing leeches from contacting the skin directly.
Woollen Socks – Keep a pair of woollen socks to be worn at your campsite at night.
Again, hand gloves are to protect your hands from feeling cold. There are so many types of hand gloves available in the market. The idea is to buy one that can be used in all seasons and on all Himalayan treks. Also, look out for the ones that are touch screen sensitive.
Shoes with good grip can be the maker or breaker of your trek – especially during the monsoon. We have seen trekkers struggling with their grip while on the trail.
Remember, sports shoes will not work on the Himalayan terrain. You can invest in good quality trekking shoes and use them on all your future treks.
With Plan the Unplanned, you can even rent trekking shoes and save some bucks.
You can wear shoes while on the trek. Flip flops will be convenient for your legs to relax and let them breathe for the rest of the time.
The use of a sun cap is underestimated. It can be used to cover your face and neck from sun damage and burn.
At the altitude of the Mountains, even dim sunlight contains UVA and UVB radiation which can cause skin damage and, in some severe cases. Sun caps will save you from direct radiation exposure.
Sun’s Reflection from the ice surface has caused snow blindness in a lot of cases. If you are trekking in winter, or if there is ice anywhere on the trail, carrying a pair of sunglasses is mandatory.
A medicine kit is like health Insurance – not valuable, but a buzz at the time of emergency. Your trek or base will mostly be in the thinly populated region, will have minimal amenities, and there will be only a few exit points on the trail. A medical kit might save you from a lot of hassle.
It must contain Disprin (in case of headache), Paracetamol (in case of fever), Electrol (in case of dehydration), Sanitiser, Band-Aid (for minor cuts and injuries), Odomos (for protection against mosquitoes), cotton, Volini gel.
Diamox – Diamox is a medicine that helps in quick acclimatisation. It is a diuretic drug, and it forces your kidneys to make more urine; hence drink a lot of water if you are taking this.
If you have not done any Himalayan trek in the past, it is better to trek with a trek organizer. Note that with Plan the Unplanned, the trek leaders always carry prescribed medicines. They are people who have seen these situations several times and can assist you well.
Remember that for the whole trek you are not going to get electricity. You can buy one solar power bank which can charge itself from the sun’s heat and reuse it.
A headlamp is required for night functions like going to the loo or in general while you are inside the camp. Nowadays, all phones are equipped with a torch, but there is no harm in carrying a headlamp or a torch if you want to save mobile power.
Raincoat and poncho both are used to protect you against rain – both have their set of pros and cons.
Raincoats are more useful in the western ghats trek, but they can’t save your backpack from rain.
Poncho is open and with many different areas that can be used to cover up your backpack. They are well-ventilated and can be worn and taken off speedily.
Now that we have emphasised so much on the use of a raincoat on a western ghats trek, you must have understood how indispensable your rain cover is. Raincover should be carried both for a small and big backpack.
If you are planning to stay in a camp instead of a homestay or hotel, we recommend you check the following:
The sleeping bag will keep you warm and dry for the night and will also give you a cosy place to sleep.
A trekking pole is used to transfer your body weight on the poles, move swiftly, traverse along narrow ridgelines, hold your ground on loose sand or wet mud, and remain upright in case of strong wind.
In the end, you will save ounces of energy.
With Plan the Unplanned, you will receive a camp, sleeping bag, sleeping mattress.
A single facewash can be used as a multi-purpose toiletry item: handwash, facewash, body wash, etc.
We are talking about essentials here. Anyways you can carry as much as you want to, but remember that less is more on a trek.
Just like a sun cap, a good sun skin cream will save you from harsh UVA and UVB rays.
Once you are done with the trek, use a moisturiser on your face, neck area, skin and leg. It will keep your skin hydrated and will help in regaining its glow.
A toilet roll is necessary for the calls of nature. Remember not to carry wet wipes; these are not readily biodegradable and put a lot of pressure on nature, where the air is comparatively thinner and pressure low.
At high altitudes, your lips tend to chap a lot because of dehydration. Carrying a small lip balm can retain that moisture and keep your lips healthy.
There are many varieties of bags and rucksacks available in the market. You can purchase a 50-65 L backpack. Follow this ultimate guide to choosing the right backpack
Polybags can be used to put wet or dirty clothes. These can also be used to secure food and compartmentalise stuff inside your backpack.
ATMs are barely available in remote areas. In the age of digitisation, most of the shops have Paytm, Gpay or integrated UPI systems. But then too, it is better to take cash in case of an emergency.
Always keep one ID proof – specifically Aadhar Card – handy. Just carry one original hardcopy and others in a google drive folder as a softcopy.
Also, Read: How to Pack for a Himalayan trek?
We wish you a wonderful, fun-filled, and beautiful trek in the Himalayas. Want to book your unplanned trip? Why not just Plan the Unplanned!
If you have any other questions, shoot in the comment section, and we will get back in no time.