The Everest Base Camp packing list below is based on our personal experience of trekking in Nepal.
It is long and detailed so we recommend that you bookmark this page for future reference. It should be noted that the list can be used for all treks in Nepal, including the Annapurna Circuit and the Langtang Valley Trek.
The list is exhaustive and we don’t suggest you take every item listed, but instead encourage you to analyse the key pieces of kit you might need and make an informed decision on things you can leave behind.
If you are looking to travel light you will be pleased to know that many of the items below can be rented or bought in Kathmandu or Namche Bazaar. But please realise that some of the cheaper local equipment is often not up to standard for the cold weather temperatures you will face on your trek.
In the packing list below we have tried to provide personal recommendations on gear that we own and use. We only recommend gear that we believe provides the best value for money or delivers the best performance. We regularly receive feedback from readers and experienced Nepal trekkers who provide wonderful little insights into obscure, but nonetheless useful gear which we often add to this list.
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Everest Base Camp Packing List – Clothing
A key concept to understand when trekking in Nepal is layering. Weather can changed dramatically as you ascend or descend in altitude, and therefore the ability to layer up or down is important.
This is particularly true of treks to Everest Base Camp where you will be trekking from 2,800 meters in Lukla to 5,554 meters at Kala Patthar – check out this article to get a sense of the awesome view from Kala Patthar.
Seasonal variations are also a key consideration. You will definitely want warmer clothes if you plan to trek during the cold winter months of December, January and February. Here’s an overview on the best time to trek to Everest Base Camp.
There are three key layers you need to bring with you on your Everest Base Camp trek.
This is often termed your next-to-skin or first layer. It is very important on the higher reaches of the trek, but probably won’t be used during the early and late stages of your trek.
The best base layers sit tightly to the skin (reducing airflow) and consist of high wicking material to allow moisture to escape.
Our recommended base layer clothing is manufactured by Smartwool – who provide market-leading lightweight, merino wool products at an affordable price.
We recommend getting 1 x top and bottom base layer.
The second layer, or insulation layer, sits over your base layer and is best made from fleece or micro-fleece material.
You can get a second layer for both your legs and torso, but as you will have outer layer trousers, we don’t think a second layer for your legs are necessary.
For your torso though we recommend a Polartec 200 Fleece Jacket. These jackets are great for trekking as they are light-weight and provide good warmth whilst allowing good moisture release (or breathability). The 100s are lighter but not warm enough for Everest Base Camp treks, whereas the 300s are a little too heavy!
The third layer, or outer core layer, consists of a warm and waterproof jacket and trousers which you will use on the upper reaches of your Everest Base Camp trek.
In terms of jackets we recommend the North Face Nuptse Jacket or equivalent winter down jacket. The performance from the Nuptse is incredible but comes with a cost – we like to think it is a lifetime investment as the jacket should last your years of active trekking. Other good brands include Patagonia, Mountain Hardwear, RAB and Arc’teryx. Synthetic alternatives are fine but just make sure they have a good warmth to weight ratio. If you are strapped for cash you can find quite good winter jackets in KTM (admittedly most are fake but surprisingly well made).
For your trousers you should look for warm, fleece-insulated trekking or ski trousers. Recommended brands include Trepass, Helly Hansen or O’Neills.
General Trekking Clothes
In addition to the three layers above, you will also need to bring trekking trousers – we recommend convertible trousers like the hiking trousers offered by Craghoppers.
We also recommend bringing 3-5 trekking shirts (short and long sleeve) which you will wear on most trekking days. These lightweight, breathable shirts from Hanes are good or anything from Icebreaker. Note: make sure the shirts are made from high-wicking material like merino wool as you will be reusing them for multiple days. Cotton is not a good material to trek in as it absorbs moisture and therefore gets very smelly, very quickly.
You can encounter rain on the lower reaches of the trek, particularly if you plan to trek on either side of the rainy season (June-September). You should bring a waterproof jacket and pair of trousers, preferably made with gore-tex material. Waterproof gear from The North Face is brilliant. If you want to also get something cheap to throw over your waterproofs then a compact poncho often comes in handy.
To aid the wicking process we also recommend bringing 4-6 x pairs of breathable sports underwear, and for the ladies – 2 x sports bras. Again, you don’t want cotton here as you will be reusing your underwear and trust me after round 3 trekking in a pair of pants things start to smell.
Clothing Everest Base Camp packing list summary
- Base Layer – 1 x Top and Bottom Base Layer – We recommend Smartwool
- Second Layer – 1 x Top Fleece Layer – We recommend the Polartec 200 Fleece Jacket
- Third Layer – 1 x Winter Jacket – We recommend the North Face Nuptse Jacket or equivalent down / synthetic alternatives and 1 x Fleeced Trekking or Ski Trousers – Good brands include Trespass, Helly Hansen and O’Neill.
- General Trekking Clothing – 1 x Convertible Trekking Trousers – We recommend Craghoppers and 3-5 x hiking shirts – We recommend Hanes
- Rain gear – 1 x waterproof jacket and trousers, ideally made from gore-tex
- Sports underwear – 4-6 x sports underwear, and 2 x sports bras for ladies
Clothing you shouldn’t take on your trek
- Jeans – They absorb water, take loads of time to dry out, are terribly uncomfortable to trek in and transfer heat away from the body!
- Cotton – It absorbs moisture and blocks breathability
Everest Base Camp Packing List – Headgear
Below are the important headgear items for your Everest Base Camp packing list.
Sun Protection Hat
A trekking hat that provides sun protection to your face and neck is a must. Make sure your hat is light and easily manipulated to fit into your day pack. We like trekking hats that have a neck cover. Here are some trekking hats.
Beanie or Head Band
It starts to get really cold in the late afternoon / early evening; particularly as you get closer to Everest Base Camp. A warm fleece beanie or fleece headband are absolute musts. The North Face and Berghaus provide good beanies.
Buff, Balaclava or Neckband
A Buff is a highly recommended piece of kit. Temperatures can get really cold and the air is usually very dry, which can result in the infamous Khumbu cough. A buff (see here for examples) helps keep your neck and face protected and prevents particulates entering your throat when you breath. During the out-of-season winter months (Dec, Jan and Feb) we highly recommend bringing a balaclava or neckband. Here are some recommended examples, we prefer Mountain Airshield Balaclavas.
The UV intensity in the Himalayas is relatively high due to the altitude and snow glare. Please ensure you bring a good pair of 100% UV protection sunglasses (minimum of 80% light reduction). We recommend mountain sunglasses from Julbo
You will not be trekking at night, but will need a headlamp for the early morning trek to Kala Patther. Also many of the lodges are poorly lit or have no electricity at all. Your headlamp can be used to go to the toilet at night or if you want to read after dark. Petzl Tikka are a leading headlamp brand. Make sure to bring spare batteries.
Everest Base Camp Packing List – Gloves and Walking Poles
Keeping your hands warm during your Everest Base Camp trek is critical. Here are the two types of gloves we recommend. You might also want to take trekking poles which we highlight below.
Your outer glove needs to be super warm, waterproof and very durable. We recommend Gore-Tex gloves from Dakine or The North Face. You may also want to take mitts, but we find the lack of dexterity a hindrance.
We recommend light-weight, quick drying inner gloves made from fleece material. Like base layer clothing, inner gloves act as your next to skin layer. We recommend Pearl Izumi Thermal Lite Gloves which can be used as standalone gloves when the weather is moderately cold. Karrimor also make good liner gloves.
Good trekking poles reduce the impact on your knees and other leg joints by up to 20%. This is particularly beneficial when descending as the load on your joints increases exponentially. We recommend getting adjustable light-weight (around 350 grams per pair) trekking poles that are easy to store, durable and versatile. Black Diamond trekking poles are excellent.
Everest Base Camp Packing List – Footwear
Below we highlight the 5 pieces of footwear equipment you should bring with you on your Everest Base Camp trek.
Your hiking boots are probably the most important item you can bring on your Everest Base Camp trek – your feet are what get you to base camp and back. The wrong size boots will result in painful blisters, lost nails and sore feet. Make sure your boots fit correctly. You can test fit by putting your foot in the boot without tying the shoelaces, slide your foot all the way forward until the toes are snug against the front of the boot. You should be able to put one finger down the back of the boot between your heel. If your finger has loads of room then the boot is too big, if you struggle to get your finger in comfortably the boot is too small – try another pair!
The key characteristics to look for in a boot: make sure it is light-to-mid-weight (full leather boots tend to be too heavy, uppers of the boot can be made of leather or leather condura), has high tops for ankle support, rubber soles with deep lugs for good traction, and a lacing system that incorporates d-rings or speed hooks for quick lacing and further ankle support.
Here are some recommended hiking boots. Reliable, but affordable brands include Karrimor, Berghaus and Hi-Tec. For a best in class boot see the Scarpa Kailash or anything from Meindl’s Hiking Boot range.
NB: Make sure your boots are properly broken in before trekking Everest Base Camp. Do at least two long distance treks in your new boots before departing for Nepal.
Trainers (Trekking shoes)
A basic pair of lightweight trainers that you can wear in the teahouses after a long day of trekking. Here are some trekking shoes or trekking sandals that we recommend. Trekking sandals are great to wear in camp with warm socks.
4-5 x pairs of trekking socks. We recommend Coolmax trekking socks as they provide great breathability and are good for wicking. Merino wool socks are great as they allow the foot to breath and can thus be reused multiple times before they need a hand-wash. Do not bring cotton socks as they absorb water and will only lead to nasty blisters.
2 x pairs of thermal socks for the cold trekking days near base camp. We recommend Smartwool thermal socks as they provide great cushioning for the foot, are super warm and have flat seams (bulky seams result in blisters). Other worthwhile brands include Bridgedale and Wigwam.
Gaiters are made from a waterproof material and extend up from your boot to your calve. They are used to prevent water, mud, dust and small stones from getting into your boot. There are many different types of gaiters on the market but all seem to do the same thing, so we have no preference. Here are some example gaiters you can check out – go for a mid-range pair.
Everest Base Camp Packing List – Bags
If you are joining a guided tour with porters who will be carrying the lions share of your gear then you should bring with you a 80L duffle bag. The best bags are made of waterproof laminate material, have strong and sturdy zippers that can be locked (we recommend bringing a small lock to secure your bag) and easy to access hand and shoulder straps. The North Face Base Camp Duffle is the ideal duffle bag.
If you are trekking independently or without a porter then you will want to take a 45-65L backpack. A top opening mountaineers rucksack style is best. Osprey and Black Diamond manufacture good mountain backpacks.
If a porter or yak is carrying your duffle or backpack then you will want to have a light-weight daypack to carry essentials – like snacks, suncream, your camera, personal items (i.e. passport) and hat. Ideal daypacks have compression straps to reduce weight stress on your back and side pockets for easy access to your water bottles. The Osprey Talon is our preferred daypack. 22-28 Litre is perfect.
Make sure to bring a rain cover for your backpack and / or daypack. If you decide to use an Osprey then make sure you get an Osprey Backpack Raincover with it and that the size is right.
Everest Base Camp Packing List – Sleeping Accessories
A warm sleeping bag is an absolute must – it can get extremely cold at night. We recommend a duck / goose down sleeping bag, but if you are stretched for cash then a synthetic will do. Just make sure that it is a four season bag and has a rating of at least -10 degree C. Ideally your sleeping bag should have a mummy-shape with an insulated hood and draw chord so that it fits the contours of your body. A two-way zipper for better insulation is also great. Here are some excellent mummy shaped sleeping bags. We recommend Marmot (Trestles), The North Face (Snow Leopard) or Mountain Hardwear (Lamina).
If you decide to hire a sleeping bag from your tour operator or KTM it is worth bringing a sleeping bag liner for added insulation and better hygiene.
Other Sleeping Accessories
Ear plugs are good if you are a light sleeper and an inflatable pillow for that added bit of night-time comfort.
Everest Base Camp Packing List – Other Accessories
Water Bottle or Hydration Bladder
Dehydration is a common problem at high altitude. You should plan to drink between 2-3 litres of water a day. You can either carry your water in a standard water bottle – we recommend getting 2 x Camelbak Water Bottles – or if your daypack includes space for a hydration bladder (the Osprey Talons do) then the 2L Platypus Hydration Bladder is a great product.
We recommend taking a few dry backs to source seperate your gear and keep essential items like your sleeping bag and electronic equipment dry. Check our these dry bags.
A small to medium sized trekking towel is useful for drying off after a quick clean. Discovery or LifeVentures provide good, quick-drying trekking towels.
Pee Bottle or Funnel (optional) – Ideal for ladies who need to answer the call of nature at night when its sub zero outside. See Freshette Pee Funnels
Small Locks – To secure your duffle bag or rucksack
Waterproof Ziplock Bags – To safely store important / valuable items like your passport, money and electrical equipment
Camera / Videocamera – There is no way to explain how striking the scenery in Nepal and the Himalayas is. You will want to capture your trekking experience in high definition so if you don’t have a decent camera now is the time to invest. Here are some recommended Digital SLR cameras. Remember, you want to make sure your camera is light but still able to capture high quality images. In terms of a video camera we are huge fans of the GoPro Hero. The Silver edition is ideal for trekking activities.
Ducktape – A great all round tape which doubles as a brilliant protector against blisters
Book / Kindle – There is a lot of down time on the EBC trek. You will want reading material. Books are heavy and cumbersome, we recommend bring a Kindle eReader. Our favourites Himalayan books are Into Thin Air or Ed Viesturs’ No Shortcuts to the Top.
Portable battery charger – If you plan to use electronic devices like your mobile phone, an eReader or camera / GoPro, then you will want to be sure that you can recharge these devices. Most teahouses have charging facilities but you will have to pay and they are sometimes unreliable. We recommend bringing a USB portable battery charger. These are generally good for 5-6 charging sessions before it needs to be recharged itself.
Playing Cards – To keep you and fellow trekkers entertained in the evenings
Notebook / Journal and Pen – To chronicle your trekking experience
Everest Base Camp Packing List – Medications and Personal Gear
Water Purification Tablets – You will need to treat your water in Nepal. Please don’t buy bottle water as this just adds to the waste problem associated with the Nepal trekking industry. Make sure to add the correct number of water treatment tablets based on the volume of water in your bottle. One hundred tablets for the duration of the trek should be more than enough. Alternatively you can use a UV water purifier. We recommend the SteriPEN Adventure Opti Mini Pack UV Water Purifier.
Isotonic Powder – This is great to add to your drink and aids in replacing electrolytes, improving energy levels, and water absorption. Here are some Isotonic powdered drinks
Diamox – This is a high altitude medication that can be used as a prophylactic (preventative) solution to acute mountain sickness (AMS) or altitude sickness. It does not cure AMS and should never be used as a substitute for descent (which is the only real solution to AMS). It can however help prevent the onset of AMS and is commonly used by high altitude trekkers. Please seek proper medical advice before taking Diamox. You can read a detailed article on Diamox here.
General Medications – We recommend taking paracetamol for headaches (which are a common altitude sickness symptom) and Imodium for diarrhoea (another common problem as food preparation areas can be a little unhygienic)
Basic First Aid Kit – Your guide will most likely be carrying a first aid kit but there is nothing wrong with being extra prepared. If you are trekking independently then first aid kit is a must. Here are some good, compact outdoor first aid kits: Outdoor First Aid Kits
Suncream / Lip balm – 1 x suncream (SPF 30) and 1 x lip balm
Baby wipes – 1 x baby wipes for easy and quick wet washes
Toiletries – All your basic toiletries, including toothbrush and tooth paste (remember to use purified water as bacteria enters cracked gums easily), 2 x rolls of toilet paper (this can be bought on the trail but the quality is often poor), etc.
Blister Plasters – Compeed blister plasters
Oximeter – This is an entirely optional device but can be quite useful in testing your Sp02 level, which indicates the degree to which the altitude is affecting your body and how you are acclimatising. Here are some Finger Pulse Oximeters
Hand Sanitizer – Good for quickly disinfecting your hands before and after eating, or when they get dirty on the trail
Add to this Everest Base Camp Packing List
If you feel anything is missing from this Everest Base Camp packing list we would love to hear your suggestions. You can contact us here.
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