When we went in January, because of the cold temperature, there was no running water….. This meant that, at one point, none of us showered for just over a week. So, baby wipes is a top priority for any potential trekkers.
2. Favourite chocolate bars and snacks
Buy these (and lots of them) before you even fly out to Kathmandu. Once you’re in Nepal it’s much harder to get hold of your favourite brands (but many others are available) and, even if you do, most of the time they are out of date. On the trek we stopped for a short break every 40 minutes or so and having that mars bar, snickers or energy bar does make a lot of difference to your energy levels. Also, they get super expensive once you’ve left Kathmandu.
3. You don’t have to be completely kitted out before coming out here (as stated in the field manual)
Some of us spent a small fortune at home on trekking gear, spare toiletries, and essential medicines (pain killers, etc). Needless to say a large majority of these things are available to once you are in Kathmandu, plus they’re half the price. Only, especially with trekking gear, be careful with what you buy and check an items quality. You can get real deals in Thamel, Kathmandu – but it’s also very easy to be caught out and buy a bad quality high brand fake.
4. Bring cards, books, etc
While you do trek for the majority of the day, we were surprised at how much free time we had once arriving at our tea house each night. It’s a good idea to bring a novel or two to fill these hours, or a pack of playing cards. Also your iPod is a good thought, and although we had no electricity for the majority of our trek (as we were not in peak season), most places did have a charging socket you can use for a small fee.
5. Head torch
As I mentioned, we had no electricity in many of our tea houses which meant we had to rely on candle light and torches from 6pm onwards. A head torch is the best option as it makes finding things much easier.
6. Toilet roll
Bring it! The further along the trek you are, the more basic the toilets are – ranging from western style right through to a shed with a hole. They can charge a fortune for a roll once you’re a few days into the trek, so stock up in Kathmandu.
7. Hand sanitiser
Hole in the ground toilets and no sinks or running water means that hygiene levels aren’t particularly high. I can imagine a dodgey stomach would be hellish on the trek, so hand sanitiser is a must.
8. Bring layers
Himalayan Encounters (who you do the trek through) provide porters for GVI volunteers, so don’t be shy about packing a few more thermals in your ruck sack. With that in mind, don’t make your bag insanely heavy, as once you see the hills and terrain and realise someone else is carrying your bag, you will be mindful of its weight.
When we were there, it got to minus 30 degrees Celsius in the early morning and minus 10 even inside the tea houses. Bring a good lip moisturiser. I got mine a few days in and paid the price of having broken and bleeding lips for 2 weeks – not pretty.
10. Wear in your walking boots
Walking for hours each day is intense bonding time between your boot and foot. Many of us got blisters on the trek, so make sure your boots are up to the challenge. Bring along blister plasters as well just in case.
11. Bring a camera
Though it’s obvious to do, I still had to mention it. On the trek to base camp I saw some of the most beautiful and spectacular views of my life. You won’t want to forget them!
Adventure Program Volunteer Tori