Gear List and Trekking Tips for Tea House Treks

Here’s a list of items to bring on your trek in Nepal, along with a few insider tips about what you can expect. The trek packing list may differ slightly for each trek and the time of year, do ask us for any extra advice that you need.

What we supply for your trek

When we have groups of 4+ people we supply a comprehensive first aid kit carried by your guide. For individual trekkers and small groups (less than 4 people) we supply a basic first aid kit carried by your guide.
Your local trek guide and leader of the trekking crew (which depends on group size): Sherpas and Porters with equipment and clothing (snow gear, warm gear, sleeping gear) and with all accommodation, meals and insurance provided for your crew.


The first things you need

  • Sleeping bag and liner – a 3 or 4 season bag is recommended, depending on your trek
  • Down jacket – need for this depends on the season and where you are going
  • Kit / duffel bag – required to pack your gear in (suitcases and wheeled bags are not suitable)
Please note: Unless you advise us otherwise we will assume you are bringing these items with you. If you need help to buy or rent them here, please just let us know, we’re more than happy to help (down jackets and sleeping bags can be rented here in Kathmandu).


Other items that we recommend you take on trek

Body wear:

  • Loose comfortable T-Shirts or long sleeved shirts for sun protection
  • Long trousers (for cultural reasons, we request you not to wear tight pants or shorts. If you really want to wear shorts, please make them loose fitting and long)
  • A warm jacket / fleece pullover
  • A thermal layer (shirt and pants)
  • A water and wind proof layer (jacket and pants)
  • Woollen or thermal gloves
  • Sun hat and sun glasses
  • Woollen or fleece hat
  • Scarf / stretchy ‘buff ’

Foot wear:

  • Socks – depending on the season bring either warm, woollen socks or cool, breathable cotton socks
  • Comfortable and worn in trekking boots
  • Sandals or flip flops for camp
  • Ice traction slip ons (optional, depending on your trek) – treks that take you into areas that get a lot of snow may be easier with Yaktrax/Microspikes or similar if conditions are icy, which is common in the Winter and Spring


  • A comfortable day pack with adjustable waist and shoulder straps
  • Personal toiletries – shampoo, soap, shavers, moisturizer, travel towel, etc
  • Ziplock bags are handy for convenient leak-proof storage
  • Sun block and lip balm
  • Dust mask/ scarf / stretchy ‘buff ’ for dusty trails
  • Personal first aid kit + any personal medications you need to take + water treatment tablets/drops
  • Camera, batteries and charger, music, book
  • Airtight and waterproof ‘dry bags’ are great for 1) keeping your clothes dry and 2) storing your dirty laundry separate from clean clothes!
  • Sleeping bag liner – either silk, cotton or fleece
  • WATER BOTTLES – please be able to carry 2 litres of water – it’s a good idea to have at least one water bottle that will take boiling/hot water.
  • HEAD TORCH and spare batteries
  • Your sense of humour and adventure!
Note: These days most of these items can be purchased in Kathmandu. There are now several leading brand stores selling their own equipment and there are many stores selling cheap imitations and some well established local stores selling under their own labels. Please ask us if you’d like some advice about where to go to get any gear. If you need to do any shopping for gear, please let us know with enough time to do this before leaving for trek!


What to take with you in your day pack

Please carry the following in your day pack, as a minimum:

  • 2 litres of water (filtered water is provided at each meal break)
  • sunscreen, sun glasses, sun hat, lip balm, dust mask / scarf / ‘buff ’ to help on dusty trailsd
  • warm fleece or thermal layer and gloves
  • water proof layer
  • head torch
  • hand sanitiser/soap and toilet paper
  • your camera
  • any money you want for snacks/drinks along the trail
  • CRITICAL – take any personal medications you require during the day – you will not see your kit bag until evening.
The rest you can put into your kit bag which will be carried by the porters, whom you won’t see until camp in the evening. It’s a great idea to use dry bags (ie airtight/waterproof ) in your kit bag to store your dry clothes in to keep them DRY in case it rains and one to put your dirty laundry in (to keep from making everything else in your bag smell bad!). These dry bags are readily available in Kathmandu.


Baggage Limit

On trek your baggage limit is 15kg per person. This is so that we don’t overload your porter, who will carry the bags of two people. 30kg may sound like quite a lot to carry, but in commercial trade porters carry up to and, in many cases, over 100kg! and get paid less than the responsible trekking companies pay. So, by comparison, this is a well paid holiday, as ridiculous as this may sound!


What about gear I want to leave in Kathmandu?

Before departure for your trek you might pack your ‘town clothes’ and anything you don’t want on trek with you and ask your hotel (if you come back to the same hotel) or your guide to store it for you. If you want to do this, then consider bringing or buying a simple bag here for this purpose.


Tea house facilities

You will share a room on your trek, unless you specifically request a single supplement (a small charge is required to cover the cost of taking an extra room for you). Please note that at peak trekking times a single room may not be available. Tea houses sometimes have attached bathrooms and hot showers, but the lodge owners may (or may not) charge an extra fee and this can fluctuate depending on demand. So this is not included in the price of your trek. You can simply pay for these if and when you desire them. Tea houses are simple accommodation, not hotels. They are often located in remote areas and getting supplies is expensive and time consuming – you can’t expect 5 star facilities, but what you get will be more than compensated for by the friendliness and hospitality of your hosts. They will be doing their best, so please keep your expectations firmly grounded in the reality of where you are.


Food on trek

You will probably be surprised by the menu items available on a tea house trek! Please bear in mind that all items not locally grown are carried up the trail you walked up and that waste is not often carried back out again. Beer bottles pile up behind many tea houses! Please also consider the energy required to cook different menu items and consider ordering the same food for the group, rather than a different dish for each group member, which will not only take longer, but burn a lot more energy and resources.


If you have any special dietary requirements, please advise us when booking your trek so that we can cater for you. Note: sometimes not all dietary requirements are able to be met, but please inform us and we will certainly do our best!


Water on trek

You will receive filtered water on trek (we use Katadyn filters) and you may also want to consider bringing your own water purification device/drops/tablets as a backup. If you have one, certainly bring it along. If it’s something you would use again in the future, you may want to consider getting something like a Steripen, straw/bottle device or stand-alone filter.


We recently transitioned our treks from boiled water to filtered water. This was such a win-win situation for the environment that we couldn’t not! We do still recommend that you have at least one water bottle that can take boiling/hot water, which is available for purchase at the tea houses. Due to the resources that it takes to create the hot water (ie, wood from the forest or gas that’s carried in by foot), please keep this as a treat for when you really need it.


*Pro tip: A bottle of hot water is nice to have in you sleeping bag at your toes on a cold night or in your drink bottle on a cold day going over a high pass.


If you’re using a hydration bladder, do bring a bottle with you too, in case of a puncture or leak.


No matter what, you should be able to carry 2 litres of water in your day pack.



Wherever you use a western or squat style toilet be sure to place your toilet paper in the rubbish bin provided – do not flush it down the toilet as this may block the sewer system. You may also want to carry your own toilet paper as not all public toilets or tea houses will supply it and many don’t have soap either, so a gel sanitiser/small soap is a good thing for your day pack.


Some tips for staying healthy

  • Do NOT drink or brush your teeth with tap water or untreated water!
  • Drink only properly boiled/filtered water or use water purification tablets, such as iodine. Bottled water is available, but as the plastic cannot be recycled in Nepal we request you to consider the waste impact of your bottles – we recommend you drink filtered water or use iodine.
  • Your hands are perhaps your biggest enemy in terms of your health as they get very dirty during the day. Wash your hands before every meal or snack. People often think they get sick from the food, but it’s far more likely they forgot to wash their hands!
  • During the trek DO NOT try to test your fitness and walk too high, too quickly! Listen to your guide and take their advice as they are trained to look after your safety. Altitude sickness is a killer and you MUST take it seriously.

First aid kit

When we have groups of 4+ people we supply a comprehensive first aid kit carried by your guide. For individual trekkers and small groups (less than 4 people) we supply a smaller first aid kit carried by your guide.
It is recommended that you bring a small personal medical kit including your preferred painkillers, throat lozenges, plasters, strapping tape for blisters, etc. If you are taking regular medication you MUST bring those medicines with you PLUS an extra supply in case one pack is lost. If you have any allergies and/or take any medications, you MUST advise us when booking your trek!


The trails

Trekking trails vary from wide, road-like avenues to narrow, slippery paths built out over enormous drops. In many places, a fall from the trail would be fatal. One must pay attention at all times to where you are placing your feet. Be especially careful not to move while looking through the view finder of your camera or to walk backwards while taking a selfie!


Be prepared for the weather

Nepal has the widest altitude range of any country on the earth. Each altitude has its own weather, from tropical heat to arctic cold. In the main trekking seasons in the spring and autumn, the weather is generally stable and even the high passes may be free of snow and relatively easy to traverse at times.
Some trekkers who have encountered an easy day at altitude may spread the word that boots and warm clothing are not required. This is a mistake. Sudden storms occur at any time, dumping snow on the passes without warning. At that point, any one poorly equipped will not be able to proceed and may even be stranded for a number of days risking their life and the lives of others.
You are heading into the worlds highest mountain range. Be prepared for changes in temperature and weather!


Altitude and preventing altitude sickness

  • Being in a hurry in the mountains can be deadly. Acclimatization is the word used to describe the adjustments your body makes as it ascends to higher altitudes.
  • Ascending slowly, with appropriate rest days and drinking plenty of water is one of the best ways not to get Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). Data indicates that drinking 3-4 litres of fluids (water, soup etc) per day to avoid dehydration helps in the acclimatization process.
  • You should not plan to go to high altitude if you have heart disease, difficulty breathing at sea level or are pregnant. You should consult your doctor about any known medical conditions if you are considering trekking in high altitude (over 2500m).
  • Avoid sleeping pills, alcohol and smoking while at altitude as they tend to decrease breathing and lead to AMS.
  • The first aid kit carried by your guide includes Diamox and other altitude medications and he/she is trained in the identification of AMS symptoms and their treatment. You MUST take their advice. If anything happens to your guide the first aid kit has a Wilderness Medicine handbook with comprehensive information about altitude sickness and other ailments.
When relevant, your pre-trek briefing will include information about what to expect and what to do to avoid AMS before embarking on your trek.


Tipping and cash requirements

While all main meals are provided on trek, do not forget to bring some Nepalese rupees for drinks or snacks that you might purchase on the way, showers and device charging. You will be surprised by what is available on the popular trekking routes now! The amount to carry on the trekking routes depends on the area you are going to trek in, so please ask your guide for advice. Tipping is now common in Nepal but there is no strict rules about how much the tip should be. You should only tip if you are satisfied with the service.


Photographing people

During your trek you will have many opportunities to photograph local people and the amazing scenery and you will use tons of film/memory space! When you want to take a photo of a person, please ask them first and respect their right to refuse – you will be surprised how easy it is to convey the request to take someone’s photo even when you don’t share a common language! If you have a digital camera it is considerate (and fun!) to show them their photo and if it’s possible to arrange to have copies printed and sent to them this is an amazing gift! However do not promise to do so if you are not sure you can deliver on the promise, so please talk to your guide about this! Photos can be a brilliant way to establish a connection with local people, but please respect their right to privacy.


Considering the Environment

While trekking you have to be careful not to destroy the very environment you are enjoying so much. It is not only for your enjoyment, people and wildlife rely on this environment for their drinking water and food supply and many places are of enormous religious significance to local people.


There are many ways you can help to conserve the environment of the area in which you trek. Here are some simple tips:

  • pick up any litter along the trail;
  • burn all your toilet paper and bury your faeces when not in camp, make sure you go at least 50m away from any water source;
  • do not make campfire, nor consume food cooked on wood fires;
  • drink treated water instead of mineral water as the plastic bottles are a problem and even better, drink filtered water;
  • stick to the trails to prevent erosion and damage to fragile alpine flora;
  • ensure all rubbish is packed out (or burnt/buried if appropriate).


All tour participants should obtain their own personal insurance which covers medical and emergency evacuation at a minimum. You will of course also want cover for loss or damage to personal effects, flight or trip cancellation etc.


Final tips!

To ensure that you have the best time possible and that Nepal benefits from your visit, please respect local traditions, customs, values and the environment. You will have a great time if you are open to the warm hearted Nepali hospitality and if you respect their efforts to protect their local culture and maintain local pride.


  • Respect privacy when taking photographs
  • Respect holy places and dress appropriately
  • Refrain from giving money or food to children. There are many good organisations working to help street children, we recommend you support them instead of encouraging the kids to stay on the street.
  • Your attempts at speaking some Nepali will open hearts and bring huge smiles!
  • Protect the natural environment, see above
  • Finally, respect local ways. You may not agree with everything you see and you may want to intervene or say something. Please remember, you probably do not fully understand what you are seeing and in any case your role here on your holiday is not to change Nepal. If you feel strongly about it then that’s great… there are many avenues for volunteering or long term work here to support positive, sustainable change for Nepal!