I decided to tackle Everest Base camp on a whim. I planned to float round Asia sunning myself on hot beaches with minimal exercise. But I turned up in Kathmandu and realized it was possible to catch a glimpse of Everest without actually having to summit it and die. But I severely under packed, and had to buy a few things in a rush, this cost me a lot more money than I should have spent. I’ve put together a list of things which I found I used every day. Hopefully this list will be useful as you can buy the items in your respective home countries or borrow and have more options to choose from.
1. Pack Warm clothes – thick socks, down jacket, warm hiking pants, thermals, hat and gloves
I climbed up to Everest Base Camp in June when the weather was relatively mild. Even so, I used ALL the warm clothes I bought. It will be hot climbing up the track but in the evenings the temperature plunges and you will be nippy noodles and quite miserable if you don’t pack warm gear and layer up.
You will be drinking a lot of water on the track and will need to pack these so you don’t keep running off the mountain clutching your bottom. Even the water from the tap from the guesthouses is a bit questionable (it was cloudy O_O) Of course you can buy bottled water from the Everest Base Camp trek guesthouses but as they have to lug it up the mountain the prices begin to sky rocket.
Note* If you do feel a bit queasy I recommend taking a dose of Activated Charcoal . This is safe an effective treatment of food poisoning. It traps toxins in your gut preventing absorption and carries the toxins out of your gut in faeces ie poo! I always carry a pack with me when I travel.
Having said that, I also always bring Oral Rehydration Salts with me too. When you contract food poisoning, you lose a lot of fluid and electrolytes (minerals and salts). If you are charging halfway up to Everest Base Camp, you need all the minerals and salts you can get- so its important to replace them ASAP. The ones I recommend are specifically for food poisoning (as opposed to mineral salts used in sports).
These were life savers. I took half a pill in the morning and half in the evening from Namche Bazaar (3,440 feet) and one extra when I was feeling the altitude and most definitely when I decided to tackle Kalapattar from Gorak shep. I started breathing like Gollum and began questioning my life choices. Rolling over and giving up from fatigue seemed incredibly tempting so I popped an altitude pill and the effects were almost instantaneous! The breathlessness and headaches receded, I had more energy and I stopped sounding like Gollum- all wins in my opinion. Even if you don’t use them, pack them, it’s good to have as a back-up.
So. The showering situation on the Everest Base Camp trek is a bit… non -existent. Yes, you can have a shower, but they charge you LOTS of money and often they aren’t warm and sometimes its hot water poured in a bucket -_-
And the air is so cold that by the time the water poured on your head goes past your chest its cold. #frozenpubes #pubesticles
Solution: CATS LICK shower. Give yourself a thorough rub with wet wipes and you will feel brand new.
You can also use this for going to the loo as there is a 100% chance there will be no toilet roll.
I swear by my red neck pillow. Need a plane/helicopter/ taxi/bus nap? Sorted. The guesthouse pillow is so thin its like sleeping on a sheet? Or the pillow on the Everest trek has mold or some unidentifiable substance on it and it smells like vomit? Neck pillow to the rescue! I clipped it on the back of my back pack so it didn’t take up space and it was small and nifty so fit under my poncho when it rained. Speaking of ponchos, that’s my next recommendation.
I decided to cut costs and pack a cheap poncho but then when it rained my legs nearly drowned, the zip broke, my bag got wet and I resembled a drowned grumpy cat. It also fell out of my side pocket on the way up so I purchased a solid poncho at a much higher price but it was magnificent. This bad boy poncho went over my knees, covered me and my backpack and neck pillow and kept me warm as it had a foil interior. When you are exhausted and cold and then the heavens decide to pee on your parade, the last thing you want is a poncho that doesn’t want to be a poncho. Also, if you buy it at Kathmandu, make sure you try it on before you buy it. My original poncho zip broke the first time I put it on half through the Everest trek, it was a bit hard to demand a refund at that point! Top tip – poncho bag can be used to protect your phone in the rain. Here is a Poncho which will fit over your backpack, can be used as a mat and a tent! Amazing eh?!
The toilets on the way up can be a bit unhygienic. Often you will only get squatting toilets and it’s as though someone decided it would be a good idea to pee everywhere EXCEPT in the toilet hole. Maybe they think its toilet art, I don’t know, either way it’s good to pack a pair of flip flops you can stick over your socks to keep your socks urine free. Your shoes may be wet and dirty from the hike so often it’s easier to plod around in socks and flip flops too.
I was convinced I was immune from sunburn. I am half Malaysian so have plenty of melanin in my skin. I also live in New Zealand, land of the ozone free sky. So I puffed my chest out and strode up the mountain sans sun cream. The result was about 30 blisters on my chest and my shoulder skin peeling off. I only cried once on the Everest trek, it was when I looked down at my chest thought I contracted a fungus which turned out to be sun burn blisters. Be smart and pack sun cream on guys and girls. The sun up there is powerful like no other.
9.High SPF Lip balm
The higher I ascended to the top, the more my mouth resembled a dog’s bottom. My lips became dry and shriveled up. Unfortunately, the trusty Fruity Peach Nivea lip balm I packed just didn’t quite cut it. Maybe Nivea didn’t make it with the Himalayan sun and wind in mind. I was determined for my lips not to resemble a dog’s asshole on my ‘Made it to Everest Base Camp’ Instagram pic so I purchased a thick creamy lip balm with SPH and lathered it all over my lips and nose as that was drying up too.
At some point on the Everest trek, you will get a headache. Whether it’s the lack of sleep, altitude sickness, lack of water, lack of coffee, you name it, there will be so many lacks you can throw a lasso on them! Yes, you can power through it but you can also take a Panadol and have a sleep and be much more energized for your trek the next day. Pack them just in case.
There will be an ATM at 2 points on the trek, at Lukla and at Namche Bazaar. Both will charge ridiculous bank fees and sometimes the ATMs don’t work. There will be times when you will need to spend a bit extra at a guesthouse, maybe you want to pay for the luxury of a hot shower, or wifi or if you really want to go wild, buy a Mars Bar. It’s nice to have cash on you to be able to afford it after a long day trekking. But don’t rely on getting your money out of the ATMs in the mountains, if they don’t work you will be screwed as none of the guesthouses on the Everest trek accept card payments. Pimping yourself out for a night’s sleep up in the mountains might be a bit hard as by that point you will most probably resemble and smell like Yaks poo. So pack some cash with you from Kathmandu.
Apart from protecting you from the powerful Himalayan sun, it also protects your eyeballs from the rain which can be quite cold and painful up in the mountains. Also pretty useful for when you are SO over ferreting around your backpack to look for eyeliner and are so tired you resemble a hamster that’s being squeezed. Pack the sunnies and you will look #mountainvogue
There will be times when the guesthouse blankets on the Everest trek are a bit dusty, or you will be bitten by some unidentifiable bug which makes you itch. Dust triggers my asthma so I packed antihistamines and they allowed me to sleep without itching all over my body.
14.Quick drying towel
When you are lugging yourself up the Everest trek with minimal oxygen, the last thing you want is anything heavy weighing you down. A damp towel is very heavy. A wet towel will be as heavy as growing an extra butt cheek, which if you are me, is quite big and incredibly heavy. Say hello to quick drying micro fiber towels! I packed one that was the same size as a normal towel (I find most micro fibre towels are small and you end up flashing your private regions so I hunted for a large one). I used an Extra Large Microfibre Towel . It was perfect, light, covered my nether regions and dried super-fast. I also used it as an extra blanket when I got really chilly at night.
There are no toilet rolls and no leaves handy in the loos on the Everest Base Camp trek. You can also use it to blow your nose which will dribble from the cold as you get higher up in the mountain. Just pack a toilet roll. You won’t regret it.
So there you go. 15 things which I found were invaluable on my trip. Did I miss anything? Please comment below! ?
If you need some guidance on the best route up to Everest Base camp here is an article which shows you how.
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