Gear for Trekking Nepal

The expedition was sponsored by Hanesbrands, and as such we wore the company’s Duofold brand long-sleeve tops. One piece I liked, the Duofold Varitherm Wool base layer was comfortable across a range of temperatures. Bonus: Because of its wool fabric blend, which is a natural antimicrobial material, the top did not stink even after a few days’ use.

Porter on the trail; Mount Pumori in distance

In general, on the trek I wore the same clothes for several days straight. Look for wool and other antimicrobial or treated fabrics that can accommodate multiple days between a washing. I banked on pieces including a lightweight jacket from Ibex, khaki synthetic pants from Rail Riders, and wool-blend Duofold base-layer bottoms. This kind of clothing is a good way to cut the bulk from the gear you bring.

Many trekkers use trekking poles. Seems obvious enough. I brought along a pair of lightweight Leki poles. But after the first day, I stowed them and did not take them out again. Except for a few big climbs, the Mount Everest trail is generally wide and easy. If you’re in good shape — and if your porter is carrying much of your load, which is par for course in Nepal — you might consider leaving poles at home.

If you like poles for stability, have bad knees, etc., by all means bring poles. But if you’re fit and unburdened by a big pack, poles can be superfluous. They can slow you down. More detrimental, trekking poles can keep you consistently looking down — not up at the mountains! — for the next spot on the ground to stab.

Prayer flags and peaks, a typical view on the Everest Trail

It’s not really gear, but medications can be essential along the Mount Everest trail. To be sure, ask a doctor for anything health related. But for me, ibuprofen aided with headaches. A stomach illness early in the trip prompted me to do a course of azithromycin antibiotic. I was better in one day on this drug. For altitude, Diamox (generically, acetazolamide) seemed to help my body adapt to the thin air.

Obvious small essentials on my trek included sunscreen, lip balm, and hand-wash sanitizer. I kept a pack of tissues and some baby wipes handy. All these items were stowed in hip-belt pockets on my pack, easily accessible throughout the day.

Finally, sunglasses are mandatory, too. Get a good pair. At Base Camp, at 17,500 feet, you are higher in the sky. In Nepal, near Mount Everest, you are truly closer to the sun.

—Stephen Regenold blogged live from the Everest region in April at ClimbWithUs.com and on Gear Junkie at the site’s Everest Blog, http://gearjunkie.com/everest-blog.

Stephen Regenold
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Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.