I believe I’ve mentioned this before, but let me repeat: I have NEVER been as cold as I was on the Everest Base Camp trek — not even during that Disney half-marathon when we ran with Him’s parents through the rain, hail, sleet and snow in shorts, and his dad defrosted with a hair dryer directed under his hotel bed’s sheets (and this is a guy who wears bermudas during a North Dakota winter. If he’s cold, it’s cold).

It was the EBC trek, specifically the Kala Patthar stretch, that froze my fingers to the point where I whimpered like a toddler. It was the EBC trek, specifically wind howling through gaps in the plywood walls of our lodges, that kept Him and I so uncomfortably frigid we couldn’t sleep some nights.

But you’re probably not a native Floridian and you may not be hiking the trail in March. You probably won’t be relying on those cute but utterly useless knitted gloves sold across the Thamel District in Kathmandu or renting a musky “North Fake” sleeping bag. Instead, bring appropriate – and versatile — gear and clothing (over the 12-day span of the hike, we went from 80 degrees F in Kathmandu to about 60 degrees in Lukla to -5 degrees the morning we climbed Kala Patthar).

So in the interest of keeping you warm and toasty, I recommend packing the following – at least during the winter:


  • A (real) down sleeping bag rated for sub-zero temps
  • A sleeping bag liner / sleep sheet
  • A (real) down jacket rated for sub-zero temps
  • 1 pair of water-resistant, insulated pants
  • 1 pair of convertible pants (zip off into shorts)
  • 1 fleece pullover/hoodie
  • 1-2 long-sleeved, sweat-wicking T-shirt
  • 1-2 pairs of long underwear – to sleep in and wear under clothes
  • 3-4 pairs of thermal socks (“They’re gonna stink.” – Him)
  • 3-4 pairs of quick-drying Ex-Officio undies (for sink washing)
  • 1-2 Ex-Officio sports bras (for the ladies)
  • 1 pair of well broken-in ankle-high hiking boots
  • 1 pair of Croc-like shoes (if you plan to buy a shower. Your wet feet will freeze in flip flops)
  • 1 pair of thermal gloves
  • A scarf
  • A head scarf (a flexible sleeve that covers your ears and head. In addition to keeping your head warm, will hide unruly, unwashed hair)
  • Sunglasses (the sun, shining off snow, can be blinding)
  • A thermal hat


  • A 30-50 L backpack (if you plan to carry your own stuff)
  • A day pack (if you plan to hire a porter to carry most of your clothing/gear)
  • Water purification tabs or fine ceramic filter to purify drinking water (don’t drink the tap water!)
  • Tang (to make the purified water taste better)
  • A durable water bottle
  • Sunscreen
  • First Aid Kit
  • Trail map (Sold in Kathmandu bookstores)
  • Guidebook (detailing altitude sickness precautions, the history and scenery of the park, etc.)
  • Diamox (for suppressing altitude sickness symptoms while you descend to a lower altitude)
  • Tylenol (for those aches and pains you will be sure to feel)
  • Telescopic hiking poles (just one is helpful for downhill hiking)
  • Toilet Paper (you’re unlikely to find any at the lodges. Remove the cardboard roll to take up less space)
  • Hand sanitizer (see above)
  • Wet/baby wipes or a sponge/wash cloth for “bathing” (hot water comes at a price)
  • Lip balm with sunscreen
  • Hand warmers
  • Tissues (your nose will run)
  • A headlamp (especially useful for mid-night bathroom runs)
  • Chapped hand cream (I like Neutrogena Norwegian Formula)
  • Chocolate/Granola/Energy bars for mid-hike power boosts
  • Solar-powered battery pack (We noticed several hikers with these attached to their backpacks. They can come in handy because charging batteries on the hike comes at a price. Here are examples.)
  • A quick-drying travel towel (if you plan to buy a hot shower or shiver through a cold one. This is the one I have.)
  • Misc. personal hygiene supplies
  • Carabiners (real or fake) for attaching gear/wet pack towels to the outside of your backpack
  • A compass (or, better yet, a CompassWhistle!)
  • An altimeter
  • A smartphone with panoramic capabilities or a DSLR with a wide-angle lens (for those amazing scenic shots)
  • A journal and pens/pencils
  • A Paper Sibling for impromptu photo shoots

*Groceries, clothing, real and knock-off hiking gear are readily available across Kathmandu (The real stuff – North Face/Kathmandu/Mountain Hardwear – is quite pricey. The fake stuff is dirt cheap but of questionable quality) Supplies are also available in Lukla and Namche Bazaar (typically reached by the second or third day of hiking), but prices increase as you hike farther away from civilization and closer to EBC). I recommend bringing along tested gear from your home country and only purchasing groceries and other small items in Kathmandu. For safety’s sake, you may consider getting a prescription for Diamox in the U.S., but know that you can buy 12 pills of the stuff in grocery stores in Kathmandu for about $4. And when consuming lentils and rice and rice and lentils for most meals, you may want bring along some Imodium – just in case.

*The lists above are quite extensive, and you may not wish to bring so much gear unless you’re hiring a porter. The less you mind your own stink, the better off you are (less clothing/wipes to carry).


Did we forget something? If so, please share your thoughts in the comment section below. Thanks for your input!