We recommend buying your gear from your favorite local outdoor store!
Note that the gear choices we list below are not recommendations; they are simply a statement of our own personal experiences and feedback from past participants. Ultimately it is your choice what to bring. Some more thoughts below:
- You can buy lots of different gear in Kathmandu; there are tons of shops. However, the quality can vary widely and sizes for women might be difficult to find. It is helpful to arrive early on the first day so you have time to walk around Thamel to get last minute gear, change money, and complete last-minute errands. In Africa, there are not as many gear shops to choose from – so don’t count of being able to buy a small gadget at the last minute.
- Know that you can leave stuff in a secure room in Kathmandu and in Arusha while we are in the mountains.
- In Nepal, we will likely ask everyone to carry up to half a kilogram (1 pound) of group gear – typically part of a medical kit. By dividing the weight, we make it manageable. Members will also be given a radio to carry so we can be in touch when the group gets spread out.
- Long sleeve (1) and short sleeve (1) shirt, merino wool or synthetic. Lighter colors that don’t absorb as much sun will be good but will show more dirt.
- Bring a light puffy jacket with a hood. We like this down jacket by Feathered Friends. It has 3.7 oz / 105 g (size Medium) of down fill. Not a lot – this would be considered minimum insulation. We are fans of 900+ fill down and understand from down experts that paying more for hydrophobic down (relatively new on the market) is not always worth it as you lose the coating soon. Remember to look for cruelty-free down.
- Wind/light rain shell like a Patagonia Houdini.
- Hard shell. Please consider Paclite Gore-Tex, which is lighter than the 3-layer versions.
- Back-up contacts/glasses (bring your prescription to Kathmandu if you are arriving early; it is a great place to get glasses made on the cheap).
- Sun glasses
- Baseball cap or visor to keep sun/rain off face
Kilimanjaro Notes: Please bring a heavier puffy jacket for evenings and the summit.
Langtang Notes: Please bring a rock climbing helmet or let us know if you need to borrow. The last 150 vertical meters on each side of Kanja Pass has a lot of loose, slippery rock. We will cross it near dawn and stagger our paths to minimize rock fall risk, but the safest thing you can do is wear a helmet.
- Running shorts/skirt/or whatnot (1)
- Tech pants (1) – preferably quick-dry and convertible to shorts.
- Puffy pants for around the lodge, in your sleeping bag if cold, and on the pass if conditions are extreme (unlikely). This could be skipped and you can use your Tech pants and a pair of long underwear instead.
- Underwear (1 or 2)
Kilimanjaro Notes: Please consider softshell pants as well and rain pants.
Normal trail running shoes should be fine, but Gore-Tex shoes will add some degree of safety if we end up in the snow on a high pass. Please also pack 2-3 pairs of socks + one thicker pair for around camp. If your fingers/toes run cold, then bring at least one set of chemical warmers for when we cross the pass (usually 3-5 hours).
If we’re going somewhere that might have even a remote chance of snow, then we always bring some strong plastic shopping bags. At least two. We use these as as stuff sacks and to save feet if things get cold. You can step into each bag, then put your shoes on and you will have a vapor barrier that greatly helps with warming feet. This is especially important if you have to face long travels through snow in trail running shoes. Not a complete, nor ideal, solution but something to employ if caught out in less-than-ideal conditions.
Kilimanjaro Notes: Most people will want a comfortable pair of hiking boots. If you feet run cold, be sure to bring some foot warmers for summit day. You can also bring trail runners for the easier days. Do not go up in a pair of boots you have never worn before! We will evaluate the need for micro-spikes as we get closer to the date. Bringing gators may be a good idea.
Langtang Notes: Foot traction is highly recommended, but full crampons are not necessary.
- Pack: A 30l pack for most of our adventures should be more than adequate. (Lantang Fastpack will probably require closer to 40l)
- Water bottles/bladders: We like to buy two 750-1000ml water bottles from Kathmandu and carry them on our packs that we can easily access. Some people like to use bladders.
- Some kind of water treatment system.
- Travel medicines as advised by personal clinician. (See our HAL Handbook, which is given to all participants). It is recommended that you carry a complete backup set of your medicines.
- Plug adapter. We recommend those that adapt to many plug types. The most commonly used in Nepal is round with two prongs, but sometimes you find others. Also consider an adapter that includes USB charging ports. Some people bring panels, but in general we don’t recommend that you bring any small solar panels due to the added weight and the availability of recharging in lodges. You might consider a rechargeable battery pack, and extra batteries for your camera.
- Headlamp plus one set extra batteries if not USB rechargable.
- Toilet paper (no need to start with a whole roll; most people buy some on the trail as well).
- Personal hygiene kit: Tooth brush, part of a bar of soap, tooth paste, etc.
- Pocket money – $50-$100.
- Passport or photocopy of passport.
- Emergency contact sheet (we will give this to you in Kathmandu).
- Phone (we can help you get a SIM card if interested).
- App on your phone that lets you follow a GPX track (can be downloaded from the route page).
- Maps (we will give this to you).
- Compass. One with a sighting mirror is best!
- Whistle. Sometimes these are integrated into sternum straps on your pack. Three blasts is the SOS signal!
- Travel luggage lock (combination style). Use this to secure your room when we are using lodges. You will also want one to secure the bag you are leaving at the hotel. (Not needed for Kilimanjaro)
For any event in Nepal (and really, anywhere) – bring an emergency bivy sack made out of reflective foil. Like these from SOL. (the smallest/cheapest one will meet our minimum standards but the thermal/breathable bivy bags are the best if you can manage the extra cost and weight). Temperatures will likely approach freezing when we are on the high passes and also when camping after the second pass on the Langtang Trip.
Please do not confuse this gear item with a ‘full-on bivy sack’ which some people use in situations to replace a tent – these generally cost hundreds of dollars and are not needed on our trips.
Instead we are looking for something made out of reflective foil, much like the blanket people sometime receive after a marathon. If it is shaped as a ‘bivy sack/sleeping bag’ then it will retain your heat better than a blanket. They are useful when caught out for the night with no sleeping bag and/or if someone is injured and is going into shock. In general we hope we never need to use these.
Annapurna: Bring a sleeping bag liner. The lodges have thick blankets, but you will appreciate first slipping into your liner when the blankets are less-than-clean looking (they usually look pretty good, but you never know). You can buy a liner in Kathmandu for $10 USD and up (maybe $30 for silk).
Langtang: Bring a sleeping bag or quilt that is rated to freezing and also a sleeping pad for ground insulation. We find the Therm-a-rest NeoAir XLite very light (non affiliate REI link) with good insulation, but also a little awkward to sleep on because of how high it is – and it is also rather expensive. Others love it. In planning your sleeping system remember to layer, potentially wearing all clothes as well as your emergency reflective bivy bag
Kilimanjaro: Bring a good sleeping bag rated to at least 0 F (-18 C). If you don’t have a bag that runs this cold, consider layering bags and/or renting a bag. Sleeping pads will be provided but if you need more cushion – bring one of your own so you have two!
Gear extras for Langtang
Another gear item that we are requiring is a light weight alpine harness in case we need to belay you down from Kanja La.
Our approach to Kanja Pass has no lodges or settlements. Each person will need to have their own shelter (or ideally share) and a sleeping bag. Shelters we might be bringing, and that may be available for free loan, include:
- OR Bivy
- The Black Diamond First Light A simple and light alpine tent. Good for snow; not so good for rain. 1.5 kg (3 lb 5 oz)
- Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 2 person – A nice three-season tent; will be better in the rain and not as good in the snow. We recommend buying a 3-person for 2 people. 1.13 kg (2 lb 5 oz)
- Hyperlight Mountain Gear Echo II Cuban fiber/dynema tarp system. Lightweight and versatile, but expensive. With insert: 0.85 (1. 14 oz)
As group gear we will also be carrying one to two tarps for additional protection along the lines of this catenary cut tarp from Kelty
- Satellite Tracker/beacon
- Reading material
- Pack towel
- Camp slippers/sandals
Good to Know
You can leave a bag of stuff at the hotel in Kathmandu. We lock it well, label it, and hotels in Kathmandu are happy to store it in a safe place. If we want to leave anything valuable, we check it in with the hotel safe.
First Aid Gear
- In the Himalayas and on Kilimanjaro you are responsible for your own personal first aid kit. We always bring a small blister kit, some bandages, and at least one elastic bandage.
- See our HAL Handbook (given to all participants) with more first aid and health information.
Jason and Heather’s Custom Gear List
Big thanks to Jason and Heather, graduates of Annapurna 2017 and Langtang 2018, for sharing their favorite gear along with non-affiliate links!
- Long Sleeve (1) Patagonia Men’s Capilene Lightweight Zip-Neck
- Short Sleeve (2) Icebreaker Strike Lite Short Sleeve Crew
- Light Puffy (1) Patagonia Nano Puff
- Feathered Friends Women’s Eos Down Jacket
- Wind Shell Jacket (1) Patagonia Houdini
- Hard Shell Jacket (1) Patagonia Alpine Houdini, currently replaced by the Storm Racer
- Hard Shell Pants (1) Marmot Precip Pants
- Baseball Cap
- Running shorts (1)
- Technical Pants (1) preferably quick dry and convertible to shorts. Kuhl Renegade or Outdoor Research Equinox
- Ultimate Direction Fastpack
– Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400
- 3liter bladder of your choosing
- Sawyer 2 liter gravity filter
- Katadyn .6l handheld
- Patagonia Hybrid Sleeping Bag
– SOL Bivy Sack (Breathable)
*Langtang and Annapurna
– Sleeping Bag Liner
*Langtang and Annapurna
- Black Diamond Whippet
- Trekking Poles
*Langtang and Annapurna