There are heaps of packing guides available online, but this is what worked for me. You could certainly do this trek with a lot less stuff (or less technical stuff) but you run the risk of being sunburnt/windburnt/freezing/wet/carrying an inordinately heavy bag etc. That is not how I roll.
– Backpack with rain cover
– Camel back and a one litre and a 400ml Nalgene water bottle. The smaller water bottle wasn’t really necessary but I did find it handy in juggling water purification. Having a Nalgene (or other heat proof bottle) means that you have have a hot water bottle at night and pre-prepared first purified litre of water each morning.
– Gently worn in walking shoes or boots
– Sleeping bag (I borrowed The Climber’s and it was very warm but insanely heavy – if I didn’t have a porter I would have just taken my 2.5 season and worn more clothes to bed)
– Walking poles (yes, you look like an oversized praying mantis but this trek is ideal for poles – no undergrowth to get in the way and endless stairs for which the knee joints will appreciate a bit of assistance)
– Space blanket (for emergencies)
– Pocket knife
– Head torch
– Climbing tape (for preventing blisters, fixing things and making finger puppets)
– She pee (quite useful in very cold conditions, do practice at home while wearing long johns and trousers).
– Trail mix and chocolate (be prepared to share what you bring, private snacking in a group is very rude)
– Sunglasses (I had cheap but polarised ones. They were completely inadequate and the snow gave me a blinding headache in about three seconds flat. I then managed to loose them before the three days of hot sunny walking back in the hills. Buy fancy snow/water sport ones and don’t loose them).
– Three dry bags – one for your extra warm layers, one for clothes and one for smelly things (like damp socks). Plastic bags also work but I have turned into a gear junkie.
– Two rolls toilet paper (good to have extra for digestive emergencies and it’s lightweight and the size prevents you packing extra stuff you don’t need).
– Hand sanitiser
– Shampoo and conditioner decanted into little travel containers (I used these as body wash and clothes wash as well).
– Face wash decanted into tiny travel container (in my view shampoo inadequately removes sunscreen from the face).
– Sunscreen (if you are coming from Australia buy at home, they only sell the useless European stuff in Nepal, as far as I can tell).
– SPF lipbalm (I only had the useless European stuff and so smothered my lips in sunscreen during the day and only used the lipbalm at night.
– Travel sized toothpaste and toothbrush
– Deodorant (I actually wouldn’t bother bringing any on my next walk. I am not a smelly person and it’s fairly heavy. Stinky types should consider the olfactory comfort of others before making their decision).
– Tiny tub Clinique SPF moisturiser and travel mascara (obviously totally unnecessary, but worthwhile luxuries for those who can no longer afford to get their eyelashes tinted regularly and who have an aversion to having a leather face).
– Arnica oil decanted into a little travel container (completely awesome for a daily leg massage).
– Spare contact lenses and liquid and pair spectacles (for those with mole-like eyesight)
– Bag for all of these things
– Poo stoppers and anti-bacterials (I had a combination The Travel Doctor gave me)
– Anti-nausea drugs (didn’t have any but REALLY wished that I did)
– Water purification tablets (cheap to buy in Nepal). You can buy boiled water pretty much everywhere, which should be safe to drink, but I prefer to be doubly sure and also use purification tablets. The tablets themselves (like iodine) are ineffective in nuking cryptosporidium, which can however be fixed by keeping water at a rolling boil for a minute. Buying bottled water is environmental vandalism and not actually possible at high altitude.
– Diamox. I didn’t bring any, but it is an option. I suffered mild altitude sickness – headache and nausea – at 4000 metres but acclimatised within six hours. I also saw a very buff and fit guy vomit all over himself and pass out at 2855 metres. Contrary to the immovable belief of my challenging fellow trekker, his fruit salad had little to do with his blacking out and you most definitely can be adversely effected at any altitude over 2000 metres. Dehydration, alcohol and exertion make it worse.
It is seriously rude to bare your shoulders and legs in Nepal (this goes for men and women). It is also unnecessary – long lightweight trousers and a t.shirt or shirt will provide you with sun protection and are reasonably cool on hot days. In terms of technical performance, generally speaking, cotton is rotten. It is heavy and when wet it is bloody cold. Wool, silk and that magic quick dry stuff is what you want.
– Four pairs woollen socks (this is excessive but guess who had warm dry feet everyday?)
– Two pairs ice breaker long johns and one top (I meant to bring two tops). One set is probably enough but it is quite reassuring to have a clean dry set for sleeping and emergencies.
– Three pairs lacy underwear (they dry quickly) and one pair boring black briefs to wear with a t.shirt for the soak in the hot springs. You really should wear long tights but there are limits to my cultural sensitivity: at least I wasn’t in a thong bikini like the Germans. Gentlemen may prefer fewer pairs of underwear, with greater coverage.
– Two singlet tops with built-in bras (I wore the ice breaker top over these everyday). Gentlemen and sweaty ladies may prefer t.shirts or quick dry shirts.
– Long sleeved, lightweight sun shirt – preferably silk as that can also provide warmth in a layering system on other days, as necessary. I didn’t have one and wished I did on the last few hot days, I would quite like to get one made with excessively long arms that can also provide sun protection for the hands.
– Sun Hat. I forgot to bring a sunhat. I am a moron. A cap style hat or visor in combination with a wide light scarf for the head and neck is what I would recommend: rock that Lawrence of Arabia look.
– Pair of quick dry trousers (you could bring a spare pair but I don’t think it’s really necessary)
– Wool jumper
– Down jacket
– Wooly hat
– Warm gloves
– Waterproof mittens (or just one pair of waterproof gloves – I prefer the combo as I don’t appear to have any circulation to my fingers)
– Rain jacket
– Buff style (the loop thing) wool scarf – awesome for sunshade, warmth etc etc
– Silk robe (preferably calf length but anything over the knee is ok) and decent/thickish cotton hand towel. This combination is HIGHLY recommended. Much easier than trying to get changed in the fairly icky and wet bathrooms or carrying a towel that is big enough to provide even a modicum of modesty.
– Flip flops for the bathroom and evenings
– Warm Japanese style socks (with the separate big toe so you can wear them comfortably with flip flops). I didn’t have these – I had down hut booties which were completely awesome but also completely unnecessary. Japanese socks are much smaller and you don’t have to keep swapping to flip flops to visit the toilet.
– Loose trousers or skirt for the evenings. I brought a pair of cotton harem style pants for $1.70 in Kathmandu and wore them over the top of clean long johns. These are particularly unflattering and break my-non cotton rule…but come on…$1.70!