With little knowledge of what lay in front of us our training was a little under cooked. The distances traveled each day are not that far the challenge comes in the steady steep inclines or the downhills. So here some things we did and others we should have done more of.
There a lot of stairs on the trail, far more then we expected, so if we were to do it again we’d do many more stairs, both up and down. Make sure you find a good tall building and enjoy.
Squats to strengthen knees.
Train with the backpack and water bladder / bottles that you are going to use and fill them up so you get used to the extra weight and get used to drinking from them.
Wear the hiking boots that you are going to wear on the trail.
This is not an exhaustive list however includes some pointers and things we learnt along the trek or others told us about.
What to bring….
Lots of wet wipes and hand sanitizer. There are limited washing facilities and the hygiene level is often questionable. To avoid getting sick we suggest you use hand sanitizer frequently. We brought a small bottle to carry with you at all times and then a larger bottle to refill those as required.
Handkerchiefs and tissues, you will get sniffles or a cough and the small packs of tissues do not cut it after a while. Many of our group started using toilet paper rolls. So bring hankies or decent strength / size tissues in ziplocks bags to make transportation easier.
Bring multiple layers of light, warm clothing instead of heavy layers. This lightens your load and allows you to change easily to suit the temperature at that time.
When we went there was a limited need for thermals, in fact we only wore them during the hike for a day and a half. I did use them to sleep in due to the temperature at night. That is covered more in the blog about the tea houses.
A good face mask or buff for use on the track, mainly at the higher altitudes where the vegetation is limited and the trails are very dusty. Try it allow and make sure it stays on your face, is comfortable and most importantly allows you to breathe easily through it.
For most of the days a light day back with a water bladder is preferred. It is much more comfortable to carry then water bottles. Make sure you drink regularly through the day to keep hydrated.
Bring a water bottle for the morning and cold climbs that you can keep close to your body to avoid freezing. Some of the water bladders froze on the hike to Kala Patthar. This bottle can be packed in your luggage for most of the trek.
We used bottled water all the time instead of tablets. WE just tipped them into the bladders, rather then mixing tablets. This was just much easier and the water was reasonable when compared to prices you pay for a bottle of water in Australia anyway. The most we paid for one litre was about $3.
You can buy snacks at most of the tea houses along the way, the variety diminishes as you go higher in the mountains. If you want to take beef jerky or something you enjoys to snack on the way such as nuts, trail mix etc, these can be bought in Kathmandu.
The children of course love chocolate or any sort of candy so if you want to be popular with the village children ensure you have a ready supply of sweet treats.
The kids also enjoy crayons, colouring pencils or stickers so you can bring these along as well.
A spare digital camera, I dropped my main camera and cracked the lens so it was good to have a backup camera. This si also good to have a small camera to capture moments more easily and conserve the battery of the larger camera.
Bring some spare memory cards for your camera, just in case and take plenty of pictures of everything. There are a few things we missed capturing on the trails and in the tea houses
I brought my tablet /laptop to back up my photos each day. Just in case something happened to the camera, I had a copy of photos from the previous days.
Bring usb charging batteries for charging your phones and cameras. You can charge your camera at any time (providing it can be charged via USB) using these devices. A bit of investigation on the web will find the right one for you.
I also brought spare batteries for the cameras this was a cheap solution and we need them a few times as the cold temperatures lessen the life of batteries.
Trekking poles are optional and a lot of us didn’t use them, some used only one and others used two. They help going downhill a lot. The constant steep stairs put strain on a number of peoples knees as we descended the mountains. Please be respectful of others on the trail when using your poles if you bring them.
Enjoy! This is a great experience and the trip of a lifetime for many.