A few people who are planning on doing the Everest Base Camp Trek in the near future have asked me recently for advice on what to pack in the way of clothing. How many t-shirts or pairs of trousers they’re going to need and what’s best in the way of jackets.
To help out I’m putting together a couple of posts on the clothing that I took with me on my last trek and that I’ll be taking with me again in April. Today I’ll give you a list of the tops I took.
I did a lot of research before I went last time and I got a lot of valuable information from the blogs of people who’d already done the trek. You have to be very mindful of weight when you’re buying your gear and packing as you have a limit of 15kgs on the flight to Lukla (this includes your kit bag and day pack), so choices have to be made of what to take and what to leave behind.
This is the list of what worked for me but, as I’ve said before, always do your own research and try to come up with what you think will work for you.
- A couple of lightweight short sleeved t-shirts of the wickaway type, designed to draw moisture away from your body. These are particularly useful for the first few days of the trek, lower down the mountains, sometimes by themselves, at other times as a base layer.
- One short sleeved merino t-shirt – this is warmer and worked well under my long sleeved t-shirt.
- One long sleeved merino t-shirt – after the first few days I lived in this top, wearing it over the top of my short sleeved t-shirt.
- A thermal long sleeved top. This is multi purpose – you can wear it during the day as an extra layer of warmth and I also used it for sleeping in.
- Thermal jacket – I took a Polartec zip up jacket (pullover type would work just as well) – again, I wore this at some point every day, over my long sleeved merino t-shirt.
- 200 weight zip up fleece – this worked well for me over the top of my Polartec jacket as we gained altitude. I made sure there was room for it to fit over the other layers and it really worked well for me even standing up at Base Camp at nearly 5,500 metres.
- Waterproof and wind resistant top layer – I took a Gortex jacket with me but there are several brands that are equally good. Just make sure that it is wind resistant as well as waterproof and that it has a hood – you need to keep out all the elements!!
- Soft shell jacket – I took a soft shell as well as the fleece. It probably wasn’t essential but I wore it in camp in the evening.
- Down jacket – The company that I went with provided a down jacket for use in the camp at night. If you’re not provided with one take a lightweight down jacket, possibly instead of the soft shell.
These layers give you the flexibility to adjust to the varying temperatures and weather conditions throughout the day. I found that when we set off in a morning it was usually sunny but cold and I’d wear a short sleeved t-shirt, then a long sleeved t-shirt with the Polartec jacket or fleece on the top. As the morning wore on and the weather warmed, the jacket and occasionally the long sleeved top would come off. By mid afternoon all of the layers were back on, sometimes with the addition of the Gortex jacket to keep out the dampness of the mist that descended.
To say that the weather is unpredictable up there in the Himalayas is an understatement and all you can do is to prepare as best you can for what the mountains may throw at you.