The Annapurna Base Camp trek is one of the most amazing hikes you can go on. It is quite hard, but it is very rewarding. That first glimpse of Machapuchare (Fish Tail) or Annapurna makes all your aches suddenly disappear! But what exactly do you need to have on your Annapurna Base Camp trek packing list? Keep reading to find out!
Trekking in Nepal
Ok, let’s be real. No amount of training will really prepare you for your first experience of trekking in the Himalayas. If you’ve trained hard for your trek, you will probably find that you recover more quickly than those who haven’t.
It is recommended that you travel with a guide and porters. Initially I was against the use of porters. I felt horrible at the thought of making someone else carry my things. But once I learnt more about the country and realised that trekking and tourism is a major source of income, it made me feel a bit better. Knowing I was helping a family and the economy by using a guide and porter made me feel better about the decision.
One thing to be aware of, the government of Nepal has introduced weight limits for what a porter can carry. Make sure your bag for the porter is less than 10kgs.
Annapurna Base Camp packing list
Below you will find specific product recommendations for your Annapurna Base Camp trek. I have also made a quick printable so you can have a handy list of items that you need to pack.
What to take on your trek
Depending on where you are staying before and after your trek, you may be able to leave a suitcase behind with all the things you won’t need during your trek. This is a great idea for ensuring you only take what you need. Remember, the trek will be hard. Don’t take any more than what you need.
There are some important things to consider before working out what you should take.
What trek are you planning on doing?
How many days is your trek?
What time of the year are you going?
Will you have the assistance of a porter?
Clothes and shoes
This list is going to seem like there aren’t a lot of clothes on here. And there aren’t. You will not always be able to have a nice hot shower and put on clean clothes. My advice is to just go with it. Everyone is in the same situation.
Remember, it’s more about weight and making the trek easier to complete. Not about how good you smell and look while out there.
Hiking boots is at the top of my list for a reason. This item is probably one of the most important things for comfort while you are hiking. You need good quality boots that have been worn in a little. This will help you avoid blisters and discomfort on your hike.
Keen hiking boots
A mid height boot is perfect for trekking in Nepal. The mid style boot gives your ankle support while hiking. These particular boots are waterproof. They also have a large toe buffer which is great for all the stone steps involved in an Annapurna trek.
Shirts x 2
Long sleeve shirts are recommended over short sleeve shirts because they provide better sun and skin protection. The last thing you want is to get sunburned on your trip of a lifetime. A hiking style shirt, or even just a synthetic long sleeve shirt will be perfect. Avoid cotton as it soaks up sweat and will smell more quickly than synthetic.
You will only need two shirts. While one is airing, you’ll be wearing the other one. If you like, pack one more shirt to wear around the tea house of an evening.
Colombia long sleeve hiking shirt
This hiking shirt by Colombia will be a great addition to your trekking kit. It is made of 100% polyester with omni-wick technology to move moisture away from your skin. Coupled with SPF40+ fabric to protect your skin from the sun, this is a perfect shirt for trekking in the Himalayas.
Pants x 2
You will need two pairs of pants. One for hiking in everyday and the other to wear around the tea house of an evening. There are two different styles of pants you can choose for your trek. You can either go with the traditional hiking pant, which is a perfectly acceptable choice.
Whatever you do, do not pack jeans. Not only are they heavy to carry, they absorb water and sweat. If you do attempt to hike in jeans you will find yourself becoming very uncomfortable very fast. You will chafe and end up in all sorts of pain. Leave these behind at the hotel.
The North Face hiking pants
Lightweight and quick drying, these hiking pants will be the perfect choice on your Nepal trek. These pants offer a drawstring closure, unlike other hiking pants that are zip, button and possibly belt. While these pants don't convert to shorts, they will keep you comfortable and protected on your Annapurna hike.
The other option is to choose tights. Although, not just any tights, but compression tights. These are purported to help you recover more quickly. And trust me, when you’ve hiked up and down mountains for 8 hours and 15km, you will probably need all the help recovering you can get!
If you don’t just want to wear tights, shorts or skirts go well over the top of them. While I didn’t wear tights, other people in the group did and swear by them. These are a perfect alternative to hiking pants.
2XU core compression tights
Tights are gaining popularity in the hiking community because of the benefits they can have. These synthetic pants will aid circulation and support muscles during your Annapurna trek. Additionally they offer SPF 50+ protection from the sun.
Thermal base layer
Night time in the Himalaya’s can get very cold! For this reason a thermal base layer is suggested for sleeping in. Although if you find yourself in very cold daytime temperatures, you can wear them under your outer layers.
The base layer should be snug against your body, but not tight. This helps to regulate your temperature and trap the warm air in between your skin and clothes. There are two different materials that the base layer can be made out of. You can get either Merino wool blends or polypropylene. Polypro is much cheaper, which makes it accessible for all budgets, however my personal preference is merino wool. I find myself sweating in the polypro, which defeats the purpose of it.
For your base layer, you will need a set of long thermal wear, which is a long-sleeved thermal top and long thermal pants. While the thought of buying wool may make you automatically start scratching yourself, the technology today means that the wool items aren’t itchy, they are actually very soft and comfortable.
Thermal top base layer
This Meriwool base layer is 100% Merino wool but without the itch! Not only does this top breathe, but it also has moisture-wicking properties. Wool is also odour resistant, so you can wear this for multiple days without forming a strong odour. Soft and comfortable, you will be glad you packed it.
In just the same way that the thermal top keeps you warm, so do the pants. You will be nice and snug each night when you hop into bed.
Thermal pants base layer
Made from 100% natural Merino wool, these pants have all the comfort but without the itch. They'll keep you warm and comfortable with moisture wicking properties. Breathable and odour resistant, these are exactly what you need on your Annapurna Base Camp packing list.
A down jacket is a must while hiking in Nepal. It gets bitterly cold in the mountainous region. Depending on what time of the year you go, you may not need to wear it during the day as you hike. But once you stop and cool down, it will be required because it gets cold quickly.
Columbia down jacket
This Columbia down jacket has amazing reviews! It has a synthetic down fill which ensures it has warmth without weight and bulk. It has a water-resistant shell to keep you not only warm, but also dry. It's the perfect choice for your Annapurna hike.
A fleece mid-layer acts as an insulation layer. Polar fleece is great at stopping the wind from blowing through. It is a great insulator, but you can get hot. Make sure you pay attention to your temperature ans adjust your clothing as required. Fleece tops are very lightweight, so it’s not too heavy to carry if you need to take it off.
A waterproof layer, consisting of a rain jacket and pants are required for your Annapurna Base Camp trek. The weather in the mountainous regions is very unpredictable and it’s always a good idea to carry some protective clothing.
Columbia Rain Jacket
Coming in a variety of colours, this jacket is the perfect item to pack for your Nepal trek. It is made from 100% polyester and the fabric is breathable while retaining its waterproof properties. It is lightweight and folds down small as to minimise space. This jacket is also machine washable, in case it gets dirty.
It is suggested that you take both a rain coat and waterproof pants. For the pants, I took ski pants, because you are less able to layer clothing on your bottom half to keep warm. But, simple rain pants is probably all you need. I used my ski pants once and that was on the morning that I hiked to Poon Hill. As you need to leave prior to dawn to catch the sunset, I appreciated the warmth of the ski pants. But they are heavy and bulky and next time I would avoid taking ski pants and just take a normal pair of rain pants instead.
Out gloves will keep your hands warm and protected. You’ll b grateful for these when you start of early in the morning.
Inner gloves can be worn when it’s not so cold, and just as a general protection for your hands. The sun is quite harsh and your hands are not immune. When
A nice warm beanie will keep your head warm, especially when you’ve finished hiking for the day. You will only use the beanie while you trek if the weather is bad. It’s good to have it handy though in case the weather turns suddenly. A lot of body heat is lost through the head, so you want to keep it warm.
A buff is preferable to a scarf as a scarf can blow off. Buff’s also have a multitude of uses. You can use them as headbands, wrist bands, wear it around the neck or over the mouth and nose. It also offers protection from the sun on your neck. A buff is a must have item on your trek.
A buff is perfect for high altitude trekking. It is UPF 50 so it will protect the delicate skin on your neck. You can wear the buff in up to 12 different configurations, making it a very versatile item. It is made from a polyester blend which gives it wicking and quick drying properties.
Hiking socks x 4
It’s important to get good quality woollen hiking socks. You will need a few pairs of woollen socks as they will take a while to dry as they are thick. This is one area where I wouldn’t skimp. If you are wearing mid to high height boots, then you’ll want longer socks that pull up over your calf. The other good thing about long socks is it’s an added layer to keep you warm. Blisters are one of the worst things that can happen while you hike and good socks can help prevent that.
Darn Tough Wool Socks
Darn Tough wool socks are made with a 79% wool blend. They are cushioned for extra comfort and durability. The socks have ribbed support around your foot to make sure they don't slip and bunch up. Wool has odour-neutralising and moisture-wicking properties for all round comfort.
In your backpack
Every day on your hike you will need to carry a backpack with all the essential items you will need for that day.
The recommended size for your personal backpack is 40L or less. You will need to carry your emergency clothing, such as rain-wear and your warm jacket. Once you have packed your duffel and the porters have organised it, you won’t be able to access it until you finish hiking for the day. So make sure you have everything you need on you. When choosing a bag, it’s also important that you get one will an option to use a water bladder. Make sure your bag is comfortable too as you will be carrying this bag for a long time every day.
Osprey Tempest 40L
This is the bag I chose after a lot of research. I wanted a lightweight bag that was comfortable. I also needed a bag that had good hip and chest straps to transfer the weight from my shoulders. It has a water bladder sleeve as well as drink bottle holders. There are many compartments which makes this a great bag for hiking.
One of the ways to help minimise the effects of altitude sickness is to make sure you stay properly hydrated. The best way to stay hydrated is to take small amounts of water frequently. Using a water bladder is the easiest way to make sure you’re taking on enough water. A water bottle is fine, but you will find it tiresome to have to keep removing your backpack to get access to your water bottle.
Water treatment system
There are a few different water treatment systems to choose from. There are filter ones, like the Sawyer mini, straws, tablets and UV lights. After copious amounts of research, I settled on the filter system. The reason for this is because it cleans the water at the same time as removing bacteria. The straw was out as well as you can’t filter water for cooking as you have to suck it out. I wanted this filter system to be used for all scenarios where water quality is questionable such as multi-day hikes.
Hiking poles are a must on your Annapurna trek. If you enjoy having knees that work at the end of your trek, you need to take them. The Annapurna Base Camp trek is tough! There are many stone steps that you will need to walk both up and down and the poles help transfer this weight from your legs to other parts of your body. As silly as you might feel when you first start using them, you won’t regret taking them.
There are two different types of hiking poles, telescopic and folding. Which pole you choose will be a very personal choice as I’m not sure there’s much difference in the actual performance of the poles. However, storage of the poles is where you need to make a choice. My personal preference is folding hiking poles. This is because they pack down shorter than telescopic ones meaning they pack easily into a suitcase or backpack.
Equipeak hiking poles
These poles fold down to a mere 15" so they will fit easily into a suitcase or back pack. With cork handles for a comfortable grip, these poles can be used in a variety of conditions. The poles come with different accessories to make trekking easier over different terrains. Fully height adjustable, these poles are a required addition to your Annapurna Base Camp trek kit.
In your duffel bag
Now, you might think that there aren’t enough clothes on this list, and if you’re a person that enjoys having a nice hot shower everyday and putting nice clean clothes on, well you’re in for a huge shock! You will get dirty and sweaty, and you will stink, but so does everyone else on the hike, so don’t worry too much. Embrace the adventure.