Hiking to Everest Base Camp is a lifetime experience for many people. Like any other adventure it requires preparation and planning including deciding on what to pack for the trek. In this post, we discuss a complete packing list for the Everest Base Camp trek, including clothes, gear, electornics, and all sorts of nifty little extras from our personal experience doing this trek.
We have done the EBC trek twice in different weather conditions; in winter and in spring. In the last 7 years of traveling the world and writing about trekking, we’ve done plenty of hikes including many routes in cold weather conditions such as high altitude treks in Peru and Mount Kilimanjaro climb in Tanzania. Looking back at our EBC treks this is the packing list we recommend.
EBC Trek Permits and arrangements
Permits and Admin is not always the most fun part of packing, the permits are available in Lukla and Monjo so it can be paid on the way.
Everest Base Camp permits required 2020
- Local permit cost NPR 2000 ($20)
- Sagarmatha National Park Entry Permit (USD 30 + 13% Govt. Tax)
Both permits can be bought during the trek at checkpoints at Lukla and Monjo. This is the easiest way to do it and you can not miss these checkpoints on the route.
Do you need a TIMS permit to trek to EBC?
TIMS ( Trekkers’ Information Management Systems) is a system that was set up by the central government of Nepal to collect data of all trekkers in Nepal and according to the central government, the TIMS card is a requirement before any individual can go hiking in Nepal.
From what I understand the Nepal government wants you to get a TIMS permit so that they can add you to the database of trekkers in Nepal. This permit costs you RPM 2000 and is only valid for a single entry into any national park. This permit was required and checked in the Annapurna and Langtang region, but not in the Everest region.
There is a lot of conflicting information online so we went to the tourism board in Kathmandu to get the correct information. The tourism board assured us it is still necessary and that the information online is incorrect. While hiking to EBC they did not ask for our TIMS at any check point, when I told them I was forced in Kathmandu to buy the permit the officials laughed and told me to go and ask for my money back in Kathmandu. Several officials at checkpoints in the Everest Base Camp Trekking region were not interested in seeing our TIMS permits and assured me it is not required.
Insurance for the Everest Base Camp trek
Insurance is very important on any high altitude trek, altitude sickness is very common and since there are no roads in these mountains if you get seriously injured or sick you will have to be evacuated by helicopter which is very expensive. Most travel insurance will not cover extreme activities like high altitude trekking. Get a quote here for World Nomads hiking insurance for Nepal that covers you to 6000m (that is a ‘yes’ for Everest Base Camp at 5364m).
Doesn’t matter where you live or where you are at the moment, it takes less than 2 minutes to get a quote and you can buy it online even if you are already traveling. If you only take out a policy for your trek duration it is not too pricey, starting in a couple of days? it is not too late!
Gear and Equipment – buying or renting?
There are many shops selling the necessary clothes and gear to trek to Everest Base Camp in Kathmandu. Mostly fakes of well-known brands like The North Face. Many people buy the fake gear, completing the trek successfully using this equipment. Obviously, the quality is inferior.
You can rent gear in Kathmandu, be careful it is often fake, I rented a The North Face sleeping bag that fell apart after 3 days of use. There are a handful of shops selling authentic branded equipment in Thamel, you can not miss them. We bought proper The North Face gear in Thamel, I would however recommend buying essential gear before your trip while you still have time to order and exchange sizes, colors, models, etc.
Knock-off trekking Gear in Kathmandu
There are hundreds of little trekking shops in Kathmandu and Pokhara selling good looking knock-off equipment from well-known brands.
You are not climbing Everest so you probably won’t die of cold in a fake jacket in summer. Having something that fits, lasts, and keeps the wind and rain out is just nicer and will improve your chances of finishing the trek successfully though it might significantly increase the cost of the EBC trek.
Season is an important consideration when buying gear, in summer the knock-off stuff is OK and might last for the duration of your trek. When we were trekking to EBC in late February it was a lot colder than when we did the same trek in April. I was glad we had proper gear, it was freezing. I wore my real down jacket most of the trek, even sleeping in it at Gorakshep, I would recommend taking a light packable down jacket with a hood. The fake jackets are not filled with goose down, but with synthetic material, it is heavier and not nearly as warm.
Best months for hiking Everest Base Camp trek
How cold and wet it plays a very important role in what you pack for your EBC trek. There are two distinct seasons for trekking to EBC. The best months to trek to Everest base camp are in the pre-monsoon season through March, April, and May, or in the post-monsoon season from late September, October, November. If you decide to trek on the border of the monsoon season keep in mind that sometimes the season starts earlier or finishes later and unexpected rainfalls might influence your Everest Base Camp trek itinerary.
Pre-monsoon (Feb-May) the weather should be largely stable and dry, great for trekking, but it can be very busy with many hikers. Trekking here in February/March it was dry but cold. I was wearing Columbia shirts, a down jacket, and North Face Trekking Pants more than 80% of the time, wearing an Outer Shell Rain Jacket over the down jacket when it was very cold. Hiking to EBC in April I wore only the shirt and rain jacket most of the time, layering up with a fleece under the rain jacket on cold days.
Post monsoon (late Sept-Nov) with less haze and clouds in this period it will normally provide better views of these spectacular mountains. This time is colder but a great time to hike to Gokyo Lakes.
Dec-Feb hiking is still possible but it gets very cold, up to -30C at night! Sometimes a lot of snow falls on the trail, passes might be closed. Avoid the crowds but bring proper equipment!
Book a place where you can store some luggage if you are arriving with more than you can carry. Check these places out, policies change so make sure before booking.
We’ve stayed at several hotels in Kathmandu in different parts of Thamel and finally found the best (at least for us) location Keshar Mahal Marang Street. A small and quiet dead-end street in Thamel with only hotels, hostels, restaurants, and coffee shops. The street is a 5-minutes walk from the main touristy area with hundreds of shops and agencies.
There are a couple of hotels in the street we stayed at Aryatara Kathmandu Hotel for quite a while. Every time we finished a trek we came back for a couple of days. It’s a very nice place, big rooms, comfortable beds, good breakfast (included), great hot shower, AC, wi-fi, TV, etc. The room price includes free airport pick-up (for international flights only). The staff is very helpful and friendly. We stored our extra luggage here every time we went hiking for free without any problem.
More options in the same street
- Budget | Hostel Milarepa | Shangri-la Boutique Hotel |
- Middle price | Oasis Kathmandu Hotel | Hotel Blue Horizon |
- Luxury | Fairfield by Marriott Kathmandu |
Best Backpacks for EBC
A quality and comfortable backpack is a very important piece of equipment. I will recommend a dedicated hiking backpack from a well-known brand.
f you are planning to do many multi-day hikes it makes sense to invest in it and buy light and good quality ones like the Deuter ACT or Osprey Atmos 65L for men or Deuter ACT Lite 50 or Osprey Atmos AG50 for ladies. Alya and I are currently trekking with 60L and 40L backpacks respectively. A 40-50L backpack should be enough for this route. Everest Base Camp is a tea-house trek there is no need to bring any camping gear with you unlike for example when you pack for hiking in Patagonia.
We were traveling around Asia for about two years when the trekking bug bit and I was using a travel pack, these backpacks such as Osprey Far Point 55 Travel Backpack are great for traveling because they are not only top loading, you can open them in front for easy packing. Travel packs also have all sorts of straps, clips and zips and they are comfortable to carry, but a backpack designed for hiking is the number one choice for comfort.
Are you traveling long term and planning to do some serious hikes? for the best of both worlds go for a top-quality, well-designed hiking pack with easy access. Long term travel and serious hiking.
Travel Pack Features: With both top loading and J-Zip Front Panel opening – easy access like a travel backpack
Top Hiking Pack Features: Adjustable Torso Length, Integrated & Detachable Rain Cover, 3D Suspended Backpanel and Lumbar for perfect fit and comfort, a top hiking pack!
If you are using porters you can pack your clothing and gear in a duffel bag instead of a backpack, they will put it in a basket anyway or it will be carried by yaks/donkeys The North Face Base Camp Duffel
Packing Footwear for EBC Trek
Hiking boots/shoes – make sure your shoes are;
- have good grip – sometimes you walk on muddy or rocky terrain
- fit good – you have some space to wiggle your toes
- good quality
Should you trek to Everest Base Camp in boots or shoes? this is a very common debate, waterproof is very important, the need for ankle support is a personal preference. If you do not have hiking experience I would go for a higher cut for some ankle support. There are many people hiking in Nepal in sneakers. Wearing merino wool socks in waterproof hiking shoes, the temperature should not be a problem.
Hiking for months at a time all over the world we use many different shoes, both of us love our Salomon X Ultra boots. Light and comfortable, 100% waterproof Gortex. We hiked for hours in ankle-deep snow and mud on the Annapurna Base Camp trek and our feet stayed dry! Ladies Salomon X Ultra Boots
Packing clothing for the EBC Hike
What clothes to pack? – Layering is key, this popular hiking jargon just means wearing a couple of layers of clothing. Breathable clothing can help you to keep warm, dry and comfortable in changing conditions by removing layers depending on how you feel and the conditions you’re in. Multiple thin layers will keep you warmer than a single thicker layer is because warm air is trapped between the layers acting as an insulator.
Clothes are arranged in 3 layers from your skin outwards; a Base layer (underwear) that wicks (draws moisture away) sweat off your skin use a synthetic material that doesn’t absorb wetness. Middle layer (insulating): retains body heat protecting you from the cold. An Outer layer (the shell) waterproof and windproof.
Outer Shell Rain Jacket – wind and waterproof jacket ladies or Outer Shell Rain Jacket for men with hood in case of strong wind or rain. Walking EBC in April we walked most of the time in a hiking shirt and outer shell jacket, layering up with a fleece and thermal vest a handful of times when it was cold.
Rain poncho – On our last trip to EBC Alya left her rain jacket at home and took a ligh poncho that can fit over her and her backpack to make sure nothing gets wet. She wore a fleece or down jacket the rest of the trip. We always pack ponchos when go traveling – they are small and light and are often quite handy. It rained a bit once or twice and she used the poncho.
Trekking pants – I had one pair of light fast dry hiking pants and never zipped of the legs, on one or two occasions it was very cold and I layered up with thermal underpants, which I took of later in the day. If you go hiking off season when it is very cold – warmer waterproof pants. For women I’d suggest to pack trekking pants and yoga pants. Alya always take both and prefer wearing yoga pants – they stretch easy and are more comfortable. For hiking in lower temperatures she layers up with both pairs.
Hiking shirt – Do not pack cotton, if you sweat under your jacket you will be wet and freezing underneath. Alya prefers hiking in breathable, moisture wicking, quik dry T-shirts, packing a long sleeve shirt and one short sleeve T-shirt. I love hiking in Columbia shirts, they do not absorb water so dry quickly and protects me from the sun if I take my jacket off. Quick dry if I get importunity to hand wash on the way.
Sport bras – they are great for hiking and outdoors, Alya says that she prefers sport bras over normal bras.
Thermal underwear – really recommend to pack it with, you can use thermals (men’s models) for sleeping and as an extra layer for hiking if it gets cold. I always take normal cotton socks for sleeping as well.
Underwear – take two-three pairs with depending on a hike duration.
Merino wool socks – a must have especially for long hikes. In the past we didn’t pay much attention to socks – bought any random cheap socks and used to have blisters. We’ve heard a lot from other hikers about merino wool socks and finally decided to give it a go. They do work great, now we always wear them for hiking. Some advantages of merino wool socks; don’t absorb odors, protect your feet, dry quick and very durable. For even more comfortable walk check Darn Tough hiking socks they’re famous for great foot support and blister protection. Alya likes their ladies’ models; colorful and funky.
Beanie – since I don’t have much hair I often wear a beanie. Even though she has a lot of hair, Alya sometimes wear a beanie when it is very cold, pack one.
Gloves – Wearing thin fleece gloves or no gloves was fine most of the time. My hands get cold very easy and I was happy that I packed a pair of winter ski gloves on one or two cold mornings, I specifically recall ascending Kalapathar warm gloves helped a lot!
Sunglasses – bring sunglasses for hiking in the mountains with high UV protection and polarized lenses.
EBC Trek -Suggested hiking clothes for women
Everest Base Camp Trek Packing List -Suggested hiking clothes for men
- As a outer core layer you can wear a thick, waterproof jacket down such as the North Face Nuptse Jacket, in winter. We rented jackets like this when climbing Mount Elbrus in Russia.. Ladies Nuptse Jacket
- Pack a BUFF Multifunctional Headwear – protects your neck and face from sun burn, wind and weather.
Gaiters – Waterproof Windproof Warm Shoes Cover. Keep them dry and keep snow, debris and dust out while hiking in any terrain or weather.
Is a Sleeping Bag necessary on the EBC Trek?
It gets very cold inside the tea houses at night. Our water froze inside our bottles inside at night at the highest altitude! You do get blankets and can ask for extra, we however always carry a light summer sleeping bag that compresses for easy packing, it helps for warmth and we like sleeping in our ‘clean’ sleeping bags.
Everest Base Camp Trek Packing – Suggested Accessories
Trekking Poles – very popular on this trek, great for reducing the impact on your knees, the huge variety available. Our poles were extremely useful for some icy descents on the EBC trek. You are looking for durability, comfort, shock absorption, quality, and adjustability. TrailBuddy Hiking Sticks, TrailBuddy Hiking Sticks very well rated, good value for money, aluminum trekking poles. Aluminum is strong and a bit heavier than carbon, my advice is to save some money, go for these guys! Top of the line Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Pole, 68-140cm.
Microfibre towels take almost no space, are light, and dry easy so that they won’t get moldy and start smelling. Share one towel if you are a couple. Active Roots Microfiber Travel Towel
We have been using our Petzl’s for ages, the electricity in the tea houses is not always on at night, a headlamp is handy Petzl Arctic 300 Lumen waterproof headlamp
Water is expensive and the higher you climb the higher the price. It is possible to sterilize tap water and save a lot. You have three options to sterilize tap water and drink
- Water Purification tablets we did this on many hikes before buying a LifeStraw bottle (works but your water taste like swimming pool water)
- Steri Pen UV sterilize device. Used by a couple of other trekkers on the route, looks good, quite pricey.
- Swiss knife Very handy, a sharp knife not always available in tea houses, the Swiss knife for cutting, opening cans etc. Important! Don’t forget if you fly only with hand luggage no knives will be allowed.
- Take a notebook
- Travel wet wipes very high on our list, often use for washing if ‘shower’ cold or expensive.
- Hand cleaner tap not always available
First Aid Kit for EBC trek
Pack a good, basic, light first aid kit such as this one.
- pain killers paracetamol/aspirin/ibuprofen
- Imodium for an upset stomach
- rehydrate (isotonic drink) for when you are dehydrated
- Diamox. It’s used by many trekkers to prevent altitude sickness. At high altitude the air pressure is low and less oxygen available, Diamox prevents AMS by acting as a respiratory stimulant. Contraindications Diamox is a diuretic so you constantly have to urinate, not nice to go to the toilet if it is cold at night. Needles and pins (paraesthesia) in hands in feet.
Altitude RX Oxyboost Complex for Mountain Sickness – natural remedy against altitude sickness, we have never used it, but it has good reviews, check here for about 500 reviews, sound like it works to me!
Plasters – make sure you have enough you might get blisters Tip! If you have spots on your feet where you usually get blisters try to prevent them by first putting some vaseline on it and then plaster. If you already have a blister you can use Compeed – a special plaster that you can put on blisters, it reduces the pain and protects against rubbing. There are special blister prevention patches for shoes as well. We’ve never used them but the reviews are quite good.
Vaseline – you can use it for blister prevention put it every morning on your feet (some areas) before you start walking. It’ll help to reduce chafing.
- Toiletry bag
- Small manicure set
- Silicone travel bottles
- Silicone cream jars
- Mosquito repellent
- Lip balm with SPF factor
- 3 in 1 Soap that can be used as a body and face wash and shampoo, will save a lot of space.
- Soap case
- Cream/body lotion
- Humid tissues
- Hand sanitizer
- Toilet paper (never needed)
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