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Thread: Trekking Hints & Tips

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Jul 2004

    Default good question

    Yes, sorry I did not reply to your initial question. Probably because I was in Nepal 10 years ago, not 20. I guess the minor issue with the maoists was not there 10 years ago. The lodges were not as luxurious in places. But most of the stuff is the same. Perhaps 20 years ago it was different I guess.
    I am sure things will chage in Nepal. I hope it is for the better for the people and the environment. I guess if it's not right for the environment, then the locals will suffer in the medium to long term.

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Wales, UK

    Default Time changes all things

    Everywhere changes over time, not least the places where we live, though we might not notice it as much as for places that we visited long ago and hold romanticised memories.

    Let's not forget that Nepal has been a 'closed' country for a long time, even the Official British Resident was forbidden to leave the Valley, and the pundits had to do their exploring under cover. Only in the 1950's did they start to welcome visitors, and it's been a hard and troublesome task to bring Nepal into the 20th century. Of course the place has changed, and to bemoan that fact is rather short sighted and perhaps a little selfish.

    The number and quality of teahouses is just one indicator of change, but for us it's probably the most obvious and significant. That and the relatively recent maoist problem.

    The more people that go to a place the more it is bound to have changed. I'm expecting I'll notice a few changes in Pokhara in the relatively few years since I last visited. But I'm sure that there are places a day or twos walk away from the tourist trails that have hardly changed for decades. Many of the mountains have been roughly as they are now for millennia, but some of the valleys have seen landslides that have drastically changed the trail from one season to the next.

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Sep 2004

    Default great thread...

    haven't finished it yet, but everyone's lists are making my feet itch to get back already...

    I just have to say, Yakshaver: after reading about your portable pharmacy, I don't think you have room to crack on us Yanks for not wanting to leave home without ours!


  4. #34
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    West Coast Canada


    While Everest, Annapurna have changed greatly in terms of services in 20 years you can still go to areas of Nepal and have the same experience. In the Ganesh himal it was very much a rural trek with out teahouses and apple pie. The villagers live much as they would have 100 years ago.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Jul 2004

    Default yakshaver

    Linwood, touche...
    I suppose what irritates us most, is our own foibles reflected in others. It is always easier to spot the beam in someone else's eye...

  6. #36
    Join Date
    Nov 2005

    Default Getting back to the kit list!

    Just a couple items that i found good:

    metal drinks flask with a neoprene cover, fill up with boiling water at night for a hot water bottle and then its ready to drink next day.

    a nice size stuff sac to put your duvet jacket in, makes a really comfy pillow at night.

    something i wished i had with me was down booties for in the evenings sat in the lodge, my feet were freezing even with socks etc on, so i used my hat of my duvet jacket which was great but restricting if you want to move around!


  7. #37
    Join Date
    Nov 2005

    Default Webmaster - I hope you don't mind me bumping this to the top of the list

    There is some good info here. Just bumping it to the top of the list.


  8. #38
    Join Date
    Jan 2006


    well. with these comprehensive lists I assume that little can be added without being repetative. We (my girfriend and I) have spent many days trekking. Not in the hills, but to the local postoffice, getting quality weights on different stuff.

    The reason i simple. Our goal is to experience the most extreme places on earth, as safely as possible. One main point being, as Escher said it, that light is safe. We beleive that having a proper understanding of the gear and how to use it will allow for a larger "margin of appreciation". Being a law student this has special meaning to me, but to most it may be a somewhat hazy concept.

    Margin of appreciation in this context can be, in lay mans terms, meant to describe how many things that can go wrong by murphy (murphys law) or how much of an idiot you can be, and still be safe. Take scuba diving for example. The deeper you go, the less margin of appreciation! Same with trekking.

    We beleive that staying light (less than 10-12 kg per person (or max 20% of bodyweight)) is a key to maintaining a good margin, therefore keeping us safe. This does however demand that we know our kit. Simply walking off in a pair of swimtrunks with a beer in hand might be light, but then you are vunerable in other ways. (unless you have extraordinar skills with beerbottles, as some might)

    Our equipment has slowly but consequently been limited to the essentials. Our tent for example (Exped Sirius Extreme), fairly light to start, but with a few less tentstakes, even lighter : )

    We also try to move slower. This is because taking more time and making shorter day distances lessens the stress on yourself and your gear. We save the 8 hour daytreks for when an emergency demands it. We prefer to sleep an extra night in our tent, thereby always being well rested and well prepared for MR Murphy
    Cutting down on the walking also lets you focus on the main point. The scenery. We find that after 4-5 hours, all you see is you feet.

    We also make it a point not to carry "extras". Max 2 pairs of socks for example. One to wear and one to dry. One pair of pants, which I am wearing. One T shirt, which I wear. One pair of long thermal underwear. (Not wearing unless extremely cold) The result being that if you caught us washing, we would be wearing our raingear or thermals as clothes.

    Speaking of raingear. Heavy stuff if not getting the really expensive stuff. I personally enjoy my northface set. App 500g for pants and jacket. Not too bad but does rip if you fall down a slope. For this, my single most useful item comes in handy. Duckttape. Always a few meters wrapped around my pole or iceaw or soemthing. (naturally a whole roll of it is too heavy) THis really sticky tape can fix rips in raingear, fix tentrips, be used as bandaids, even as sunblocker for nose and cheeks. (take a piece and stick it on... u get the picture. Looks silly, but hey, if u have burned yourself like I have, anything goes. )

    In the end it boils down to experience. A few friends of mine who are professionals (in the military) would probably be ok with just a knife. But for me comfort comes into play. I enjoy my tent and warm food. No point in beingmiserable as it will lower my moral and probably make me end up without my wonderful girlfriend. So, a happy medium is always best.

    Food is prepared on the only peice of "non ultralight" piece of equipment we have. Our beloved Pirmus Omnifuel.

    The reason is reliability. There is nothing worse for moral and safety than a hungry crew. I keep our bellies filled with atleast 3 hot meals per day regardless of weather and despite how tired we are. Go to bed hungry u wake up tired. Tired means less margin of appreciation`= LESS SAFETY

    Food is usually heavy, but doesnt have to be. A bag of "santa maria vegetarian soy taco filler" made from soyprotein, cost about a dollar and weighs 78grams. good for 1 meal for two people. Just add water : ) Soy is actually great. Comes in a wide variety and never goes bad. We are veg year round, but it comes extra handy in staying healthy and well fed while trekking. A large problem for people seems to be how to cook lightweight, healthy and foremost, tasty fod on the trail. Let me know if you are interested in a few tips for getting your lightweight veg cooking started.

    And yes, you can trekk and be vegetarian. just ask the nepalese. I also do alot of running. Anything you hear about "not getting all the nutrients you need" is rubbish. Guess what we feed our cows with... soy. So, save some rainforest and eat soy you too. (they cut down rainforest to grow soy to feed the cows but a cow eats 288times the soy you would need to eat to gain the same amount of nutrition so it seems like a waste of soy to use to grow a cow first... or?)

    Other things which bring down weight are our bags. GoLite makes a great bag called Trekk, and it weighs 980g. Check out how much your bag weighs! ? Most big trekk bags weigh 3kg! Thats 30% of our total weight!
    The differance being that you have to learn how to pack a Golite bag. With no frame, you use the sleeppad as a backframe and the gear makes up the rigidity of the pack. A bit tricky to learn how to pack at first, but now it is rutine and works great. Saves us about 2000g!!!

    We also have one knife and one spoon, for the two of us. One pot and two lightweight thermal jars. (very small weight but allows for keeping one item warm while cooking the next and doubles as beverage holder)
    Instead of camelpaks we use the inner linings for "baginbox" wines. They weigh nothing so we actually have one each. They carry up to 3l of water and are great for camp. Sunscreen is taken out of the bottle and put in a filmtin. (little plastic container) Same with moisturizing lotion and safetymatches.

    We also love ziplock bags. They store everything and weigh nothing. A "liteweiters best friend".

    Compass in watch, Polar axn 700 with heartrate monitor for checking how well we acclimatize. a heartrate monitor is also great for checking health in general. High pulse while at rest, something is fishy. (flu or such)

    Medicine is wrapped in tinfoil and placed in ziplock. Naturally the medicine jars weigh too much.

    Another tip is checking the weight of your shoes. In the service I was taught that one kilo on your foot is equal to five on your back. My "Hitech" shoes weigh about 400g (I think) and cost about 40USD. Downside is wear. But they are definately good for about 3 seasons. Again, depends on how you take care of your gear. Most people go with the heave leather boots. Never did understand that. But each his own I guess.

    Well. enough for now. It takes time and practice bringing the weight down. Spend time packing and weighing. What can you live without and what can you change for something lighter? Good luck.

    Tina n Kris
    Uppsala Sweden

    P.S We have nothing to do with the store we linked to, but they have decent prices and are nice : )

  9. #39
    Join Date
    Nov 2005


    I thought that I would post restrospectively and let people know how my gear actually went.

    1) 70L pack (~3kg) --> too heavy, next time will cut gear down and go with a smaller, lighter pack - perhaps with sleeping bag strapped to the outside wrapped inside a thick plastic bag for protection
    2) 4 season down sleeping bag (~2kg) --> too hot below Thukla, very heavy, could have probably gotten away with a lighter bag. If I was to go in Oct/Nov (I went in Dec) I would definitely use a lighter bag
    3) silk bag liner --> fine
    4) 2 x long sleeve thermal shirts (1 polypro, 1 Icebreaker) --> I only ended up taking the Icebreaker. Never wore it during the day, or whilst walking as I was always too hot and sweating
    5) 2 x long sleeve shirts (1 Lowe Alpine dryflo, 1 Berghaus Tech-T) --> Only took the Berghaus, it was great, dealt with the sweat REALLY well (I guess I wasn't in very good shape and was sweating a LOT)
    6) light fleece half-zip pullover (Technopile) --> wouldn't bother with this one. I wore it in the morning a couple of times when heading off but took it off within 15 mins because I was too hot
    7) Heavy fleece jacket (Gore Windstopper) --> Didn't take it and didn't need it
    8) Down jacket --> When walking I was hot and didn't need anything, when I stopped I just put the down jacket on with Icebreaker underneath, open and close zip as needed.
    9) Gortex jacket --> Didn't take it, didn't need it (I picked up a Montaine featherlight jacket just before leaving and used this as a windbreaker above Thukla in the afternoons)
    9) 2 x Lowe Alpine dryflo tights (1 light, 1 heavyweight) --> 1 pair would have been plenty, probably the lightweight one so that I could have used it for sleeping if I had a lighter sleeping bag
    10) nylon trekking pants (zip-off legs) --> left them in Kathmandu, got by fine with one pair of pants
    11) Berghaus Pertex pants (wind/rain resistant) --> Lived in these, they had a thigh to knee vent zip which I had open most days - note to self: remember to zip it back up when you get cold, easy to forget and walk around at night with cold legs wondering why
    12) 4 x liner socks (2 coolmax, 2 polypro) --> Only used the polypro liners at night, so 1 pair would have be enough, another pair or 2 of coolmax liners next time maybe to allow for some changes during the day and not have to worry about washing so much.
    13) 3 x wool socks --> Maybe an extra pair of socks next time for the same extra change / washing as above
    14) wool/thinsulate hat (beanie) --> yep fine
    15) baseball cap --> great for keeping the sweat out of my eyes
    16) 3 x coolmax underwear --> maybe an extra pair for the same changing/washing reasons as socks
    17) 2 x trekking poles --> yep, great
    18) sunscreen --> I didn't use it and it probably wouldn't have done that much good with the amount of sweating that I was doing. No real sunburn, although I had high neck shirt (long sleeve) and hat at all times, although I would probably still take some next time
    19) small pocket knife --> didn't actually use it on trek, although I would probably still take it next time
    20) nail clippers --> Didn't use, probably wouldn't take next time
    21) headlamp and spare lithium batteries (AAA) --> Great for reading in bed and walking to outside toilets. And I seem to remember this quote "If you are taking something like a petzl tikka then I will eat my yak wool hat if the batteries run out!" from Esher - well get that yak wool hat out of the cupboard Esher 'cause they ran out. Not sure if the button got pressed accidently in my bag, thereby leaving it on all day or what but the batteries were dead by the time I got to Dingboche, luckily I found some more at Dingboche.
    22) Anti-bac handwash --> yep, fine
    23) 50ml bodywash --> yep, fine
    24) SPF 30+ lipbalm stick x 2 --> I couldn't believe how much I went through, I used nearly a whole stick in 2 weeks, very dry!
    25) iodine water treatment tablets --> never actually used them (got boiled water), although I would probably take them again
    26) small combination padlock --> it was easier than having to carry the key from the lodge supplied padlock around with me
    27) toilet paper and cigarette lighter --> yep, fine
    28) small roll-on deodorant --> yep, fine
    29) 50ml biodegradable fabric wash --> yep, fine, tip: ask for warm water to wash clothes in otherwise your hands turn blue in the cold water.... really blue!
    30) 50ml shampoo --> yep, fine
    31) 50ml conditioner --> yep, fine
    32) toothbrush/paste/floss --> yep, fine
    33) small microfibre travel towel --> I might try out one of the chamois type next time, the microfibre tends to "grip" the skin
    34) Neurofin Plus (ibuprofin/codeine) - 24 capsules --> yep, fine
    35) flagyl (antibiotic - gastrointestinal) --> yep, fine, I never used them but would take again
    36) Cephalexin (antibiotic - wound/chest infection) --> yep, fine, I never used them but would take again
    37) Imodium (diarrhoea treatment) - 8 capsules --> yep, fine, I never used them but would take again
    38) Metoclopramide (anti-nausea) --> yep, fine, I never used them but would take again
    39) gastrolyte (rehydration salts) --> I would probably swap this for plain gatorade powder and use regularly next time - to help with the sweating
    40) tiger balm --> didn't use and wouldn't bother next time, lungs gave out way before the legs
    41) 1 compression bandage --> yep, fine
    42) 1 roll straping tape for bad knees --> used to fix a "hot spot" on my feet to prevent blister, would take it again
    43) 1 pkt bandaids --> never used but would probably take again
    44) blister tape (6 small-toes / 6 large-heels) --> I found that they disintergrated in my HOT, SWEATY boots, I probably didn't get the right stuff. Next time I would just use the strapping tape mentioned above
    45) 2 x 1L aluminium water bottles (1 to use, extra 1 for longer day trips) --> I ended up getting a 2L water bladder thing with drinking tube and used that, much easier to drink from when walking, although probably not as hygenic as the mouthpiece was exposed all the time to the dust and everything. 1 water bottle got used as a pee bottle.
    46) Sunglasses --> yep, fine
    47) 3 x stuff sacks --> yep, fine
    48) 200gm fresh coffee (I need SOME decent coffee) --> left this in Namche, would NOT take again
    49) plastic insulated travel cup with inbuilt coffee plunger --> left this in Namche, would NOT take again
    50) map --> yep, fine
    51) notepad and pen --> left this in Namche, might take next time??
    52) ear plugs --> Never used but most lodges I was the only person as it was late December, maybe more useful in high season.

    + camera gear --> This is a tough one, you need(?) a decent camera to make the most of the amazing views, but having to stop, put the trekking poles down get the camera out of it's bag, turn it on, take the picture, put it all back again, pick up poles set off, go around the next corner and do it all over again got a bit annoying. A small, decent "point and shoot" camera would be a LOT easier, but obviously wouldn't have as good results - no filters etc

    and forgot to mention footwear - 1 pr Asolo TPS Brenta, 1 pr Keen H2O sandals --> I thought that the Asolo's were maybe a bit too much(?). It didn't prove to be a problem at all, although my feet were SUPER HOT and this was in December, would probably have been a problem in Oct/Nov. I think that next time (if I go when it's a little wamer) that I will take a look at some good approach shoes. I honestly think that they would be fine as long as they had a good stiff sole to stop the rocks from bruising your feet.

    The Keen sandals were great, I even walked up..... damn what's the name of that ridge?? (Between Dingboche and Periche). Anyway I only had intentions of climbing as far as the Stumpa, therefore sandals would be fine, however I ended up going all the way to the top (Definitely recommend this views from up there!) and slipped a fair bit on the way down in the sandals. Next time I probably wouldn't take them as they are pretty heavy.

    The above is all based on the fact that (as I found out during my trip), I am comparitively a super furnace, at least when walking. I never got cold during the entire trip, so long as I was moving. When stopped, a good down jacket fixes everything. Others who aren't quite as warm as me may have other ideas.

    I think with a lighter sleeping bag, lighter pack, no sandals and the few other bits and pieces (maybe trying the approach shoes) I could drop my weight by maybe 4kg, and I NOW understand what a difference that can mean.

  10. #40
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Default Re: Trekking Hints & Tips

    I'm just packing for my first trek to Nepal. Pretty happy with clothes, meds, equipment etc, but am just wondering if anyone has any recommendations on food to bring?

    Based on prices and availability in Nepal, I thought a few chocolate bars, and some high protein meal replacements could be a good option.

    I'm also a big fan of scroggin/trail-mix/GORP, but am guessing you can't bring nuts and dried fruits into Nepal. Is it easy to mix your own over there from the shops in Kathmandu? Is it worth bringing your own salt/pepper?

    Any other gastronomic guide-lines? Any culinary clues?

    Many thanks for any advice


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