Everest Base Camp 02: The gear I took…

If you’re planning on heading to EBC or doing any other long hike, then this is a post for you to ponder. Even if your not keen on putting your body and mind through anything like this, I still encourage you to read on and find out how a girl with a self-confessed obsession for clothes and shoes made it through 23 days with only 9kg of gear!

My first attempt at packing started out at about 20 kg. Remember, I had a 23 day hike in the mountains ahead of me and I was used to changing my outfit every day. I quickly realised that I was going to have to get used to wearing the same clothes for days in a row and even being a little bit smelly along the way.

After the first cull

Clothing…
NZ has several excellent brands of outdoor clothing and equipment that are tried and tested in our rugged outdoors conditions. As a result, Macpac, Icebreaker and Swazi became my new favourite shopping haunts. I spent so much time in these shops and online, I probably could have set up an auto payment direct from my pay to fund my shopping sprees!

Swazi and Icebreaker tops

Icebreaker marino gear has a really cool feature…you can wear it and sweat in it for days and somehow it doesn’t stink! Add to that, the cool range of colours and designs and I was very content.

I favoured multiple layers for warmth with a raincoat and windbreaker, over big puffy down jackets. This is because I get hot and cold quickly and prefer to be able to add and remove thinner layers to get the right temperature for me, rather than having only one layer to take off and on.

Trekking pants and soft-shell pants

So here’s what I took:
Trekking gear:
2 Marino t-shirts (200 weight icebreaker)
1 long sleeved Marino base layer (200 weight icebreaker)
1 long sleeved Marino thick layer (320 weight icebreaker)
1 Swazi fleece jersey
1 soft-shell Macpac windbreaker
1 goretex waterproof raincoat
1 pair trekking pants (Macpac with zip off legs)
1 pair sports tights (full leg length)
2 bras
4 pairs Marino underwear
2 pairs thick trekking socks
1 pair well worn in trekking boots (Scarpa)
1 wooly hat with ear protectors
1 cap
1 buff
Sunnies
1 pair windproof and water resistant gloves

Hats, gloves and socks

Gear to wear in the huts and for sleeping in:
1 Marino singlet (150 weight icebreaker)
1 cotton t-shirt
1 long sleeved Marino base layer
1 Swazi fleece
1 pair sexy green polypropylene leggings
1 pair soft-shell windbreaker trousers (Macpac)
1 pair socks
1 bra
Jandles (flip flops or thongs!)
1 down puffy jacket (Not super thick. I bought this in Namche Bazar, the label says 950 weight but I’m very dubious…)
1 sleeping bag
1 sleeping bag liner

The sexy green leggings…

Toiletries, medicines, first aid equipment and ‘other stuff’
I kept my medicines and first aid equipment to a minimum. Mainly because I figured that if I had anything more severe than a normal stomach bug, blisters or cuts, I would probably be calling a helicopter to evacuate me.

I ditched my 3.5kg DSLR in favour of a new Canon SX50 weighing a measly 500g or so. It still has all the manual and creative features of my DSLR without the weight (and I’m stoked with the pics!)

You can buy chocolate, muesli bars and toilet paper along the track and at comparatively high prices (they all have to be carried up). I decided these items didn’t weigh much and I was happy to include a small stash from the start.

Raincoat and windbreaker

All the other stuff I took:
(While this list looks the most extensive, it all fitted into 3 toiletry bags)

Toothbrush and paste
Comb
Facecloth
Small microfibre towel
Antibacterial soap (for showering and washing clothes)
Sunblock SPF70 and lip balm SPF15
Face cream
Eyeliner and mascara (I couldn’t bear to go without one luxury item!)

Emergency blanket
Strapping tape (for knees, ankles etc)
Plasters, non-stick pads and gauze for blisters
Crepe bandage
Pocket knife
Small scissors
Nail clippers

All my toiletries and first aid equipment

Diamox tablets
Aquatabs for water purification (so simple and light)
All purpose antibiotics
Anti-diahorea tablets
UTI tablets
Voltaren (in case my knee got inflamed as it can do)

Camera, charger and plug adaptor
Map
Toilet paper
Head torch and 1 set spare batteries
Padlock and key (we came across 2 places without door locks)
Snacks (muesli bars and lollies)

We had 2 porters between 3 of us who carried most of my gear. In my day pack, I carried 2L water, camera, daily ration of snacks, toilet paper, emergency blanket, some plasters, money and a range of clothing (jersey, jacket, hat) depending on what the day was like.

So there you have it. 9kg of gear that lasted me 2 days quite happily. If I did this trek again, I would hunt out some down socks for wearing at night to keep my feet a little warmer. And I would take a pair of waterproof over-trousers for rain or snow. (Although I have to admit, even walking in the snow storm, I stayed dry with what I had…plastic bags in my boots keep my feet and lower legs dry and toasty!

The final bags of gear

Otherwise, I was really happy with all I took. I wore everything, used most of my toiletries and thankfully didn’t need any of my first aid equipment.

And if you have forgotten anything, you can buy almost anything you need in Kathmandu or Namche Bazar when you arrive. Yes, some gear is fake, but some is not. And it is priced at a fraction of the cost of gear back home.

Happy packing!!!

Footnote…
I wrote this post halfway through my trek when we’d had a week of stunning, sunny weather. I expected a bit of rain at some point but certainly not the storm that hit us so had to laugh when I read what I had originally written…
“I was lucky in that we didn’t get any horrendous snow, sleet or rain so I stayed dry and it was easy to get my gear washed and dried quickly”. Famous last words…

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