This epic trek is a bucket list item for so many people, especially those already into hiking and trekking. If you’re considering doing it, here are our tips to help you prepare for the Everest base camp trek.
Do your research about the trek
Preparing for the Everest Base Camp Trek took some effort, research and careful planning. The minute we read about the Everest Base Camp trek when we started researching about Nepal, we made a definite decision that we would tackle it. We quickly started researching what we’d need buying whatever we could in preparation for what seemed was going to be a bit of an undertaking.
Get your legs used to walking long distances
In preparation for this adventure we thought it would be beneficial to do some short day hikes to get our legs ready for the four to six-hour days hiking. We had done some short day hikes in the past but never a fourteen-day trek and especially not to altitudes above 5,000 meters, so we were a little apprehensive. We had planned this, but… it never happened. Instead, we just enjoyed our last few weeks living in Korea and figured we’d get fit while trekking.
Get the right gear
The main thing we needed to get a handle on was our gear. We didn’t want to go spending a fortune on expensive equipment when we were only going to be using it for two weeks and then that was it. The internet was a great resource, although a lot of people’s gear lists seemed to be way over the top. The only consistent item that continually reappeared was “well broken in, comfortable hiking boots”. We spent some time going in and out of different shops in Korea trying to find something we felt comfortable in. Eventually, we decided on a hiking shoe rather than a boot as we thought they’d be more versatile for activities other than hiking. As far as breaking them in, that’s what the first few days of the trek were for!
Decide if you want to trek independently or with a tour group or guide?
We already knew we didn’t want to do the Everest base camp trek with a tour group so the next big decision we had to make was whether or not to take a guide and/or porter (to carry our bags) with us on the trek. After adding up the cost and talking with some people in Kathmandu, we decided to go it alone; there would be four of us trekking together so we felt there would be safety in numbers. Carrying our own gear would give us a fuller experience, or so we convinced ourselves.
Consider renting some equipment
Strolling around Kathmandu the last few days before setting off, we came across trekking shops everywhere selling knock-off brandname trekking gear of varying quality. You can buy everything from ice picks to boot laces and all for much cheaper than in western countries. Two items we couldn’t justify investing in were down jackets and the heavy sleeping bags, so we rented these. The shop we rented from, Shona’s in Thamel, were extremely helpful. The owner, who’s a man from Birmingham England, and his Nepali wife, the shop’s namesake, Shona, were a wealth of information and were extremely patient answering our million questions about the trek ahead. We left Shona’s with our sleeping bags (3 season for the boys, four season for the girls and also down jackets for the girls) with our minds at ease and ready to hit the mountain.
Choose a route
There are a few options to get to EBC. Most people fly in and out of Lukla, reducing the days spent walking to roughly 12. Some choose to walk in and out of Jiri/Shivalaya which makes the walking days closer to 21. We chose to fly in to Lukla and walk back to Jiri so we bought one-way flight from Kathmandu to Lukla. Our plan – to hike to Everest Base Camp and Kala Pattar and back to Lukla in fourteen days and then walk back from Lukla to Jiri over a further six days where we’d catch a twelve-hour bus back to Kathmandu.
Don’t carry too much
Try not to over-pack your backpack. In this case, less is definitely more, as your porter or yourself will be carrying your backpack walking uphill for up to eight hours a day so consider you back and knees when weighing your bag. Ideally 8-10kgs is manageable.
Everest Base Camp Trek Gear List
To avoid overpacking, here’s a list of exactly what you need – no more, no less!
- Money, passport, TIMS and conservation permit
- Trekking pants
- Belt (for men)
- Flip Flops (for evening)
- Hiking shoes
- Socks x3
- Rain pants
- Thermal top x2
- Headlamp, spare batteries
- Camera, Lens, Camera Batteries, Charger (You’ll definitely want these for the incredible photos you’ll take!)
- Medical Kit
- Guidebook & Reading Book
- Playing cards
- Notebook & Pen
- Lip Balm
- Wet wipes
- Toilet paper
- Water bottle
- Sleeping Bag, Sleeping bag liner
Enjoy the walk!
With our alarm set for 4am, the next trick was getting everything on our gear list into our backpacks and still having time to sleep before day one of our trek to (very close to) the top of the world.
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