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.
Want to see what you can eat on the Everest Base Camp trek?
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) permits are required by the central government of Nepal to collect data of all individuals hiking in Nepal. There is a lot of conflicting information online regarding whether this permit is required or not for hiking EBC.
This permit used to be a requirement for trekking in the Everest region. The TIMS card is no longer required for the Everest Base Camp Trek it has been replaced by the local area permit. There are several trekking routes around Everest Base Camp. TIMS might be required for other regions such as Annapurna or Langtang
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. See our detailed article regarding the best time to trek to EBC.
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.
We enjoyed staying at Aryatara Kathmandu Hotel. It’s a very nice place, big rooms, comfortable beds, good breakfast (included), great hot shower, AC, wi-fi, TV, 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
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.
Backpacks are expensive, buy a good quality pack like the Deuter Unisex – Adult’s Aircontact Lite 50+10 Trekking Backpack 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.
Quality, but more budget options to consider is the MOUNTAINTOP 65L/55L Internal Frame Hiking Backpack (unisex)
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 Front Panel opening – easy access like a travel backpack
Top Hiking Pack Features: Adjustable Torso Length, Integrated & Detachable Rain Cover, 3D Suspended Back panel 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 Malo’o Waterproof Dry Bag Duffel. Trekking to the top of the highest mountain in Africa, we had a guide and porters. Packing to climb Kilimanjaro many trekkers used duffel bags.
Packing Footwear for EBC Trek
Hiking boots/shoes – important qualities to check for
- good grip
- good quality (quality brand)
Should you trek to Everest Base Camp in boots or shoes? Doing the hike in shoes is definitely possible, make sure they are waterproof. With a boot laced up to the top chances of water coming in from the top is much lower in rain and snow than with a shoe. If you do not have hiking experience I would go for a higher cut for some ankle support. The porters often wear sneakers or even sandals. I will recommend to wear merino wool socks in waterproof hiking shoes.
We are both very happy with our Gortex Salomon X Ultra boots. Light and comfortable, 100% waterproof. Even after hiking for hours in 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 it is nice to wear warmer proper waterproof pants. For women I’d suggest to pack trekking pants and yoga pants. Alya always hike in her stretchy, comfortable yoga pants, it dries quickly if it gets wet and at lower temperatures she layers up with trekking and yoga pairs.
Fleece – Essential item. I where a fleece under my outer shell on cold days and over a thermal vest in tea houses.
Hiking shirt – Wear breathable, moisture wicking, quik dry shirts, we pack a mix of long sleeve shirt short sleeve T-shirt. I love hiking in Columbia shirts, does not absorb water so dry quickly and long sleeve great for sun protection.
Sport bras – For hiking and outdoor acitivities Alya prefers to wear sport bras .
Underwear – two-three pairs depend how long you are hiking for, usually hand wash on the way.
Merino wool socks – Our hiking secret weapon. merino wool socks work great; don’t absorb odors, protect your feet, dry quick and very durable. Darn Tough hiking socks excellent brand, good foot support and blister protection. ladies’ models are 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 – sunglasses with proper UV protection important for hiking in the mountains I will recommend polarized lenses.
EBC Trek -Suggested hiking clothes for women
Everest Base Camp Trek Packing List -Suggested hiking clothes for men
Multifunctional Headwear “Buff” great to protect your neck and face from sun, wind and weather.
Gaiters – Shoes Covers. Keep your shoes dry and keep snow, debris and dust out of your shoes 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 – great to reduce the impact on your knees, very helpful on some icy descents on the EBC trek. TrailBuddy Hiking Sticks very well rated for durability, comfort, shock absorption, quality, and adjustability. Good value for money, aluminum trekking poles. Aluminum is strong and a bit heavier than carbon, worked fine for me! Top of the line Black Diamond Hiking poles.
Microfibre towels are light, pack small and dry quick.
Petzl is good quality headlamps, 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
- 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 sterilizer – 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 – pack enough plasters if you get blister that you can replace them daily. There are special blister prevention patches for shoes as well.
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.
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The strong half of Stingy Nomads, a nomadic aquaman that would be happy to spend all his life in the water diving, surfing and spearfishing but often has to compromise with Alya and go hiking instead. Campbell is responsible for all our marine adventures and following them with write-ups. He loves traveling, braai (BBQ in South Africa), red wine and spending the day in a wetsuit.