I understand that there are copious amounts of advice for what to bring on a trek, but the truth is that you can never have enough advice. I hope to include here some items that you might not have considered bringing on a trek with you, but things I either revelled in having or rued in their absence.
Up in the high regions you won’t be eating much meat. Firstly it is so difficult to trek it up there and secondly on is recommended not to order it as the length of time it has taken to get there and/or the cooking may be suspect. But with meat as your main source of protein in the Western diet you may find that you lack protein for your time during the trek; with your muscles requiring protein to maintain strength (particularly important as you spend whole days walking) you’ll need to find another source of protein. So other than eating eggs for every meal you’ll find yourself lacking in choices on how to fill up on protein. Therefore you may want to consider bringing protein supplements or protein bars along with you to keep up these levels.
Another suggestion, and I strongly recommend this, is chocolate. For two reasons: firstly chocolate is a perfect way to provide you with fast-releasing energy – a boost for when you most need it (during a long slog up hill!) But not only does it give you energy, it provides a great morale boost too. A mental, psychological boost to defeat those ascents. Though the tea houses all stock industrial amounts of Snickers and Mars, unsurprisingly it is vastly expensive having been carried up by Sherpas. So I brought out plenty of my personal favourite (Cadbury’s Dairy Milk of course) to keep me stocked up.
Though it may sound too much like an unnecessary comfort during a trek, my group and I found ourselves craving for soya sauce. We’d often be having veggie fried rice or noodles and finding that soya sauce is a luxury up high and we were not able to have any. Though the food is plentiful and well-cooked it can be a little bland for our much-seasoned tastebuds. So soya sauce, or something similar, may just provide that extra something to your meals to make them truly delicious.
I found myself lamenting the lack of footwear I had brought. I only had my walking boots and flip-flops and so I would strongly advise to bring another pair of closed shoes for the tea houses. Your walking boots may get sweaty, wet, muddy or dusty during the day and flip-flops may not be warm enough for the evenings, so a pair of trainers would work very well.
I trekked in February, which was early and well before peak-season. Though we skipped any crowds we had the elements to battle with instead. With most of the path covered with snow (often compacted by others) I found the extra grips for my boots to be very useful. They were strap-on mini spikes whilst others wore mini-crampons. They helped immensely and I struggles to see how I would have managed without them on some sections, thus if you are planning a trek outside the main-season times I would consider taking some form of extra grip.
And finally for when you get bored of your group’s rubbish jokes or you are alone for a period, a book is second to none for occupying your attention. If you’d like to get an appropriate read for the Himalayas an accessible mountaineering book would be a good choice. I was glued to the riveting ‘Into Thin Air’ by Jon Krakeur.
So these are my recommendations having just completed a trek, though many you could survive without!