Packing and Dressing for a Nepal Trek

Here is a simple trek gear packing and dressing system that will help you stay well organized, with the right clothes available, clean, dry and fresh when you need them, while avoiding bringing too many items. This is especially important for Everest treks where there are flight baggage weight restrictions. I call this the 3 bag/4 layer system that applies to most trek weather conditions throughout Nepal.
Packing in the porter bag
Bring 3 large plastic packing bags in which you will fit all of your trek clothes. These should be the zip sealing type bags, although the bags don’t always need to be sealed.
Bag 1 is for clean clothes only – not worn or only lightly worn but still fresh
Bag 2 is for clothes you’ve worn during the trek but are clean enough to wear again
Bag 3 is for dirty clothes you won’t wear again during the trek (unless/until you are able to wash them)
All other non-clothing items can be put directly into your duffel bag, or in other small bags/containers in the duffel bag.
As your clothes get dirty bag 3 will get filled and bag 1 will empty. Bag 2 will stay about the same after filling up the first few days. You can use bag 2 for clean clothes when you start out.
Dressing
Layer 1 – Quick dry underwear and T-shirts (3). These get washed each night if possible and worn again or put in the clean clothes bag. If they aren’t dry by the morning they can hang dry on your day pack. Your pack should have stretch webbing on the back that will hold your drying clothes. A half dozen clothes pins are also useful. You might have to hang your underwear, t-shirt and a towel to finish drying on your pack each morning.
Layer 2 - A light, quick-dry jumper/pullover or shirt that is always worn over your t-shirt. This can be worn for several days or even a week without washing. Two jerseys are enough. (The second one will be warn initially as sleepwear)
Trekking pants (2), preferably with zip-off leggings, can be worn for several days without washing, and alternated with your second pair in case one gets wet or very dirty.
You may also want to have one or two pairs of thermal underwear for high altitude or winter treks. These are not as convenient as wearing wind pants over your trekking pants or even heavy trekking pants, and they are difficult to wash and dry. But thermals can be good for extreme weather conditions.
Socks (4) can be either layer 1 or 2 in terms of washing and re-use depending on how many pairs you have and how you feel about dirty socks. Thick trekking socks can take a long time to dry so washing is often not practical. But make sure that reworn “dirty” socks are dry and completely free of debris. Before putting them on you can smack them against a railing or rock, inside and out, to get rid of any loose particles.
Layer 3 - This is a fleece, either full or a vest that will keep your core warm in almost any conditions. This will be taken on and off as the temperatures rise and fall and you warm and cool throughout the day. At the lower altitudes during the middle of the day your jersey will also come off and on. This layer should also include wind-proof pants to wear over your trekking pants. Over pants are usually better than heavy trekking pants since the temperature changes can make heavy pants uncomfortable when the temperatures rise during the day.
Layer 4 – This is a shell or medium-weight insulated jacket, with the weight varying depending on the trek altitude and time of year. A shell is more flexible unless you’re expecting very cold temperatures.
Your day pack should be large enough to hold all the pieces of extra clothing for each day along with the other items you’ll want to have with you before the porter gets to the teahouse at the end of the trekking day. Usually a 40 liter pack is sufficient.
Sleeping and Lodge clothes
Fleece pants and a t-shirt are a base layer to which you can add a light jersey. Depending on the temperature in the lodge you will also want to use your fleece or down jacket (teahouses are not heated). A pair of light socks can be worn with sandals in the lodge at night. Although you’ll sleep in your t-shirt and jersey keep your fleece or down jacket nearby with tissue in the pocket for possible night visits to the toilet.
Near the end of your trek when you’re descending to lower, warmer altitudes you’ll be able to use the jersey you wore at night as trekking gear during the day and retire your well-worn dirty jersey to bag 3.
Other gear
There are several Items that you will always want to have with you and should check that you have them on you or in your daypack before you leave the lodge in the morning. A warm hat, gloves, glasses (sun and reading) sun block and lip balm, water bottle(s), phone, e-reader/tablet/book, headlamp/torch, and scarf/balaclava. If any of these items are left in your porter’s bag they will be hard to retrieve during the day.

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