Namaste and Hello!
Our travel dates are getting closer. Are you getting excited? (We are!)
In this post, we wanted to give you some information about clothing as well as general packing tips that you can use as a guide while you’re packing. The Course Preparation Manual (CPM) has lots of good information and you should read it carefully. This Yak is not instead of the CPM but just to emphasize some important parts of the packing list.
You will be carrying your pack at various times during the course. Be judicious in your packing. Students are often surprised how comfortably they can live with so few things. A good test is to pack up your bag and walk a couple of blocks around your neighborhood. Now is there anything you can to leave behind?
The key to successful packing is simple: Bring what you need. Not any more and not any less.
It is really important that you bring gear rated to what is advised in your course preparation manual. It will still be winter here when you land in Kathmandu and you will be living in houses without insulation or central heating. So the warm gear and clothes you bring will come in handy both during our homestays and during the trek. It will get significantly warmer towards the middle and end of the course but the mountains are always cold! You will definitely need a hat, gloves, and other warm winter gear.
Nepal is a more conservative country than many of you have probably lived in before. Although you will see young people wearing all manner of clothing, we prefer our students to err on the side of dressing a little more conservatively. This will help you to immerse yourself in the local communities and ingratiate yourself with older people (like homestay parents and ISP mentors).
Any clothes you bring should be loose-fitting and conservative in addition to being neat, clean and presentable (so no holes or stains). This means generally no tight-fitting shirts or pants (including yoga pants) and no tops that are very low cut or show your shoulders. Male students can bring knee-length shorts, female students should bring pants that are mid-calf length or longer. Know there will be times when shorter pants will be inappropriate for all students, so long pants that zip off or fold up into shorter pants are a smarter packing choice. Leggings are only acceptable for female students and only if you wear them with kurtas (a dress or long shirt). Traditional Nepali tunics that fall to mid-thigh are not only beautiful but very comfortable to wear, you can have them made by tailors in Kathmandu if you’re interested.
Any dresses or skirts should hit at least mid-calf and be loose enough you can squat in it. The CPM says all female students should bring a skirt, this is not required.
If you have to wonder if a piece of clothing is appropriate it’s probably not, but feel free to ask us!
This is covered in the Course Preparation Manual but there are a few things we want to emphasize:
1. A 0 degree sleeping bag. The CPM gives a range 0-20 degrees but you will be significantly more comfortable on the trek (and in sometimes cold Nepali houses) if you have a very warm sleeping bag.
2. Polarized Sunglasses: These are important for the trek, especially since we’ll likely be trekking on snow.
3. Comfortable Hiking Boots: Please, please, please break them in before you get to Nepal. Your feet will thank you.
4. 2 Nalgene or stainless steel water bottles. We mostly will use filtered or boiled water on our trip so you can use these bottles to store water and we’ll also use them on the trek. You can buy these in Kathmandu but should show up on the course with at least one.
5. A warm hat for cold and a sun hat.
6. A good supply of sunscreen to last you for several months. You can buy sunscreen in Kathmandu but if you have a particular brand you like you should bring it.
7. Warm gloves. Something waterproof or water resistant is especially useful for taking down your tent on cold mornings during the trek.
8. A strong headlamp (bring extra batteries if your headlamp takes an unusual kind). We cannot emphasize enough how useful this is. In addition to using it during our trek, it will come in handy for the nights when the power goes out.
Hopefully this has helped to clarify some packing questions you may be having.
If you have any other questions about packing from this Yak or the CPM, please feel free to post it here! Nine times out of ten, if you have a question someone else does too.
Looking forward to seeing you all soon!
Your Instructor Team