As your arrival to Nepal is approaching, we wanted to share with you some tips and updates about the packing list. They may deviate from what is recommended on the Packing List in the Course Preparation Manual (CPM), however we feel that these changes are more appropriate for our itinerary and course this spring.
We want to emphasize that the packing list is designed so that you can travel in Nepal comfortably, but also appropriately. While we will be living in and experiencing many different cultures within Nepal, in general the manner of dress is more conservative than in western countries. Clothing and way of dress will be a topic we will discuss throughout our semester, and you may experience differences in rural versus urban environments. For sake of ease and comfort, we ask that you pay attention to these suggestions, however do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.
In general it is a good idea to pack clothes (shirts, pants, etc.) that are loose fitting, without offensive words or symbols, and are not torn or stained. You should bring clothes that are comfortable and not feel a need to go out and purchase an entirely new wardrobe.
If you are someone who does not normally wear dresses or skirts, do not feel a need to purchase one specifically for this course. You will have the opportunity to purchase clothing in Nepal, and these are two items we find students do not tend to wear. If you would like to bring one or both along, please ensure that they are below knee length.
In addition to quick-dry trekking pants, you may bring a pair or two of jeans or cotton pants. It is best of these pants are darker in color–black, dark blue, dark green–as they will get dirty. They also should not be form fitting and tight. Please no leggings!
In addition to the hiking boots and sandals that the packing list tells you to bring, feel free to bring a pair of sneakers (running or keds or day hikers, etc) to wear. We will be walking a lot while in Patan and while in our rural home-stay, and it is nice to have a closed-toe pair of shoes that are not your hiking boots.
Hiking boot suggestions: Please try to break in your boots before coming on course! Breaking them in means doing more than just walking up and down your stairs a few times. Wear them while shoveling snow. Go on weekly hikes up your local mountain or hill. Walk in a stream to get them wet then walk them dry (this will help your boots mold to your feet more quickly!). The more you wear them prior to your arrival, the happier your feet, and your body, will be once you are in need of them every day.
Please do not bring shorts on course. If you do bring a pair, please make sure they go below the knee. The only exception is for sleeping; if you tend to sleep hot, sleeping shorts are a great option, but do not expect to wear them in public. This is for all genders.
Make sure to bring sunglasses and ensure they are polarized and have UV protection. We will be at high elevations and these will help to protect your eyes, more so than just a sunhat.
A Watch (with an alarm):
This is a small, but necessary piece of gear to have. We will have lots of meeting times as a group, or with your home-stay families, and it is good to have a watch to keep track of time. Because there will not be cell phones on course, this will be the best way to make sure you on time.
Feminine Hygiene Products:
If you are someone who may menstruate on course, ensure that you have enough materials for three months of travel. While you can purchase sanitary pads and tampons in Nepal, they likely differ from those you are used to, so it is best to bring a big supply. In addition, we encourage you to look into options that can reduce and eliminate waste. The Diva Cup and the Mooncup are great options, as are reusable sanitary pads. Thinx is also a really great company that makes underwear with sewn in sanitary pads. They are comfortable and easy to clean.
Two other great things to bring along are some extra zip-lock plastic bags, as there are times we may have to carry out menstruation waste, and an extra bandanna to help keep clean. We will discuss more at length hygiene tips and tricks once you have arrived in Nepal, but these are some ways you can help to prepare!
Sleeping Bag & Sleeping Bag Liner:
Make sure your sleeping bag is rated as a zero degree (farenheit) bag and you bring a compression sack so that it can fit well into your bag. A liner is also great to have for sleeping in areas where it is warmer and you will not need your bag.
We will experience all types of weather in Nepal, but when you arrive, and while we are on trek, it will be quite cold, even getting below freezing at night. Ensure that you bring a puffy that is thick and warm. Bring more layers than you think you need, i.e. a thick puffy and a fleece and a warm long-sleeved shirt. You will have a chance to buy layers once you arrive, however it is nice to have something already, as we may not have a chance to go to an outdoor store for a few weeks.
The CPM states that your trekking bag should be between 80 and 100 L. Our recommendation is to bring a pack no larger than 65 (+10) L. Deuter, Osprey, Gregory, and LowePro all make great packs. Check out your local outdoor gear store or REI or EMS and try on different fits. Although it will not be monsoon season, having a rain cover is also a good idea.
We highly recommend you bring a duffel bag in addition to your big pack. We will be storing our items while on trek and having a duffel will help with this. In addition you will likely accumulate many gifts and trinkets and a duffel will be nice to have as the course progresses.
Other packing tips:
Our greatest recommendation and reminder is: less is more. The more you bring, the more you will have to keep track of. You will be surprised by just how much you can do with so few items. Be creative, use what you have, and only buy what is necessary!