Are you as excited as we are for our Nepal Himalaya Semester? As our start dates draw closer, you must have lots of questions. Please use the Yak Board for asking questions and getting acquainted with the team – read our instructor introductions, post your own and don’t forget to subscribe to make sure you don’t miss any updates!
Our tentative itinerary is up and most of you must have already started getting your pack together. Since our semester is quite nomadic, it is incredibly important that you pack wisely. Your one bag will hold all your belongings for the Spring and the smarter you pack, the easier your travels will be! The key to successful packing is simple: Bring what you need. Not any more and not any less.
You should peruse the Course Preparation Manual (CPM) which has a detailed packing list tailored specifically for your program. This was sent to you by mail and is also available digitally in your MyDragons account. This Yak is simply to emphasize some important parts of the CPM and clarify others.
Fitting your pack:
Though the CPM recommends a 60-80L pack, we find that 65-75 L is good – make sure you have a frame that fits your body size. A good test is to pack up your bag and walk a couple of blocks around your neighborhood. Now is there anything you can leave behind?
Bringing a duffel bag that will fit in your backpack. This will be used for leaving things behind in storage when we don’t need them. For example, when we go on our trek, we will be taking only the essentials and leaving what we don’t need in our duffels in a safe place.
Resist the urge to fill your day pack with additional belongings! The day pack should simply hold *some* essentials from your big rucksack.
Layers! Layers! Layers!
Having many layers of different degrees of warmth will help you better adjust to the weather in Nepal. Temperatures can feel quite varied depending on the insulation of the houses we stay in, on the location of our varied travels and the availability of central heating. Having many layers will ensure that you comfortably adjust to the many changes.
Even if you are a cold weather person, please make sure you bring all the layers mentioned in your CPM (warm hats, gloves etc) as you will be a much happy traveler if you aren’t struggling to maintain your core body temperature (:
Nepal is a diverse country and you will see that reflected in the varied dressing styles we will see throughout our travels. You will soon realize that Nepal is a more conservative place than most of you might be used to. Though we see people dressed quite liberally in some parts of Nepal, we prefer to err on the side of dressing a little more conservatively. This will help you immerse yourself in local communities. Any clothes you bring should be loose-fitting and conservative (no tops that are very low cut or show your shoulders) in addition to being neat, clean and presentable, so no holes or stains.
Shorts are okay to bring but they should generally come down to below your knee. There are still times that shorts will be inappropriate so long pants that zip off or fold up into shorter pants are a smarter packing choice. Leggings are only acceptable if worn with long shirts or tunics (kurtas). 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. Know that we will be sitting cross legged on the floor or squatting many times, so make sure your clothes allow you to do that!
You can get other clothes and many daily needs items in Kathmandu, or donate things you end up not wanting or needing, so do not stress out about packing, but focus on essential items!
You can bring a larger wallet or purse or something to carry large cash in for when you get money out of the ATM, but you can also buy a small local purse in Nepal for the money that you will carry around for day-to-day purchases.
This is covered in the packing list in the CPM but there are a few things we want to emphasize:
Some General Suggestions:
Please BRING SOME NORMAL URBAN CLOTHING. You will want something you would feel comfortable wearing in the city. Keep in mind these should be culturally appropriate clothes. We will spend three weeks in Kathmandu and Patan, in our urban homestays, attending lessons and classes, so some “not camping” clothes are nice to have.
Some running shoes, sneakers or comfortable walking shoes. Most students will bring a total of 3 pairs of shoes (the other two being boots and sandals).
One of the many things you will be exposed to as soon as you land in Kathmandu are the variety of new noises! Travelling with EARPLUGS will help you find some relief from a variety of these (think roosters and honking cars and barking dogs). You might also want to bring an eye mask to block out light.
You will also (unfortunately) be exposed to a lot of dust on off-road travels and in the cities – bring filter masks and some eye drops to provide relief for your eyes if you want that. But both are available in country.
We hope this answers a lot of your packing related queries! Please do post questions on the Yak Board about packing or other course related queries as others might be wondering about them too. And don’t forget to subscribe to the Yak board to keep getting new updates!
See you soon!
Aditya, Rishi and Uttara