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Photo by Catherine Von Holt, Nepal Semester.

Updated Packing List

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. You should read it carefully and use it as your main source of information. This Yak is  just to re-emphasize some important points about 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 leave behind?

The key to successful packing is simple: Bring what you need. Not any more and not any less.

Staying Warm:

It is really important that you bring gear rated to what is advised in your course preparation manual. As you arrive Kathmandu it will be warm but towards the end of the course and during trek it will be cold, 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. You will definitely need a hat, gloves, and other warm winter gear.

Staying Appropriate:

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. Please bring pants that are mid-calf length or longer; shorts can only be worn to sleep in. 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 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. A skirt is not required is not required.

You can get other clothes and many daily needs items in Kathmandu, or donate things they end up not wanting or needing, so do not stress out about packing, but focus on essential items!

Also a watch (with an alarm) will be very helpful in making sure you are on time for activities, and also to be able to wake yourself up on time in the mornings!  Make sure before you leave you know how to change the time and set the alarm!

Carrying Money:

You can bring a larger wallet or purse or something to carry large cash in from ATM but you can also buy a small local purse in Nepal for very affordable price.

Trekking Gear:

This is covered in the Course Preparation Manual but there are a few things we want to emphasize:

  1. A 0 degree (Fahrenheit) 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. Depending on how cold you tend to get when you sleep, you may want to consider bringing a 0 degree bag; even folks who don’t get as cold might want something on the warmer side.
  2. Polarized Sunglasses: These are important for the trek, especially since we’ll likely be trekking on snow.
  3. Comfortable Hiking Boots: Do not forget to break them in before you get to Nepal. Your feet will thank you.
  4. 2 Nalgene or stainless steel water bottles. Double wall water bottles are great because they can keep water cold or hot for a long time. 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 the whole program.  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  shell, a wind and rain proof jacket. It’s not likely to rain while we are on trek, but an impermeable outer layer helps stay warm during rain and wind.
  9. A strong headlamp (bring extra batteries if your headlamp takes an unusual kind) AA and AAA batteries are available in Nepal. 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.

Happy Packing!

Your Instructor Team