Moon Mountain Adventures



The highest priority is a pair of well broken-in comfortable walking boots or shoes. Some people wear low-cut sneakers; others wear heavy-duty leather hiking boots. I've even seen a couple trekking all the way to the Khumbu in rigid plastic mountaineering boots. Comfortable is the priority, but immediately after that, for me, comes support. With many days and kilometers of uneven ground, I wear boots that will hold me up through ruts and bumps and stumbles. Vibram or rough-treaded soles are best. To bring lightweight sneakers or Teva sandals or thongs is a wonderful luxury – to deboot in the evening, change socks, and relax the feet is heaven. Clothing – you need to cover the range between bathing in a hot spring (shorts or swimsuit), - to hiking on hot dusty days to deep, cold snow and strong winds. Imagine sitting on a chair-lift broken down in a storm.


All my clothing is synthetic. The only cotton I bring is in a couple of T-shirts for lower altitudes, a small as possible towel, and a handkerchief for fingers, camera, sunglasses, headband, etc. Everything else is nylon, polyester, polypropylene - light, warm, warm when wet, and most of all quick drying. Having many thin interchangeable layers is far better than one or two heavy thick ones. One peels and adds layers to suit every changing condition and activity level. Even at low-medium altitudes it can be cool in the evening. The only central heating is your own! My down jacket is one of my favourite gear items – very light, compacts to a tiny bag and gives so much warmth. Though expensive ($200 at MEC), I luxuriate in it at surprisingly low levels in the evenings. If not a down jacket, then I would recommend at least a down vest.

An outer shell is essential – this can be anything windproof - top and bottom (windproof more important than waterproof). Goretex is top of the line but even K- way rain gear works, even a wind suit /warm-up suit.

Gaiters are not essential, but very nice if we need to walk in snow of any depth. The cheapest and thinnest would be adequate. Some cheap used ones could be bought in Nepal.

This is my personal list for anywhere in the world. It is not required, but gives you an idea of what lets me be confident that wherever I go, whatever I do, I will be comfortable.

  • 2 - polyshirts, mid-weight, long sleeve, stretching, zip turtle-neck
  • 2 - cotton t-shirts
  • 1 - pile jacket (200 weight) or mid-weight
  • 1 - down vest
  • 1 - down jacket (I love down – this is for evenings/mornings, much too warm for walking
  • 1 - Goretex jacket with hood
  • 1 - toque/balaclava
  • 1 - peaked hat – many prefer wide brim for sun protection
  • 1 - set glacier glasses or high quality dark sun glasses
  • 2 - pair liner gloves (thin poly)
  • 1 - pair mitts (fleece inner/nylon outer) warm gloves will do – ski gloves, etc. think sitting on that chairlift
  • 1 - pair shorts – nylon sport type
  • 2 - pair “rad pants” - an MEC lightweight nylon pant – quick drying – rolls up to burrito size – durable – full movement
  • 1 - pair poly longjohns
  • 2 - pair liner socks – thin nylon “wicking”
  • 2 - pair “trekkers'" socks – at co-op. Many theories about socks and blisters – most agree a thin nylon liner sock inside a wool sock is your best bet for dry blister-free feet
  • 1 - pair Goretex outer pants (mine are bib over-all type)
  • 1 - pair gaiters
  • 1 - pair TEVA-type sandals
  • 1 - pair walking boots
  • 1 - pair fleece pants -often the day's walk leaves you feeling a bit sweaty or damp – it is very nice to change to a dry inner layer (socks/pants/shirt) so the used layer can be dried and/or washed. “Rest” days become laundry days. I don't like hauling around damp dirty clothes (but it's a great place to hide money! )


I bring a $200 Taiga down barrel bag. It's good (for me) to –5 degrees, maybe -10, but isn't too hot unzippered at lower altitudes. It can be totally unzipped to become a quilt. For really cold nights I also bring a thin cover bag – Co-op $90. that adds another 5-10 degrees to my main bag. I will have it on the trip, but it is unlikely I will use it. But –10 degrees is possible at the upper levels of the trek. Your best bet is a winter or four season sleeping bag.

I also bring my “therma rest” sleeping pad. You can bring an Ensolite (foam) pad if you want to cut weight and don't mind minimum comfort. After years of “roughing it”, I couldn't believe how nice a therma-rest was; two years later I switched to the full length therma-rest. For me it's totally worth the extra weight.

All of these clothes, in fact everything that goes in my pack is put in stuff sacks – I know exactly what is in every sack. I can unpack in moments and access “the million things” in a few more. If you are off-loading some weight to a porter, a sack is a handy way. Or if you're leaving something at the guest lodge in Kathmandu they'll do fine.

You will need a large duffel bag (e.g. the MEC $44 model duffel bag) and a day pack for your personal effects.

Bring a daypack (30 litres). It's useful for the airplane and in Kathmandu. On the trail, it will carry your needs for the day: windbreaker, water, camera, sunscreen etc. We all find our ways for stashing passport, valuables, etc. Some use the daypack - but don't let it out of your mind, ever! Most use the external belly bag, some the under clothes types, or more than one stash. Normally only my daily money is visible to onlookers. Theft is not prevalent in Nepal. We are wealthy. We have disposable money. You will never convince a Nepalese otherwise. So don't tempt anyone with displays of wealth. Be cautious. Then relax. "Trust in Allah... but tie your camel".

I strongly recommend that women bring a long skirt. Lightweight, comfortable, can be worn with tights or pile pants makes taking a pee easier, but most of all takes a big step towards being welcomed and accepted by villagers more readily, which is a big bonus. You can still wear pants and shorts, the skirt can be an evening, or in the guest lodge and village dress form. But, it is their country and they are uncomfortable with women's legs. I'm talking about men and women. It's a matter of you making people more comfortable with your presence.

I wouldn't recommend to anyone that they buy all this equipment unless they intend to use it for much more than this one trip to Nepal. Try to limit your purchases to essentials and items you can make use of in the rest of your life. Check your SallyAnn – “outdoor” gear is popular and it's showing up in second-hand stores. You can always give it to the porters as a tip after the trip.

Here is a list of items not necessarily essential but very useful. I'll * the essential ones:

  • * A walking stick is a great friend. Telescoping ski poles are weightless and stuffable. Many trekkers use two! A third leg/arm (or 3rd and 4th) can take a lot of weight off those poor knees on “endless” downhills and the support and extra balance is welcome on constantly uneven terrain.
  • * A flashlight (headlamp or handheld) batteries available in Nepal hut not always long-lived or reliable. A spare bulb is a good idea.
  • * Extra passport photo – at least 1 for visa and trekking permit. The do-it yourself booths are cheap and good enough.
  • A very small lock – for luggage, for a room, etc.
  • Five – ten meters of light cord for clothes line or whatever
  • Clothes pegs
  • * a photo copy of your passport, airline tickets
  • * a passport! – and one that isn't going to run out in three months
  • duct tape for all kinds of repairs
  • pen knife
  • scissors
  • * earplugs
  • tweezers
  • * sewing repair kit – clothes, packs, slivers
  • zip lock bags (assorted sizes)
  • a couple of garbage bags – to ensure dry sleeping bags and clothes in case of downpour (i.e. on roof of bus)
  • sun glasses, glasses, contacts
  • a cheap umbrella (available in KTM almost essential for Annapurna, not for Khumbu
  • * heavy duty sunscreen
  • binoculars – a delightful, heavy, luxury
  • musical instrument
  • small collection of pictures of your family/friends/work/home/country to share with Nepalese
  • pens, paper, books, maps, Nepal trekking guide book
  • camera
  • tape recorder
  • video camera – very expensive fee for bringing into National parks ($50 - $75 - $100)
  • shoe repair kit
  • * water bottle or two


  • One ice axe
  • One pair of crampons
  • One adjustable climbing harness
  • One pair plastic mountaineering boots
  • Two locking carabiners
  • One figure 8 descender
  • One set of prussick slings
  • One set of ski goggles

All the usual (as small and light as possible):

    Although showers are available and cheap, the big price is the trees being cut to heat the water. I limit my showers on the trail to as few as possible. My soap and shampoo requirements drop as a result. If the water is solar heated {or from hot springs! } I don't hesitate, i.e. I bathe more often on the Annapurna circuit.

  • Shampoo in a container that won't pop open or spill
  • I bring one soap far all uses
  • Floss can be used for more than teeth
  • Nail clippers (they can grow a lot in a month!)


  • Go to Nepal free of dental problems. You do not want to deal with it there.
  • Visit your doctor or be sure you are in very good health
  • Bring vitamins and remedies. No matter how hard you try, you might not get all you need:
    • echinacea, golden seal, propolis, cayenne, & ginger can all be very helpful in dealing with colds, coughs, sore throats, etc.
    • cough drops – fisherman's friends, etc. Sometimes altitude alone can roughen up the throat
    • pills for headaches, fever, cramp-ease (intestinal), whatever your favourite
    • Lomotil or Immodium for diarrhea
    • Mega “C” – for fighting infection
  • One or two courses of antibiotics. Talk to your doctor about this. I relate to them as: “in case of emergency” – a very sore throat, as in strep, or serious dysentery, or a serious skin {wound) infection. To be begun on the way to the nearest clinic or hospital
  • Everything to deal with cuts, burns, scrapes, sprains, brakes, etc.
  • Blisters – stop the moment you have a “hot spot” and moleskin up - Moleskin – mole foam
  • Antiseptics – (somewhere in the Hydrogen Peroxide to Tea Tree Oil range)
  • Eye-ear – antibiotic solution
  • Water Purification – I bring my Katadyn water filter and everyone can use it. I have found it adequate in most parts of the world. It eliminates amoebas, protozoa and all the “nasties” out of water except some viral molecules. Complete protection boiling is enough, or iodine. I will have iodine as well if you want to use it.
  • Skin Cream – moisturizer – cold cream – incredibly dry up high
  • Medical Insurance for travelers - make sure all it takes is one call from anywhere and they will pay up front – not you pay and they reimburse. We can provide you with our insurance company's name upon request.
  • Tensor bandages or neoprene wraps – braces – for knees, ankles, elbows, whatever your weak points are. (see walking sticks)
  • Ear plugs
  • Menstrual supplies unavailable in Nepal
Normally, once in Kathmandu, we do a first aid kit comparison. Often we can dump many kilos of over, (or double) coverage.


The usual for Nepal are: Hepatitis A, tetanus, meningicocal meningitis, typhoid, and polio. Tuberculosis is in Nepal. How you deal with them is up to you. As part of a group, your ill health does affect everyone else. Consult your local health unit for updated vaccine recommendations.

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