When we left Kathmandu to trek in the Annapurna Himalayan Range, we left a good deal of our belongings behind in a locked backpack at our Thamel guesthouse. Slimming down our backpacks for the coming month was difficult, but with the distances we would cover on foot, a lighter load was mandatory.

For five weeks on the trail and in Pokhara resting, we lived quite comfortably with much less (although I did miss my laptop for photo editing and Britnee missed her hair straightener a lot). Keep in mind, we trekked from October–December and while it got very cold at times, we had little to no rain. We hiked over deep snow, but luckily were never snowed on.

Here’s a list of what I carried while trekking in Nepal:

Trekking Footwear: 

Hiking shoes and flip flops. We covered a wide range of terrain, from soggy jungle trail to a snowbound pass, in lightweight hiking shoes and my feet never suffered. The only complaint I had was that my Chacos flip flops (which I love for everyday use) were too heavy for the limited wear they got in showers and while relaxing along the treks. I should have just opted for some flimsy flip flops bought cheaply in Kathmandu.


Bring close to a 30L backpack. I used my Mountain Hardwear Paladin backpack, a pack I love for traveling but learned to dislike while trekking due to one major flaw: It lacked a padded hip belt. That’s a must for distributing the load to save your back and shoulders after many miles. Other than that, I found the carrying capacity of the pack was perfect for all I brought on both treks.


Three pairs of ExOfficio underwear.

Three pairs of Smartwool Running socks and one pair of warm FITS socks for keeping the toes toasty on colder nights.

Three jackets— one lightweight synthetic down jacket for protection from the wind. One fleece mid layer for extra warmth. One lightweight waterproof jacket.

Columbia thermal underwear top and bottom.

One pair of convertible hiking trousers and one pair of shorts.

Two quick-drying synthetic t-shirts.

One button up, long-sleeved shirt.

Warm hat and wide-brimmed sunhat. Both mandatory!

Warm gloves! (Didn’t think I’d need them but I was wrong).

travel, trekking, trekking in Nepal, Annapurna Circuit, Annapurna Sanctuary,Miscellaneous Gear:


Permits and passport in ziploc bag.

Travel wallet and plenty of cash for the whole trek, divided throughout our packs.

Pages cut from our great Lonely Planet guidebook to save weight.

Topographic map.


For camera: extra batteries, charger, padded case, power adapter, mini tripod.

Lots and lots of gigabytes of memory cards.

Notepad for journaling (real journal was left in Kathmandu).


Two wide-mout Nalgene water bottles (bought for cheap in Kathmandu).

One rip-off North Face sleeping bag (bough cheap in Kathmandu. Not the best quality—the down bunched up and there were lots of cold spots—but it still kept me plenty warm on both treks, October–December).

One trekking pole (good quality bought for cheap in Kathmandu—Britnee and I split the pair).

SteriPEN—bought for legitimate price from legitimate retailer in Kathmandu. We didn’t want to drink chemically treated water for an entire month and this turned out to be a great method for water purification. Only issue was the  need to carry spare batteries as each set purified only 50 liters. And wide-mouthed Nalgene bottles are required for the SteriPEN to function as designed.

Vitamins. Cold medicine. Diamox. Cough drops! Many people develop nagging, dry coughs at altitude and I can’t recommend cough drops enough.

Two-person first aid kit.

Backpacking towel.

Watch with alarm!

TP and tissues—can also be purchased along the way.

Toothbrush, toothpaste, small deodorant, bar of soap, small shampoo, eye drops, sunscreen, chapstick, wet wipes, sunscreen, camp soap for laundry.

Epi Pens.

Granola bars and fruit rolls bought in Kathmandu. Too much of it. Was nice to eat the weight out of my pack.



Spork—never used.


Waterproof bag for sleeping bag strapped outside my pack.


This is a minimal list for this much trekking, and we met others carrying far more. But it was a reasonably comfortable load to carry for as long as we did. The only thing I’d add would be a pair of Yak Trax. While I didn’t have a problem with the pass crossing, Britnee did struggle with the slick snow and ice on the descent. It would have made a big difference having these along and it might be worth packing the weight even if you don’t end up using them.

About The Author


Mark quit everything to travel the world for a year with his wife, Britnee. Along the way, he picked up a love for many other things, including illy coffee, Nepal, Bolivianos bills, and Thai beaches. Now happily home in Utah, Mark is a balding marketing professional with a mountain biking addiction.

2 Responses

  1. Steve Terry

    Mark & Britnee,
    Thanks for sharing your travel experiences, insights and great pics! Hopefully I can get Mike to travel to Nepal with me to go up to EBC. It would be a great trip to have him along and a bonus to have his camera along. :)

    Thanks again and take care,

    Steve Terry

    • Mark Johnston

      Thanks for reading some of the blog Steve. Good luck on the trip planning and tell Mike to pack light with the camera! I wish I had.