One of the major advantages to “tea house trekking” in Nepal is that you are rarely more than a few hours away from food, water, and shelter – which means you don’t need to bring nearly as much with you. Depending on the time of year the gear load you need is different, but part of the hardship for me has been the lack of information about trekking at this time of year… is it freezing cold up in the mountains in the spring? Will there still be snow and ice? Or is it warm and cozy?
I talked to a stunningly beautiful Canadian blonde who had just finished the Annapurna Circuit yesterday and she said they had been very unhappy with the gear they took and were very cold for a couple days – down jackets only didn’t cut it. With that advice I went ahead and grabbed a down jacket to add to my layering - multiple shirts, heavy fleece, and my hyvent shell have kept me warm to nearly freezing before but now I should be set to below zero and then some. I’m a little worried about my feet with these crappy trainers but hopefully two pairs of smartwool socks from Amsterdam will keep me warm.
So, in the end, what’s going in the pack for this trip? Here’s a breakdown (note that I’m considering this a thru hike and everything on me is going all the way back home, nothing is being left behind here):
- North Face Terra 55 backpack (55 Liter pack, mid-size, lightweight)
- -20 degree heavy down sleeping bag of dubious manufacture
- fleece liner for sleeping bag
- 2 trekking poles that have seen better days
- 2 1L aluminum water bottles
- Pete’s Custom Survival Kit (First Aid, Celox, compass, firestarting gear, emergency blanket, water purification, etc.)
- Overnight Bag (toothpaste, soap, tweezers, etc.)
- 2 pens, one wrapped in a couple feet of duct tape for emergencies
- Headlamp, flashlight, maps, notebook, etc.
- Crappy sunglasses & my prescription glasses
- Crappy Adidas running shoes
- North Face hyvent water/windproof shell
- North Face heavy down jacket (-20)
- Heavy fleece jacket
- REI Taku mountaineering pants (water/windproof)
- Ex Officio synthetic quick-dry/insect repellant/SPF50 light weight cargo pants (perfect pants for walking around when it’s hot and sticky out, plus inner layer if it’s cold)
- 2 pairs Smartwool socks
- 3 pairs Ex Officio Give-n-Go synthetic boxer briefs (totally awesome, I can’t recommend these enough, if you don’t have synthetic underwear you are doing something wrong – seriously, you don’t want to know when the last time these saw a washing machine was and they are still fresh and clean thanks to many, many sinks)
- 1 quick dry base layer undershirt
- 3 assorted Nike Dry t-shirts (official Indian Cricket gear that I bought in Delhi)
- Uber Reef world traveler flip flops that have walked in amazing places
- Wicked cool wool hat with little fuzzy balls
- Super fashionalbe fishing/sun hat (from Cambodia!)
- Water/windproof gloves with minor insulation
- SPOT Satellite Messenger
- Locosys BGT-31 GPS datalogger
- Dell Mini 10 w/ 6 cell battery
- ContourHD 720p bulletcam
- Panasonic DMC-LZ10 & Casio A590is digital cameras
- Motorola Droid (for MP3’s and ‘cuz I have it with me)
- Sony PRS-300 pocket edition electronic reader
- Casio digital watch with multiple alarms, built-in compass, world time, thermometer, etc.
It’s quite a lot in the scheme of things, but the overall weight isn’t bad and I will make heavy use of everything, especially the electronics and the laptop (even if I only get it out every couple days, it’s nice to sort and backup photos and blog on the fly). The heaviest stuff is all the down cold weather gear, so here’s hoping I actually need it!
During the trek you can see my route and position by clicking the Live Satellite Tracking link at the top of my blog, or view it full screen at my homepage at http://track.peterwaterman.com.