I leave for Nepal today. The scenery should be spectacular, the physical challenge should be good for me (“that which doesn’t kill me makes me strong”), the cultural exchange with the Sherpas and buddhist monks should be fascinating. But I may need some stuff to play with.
So, what gear will I need? My notes from tour organisers World Expeditions tell me that Sherpas will carry everything, leaving us with daypacks only. Sherpas are incredibly strong and hardy, but they are not superhuman, I’m warned, so please limit what you take.
I start with the essentials; polypropelene thermals, fleece jacket, gloves and beanie, Goretex jacket and overpants, thick socks. Then I check the 14-day weather forecast for Kathmandu: 16-27 degrees, sunny. I add sunscreen, hat, swimming trunks, lightweight shirts, shorts and zip off trousers. An almost superhuman Sherpa will carry it for me.
Next comes the hiking gear. My backpack (Macpac Cascade), my boots (Kathmandu Randonnee), water bottles, trekking poles (cheap Quechua model) and my Thermarest – it’s amazing that such a short flat little item is comfortable to sleep on. Tents and sleeping bags will be supplied by the tour company.
I’m taking noise-cancelling headphones for the long flight. Yes, they really make a difference and they improve the sound quality of the in-flight movies enormously. Next comes my GPS bike computer (Garmin 500) with wrist strap for hiking purposes. It won’t tell me where to go, but when I get time to plug it into my computer it should make a map of where I’ve got lost. And the ipod. We’ll be walking 6-7 hours a day, but there’ll be lots of time around camp too, and 18 days is a long time to make conversation with strangers, however fascinating they may be.
Finally, I’ll need the charger for the ipod and GPS, spare batteries for the camera, headlamp and headphones, a multi-plug adaptor…and an incredibly fit Sherpa porter.