There’s no doubt that Nepal is one of the popular destinations for adventure seekers like us. In fact, when you are out there gawking at the towering snow-capped mountains, and trudging on cobbles and pebbles, you get to know the majesty of this place factoring from those very mountains and pathways.
Saying that makes all of the panoramas of those mountains and pathways flash in my memory. I consider myself lucky indeed to experience Nepal first-hand with my fiancé. Yup, he proposed to me underneath Mt. Everest! (We'll save that story for another post!) . Okay. Okay. Here's a little preview.
Our trip had been possible because of our appetite for exploration and of course, because of the gear we had taken with us.
I am writing this article precisely to give you some information about the things you need to take while traveling to Nepal and hiking the Everest Panorama trek.
Nepal – The Land of Adventure
Nepal is home to the world’s tallest peak: Mount Everest, and a plethora of other peaks ranking in top 20. This makes this country a very suitable destination for hikers and mountaineers of any experience or age. However, as you might know, both of these activities are entirely dependent on the gear that you take.
What is ‘gear’, by the way?
For both activities I talked about, the word gear means the items needed to make you as comfortable as possible in a very harsh environment like that of the neighboring areas or even foothills of the majesties like Mount Everest. Temperatures there can drop alarmingly; and thus, you need to be prepared for the worst. During our time in Naamche Bazaar (One of your stops during the trek), it began to snow at night. It was magical but it was freezing. This was the day after. Some of the snow began to melt already, but you can see a little sprinkle of the magic.
Most of the trip, for me, being prepared meant keeping my energy level up and not losing my motivation to complete the Everest Panorama Trek.
Again, in achieving both of these, our gear helped a lot.
Alright, so, what do we take?
For any place in Nepal where you are considering hitting the trails, you need to first consider dressing appropriately.
Keeping light packing in mind, you would have to think about layers first. The base layer we loved was the SmartWool merino everything - From our pants to our shirts and our gloves. Smart Wool is the way to go! Every experienced hiker and backpacker advised us to purchase SmartWool to keep us warm and dry! This was an incredible product. I was a little afraid of purchasing wool in fear that it would be itchy and uncomfortable, but this was actually the opposite. It was soft and super comfy at the same time.
You need something that can keep you cool and warm, but also dry, which is why you need something with good moisture wicking to avoid any chaffing.
Th next layer we had was a nice Patagonia Fleece. During midday, this fleece layer would get peeled off because of the heat, but for early mornings and when the sun went down, this was another important tool.
Four our insulating layer, we took the RAB Women’s Poistron Jacket and the Marmot Featherless Jacket.
RAB Women’s Poistron Down Jacket
Made for the harsh environment, this jacket can withstand heavy showers and snow like you’d want it to. But more than that, it is super warm, thanks to its Pyrotec insulation and 800 feather fill. You really felt the importance of that 800 fill on cold, frigid days up in the mountains. I loved this jacket! There were nights where this jacket was my saving grace. Going to the Everest Region is rough during the winter, but having the proper gear allows you to enjoy the solitude and peace of going during the winter.
Marmot Featherless Jacket
Add comfort and style to warmth and resistance against harsh weather conditions and you’d get Marmot Featherless Jacket. This jacket was okay, but it definitely didn't keep you as warm as you would of liked. If I had to choose between the two, I'd go with the RAB.
When it snowed and when it was really windy, our outer shell kept us protected. We used he Mammut Kento HS outer shell. An outer shell is super important because the mountains have such unpredictable weather.
While that was all about the jackets, even for the pants, you can trust these brands.
My base layer were the Merino SmartWool 250
Take RAB’s Latok Alpine Pants if you prefer mid-weight trousers, or Photon Pants if you don’t care about weight and prefer anything that could keep you warm as well as free to move.
BUT... since I spent so much on other important gear, tickets, tours, and everything else, I decided to purchase the Anlamb Women's Ourdoor Fleece Cargo Snow, Ski Hiking pants instead - which were AMAZING!!!!! and for $40 how could you go wrong? The only downside to these pants is the actual weight but I never carried them so it was great!
I (Drea) run really cold, so these fleece lined pants were my life line. I had other outer shell pants with me but I kept coming back to these babies. What a great find! Thanks Amazon!
If you want to complete Everest Panorama Trek without getting sunburns, freckles, or anything remotely associated with skin diseases, take sunglasses, or a hat. It depends on you which one you prefer. If you don’t like your head heavy, take sunglasses. But if you want to keep your head skin secure, too, take the hat. A word of advice from our side: take BOTH.
Besides that, you can’t miss out a good sunblock, of course. Here, we’d suggest you take metal-based sunscreens for better protection because they don’t absorb in your skin and stay as a layer on the top for a longer time.
Other things you can take are gloves. Having a good inner liner, really helps on top of a waterproof glove to keep you protected from the wind and possible snow (especially if you intend of having any altitude-sickness inspired snowball fights) .
Those glove liners were great for extremely cold nights and you really needed them underneath a waterproof glove. One glove does NOT and I repeat does NOT keep you warm up here.
We purchased our outer shell gloves from a local store in Kathmandu and they worked!
Just so you know, I (Drea), never really sunburn anywhere except for my mouth. And I forgot to use sunblock on my mouth and this caused the worst sunburn of my life. Even though it's cloudy at times, we are a lot closer to the sun, so I really felt it. The proximity to those sun rays, paired with that cold - made my lips double in size from the blisters!
Word of advice: USE SUNBLOCK!!!
Footwear or boots can make or break your hike because, throughout it, you have to rely on their traction, comfort, warmth, and a horde of other parameters.
For us, there could be no better choice than LOWA Renegade Hiking boots.
They are sophisticatedly suitable for hiking trails all over Nepal and that includes the Everest Panorama Trek. They firmly grip your feet for better walking and to lessen the pressure on your heel (that means no Plantar Fasciitis). They have shock-absorption capabilities, which are again suitable for trekking, and are waterproof; thus, overall making them the perfect choice for arduous hikes.
You know that you can’t trudge while lugging heavy luggage along your way. Since we had a porter/sherpa helping us. Shout out to Raj!!! BTW - He is one of the strongest men alive! Thanks for carrying our stuff like it was nothing. This man would hike ahead of us, drop off our stuff and then, come back to hang out while we hiked another hour or so up the mountains. He and our guide, Sanjib were beasts!!
Since, we had amazing Raj to carry the majority of our stuff. For the backpack Raj used, we bought a 90L Patagonia Duffel! This guy was great! It has a strap for it to be used as a backpack and it was water resistant.
We used our daypack - the Osprey Manta 36 and an amazing camera backpack which housed the massive amount of camera gear we had.
The Osprey was great because it had a hydration tank in there that made it easy for us to walk and drink at the same time. It's important to hydrate like crazy when you are hiking in elevation, so anything that makes that process easier is a plus. This Osprey pack really provides the support around your waist line to lessen the blow on your back.
The camera backpack I used for the equipment and laptop we were carrying with us was incredible. It fit a TON of stuff. It does have some weight support around the waist, but to be honest, this isn't like an Osprey or a "backpacking" piece of gear. You're not supposed to climb around Everest in it, BUT with that being said, there was nothing else I could find that could house the laptop, the camera gear, the tripod and all the lenses we needed to really capture this trip. So for $99, it's really worth it. You just have to suffer through the pain of carrying this on your back. As a photographer and documentarian, it's WORTH IT!
There is a range of products offered by them. You can choose any product based on your needs and trekking distance. But no matter what, always go for the bag with many compartments, so that you can securely take your valuables with you, be it electronics or even medicine. A bag with many compartments does not necessarily mean a heavy bag. What I mean is that you’d have to balance out heaviness and taking valuables.
In this case, I chose my camera gear - so I can't avoid the weight, but if you want those SWEET photos and video, then this is the best option.
4. Hiking Poles
Hiking poles make a necessary pair with your hiking boots. Therefore, choosing appropriate poles is also a must. We had taken Leki Hiking Poles for their easy length adjustment and tenacity. I put a lot of pressure on them at times, which makes for some problems (Don't DO THIS), but learning to use them correctly, will really help you on this long journey. I highly recommend hiking poles. You'll be going up and down some pretty steep sections and if you want to save your knees, these are it. Also another pro-tip, knee braces are everything. Even if you don't think you need them for long treks, you do! Save yourself. Save your knees! Get the damn knee braces!
5. Lots of love for adventure
It was our love for adventure and for each other that kept us going. You, too, need that love in order to savor all the beauty of Everest Panorama Trek and of Nepal. Don’t be deterred by obvious things such as cold and keep on exploring the trek to your fullest. When you feel like giving up, think about all the amazing stories you’d tell back home when you’d complete the hike. Those stories would be paid heed if it does not involve giving up. Good luck! In the meantime, check out our video of us trekking if you want to see more.
Till the next adventure,
Drea & Michael