How to Pack For A Trek: The Ultimate Trekking Packing List


Packing List Trek

How should I pack for a trek? What should I pack for a multi-day hike? What is too much? And what is too little? How am I going to carry it all? Which gear and trekking supplies should I buy in advance and which can I buy on the ground?

After receiving numerous emails, queries and comments asking about trekking gear and how to pack for treks, especially when the trek is incorporated into a longer trip, we decided to assemble our packing advice for treks, short and long.

By way of background, during the first six years of our journey we carried all that we needed in our backpacks so as to be prepared for just about any kind of climate or activity, from beach to glacier. In retrospect, we made some silly decisions in those early days. As a result, we schlepped a few bits we never used. But through experience and experimentation and after about a dozen multi-day treks across all continents, we got smart not only as to what gear to carry with us, but also what to buy locally or rent.

And we figured out how to do all this while on a budget.

We’ve created two pieces of content for you. The first is below and includes thorough explanations of what to bring and why. We realize it’s extensive. That’s why we’ve also created a simple one-page downloadable trekking packing checklist to help make your next packing experience smooth and easy.

Packing Checklist Trek

Note: The following advice applies mainly to multi-day treks where your sleeping and eating arrangements are taking care of already (think guest houses, lodges, huts, tea houses, or home stays). If you are camping, then you’ll need to add food, camping, and cooking gear to everything below.

Skip ahead:

Trekking Packing Myths

1. You must purchase the latest and greatest trekking gear.

It’s true that some trekking clothing technology is especially useful for lightness, wind-resistance, waterproofing and wicking (GoreTex, fleece, Polartec, etc., come to mind). However, we suggest focusing on the trekking basics: clothing that is comfortable, breathable, light, easily layered. You’re not climbing to the peak of Mount Everest here. (If you are, that’s for a future article.) For a little perspective, watching locals breeze by you in flip-flops might make all your pre-purchased fancy gear seem a little unnecessary.

So there’s no need to overspend. Go for good quality, but resist the shiny bleeding-edge trekking toys. I know it’s hard. Outdoor stores are dangerous shopping vortexes for us, too.

2. You need to bring EVERYTHING with you.

For every trek we’ve undertaken, there’s been ample opportunity to rent or buy gear to supplement our trekking kit. For example, it’s just not practical for us to carry around bulky waterproof pants in our backpacks when we only need them a tiny fraction of the time. Same goes for walking sticks and sleeping bags. Do your research and find out what is available on the ground and at what cost. Ask the tour company you’re going with or reach out to other independent travelers who’ve experienced the same trek. When you land on the ground, shop around for the best price.

Audrey with Kilimanjaro Glaciers - Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Decked out in rented trekking gear on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Before climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, we’d traveled through Bali, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Jordan and Thailand — all from the same gear in our backpacks throughout. So it was more than worth the $65 I spent in Moshi, Tanzania to rent a sleeping bag, waterproof pants, waterproof jacket, walking stick, gaiters and more to get me to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Dan even rented hiking shoes for $15 which offered a little more ankle support and stability than the ones he’d been wearing. When we departed for our safari just after the Kilimanjaro trek I could just drop all that stuff off at the trekking shop and continue with my regular light backpack.

3. Real treks require camping.

This is all subjective. It’s true that camping and carrying all your own gear may give you a greater sense of independence and accomplishment and allow you to dive deeper into nature. However, we take issue with the assertion that camping equals a better trekking experience. In fact, some of our most memorable treks (e.g., Annapurna Circuit, Markha Valley Trek, Svaneti, Kalaw to Inle Lake in Burma, etc.) have been memorable precisely because of the local culture and human interaction dimensions surrounding our accommodation and food arrangements.

It’s the combined experience of nature and people (and the human nature that responds to the surrounding environment) that we find truly soul nourishing.

Packing for Your Trek: First Principles

1. It’s all about the layers.

This is true in all types of travel, long-term and short, but especially for trekking into high altitudes. Temperatures can very drastically during the course of a day. I always prefer to have an extra layer in my bag than to go cold.

Dan at Ganda La  Pass - Markha Valley Trek, Ladakh
Layers. The key to preparing for a freak Himalayan blizzard in June.

Even if the days are warm at low altitude, nights may still be chilly. On summit days you’ll often need to pile on everything you have to get to the top, only to peel it off layer by layer as you descend.

2. Rest and sleeping clothes.

I learned this from the folks at Erratic Rock in Puerto Natales near Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. They called the yucky, stinky clothes you’ll find yourself wearing every day until the very end your uniform. In light of this — and even if you are going minimalist — try to include an extra set of night clothes to change into at the end of the day. These clothes will be dry (quite important if you’ve hit snow or rain that day), comfortable and relatively clean. I usually pack an extra t-shirt, pajama pants and socks. I’ll further layer other clothes on top to stay warm at night. Regardless, the layer closest to my skin is dry and relatively fresh.

Oh, the little joys while on the trekking trail.

This technique also gives your wet and stinky clothes a chance to dry and air out overnight. The next morning you can slip back into your trekking clothes — yes, your uniform — and you’ll be ready to go.

3. Never skimp on sun protection.

As you advance higher in elevation, the sun becomes scary strong. So even if you tan beautifully on the beach without any sunscreen, be sure to pack ample and strong sunscreen. Carry a hat that will protect your face from the sun (think rollable foldable sun or jungle hat — we don’t need to look pretty while trekking). Trekking with sunburn — head, face or hands — is miserable. And if your sunburn is bad enough, you’ll almost feel flu-like. Not good for peak performance.

Also be sure to have sunglasses with quality lenses that protect your eyes. Otherwise, they too will become burned and sore.

Trekking gear: Bags and Clothes to bring on a multi-day trek

Backpacks and Bags

Small backpack: You’ll be carrying all your stuff on your back up and down mountain passes so the size, fit and comfort of your pack is important. Aim to carry a pack that is big enough to hold the essentials, yet not too big that it will weigh you down. The size will depend on how many days your trek is and whether or not you will camp. Don’t forget to bring a rain cover to protect your backpack in storms.

We’ve often repurposed our Crumpler laptop bag and rented backpacks from trekking agencies. They usually did the trick, but they were not always entirely appropriate and thus kind to our back and shoulders. This may be something you want to invest in before your trek.

Trekking in Ladakh with Crumpler - Markha Valley Trek
Repurposing our Crumpler laptop backpack for the Himalayas.

Camera bag: If you’re carrying a DSLR camera and multiple lenses consider packing a separate camera bag to protect your gear and to allow you easy access to it. We use a camera bag with a waist belt that allows the bag’s weight to rest on the hips rather than on the shoulders. We can still wear a backpack or daypack on top.

Dry Sack: You never know when it’s going to rain or snow, so prepare for the worst — particularly if you have gear that must remain dry. We carry a dry sack with us in order to protect our gear against freak storms or inadvertent submersions while fording rivers.

Dan Takes in the Mountain View - Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Dry sack to protect camera and electronics against rain.

Trekking Clothes, Jackets and Shoes

Clothes: For a seven day trek we each carry one pair of trekking pants, thermal underwear (top/bottom), 3 t-shirts, 1 long-sleeved travel/trekking shirt, pajama/sleeping pants, underwear (what you’re comfortable with), 3 pairs of socks. I love my silk long johns as they are warm, comfy and take up almost no room at all.

If you are going on a shorter trek then you can cut back, but if your trek is longer you can still carry the same amount of clothes or even less. You’ll just need to “recycle” them more or find a way to wash them along the way. By recycle, I mean turn things inside-out, air them out, wash them. Whatever the best mechanism you have available to give it longer life and whatever your tolerance level might be. The most important thing is not whether you stink (there’s a good chance you just might), but that you are dry and comfortable.

As mentioned above, my approach is to carry and maintain separate trekking and sleeping (or relaxing at night) clothes.

Outerwear (jackets and waterproof pants): I always prefer to have the option to remove layers than to not have enough to put on when I’m beginning to chill as I head over a mountain pass or through a storm.

For jackets, we each usually bring a fleece jacket, thin windbreaker and waterproof outer jacket. We usually borrow or rent waterproof pants (and sometimes jackets) from a local trekking agency.

Hiking Shoes: Shoes may be the most important thing you bring with you so if you invest in one thing in advance, invest in a solid comfortable pair of hiking shoes. And break them in. Your shoes can literally make or break a trip. Ask in advance whether you need mid- or high-cut hiking shoes for ankle support as this may influence your purchasing decision. We don’t find ourselves often needing high-cut boots. However, if your ankles are weak or susceptible to turns and sprains, more support is better than less.

We wore Vasque Scree Low Ultradry Hiking Shoes for over a year and really like them not only because they are supremely comfortable shoes, but also because they are waterproof and quick drying (which we tested hopping across and into streams on our Markha Valley Trek in Ladakh). Vasque stopped making these shoes for women last year so I’m now using the Mantra GTX Hiking Shoes.

Flip flops or river shoes: At the end of a long day of walking you may want to take off your hiking shoes and give your feet a rest. But you’ll still need something on your feet to go to and from the outhouse or nearest bush. That’s where flip flops or river shoes worn with socks (yes, ignore the fashion police) are perfect. Outside of these situations, you may find river sandals either useful or required for crossing or fording rivers. Depending on the bottom surface of the river and the depth, we’ve also just managed in bare feet or with our waterproof hiking boots, given some time to dry.

Other Trekking Gear

Headlamp: Lights the way and keeps your hands free. If you’re staying with families in guest houses or home stays, you may find they are without electricity at night or in the bathroom/outhouse, a most unfortunate place to trip in the dark. If you’re camping, headlamps are of course absolutely essential.

Quick-Drying Travel Towel: Always good to start and end your day by washing your hands and face. Don’t expect hot showers on treks, nor running water of any kind. But on a few occasions we’ve been able to get a couple of bucket baths that were really, really nice.

Silk sleep sack: Arguably non-essential, but nice to have. Whether staying in home stays with provided bedding or sleeping in a rented sleeping bag, you sometimes wonder when the last time anything was properly laundered. And you may also wonder about bed bugs and other critters. That’s where a sleep sack with a pillow wrap comes in to provide a clean layer between you and everything else. Prophylactic!

Note: We do not carry a sleeping bag with us. If we need one for a trek or camping, we rent one locally.

Reusable water bottle: We carry a reusable liter water bottle on us and refill along the way. A CamelBak type water bladder in the backpack also works really well. Even if the trek has bottled water to sell, resist the urge to buy bottled water, as plastic bottle waste is an enormous problem at elevation and in villages around the world.

Water Purification: Some treks will provide you with clean, boiled water as part of the service (e.g., Kilimanjaro, Markha Valley). Sometimes there will be a program of UV (ultraviolet) purified or pass-filter cleaned water services in villages where you can refill your bottle with clean water for a small fee. Hop on it, maybe even pay a little extra. It’s worth it to you, the village, and the environment.

On other treks it’s up to you to somehow purify or clean the water you source from mountain streams or village taps. We suggest carrying a combination of a SteriPEN and sterilization tablets or drops. The SteriPEN uses ultraviolet (UV) light and technology to purify the water which does not affect the taste. The sterilization tablets or drops may make the water taste a little funny, but it won’t make you sick. We find water sterilization drops to be a little easier to abide and stomach than sterilization pills.

Sunscreen, hat and sunglasses: Bring the highest SPF sunscreen you can find and wear a hat at all times. The sun’s rays are exceptionally powerful at altitude and you’ll find yourself especially exposed when there isn’t a cloud in the sky.

Moisturizing skin cream and lip balm (with SPF): Creams and moisturizers may sound extraneous, but they can make a difference. Many mountain treks involve high desert where you will not only be exposed to lots of sun, but also arid conditions. Your skin and lips will dry and crack to discomfort if you don’t keep them moist. Treat them nicely: moisturize! And be sure to carry only a tiny lightweight container, not the original 32 oz. tube!

Walking stick: Highly recommended on most treks, especially for downhill sections. If you don’t bring a walking stick with you, then keep your eye out for a tree branch or limb that can be carved for the purpose. Two walking sticks or one, you ask? We’ll rent or purchase a set and share the set between the two of us so each of us uses one stick.

Snacks: Even if your meals are provided to you on a trek, it’s sometimes nice to have a little something to nibble on between stops. We usually bring a small stash combination of Snickers bars, granola/power bars, a jar of peanut butter and crackers. You’ll want a little bit of both salty and sweet foods.

Peanut Butter, Snack of Champions - Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Peanut butter. Helped us up Mount Kilimanjaro.

Hand sanitation gel and soap: One of the best ways to avoid becoming ill: wash your hands thoroughly and often. If you feel a little obsessive compulsive with the hand cleaning, that’s a good thing.

Toilet paper: One roll, used sparingly. Better to be self-sufficient here. No explanation needed.

Medicines: You may be miles or days away from any doctor so be sure to have some basic medicines with you in case you (or others) fall ill. On our treks, we’ve picked up sinus infections and helped others who have picked up the wrong kind of gut bacteria. Having the basics with us allowed us to deal with medical issues immediately and to keep going.

We recommend packing: band-aids, aspirin/Tylenol, Cipro (or other stomach antibiotic), Amoxicillin (or other basic antibiotic to treat sinus infections), rehydration packets, anti-flu powder (a packet that dissolves in water that breaks fevers may work better than a pill if someone has been throwing up), and duct tape (magic in preventing and managing blisters). For a full list of travel medicines and how to use them, check out these travel health tips.

Note: You can easily stock up on medicines at pharmacies in many developing countries. Basic medicines such as the ones listed here and in the article above will likely be astonishingly cheap and will often not require a prescription.

Earplugs: A good night’s sleep on the trekking trail is supremely important for your condition. And although you may be sleeping in the middle of nowhere, there are still noises from roosters, howler monkeys, birds, lions, and not least other trekkers that will all conspire to keep you up. That’s where earplugs come to the rescue and help shut it all down to silence.

Batteries, memory cards: It’s usually better to assume that you won’t find electricity along your trekking route. If you do, consider it gravy. Be sure to ask your trekking guide or agency, or other route-experienced travelers (either in forums or once you are on the ground). Ask them all once, then again for good measure. Bring extra memory cards for your camera so you have ample space to snap away or record video.

This means you should try to bring extra batteries for your camera, headlamp, and anything else that’s battery-powered. If you’re carrying your smartphone with you consider bringing an extra battery pack and putting your phone on Airplane Mode to preserve battery life. If there’s electricity along your trek and you’d like to recharge, by all means bring rechargers. We do. But it’s just something else to pack — and something you must prioritize when the final bag stuff begins just prior to setting off.

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What did we miss? What are your go-to items for trekking?

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If you want all of the above in a nifty 1-page PDF checklist, then click below.

Packing Checklist Trek

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Comments

  1. says

    Thanks guys! The pdf will come in handy. Hope all is well. Next month me and my wife leave Korea for our indefinite adventure. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Elaine says

    The little individual packs of tissue take up little room and stay protected in their wrap till you need em. Also, we’ve bought Japanese tabi socks to wear with flipflops, they work great! Pink bismuth tablets (such as Pepto Bismol tabs) have been a life saver not only for us but for fellow travelers who’ve fallen ill. I also carry 4-6 prescrip pain pills just in case–I’ve broken toes twice on trips, you never know what might happen! We pack our stuff in gallon and quart size ziploc bags–great for many purposes but super handy for keeping clothes and electronics dry, and keeping wet things away from dry things (such as yuck socks and undies). We have a solar charger, but have mixed opinions about its efficacy. Can’t live without wet wipes, hand sanny and headlamps, and we also share a pair of adjustable trekking poles. Great article!!

  3. says

    @Ivan: Congrats on your upcoming adventure!! Hope the PDF is useful and just remember, you don’t have to have everything with you – you can always buy/rent things locally!

  4. says

    Amazing list! Thanks so much for preparing this, Dan & Audrey! I’m thinking of doing the Camino later this year, so this will be an amazing guide as to what to pack and what not to pack! THANK YOU!!!

  5. says

    @Pauline: You’re welcome!! Glad the timing is good for your upcoming Camino trek later this year. I’ve heard blisters and sore feet can be problematic for that route, so invest in good hiking socks and shoes. Safe travels!

  6. says

    This is a great resource that’s making me look forward to summer and hiking season! I definitely agree with bringing some nice fresh clothes to sleep in is such a treat after a long dusty day!

  7. says

    @Anna: Our Annapurna Circuit trek in Nepal was the first big multi-day trek we ever did and it’s still one of our favorites. This was when Dan and I discovered how convenient it was to rent gear locally (e.g., sleeping bags, walking sticks, etc.) in Pokhara. Good luck with your trek and glad this was useful!!

    @Laura: When writing this I was also itching for summer/fall hikes! The extra set of clothes for sleeping is a simple luxury – so nice to change into them at the end of a day. Thanks also for sharing this in your weekly roundup!

  8. says

    Love this list, having done many multi-day hikes myself this feels spot on. There is one thing I’d add though.

    I find Merino layers to be essential – yes they are expensive, but they are warm, lightweight, fast drying but best of all have the miraculous ability not to stink even after multiple wears. I have no idea how that works but it’s a godsend in terms of needing to carry fewer layers. Oh, and they are always oh so comfortable.

  9. says

    @Geoff: Great suggestion and addition! Thank you. We have heard that Merino is amazing, especially in how it doesn’t stink after wearing it (and sweating in it) for days and how light it is. We will need to pick up a few pieces for our next trek and test it out.

  10. Mary says

    Great list! I wholeheartedly second the moisturizer and the clean nighttime clothes as things that might seem unnecessary, but are totally worth their weight. I also like to take a couple small packs of wet wipes (facial, or baby wipes work fine too). On Kili at the end of dry season it was DUSTY and we barely had enough water to wash hands before meals. Cleaning my face and hands with the wet wipes at the end of the day was the best feeling ever. Large ziplock bags are also really useful.

  11. says

    You guys, as always, are brilliant. Peanut butter and dry sleep clothes are my two biggest tips for new trekkers. One keeps you happy and energetic, and the other keeps you happy and comfortable!

  12. Clare says

    I totally second taking Wet Wipes/Baby Wipes. After a strenuous day and the prospect of no shower, Wet Wipes are the next best thing Audrey, I am wondering – did you and Dan take malaria tablets whilst trekking Kilimanjaro? I know at altitude mozzies aren’t around, just wondering if you did your trek in conjunction with a safari and when you started taking malarials?

  13. says

    @Mary: Moisturizer and nighttime clothes really do make a difference, don’t they? Great advice on the handy wipes and ziploc bags. Will be adding these to the list as we usually carry them, but just forgot when drafting this. Thanks!

    @Stephen: Aw, thanks for your kind words!! And if you really want to be snazzy, bring a little chocolate to dunk into the peanut butter :)

    @Clare: Really good question about malaria tablets. We did our Kili climb before our safari. On the advice of our guide we stopped taking anti-malarials during our trek because of the elevation, but began again when we returned to Moshi and then started our safari.

    @Dave: Good things to have in a medicine bag. One thing to keep in mind with Ibuprofin is that it can be tough on the kidneys, so be sure to drink lots and lots of water in conjunction with it.

  14. says

    @Stephen: Glamping? Nah, don’t think so – didn’t include adding a wine bottle opener or wine glasses to the list above :)

    Everyone has their own level of comfort they want so this list will change for each person. And if having a clean set of clothes to sleep in at night means I’m spoiled, then that I am :)

  15. says

    Great list! I also take glove liners with me on every trek. They serve as an extra layer when it is really cold, protect your hands from the strong sun during the day (especially handy if you use walking sticks), and also keep your hands warm at night. You can get silky ones which don’t take up much room at all.

  16. Ticks says

    I wouldn’t go anywhere without my brew kit (tea/coffee, sugar/sweetener and milk powder) blame the army indoctrination. Also Swiss army knife or leathermans and 10m of paracord, use as a wash line, tether, cut for spate boot laces, tent ropes, etc, damn useful stuff.

  17. says

    @Ticks: Great advice here! Forgot to add the leatherman/Swiss Army knife in the list above, but that’s always with us as well. Also adding paracord – didn’t think of that before.

    We’ve usually relied on our hosts to provide coffee/tea on our treks, but that hasn’t always resulted in the best quality beverages :)

    @Nick: When climbing Kilimanjaro we met a guy who had attached solar panels to his backpack to help charge his phone. Do you have any suggestions for solar chargers that work well and aren’t too bulky?

  18. says

    Instead of a SteriPen, I would suggest a Sawyer Squeeze. Weighs 3 oz and takes up very little space in your pack, and does not rely on batteries.

    I’m heading to Nepal in October this year and will be sure to post my packing list on my website for reference. I come from a backpacking background so trekking is easy for me…it’s the long term travel packing I struggle with!

    Great post! Hope to see you in PDX for WDS this summer.

  19. says

    @RenegadePilgrim: Thanks for the advice regarding the Sawyer Squeeze. Just looked it up on REI and it looks like it would be a great addition to this list as it is super light and small, and doesn’t use batteries.

    Good luck with your upcoming trip to Nepal – one of our favorite places for treks!! As for long-term travel packing, ours doesn’t look that much different than our trekking list as many of the clothes are the same :)

  20. says

    As a travel blogger myself I think your list is great and one I will probably use when I plan a trip trekking in the US next summer.

  21. says

    You are right. Even I am paranoid about not carrying EVERYTHING before venturing out for a trek. :( Thanks for the post. From now on I’ll prioritize my equipments accordingly. At least..will try..:(

  22. says

    @Robert: It’s always hard to prioritize when you’re sitting in the comfort of home thinking that EVERYTHING is essential. Once you’re carrying that bag at 4,000 meters not everything seems so necessary. That’s why practice makes perfect :)

  23. says

    Thats true. I ve seen people peeling skin after doing mt kilimanjaro when they forgot to take their sun block with them. The sun up there is mad hot and a sun hat is also recommended. Great check list for trekking.

  24. says

    @Rob: Oh, that sounds miserable – having to deal with burned faces and skin in addition to the standard fatigue and altitude sickness from Kilimanjaro. When you’re in high altitudes, the more sun protection the better.

  25. says

    Getting electricity is the single most painful thing during travelling. There are so many obstacles you would never think about. The best way is to bring batteries, and find out what you need locally.

  26. Surya says

    One of the most indispensable and versatile tools for trekking is the Swiss army knife. Along with a good, sharp and strong 6 inch survival blade and a 30m length of lightweight rope like para-cord you’re set for a long and adventurous trip.

    This is a wonderful article. While it’s comprehensive for tea-house and organised camping treks, for an independent explorer, daily food is one of the most overlooked items. While trekking at high altitudes we need more calories than normal without compromising on protein or fat. So in addition to the above, here’s a sample menu for a solo hike in the Himalayas with the following high energy density options.

    Breakfast: Bread with butter/jam/nutella (or) muesuli/corn-flakes with packaged milk and dry fuits (or) leftover rice and dal with chillies. Coffee/tea/hot chocolate for picking you up.
    Lunch: Wai-Wai noodles soup (or) energy bars (or) boiled potatoes with garlic and cheese
    Dinner: Pasta with ready-made chunky sauce (or) rice with dal and vegetables (or) noodle soup with meat and vegetables.

    It’s also good to drink a lot of fluids and have lots of garlic incorporated into your meals. It does wonders to your acclimatisation.

    A long trek sometimes forces you to try strange combinations at the end some of which are weirdly delicious (like pasta and nutella)

    Of course, to prepare this, you’ll need a lightweight camping stove like MSR or Primus or the heavy brass camping stoves available for rent which can run on kerosene, and a liter of fuel for every week.. In total, adds an extra 4-5 kgs to your pack for a week long trip.

    • says

      Hi Surya,
      Thanks for your thoughtful and helpful comment. As we mentioned above, this trekking packing list was meant for treks where you are staying with host families or food is already provided. So we appreciate the details you provided here regarding the importance of nutrition and how to pack the right combination of food for an independent trek when meals is not provided. I remember when we trekked in Torres del Paine in Chile we were amazed at how much we ate each evening after a long day and we managed to eat every single thing we had packed.

      Also like your suggestion for including as much garlic as you can when at elevation to help adjust to high altitudes. This something we learned from our porters in Nepal when we trekked the Annapurna Circuit – they kept encouraging us to eat garlic soup rather than look to Diamox (pills) for altitude sickness.

  27. Alison says

    Oh my gosh. THANK YOU FOR THIS POST!!!!!!!! I have done some significant traveling on my own, but am just starting to get into trekking. This is EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for in a post that lays out the basics of what you need and why.

    Here is my question: you mention you’ve done some treks as part of longer trips – how large of a pack do you carry on these long trips and how does this affect the treks you choose? I’ll be traveling to Kenya in January for 2 months for grad school, and hoping to do some sort of trek after I finish my school requirements. I’ll be bringing my Osprey 65 liter (really 62 since it’s a smaller frame), but it sounds like you typically go with just a day pack for many of these treks. Have you encountered this situation before and is there anything you can do with your large pack during a hike like Kilimanjaro?

    On that note, I’ll be very close to Kili but I’m not sure I’m ready for that (experience-wise or financially), so are there any smaller treks you can recommend in that area that are group-led and affordable?

    I realize I have many questions so I’d appreciate any advice you can give, and THANK YOU in advance!!

    Alison

    • says

      Hi Alison,
      Glad you found this post so helpful! As long as we’re not carrying camping gear we go with smallish packs (day packs) on multi-day treks. This is because accommodation, sleeping gear and food is provided by the homestay (or similar) and all we need to worry about is having enough layers and camera gear.

      During a hike like Kilimanjaro, you are going to be required to have porters. This means you have a couple of options:
      1) Use your Osprey 65 liter bag, empty it out of what is not essential for the trek (and leave that in a locker at the hotel/trekking company), and then give it to the porter to carry for you. Then you’d have a daypack with things like water, camera, sunscreen, snacks, etc.

      2) Rent a duffel bag from the hotel/trekking company and empty whatever stuff you need into that and have the porter carry that. Then, lock your backpack with the remaining stuff at the hotel/trekking office. We did this on our trek because we had heard it was easier for the porters to carry, but it’s really up to you.

      You can see all of our advice on climbing Kilimanjaro, including our recommendation to rent gear if you don’t have it, here: http://uncorneredmarket.com/climb-kilimanjaro-equipment-preparation/

      As for other treks in the area, we don’t know of any firsthand. But I’m sure that you can find treks in the hills of northern Kenya. One idea is to check guest houses or hostels for signs of when groups are leaving on trips to see if you can join them.

      Good luck and enjoy your time in Kenya!

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