List of things to carry on a trek

When you go on a high-altitude trek, it is very important that you are appropriately equipped. Though, many of the base villages (On Himalayan treks) do offer most of the important trekking gears on rent, it is always better to have your own gadgets if you are a frequent hiker. The list below is for a High-altitude trek of anything beyond 4 days. For shorter treks, you can skip many of these, depending on the duration and need.  C’est parti!


The Musts:


Trekking shoe – You obviously aren’t going on a trek without a good trekking shoe, are you? There are plenty of brands but I have often used Quechua Forclaz from Decathlon. It is advisable to buy shoes with medium or high ankle. The sole of the shoe must have at least 4mm gripping studs and needs to be waterproof. (Quechua MH and NH series equivalent for women)


Backpack – For a 2–3-day trek, you can choose to go for a 40-litre backpack. But for a trek of more than 4 days you will need a backpack of at least 50 litres. Theo important features to look for in a backpack is its back support, space and weight. Make sure that your bag itself isn’t very heavy. Though you can manage most treks with 50L pack, in case you are going on a very long trek, you choose a 60-70L backpack. I currently use a 50L backpack from Quechua. Wildcraft and Tripole offer good products too. 



Dry sacks – The weather conditions in the mountains are unpredictable. It can rain or snow anytime. Wet clothes in your bag, is the last thing you want on a trek. Therefore, it is always advisable to own one or two of such waterproof sacks for your clothes. Sea to Summit dry sacks from REI are what I use and I find them incredibly useful.  


Winter Jacket – While trekking your body stays warm. But, it is when you reach the campsite that you start feeling the cold. Especially at night, the temperature drops drastically. A winter jacket that can withstand at least 0/-5°C is required for all non-winter treks. The same can be used also during winter with multiple layers of clothing. Forclaz Men’s trekking padded jacket - MT100 -5°C is what I use and find very comfortable. 

Socks – Several pairs of socks are required depending on how many days you are trekking. Many get soiled or wet during the trek and you will need to replace them frequently. Also, at night, as the temperature drops, you will need double or triple layer of socks. At least one pair of winter socks is good to have, irrespective of the season you are hiking in. Rest can be normal woollen socks for summer.  


Light jacket /Fleece -  During treks, you will generally need only one layer of cloth. But it is safe to carry a light jacket or fleece in case the temperature drops or during long breaks between treks. 


Day pack – You will need access to your lunch box, water bottle, sun screen or other things during the trek. Therefore, it is required that you carry a day pack for quick access. Additionally, during summit treks, you would generally require to carry things in a daypack and leave the backpack behind. Your daypack can be a 28L backpack or a simple sac depending on things you need during the trek. 


Poncho – As I have already said, weather conditions are unpredictable in the mountains. The more you can do to avoid getting wet, the better it is. A poncho is a must for all treks as it acts as your final layer of protection to rain or snow. You can checkout the Wildcraft Ponchos. 


Water bottle – Needless to say that a water bottle is a must. Please keep sipping some water, time to time, even if you do not feel very thirsty. Because, you could easily feel dehydrated due to the cold weather and have severe headaches. A 1.5 L bottle is more than sufficient for a day. You can choose to buy 2L if you think you consume more water. 


Trekking pole – A trekking pole is not always necessary but it is definitely good to have. What it does is that it takes some of your load by providing you a support. I found it particularly useful when I was climbing and descending the snow-capped mountains. They are also very useful in slippery conditions. Having one is good but two is better. Their telescopic design allows you to fold them and tie it to your bag, while not in use.  I have two Quechua Forclaz 500 and they are perfect. 


Sunscreen – Do not go on a trek without a sunscreen. Many people have a misconception that this is only for fairness reasons. No! direct UV rays can cause skin diseases including cancer. The sunburn can be severe. Always protect yourself with a layer of sunscreen. Though not a must, you can also carry a hat if needed. 


Lip balm – Dry lips can be irritating. Carry a lip balm to help you with the cold weather in the mountains. 


Toilet paper roll – Toilets are generally tents covering a pit dug in the ground. In many places there is no water supply. Therefore, toilet papers are a must. 


Toilet kit – Carry your toilet kit which will at least consist of a tooth brush, tooth paste, soap and deodorant. You can go for liquid soap bottles as it is easy to handle. Make sure to pack a deodorant as you won’t be taking a shower for several days. 


Towel – Carry one light towel. Also carry a smaller towel to be used during the trek. 


Flash light /Head torch – Flash lights are a must as the toilets for example are situated at a distance from the sleeping tents. You will also need a flashlight or a head torch if you are doing an early morning trek to watch the sunrise. 


Sandals – Shoes are great while trekking but once you reach the campsite, you may want to set it aside and feel comfortable with a sandal. So, carry one if you think it’s important. 


Tiffin box  - Most often, the groups have a packed lunch. Therefore, it is good to have a lunch box of your own to pack your food for the day. 


Food – Though all trek organisers serve food, it is always important to carry some food items of your own. Because you may never know how late the food might arrive. So to be safe, carry some light food like protein bars, dates, chocolates and chikkis. Do not carry a lot of food as it will add to unnecessary weight.


Power bank – Who doesn’t want good pictures and videos from a trek in today’s world of posts and reels? A good power bank of at least 20000mAh would therefore be more than a luxury. If you are trekking for more than 8 or 10 days, then you might need two of them. 


Medical kit – Though the groups carry their medical kit, it is recommended that you carry your personal medications. Here is a list of medicines I carry – 1) Paracetamol (For fever) 2) Eldoper (For Diarrhoea) 3) Chakranjan (For headache) 4) Few cumin seeds (For digestion) 5) Dart (For headache) 6) Band aids (For wounds) 7) Nise D spray (For sprains). 


Gloves – Woollen gloves are a must during night time as the temperature drops.  


Head cap – A woollen headcap is required to keep your head and ears covered during the evenings and at night as you step out. You can also carry a muffler if required. 

Chargers - Finally, make sure to carry all the required chargers for your electronic devices. 


Winter Trek Requirements: 

Apart from the musts, you will need some additional gears if you are trekking during the winter. 


Winter jacket – If you are going to high altitudes where temperature drops below -10°C, then you need a good winter jacket to meet that specification. For lower temperatures, multiple layers of clothing would suffice.  


Woollen Thermals / Sweaters – Thermals are a must in winter. Specially during night time. Do not wear them while trekking as it gets really hot. For those adding multiple layers of clothing, make sure to carry a sweater. 


Winter Gloves (Water proof) and Head Cap (Woollen) – These two are a must for winter treks. Avoid chill breeze entering your ears or hands turning numb. This could cause serious sickness related to altitude. 


Winter socks (Woollen)– Thick winter socks are needed for the cold weathers. The foot needs enough protection during night while sleeping.  


Gaiters and spikes are a must but they are often provided by the organisers. You do not have to buy them unless you want a pair for yourself. 

For Solo Trekkers: 

Solo travellers need all the above and other important equipments to camp. 

Sleeping bag – Sleeping bags need to meet the temperature that you are experiencing and at the same time it has to be light enough to be carried conveniently. 


Tent – Depending on how many people are trekking, you can choose a tent for 2 or 3 persons. I own a MH100 camping tent by Quechua that fits 3 people. It is very easy to install. 


Gaiters – Gaiters are a must if you are trekking in thick snow. This prevents snow from entering the shoes. 


Spikes – A good pair of spikes that go under your shoes are a necessity for winter treks. Without them, it would be terribly difficult to climb or descend as the snow begins to melt. 


Food/ Cooking utensils – If you are traveling without a cook or a guide, then you will need to arrange for your food. You can choose to pack some uncooked food but if you plan to cook then you obviously need the stove and other utensils. I have seen solo trekkers prepare simple easy food like Oats and Kichdi. 


Here is a checklist of above mentioned items: 

The Musts:

  • Trekking shoe 
  • Backpack
  • Dry sacks 
  • Winter Jacket (0 to -5 degree Celsius)
  • Socks 
  • Light jacket /Fleece
  • Day pack 
  • Poncho 
  • Water bottle 
  • Trekking pole 
  • Sunscreen 
  • Lip balm 
  • Toilet paper Roll 
  • Toilet kit 
  • Towel 
  • Flash light /Head torch 
  • Sandals 
  • Tiffin box  
  • Food 
  • Power bank 
  • Medical kit 
  • Gloves 
  • Head cap 
  • Chargers

Winter Trek Requirements: 

  • Winter jacket (-10-15 degree Celsius)
  • Woollen Thermals / Sweaters
  • Winter gloves and head cap (Woollen)
  • Winter socks (Woollen) 


For Solo Trekkers: 

  • Sleeping bag 
  • Tent 
  • Gaiters 
  • Spikes 
  • Food/ Stove and utensils