Packing list: What do you pack for a multi-day trek in the Himalayas?

Last Updated on by Charlotte van de Sande

We have thought about it for weeks ourselves: what to pack when hiking the Annapurna Circuit? While chatting with other travelers we discovered that they had the same dilemma for the Annapurna Basecamp hike, the Poonhil trek and the Mount Everest Basecamp hike. In this blog, I will, therefore, give an answer to the question “what do you pack for a multi-day trek in the Himalayas?” And I give you a handy packing list!


What is in your backpack during the Annapurna Circuit?

We walked part of the Annapurna Circuit. This is officially a three-week trek, but we will shorten it to 12 days. The first and last part can be done well with the car or plane and are less beautiful than the rest. In addition, we wanted to keep the option open to do the Annapurna Basecamp or Poonhill trek after the Annapurna Circuit (spoiler: we didn’t do this in the end).

So we also had to pack our bags for these places. Fortunately, the weather and hike conditions there are the same, so apart from some extra money, we didn’t have to take anything extra with us.

Our packing list for the Annapurna Circuit:

Below you can read exactly what we recommend to take with you in your backpack for the Annapurna Circuit. Click here to immediately get a handy printable packing list.

What clothes do you bring for the Annapurna Circuit?

Try to wear as many layers as possible and take stuff which dries easily. Furthermore, thermal clothing for at night is very nice and you use slippers for example when showering. I sometimes enjoyed wearing a sports leg under my hiking pants high in the mountains. This is optional because you can also do this with thermo pants.

Because you walk considerable distances every day, it is important to wear good socks. Preferably from merino wool that breathes well and keeps you warm at the same time. We wore these NOMAD® socks in merino wool and are a big fan! They are delicious and dry quickly.

Tip: on the way, you will find laundry service in larger villages. So you certainly do not need a clean T-shirt for every day.

What is in your toilet bag during the Annapurna Circuit?

Make-up is really not necessary in the mountains. What is important is sunscreen and lip balm with SPF. Our lips wore constantly open and painful due to the sun and cold. We used tiger balm for our stiff muscles. Showering is not pleasant every day (think of a cold shower or arriving late), wet wipes offer a solution.Packinglist Annapurna Circuit

Which electronics do you take with you during the Annapurna Circuit?

Amazingly, you can charge electronics in almost every hotel. Yet a power bank can come in handy. An e-reader is indispensable because you spend a lot of time in tea houses where there is not much to do.

Tip: we had downloaded series on Netflix in advance so that we could watch something in bed in the evening.Packinglist Annapurna Circuit

What kind of food and drink is there in your backpack during the Annapurna Circuit?

Because we did not want to use plastic bottles, and in our brand new TOPAZ NOMAD® backpacks a special compartment for a water bag, we bought a water bag of two liters. This is more than enough, just fill it up often along the way. We used water purification tablets to clean the water. You can buy this here or simply in Kathmandu.

Energy bars cannot be purchased en route so we wanted to have enough of them. You can buy chocolate bars everywhere along the route, but the higher you get, the more expensive they are.

Sleeping during the Annapurna Circuit: how do you stay warm?

One of the most important things while hiking is your sleep! Every day you walk distances between 10 and 25 kilometres with considerable height differences. You really need your rest. Unfortunately, the tea houses where you sleep are generally poor or not at all isolated. In addition, the bedding is not always clean and the blankets are far too thin. With temperatures that go to -15 at night, it is therefore very important to ensure that you have a good sleeping bag with you!

To ensure that we stayed nice and warm at night and slept well, we had the lightweight down sleeping bags from NOMAD® with us. I use the NOMAD® Pegasus 450 mummy sleeping bag. This wonderful sleeping bag kept me comfortably warm up to 1 degrees Celsius (men even up to -4) and I never felt cold for a moment. My sleeping bag only weighs 810 grams and comes in a special small package.

Ries sleeps in the NOMAD® Orion 400 mummy sleeping bag. This is also filled with down and gives extra insulation on the chest. This sleeping bag keeps men comfortably warm up to -2 degrees Celsius and women up to 3 degrees above zero. The NOMAD® Orion 400 mummy sleeping bag weighs only 710 grams and comes in a special small package.

Extra NOMAD® tip: make sure you are warm before you go to bed. Sleeping bags hold your warmth, so make sure you warm up with some exercises before you crawl into your sleeping bag. This way you will stay warm all night long!Packinglist Annapurna Circuit


Which backpacks did we wear during the Annapurna Circuit?

Because you walk big parts every day, it is important to have a light bag that gives you enough support. We use the NOMAD® TOPAZ backpacks*, these have an integrated back-system that we can adjust to fit the bag perfectly. This back-system also ensures that the heat between your back and the bag is properly removed. In addition, it is handy that there are special hike features on the bags such as buckles for your walking poles and space for you (water bag). The integrated rain cover ensures that your bag does not get wet in the rain.

I have the 38-litre NOMAD® TOPAZ in the slim-fit model. This is narrower at the shoulders and fits better on the hips for women. Even if it is only 38 litres, all my luggage fits in here! Click here for more information about the 38-litre NOMAD® TOPAZslim-fit bag.

Ries uses the 50-litre NOMAD® TOPAZ. He has a little more space in this one but also carries more stuff. We normally use both bags as a daypack. Click here for more information about the 50-litre NOMAD® TOPAZ bag.


Walking the Annapurna Circuit without a porter

We walked the Annapurna Circuit without a porter, which means that every gram in our bag counted. Our bags were still relatively heavy and I could have omitted a few things so that my bag was lighter. My bag (including two litres of water) weighed 12 kilos, that of Ries including water 14 kilos.

Tip: A general rule of thumb: your backpack shouldn’t weigh more than 1/5th of your body weight. For example, Ries weighs 83 kilograms and therefore his back should weight more than 16.6 kilograms. However, the lighter your backpack, the easier your walk will be. Less is more.

Do you hike with a porter? Even then you have to take into account what you pack. The rule is that you don’t let a porter carry more than 15 kilos. In addition, you are the employer when you hire a porter. You are therefore also responsible for his working conditions. So make sure your porter has good shoes and warm clothing. A few times we saw a porter walking on slippers in way too cold clothing. As a tourist responsible for this porter, you really can’t do that!

Tip: are you in doubt about hiring a porter? Know then that on the way in many villages porter services are offered. Even for just a few days.

Annapurna backpack

How much money did we take with us?

We had a daily budget of €40 per day (excluding permits), which we easily managed. This amount is for two people and includes food, drinks and tea houses. At most tea houses you even sleep for free if you also have dinner and breakfast here. We travelled without a guide and without a porter. There are no ATMs on the way and you can pay (almost) nowhere with a credit card.

Note: the higher you go, the more expensive everything becomes. Example: a Mars bar costs initially 1 euro, but at the top, you pay three euros for it.Nepal Rupi Money

What kind of camera equipment did we pack?

Because we wanted to pack as lightly as possible, we didn’t have all our camera lenses with us. Ries did not take his beloved FujiFilm Lens 100-400 mm with him. With the 10-24 lens and the 23mm lens, he was, fortunately, able to take more than enough beautiful photos. Highly recommended is to bring a polarizing filter. You put a polarizing filter in front of your camera lens to darken the air in your photo, to limit reflections and to remove the glare from surfaces. Perfect for photography in the  (white) mountains!

He used the tripod much less than he initially intended. Only for star photography. If you don’t use your tripod that often, consider leaving it at home. It would have saved Ries 800 gram in his backpack.

Thorong Pedi Base camp (dag 9)


What did I bring but should I have left it at home?

My bag was actually slightly fuller than the one above. I had too much underwear with me. I also had an extra T-shirt, short shorts, extra jacket and two short socks that I didn’t wear. I should have left all this at home, might have saved a kilo.

In addition, the tripod that Ries had in his bag did not necessarily have to go with it, we used it too little.

Are you unsure whether you have too much with you? Be aware that you can buy a lot of gear during the hike. Until Manang, we still found stores that actually sold everything we needed. From walking sticks to knee braces, tiger balm and extra socks. Even shoes, laces and shoe soles are sold!


* NOMAD® is one of our beloved partners, however, everything above is truthful and we are a huge fan of the brand!


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