Nepal is one of the best adventure destinations in the world. And, Everest Base Camp Trek is the most popular trekking route in the country. Every year, thousands of trekkers from all around the world walk to the base camp of the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest. Following a few tips for the Everest Base Camp trek, you will collect long-lasting trek memories.
Everest Base Camp Trek is an epic adventure in the diverse and exotic mountainous region of Nepal. Trekking in the Khumbu region offers you a majestic view of many mountain ranges including the worlds four tallest peaks; Mt. Everest (8,848m), Mt. Makalu (8,443m), Mt. Lhotse (8,516m), and Cho Oyu (8,201m). Amazing, right? And that isn’t all.
This trek also offers spectacular walks past you lush valleys and traditional villages inhabited by the famous Sherpa locals. Everest Base Camp Trek is the ultimate journey that will give you experiences to cherish for a lifetime.
Planning for a trek to the Everest Base Camp can be both physically and mentally overwhelming.
Table of Contents
- When Should I Make the Trek?
- Important Tips for Everest Base Camp Trek
- Be physically prepared
- Be mentally prepared
- Rent or buy your gear in Kathmandu
- Hire a porter or porter-guide in Kathmandu or Lukla
- Avoid meat during the trek
- Cover up yourself
- Hydrate yourself
- Bring cash from your home country
- Bring your favorite treats
- Be prepared for the cold
- Take your time
- Bring treats for local children
- Packing Tips for Everest Base Camp Trek
- Additional Tips
When Should I Make the Trek?
The best time to go for Everest Base Camp trek is from March to May, and September to December.
May can get hot and humid since it is right before the onset of monsoon. So, you need to prepare yourself for possible rain during that time.
December is cold and time with below-zero temperatures. But, there will be less crowd and the view will still be amazing.
If you want to get the best of both climate and comfort, then you should plan your trip from Mid – October to November. The weather is clear and the view stunning.
However, if you are willing to enjoy the crisp views of the Everest in the backdrop of Sherpa settlements, then you can go for this trek any time of the year. All you need is enough preparation and proper packing.
Follow these few tips for Everest Base Camp Trek and have an enjoyable experience.
Important Tips for Everest Base Camp Trek
Be physically prepared
This trek does not demand a professional mountain climbing or technical skills. But, you do need to be physically fit to enjoy the journey. You need enough strength and endurance to withstand the pressure in high altitudes.
Trekking for 12-15 days continuously is not easy.
You can start training 3 to 4 months before your trek. You can do cycling, running, treadmill and stair climbing for about an hour to two, a few times a week. This will help you to train your legs for the trek.
Yoga is another great way to stretch and strengthen your muscles.
You can hike around small hills and forest. If you do not have access to mountains or hills, you can try adding extra weight to your backpack and do longer walks on the treadmill.
Be mentally prepared
Trekking is very different than your regular routine life. Yes, it is important to be physically fit, but more important is your mental readiness for the journey. Depending on your adaptability of new surroundings, you need to prepare yourself accordingly.
Your accommodation along the trek will be in simple tea houses run by local Sherpas. The facilities will also be very basic as you move higher up in the mountains.
You will have a bed on a twin sharing basis. You need to request for warm water that is manual and it costs you extra money. The toilets may not be Western-style, instead just a hole in the ground.
It is better to be aware of the challenges and the culture in the mountains beforehand than to regret later.
Rent or buy your gear in Kathmandu
You don’t need to come to Nepal with heavy luggage and gears for the trek. You can find almost all the equipment for sale or rent in Kathmandu such as trekking poles, hats, gloves, socks, down jackets, and sleeping bags.
Everything is cheap. Even though most of it is a knock-off of major brands, the quality is still good enough for the affordable price tag.
Yet, you can get top quality gears at authentic stores as well. Kathmandu has more trekking shops than you can count. The intense competition in the market is beneficial for you as you can get a great price on gears you might not be able to afford at home.
You can also rent the more expensive items, such as sleeping bags and jackets.
Are you going to bring anything from home? You can pack merino wool socks/underwear and broken-in hiking boots. These are difficult to find once you’re in Kathmandu.
If you are not planning any treks in near future, then you can rent the trekking items for a certain period of time. This way you can reduce the unnecessary expenses. You can rather use that money in buying other basic necessaries.
Hire a porter or porter-guide in Kathmandu or Lukla
While you can carry your own gear, but hauling a massive load up in the mountains for hours is difficult. In that case, you will need to hire a porter.
Or, for a bit more money, you can hire a porter-guide. A porter guide is someone will not only be carrying your bags and walking with you. He will also guide you through the trails, communicate with the by-passers and provide an insight into your journey.
You can hire your porter or guide in Kathmandu itself. If you have enough time to spare, it’s a good idea to meet with a few different porters before choosing one to go with you on your trek.
Or, you can hire someone when you arrive at Lukla on the plane. There are many experienced porters and guides you will meet at Lukla. Also, you will have the added bonus of being able to interview them without having to pay for their flight from Kathmandu.
You need to carefully sort out details including trail routes, accommodation choice, and food. You need to choose someone who is friendly, agreeable and trustworthy. Plus, for US$10-$20 a day, you’ will be giving someone a valuable job and in turn, you will learn plenty about the local nature and culture.
Although tipping is not mandatory in Nepal, you can give some amount to your guides and porters at the end of your trek. It is a form of appreciation for their continuous guidance and support during the trek.
Avoid meat during the trek
You need to be aware of the fact that porters carry meat up in the mountains. It is because no animals are killed in the Sagarmatha National Park. Since Sherpas carry the meat for days, it is not guaranteed to be fresh. Plus, you are not sure of the proper refrigeration as well. So, it is best to avoid meat products as you ascend higher than Namche Bazaar.
So, no matter how tempted you are to try out the meat varieties on display, do not get allured.
The safest and the healthiest option is to eat the local Nepali Thakali dish ‘Dal Bhat’. It is fresh, nutritious and a great source of energy during the trek.
Cover up yourself
The sun can be pretty harsh during the afternoons. Also, the higher you go, the more exposed you will be to the Ultraviolet rays. Long exposure to the sun causes dehydration which is critical for your trekking.
When you are walking during the day, there may be no cover from the sun. But you can always minimize the effects of these harsh rays during the trek. For this
- You should use a good sunscreen and reapply regularly throughout the day. Avoid the tan, for once.
- You should wear long-sleeved tops, long pants, and a light scarf to prevent your body from getting blisters.
- You should always dress in layers. Layering allows you to easily regulate your body temperature and stay comfortable while trekking. It is even better if your layers have zippers so as to have more control of your body temperature.
- You can also wear a lightweight sun hat. It will save you from the rays as well as headaches.
This is one of your main priorities during the trek. At higher altitude, your body will dehydrate much quicker. So, you need to make sure you are hydrating your body on a regular basis.
Make sure to drink plenty of water while on the trail and always have a spare bottle of water.
You can buy bottled water from tea houses along the trail. Another option is to bring chlorine or purification tablets. That way you can fill your bottle from the local streams and purify it yourself.
Bring cash from your home country
There are plenty of ATM’s in Kathmandu. So, getting cash before the trek should not be a problem.
But, once you start your trek, the only ATM is in Namche Bazaar. However, there are frequent problems with the ATM there.
On any given day, there could be some issue with your card or the machine that prevents you from being able to withdraw cash. On top of that, most machines have limits on how much cash you can withdraw. So, it is wise not to rely on ATMs in high altitudes.
Similarly, credit cards are hardly accepted as a form of payment in Nepal. Only a few stores in town may accept cards for large purchases.
You will have to pay for nearly everything on your trek with rupees, including daily food, accommodation, porter’s wages, and supplies.
So, you need to bring in plenty of cash from your home country. You can exchange it for rupees once you arrive in Kathmandu. You carry up to 2000 USD without having to declare it at customs.
Bring your favorite treats
For many people, it can be very difficult to eat at high altitudes. And, since you will be burning tons of calories hiking up and down, it is important to re-energize your body. Thus, it is smart to pack in any extra goodies such as protein bars and a bag of sweets or salty chips.
There is always plenty of food available in the mountains. But when the altitude is giving your stomach a hard time, these light snacks will be a lot helpful.
Also, you will need to pay extra if you want to buy snacks in the mountains. So, it is also good to be prepared with a few familiar treats before the trek. To manage your cost on such snacks, you can buy them at Kathmandu or Pokhara at cheaper prices.
Be prepared for the cold
During the Everest Base Camp trek, you get many options for accommodations. But, since Everest lies in the Himalayas, it is cold regardless of whether you trek during summer or winter. So, you need to prepare yourself by dressing in layers and making yourself warm.
Usually, tea houses stop running their wood stoves after dinner time. So, you may have to ask for extra blankets from the tea house owners. You can also fill in your water bottle with hot water for the night.
Whatever time you go for this trek, do not forget to carry along a 4 season sleeping bag.
Take your time
When taking on a challenge like Everest Base Camp Trek, you have to remember that it is not a race.
Acclimatize properly! Acclimatization to the low levels of oxygen in the mountains requires time and patience. Your body needs time to slowly get used to the lack of oxygen.
More acclimatization means a safer and more enjoyable trekking experience. And, a low-chance of the risks of altitude sickness. This is the absolute key to a successful trek.
Plus, you can take an extra rest day as per your need. Your guide and porter will not mind if you hire them for an extra day or two.
It is not written that you need to walk at a fast pace doing your trek. As long as you are walking without overexerting your body and mind, you should be fine.
Treks are flexible on Everest if you book in Kathmandu or when you arrive in Lukla.
Bring treats for local children
Throughout the trek, you will be walking along trails that will take you to several small towns and villages. You will encounter hospitable teahouse owners, kind locals, and young children.
If you have some extra space in your luggage, you can bring a few special items for the local children. The items may be crayons, colored pencils, books, markers, coloring books, chocolates or small toys.
The children will always be extremely grateful for any small gifts you bring.
Packing Tips for Everest Base Camp Trek
- You should always pack lightly. Don’t aim for more than 10-15 kg. Also, you need to be considerate of your Porter’s load as they will journey with you together.
- Pack a fleece jacket, down jacket, and thermal underwear to fight the cold. Also include two or three synthetic T-shirts, long pants, jumper, and light fleece.
- A good sleeping bag that can withstand -20°C/0°F. A thermal liner is also preferred.
- You also need lightly broken-in boots, trekking socks, and sneakers or sandals for evenings.
- Extra necessities such as sunglasses, raincoat, warm gloves, and a woolen hat.
- Basic toiletries including hand sanitizers and hand wipes for days when you can’t shower.
- A standard first aid kit that includes medication for diarrhea, antibiotics for chest and sinus infection, altitude sickness, decongestants and adhesive bandages for blisters.
- You can bring a book for evenings when you want to lay on the bed and relax. A good book will keep you occupied and save you from getting bored during the journey.
- Give yourself an extra day or two in your itinerary. You never know when your flight gets delayed due to weather issues.
- Even if you forget to pack something important, know that you can buy or rent everything in Kathmandu.
- Watch for signs of altitude sickness including symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, and breathlessness.
- For a seamless journey, make sure to book with a trusted travel agency for your trek. A trekking company offers the advantage of having everything arranged for you. They will look after airport transfers, accommodation, and porters and/or guides and their insurance.
- If the altitude is giving you a headache and keeps getting worse, inform your guide. In such a case, it is better to stop ascending. In a worse situation descend from where you are.
- Respect the local culture and keep the prayer flags to the right of your path at all times.
Everest Base Camp trek is a moderate walk in the Khumbu region of Nepal. The extreme weather condition and the high altitude is sure to bring many obstacles in your journey. So, if you go through these tips for Everest Base Camp trek, you will have much easy trekking in the foothills of the towering snow-covered peaks.