Arriving in Nepal after having traveled to South Africa, I didn’t have (like probably many others) anything to wear to undertake a serious trekking trip like this in the Himalaya Mountains. So, after I arrived, I didn’t have a plan as to where I would go hiking, nor did I have anything to wear, and thus I had to buy everything fast and booked a flight 12 hours before I left. Here I share what you need to get when you start organising your trekking trip just a day or so before departure, where to bargain and what to bring…
It was a big day for a big boy and with all my motivation intact, the day started. It was the kind of a day where I slept in and then went for breakfast with an Australian guy named Jimmy, who was in my dorm. Afterwards, he went to visit some temples while I wanted to write my blog. But instead of writing, I was uploading videos and photos, and I tried to organise my files, which took me all day long – and I still didn’t feel like I had done anything. So, it didn’t work very well to get up early and arrange my new trekking gear for the spontaneously trip to the Himalayas set for tomorrow – nice one.
At 5pm, finally, I started organising the big trip and went to town to compare different agencies and ask for the flight price from Kathmandu to Lukla. After this research, I still hadn’t booked anything. It was now 6pm and time for shopping.
Swedish girl insider tips where to go
While staying in the hostel, I met Lianne, a girl from Sweden, who had just returned from a trip to the Himalaya mountain and had organised it all by herself with another guy. I really liked what she told me about her trek so I took some advice and she gave me her map – unfortunately they had just finished their trip. Luckily, we made a shopping list together and she told me what I need; as she still had some stuff she didn’t need anymore, I got a fleece and a neckband for about 7 USD.
The day before, I was lucky enough to get some free walking sticks from a “Kiwi” girl – cheers.
Shopping and bargaining around Kathmandu
One story about my shopping day is that there are so many shops where you can buy whatever you can imagine. Mekka is an outdoor store where everything is pretty cheap because it’s not original. They say, here you can get good quality of “The North Fake” – haha.
First, I looked to buy a down jacket, which was not so easy because I was picky about color and design – lol. She went back home and I continued shopping alone. Finally, I got a down jacket for N4,000 rupees instead of N6,500 rupees – it was hard bargaining but successful I would say.
What I really have to tell you, though, is about how I purchased my trekking boots, which was one of the last items I secured and the most fun for me with regard to negotiation skills.
I did a lot of bargaining and actually became frustrated the vendors, but I was always pushing to the very minimum. Bear in mind, all the money I could save is the money I could use for further travels; and I still have many travel months ahead of me.
Until then I had gotten most of the shopping done, so I went back to the cheapest agency to book the return flight for 163 USD (N16,119 rupees) at around 8:30pm.
Shopping List + paid price (vs. asking price)
- Down jacket 40 USD (60 USD)
- Trekking boots 40 USD (65 USD)
- Sleeping bag
- Wind block trousers 20 USD (30 USD)
- Trekking trousers 9.50 USD (11 USD)
- Water bottle 2.50 USD (4 USD)
- 3-pair socks 5 USD (9 USD)
- Gloves 3 USD (5 USD)
- Funny winter hat 1 USD
- Fleece & neckband 7 USD
TOTAL COST: 128 USD (Saved 64 USD)
As you can see, I didn’t list a sleeping bag because I actually didn’t buy one in the end. They were all really expensive, even for small shitty ones and so I thought I might rent one in Lukla or just ask for a lot of blankets in the guesthouses – ha ha pretty funny, I know. Anyways, I had a savings of 64 USD – how awesome.
Bargain high, stay cool and have fun.
Later on, I bumped into the Kiwi and Aussie girls from my room and we went for dinner together. All I ordered was a big portion of plain rice with naan bread – didn’t wanna risk any food poisoning before my trek tomorrow and I needed energy.
They reminded me to buy more things and I did get more stuff such as clorin drops, multivitamins, toilet paper, baby wipes, energy bars, oats and 12 Snickers bars – it was all so important and I’m very glad I got it all. The more I purchased, the better I felt with regard to preparation. Now there was just the packing to do and I’m was all happy.
Why did I go hiking by myself and not with an organised agency ?
You probably are asking yourself: how come I didn’t go with somebody else or do a tour? Well, that’s a fair question to ask and with regard to trekking with somebody, I should have used some online forums or put a note on the note board in the hostel; but I was just not bothered about it because I thought I would definitely meet people while trekking as I always do. Also, I it would have been too much of a hassle, especially the trek in the mountains, and I wanted to be flexible. Plus, I had a rough idea what I wanted and I wanted to keep things open. I think I could have easily found someone, but this time I just didn’t want to push it or become stressed. Jimmy would have really wanted to come but he had already booked a pretty expensive tour with a travel agency from Australia – what a traveler’s fail lol. I’d met people over the past few days but I hadn’t met anyone going the same way, so I didn’t think about going with someone else. I also thought it would be really exciting going into an adventure that is a little bit scary– trekking by yourself – but I love the feeling of the unknown. I didn’t book a tour because, like I said, they are more expensive and I’ve been told a couple of times that there is nothing to worry about, the trekking paths are easy to find because you basically just have to follow the path. I assumed I could do that.
Organising my hiking backpack
I got back to the hostel, fully loaded with bags from shopping and it was time to get my stuff organized. While packing, Jimmy provided me with some quality tunes on the balcony and before I was finished, and after quite some time, Akhi and Ani returned from their bungee jump and wanted to go out for some drinks since it was our last night. I finished packing and all of us headed to town.
I had to get up at 5am to drop off my left luggage at the hostel, organise some money and head to the airport to fly to Lukla at 8:30am.
MUST BRING WHEN TREKKING IN THE MOUNTAINS
Before my first big trekking trip in the mountains, I was actually pretty clueless as to what I needed to bring. However, I was very happy that some other people gave me advice about what I needed, and through my experience now I would like to share a basic packing list in order to help fellow travelers to go hiking successfully. I hope it gives you a basic idea of what to bring when going trekking. The most important thing: make sure your travel insurance covers an emergency rescue with a helicopter; if not, include it for an additional cost. The heli service in the Himalaya mountains costs around 7,500 USD.
- Down Jacket*
- Trekking boots*
- Sleeping bag
- Wind block trousers
- Trekking trousers*
- Rain coat
- Long underwear
- Water bottle*
- 3 pairs socks
- Fleece & neckband*
- Flip flops*
- 3 different kinds of hats: sun, wind, and bandana*
> Other Necessities
- Hand sanitizer*
- Toilet paper*
- Baby wipes*
- Tablets for altitude sickness*
- Bowl + cutlery*
- Instand noodles
- Porridge oats
- Power bars
- Snickers bars
- Biscuits + cookies
- Peanut butter
- Loaf of bread
* very important
This list obviously depends on how wild you go and for how long you are going trekking. Crazy trekkers probably need some professional equipment such as climbing ropes for abseil, tent, ice spikes, additional emergency food, definitely sleeping bag, cooking equipment, etc.
Remember when trekking, it’s all about layers !
I TRAVEL FOREVER’s VIEW & RECOMMENDATION
Before the hiking trip, I obviously misprioritised a little bit, but I still managed to get everything ready on time and felt fully prepared for my first hiking trip to the mountains. I was really happy that I found everything I needed for the trekking trip in Kathmandu since I didn’t want to carry all the gear in the countries I visited before. With regards to bargaining, I recommend you doing it, too, but try to go early in the day as shops normally close between 10-11pm, and from a money- saving prospective, it is better to shop in the morning because if a shop has already reached their daily selling goal it gives the purchaser less bargaining power and therefore a higher price to pay.
I’m so, so excited about the hiking trip in the Himalaya Mountains! Let’s hope I didn’t forget anything.