Nepal is an amazing country that offers a great mix of Himalayan views, ancient temples, charming village life, and jungle wildlife. However, the weather in Nepal makes it quite difficult to decide what to wear on your Nepal trip. The climate is extremely diverse, depending on the season and Nepal is a country where you can experience everything from snowstorms to immense heat. If you bring too many things, that might slow you down when trekking. But you also might forget some essentials that will turn your trip into a nightmare. Proper packing is the first step to making a trip memorable and that’s what this article will give you an idea of what all you need to add to your Nepal packing list.
How’s the weather in Nepal?
If you’re visiting in the spring (March-May), you’ll be fine with a simple t-shirt during the day but the nights can be a bit chilly. The summer is on from June to August and during this time, the weather is either hot and humid or rainy. If you’re planning to visit Nepal during the monsoon season, you should definitely add an umbrella and a raincoat to your Nepal packing list.
Autumn (September-November) is probably the best time to visit Nepal. The weather is pleasant, there’s no fog in the mountains and this is the peak season for trekking. Finally, the winter starts in December and ends in March. During this time of the year, the weather gets cooler but not cold, at least in the big cities. However, if you’re visiting places at a higher altitude, you’ll need proper winter clothes.
What to wear in Nepal?
Before visiting you should know that Nepal is a conservative country and you should have this in mind when planning what to wear. If you’re a girl, bare shoulders or knees can be seen as disrespectful and will make it difficult if you’re visiting ancient temples of UNESCO heritage sites. Nepalese women usually wear saris and kurtas or jeans with moderate tops in the urban cities.
If you’re hiking in higher altitude, bring more warm clothes. Don’t forget a light down jacket and a hood or a dawn vest. If you’re trekking in lower altitudes, wear light, quick-dry sweatpants and t-shirts but don’t forget warmer clothes for the evenings. Temperatures drop suddenly during the night.
For the cities
Additionally, consider wearing a face mask to protect you from Kathmandu’s ridiculous air pollution if you plan to rent a motorcycle or a bike.
With that being said let’s dig into…
The ultimate Nepal packing list
From the high mountaintops of the Himalayas to the busy streets of Kathmandu, here’s everything you might need to pack for your trip to Nepal.
1. Get comfortable hiking shoes but don’t forget about slippers
You’ll probably spend most of your time exploring Nepal’s breathtaking outdoors and good hiking shoes that are already worn are absolutely necessary. The two most common options are mid/high trekking boots that provide great ankle support and sky running trainers that will help you maintain your balance while climbing at higher altitude.
The first option will keep your ankle stable but you’ll make it more difficult on your body to keep balance. The second option is better for balance but you’ll still need special bandages to provide the needed support for your ankles. Finally, don’t forget to bring slippers. You’ll desperately need them once you’re done hiking for the day and your feet need rest. Also, you’ll want to wear them on the bus, especially if you’re visiting in the summer.
2. Water bottle with a built-in filter
Drinking water is an extremely scarce resource in Nepal, especially in the mountains. When you get above 3,000 meters, you can rarely even find bottled water. The only option here is to refill your own bottle from a teahouse/restaurant that has a purifier and that costs at least 200 Nepalese rupees ($2) per liter. If you have a water bottle with a built-in filter, you can refill your bottle anywhere, including mountain streams. Alternatively, you could also use a self-filtering straw that functions in a similar manner or water purification tablets.
3. Nepal Power Adapter
The most commonly used plugs in Nepal are the Type D (also used in India) but at some places, you can also find Type C plugs (European). My advice is to bring a type D adapter and a universal adapter to make sure that you can charge all of your devices.
4. Virtual Private Network (VPN)
If you’re a digital nomad or at least hope to get some work done while on your vacation, a VPN is something you must add to your Nepal packing list. The internet in the Nepalese Himalayas is practically non-existent on a height above 3,000 meters and the connection is pretty poor even in the cities. Not only can the VPN solve this problem but it can also add an extra layer of security to your internet usage that comes really handy while you’re traveling.
5. Sunscreen and sun hat
Many first-time visitors and inexperienced trekkers think that the mountains are a cold place that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight. However, the higher elevation actually increases the risk of UV overexposure and sunburns, even when it’s cold. Needless to say, your Nepal adventure will be much more pleasant if you’re not suffering from the sting of sunburns. Additionally, if you’re visiting in the summer, consider getting a sun hat too.
Did I mention I forgot mine? It was a struggle…
Like I mentioned in the beginning, Nepal has a rainy season in which heavy rain is something you’ll see almost every day. And nothing can ruin a trip like getting caught in the rain unprepared. If this happens and you’re trekking, keep in mind that you’ll stay wet until you find a shelter and sometimes that can be miles away. That’s why a lightweight and compact rain jacket is an essential item of your Nepal packing list.
7. Activated Charcoal
New types of food, new bacteria, a different climate, and the physical exhaustion are just some of the things that can upset your digestion while traveling around Nepal. And if we add the exotic street food in the mix, you could very easily end up with a traveler’s diarrhea. That’s why it’s always a good idea to take a few of these capsules with you to absorb the toxins in your digestive tract if necessary. In this way, you can get back to normal in no time and continue your trip as nothing happened.
8. Female Urination Device
I know it sounds weird but western toilets aren’t really a thing in Nepal. Additionally, they are practically non-existent in the mountains. Even though it might not be as essential as some other items on this list, this simple device can make urinating much simpler and less messy. You also don’t have to worry about hygiene as these products normally come with sanitizing wipes and a sanitary carry bag.
9. Hand sanitizer
A hand sanitizer is an absolute must when visiting Nepal. Most of the tea houses in the mountains don’t provide soap for guests and neither do the restaurants in the mountains. That’s why bringing a hand sanitizer for your Nepal trip is absolutely essential.
10. Insect repellent and leech socks
Getting an insect repellent and socks that will protect you from leeches is just common sense and Nepal isn’t any different, especially if you’re visiting during the rainy season. Around this time of the year, there are also a lot of leeches. Some of them even followed us to one of our hotel rooms. If you’re hiking during the rainy season, you would want to get these leech socks to protect yourself.
11. A day backpack
You’ll probably take a couple of one-day trips or go hiking if you’re visiting Nepal. In these situations, it’s important to have a good and comfortable backpack. For more details regarding this, you can check out my article about the best hiking backpacks.
12. Passport photocopy and passport-size images
You’ll need these not only for your visa on arrival but for all the trekking permits you need to acquire on the way. Additionally, making a photocopy or getting a passport size photograph is difficult in the remote areas. That’s why bringing these things is a no-brainer.
13. Walking Poles
not like this one though, get a real one 🙂
Using walking sticks decreases the strain on your knees and can help you with balancing as well. Versatile and durable lightweight poles that are simple to store are highly recommended for trekking in Nepal.
14. A scrubber wash bag
If you haven’t heard about it, the scrubber wash bag is a pocket-sized device with which you can wash your clothes anywhere. It’s a perfect choice if you’re trekking, camping or backpacking.
15. If you’re camping
If you’re trekking away from the teahouse trek route, there are a few additional things you might need to carry.
- A tent and a sleeping bag
- A pocket knife
- A lighter and campfire supplies
- A flashlight
- A supply of nonperishable food
- First-aid kit
- Dry shampoo and dry conditioner
- A compass or GPS device
Looking for a place to stay in Nepal? Check out my review of the Green Park Resort.
What to pack and What to Buy There
If you’re looking for trekking equipment, you will find many shops in Kathmandu and Pokhara that can equip you with all the necessary gear. The quality is decent, so don’t be afraid even if you go unprepared. Same goes for toiletries and personal hygiene items.
However, if you’re planning to buy clothing items or shoes, keep in mind that most of them will be made locally, the price will be lower but so will the quality.
Finally, don’t consider buying technology items from Nepal. All of the items from this category will be imported, and hence, much more expensive.