We’re starting a new series all about travel packing! Some of our most popular posts are those devoted to the often horrendous task of packing and so we thought we’d give you guys some more, starting with what to pack on the Annapurna Circuit.
Trekking in the Himalayas for over a month, with no guides, porters or transportation other than our own two feet meant some serious thinking packing wise.
For days before hand Alexis, Oli and I consulted each other, the internet and our Annapurna guidebook constantly, packing and repacking and ruthlessly chucking things out. It was actually pretty fun, thinking about what we’d need for the epic journey ahead, but a little stressful too. And we definitely made some stupid decisions along the way.
For now this is just a girl’s guide clothes-wise but I’m sure we’ll get round to a more thorough guys trekking kit guide and to be honest Oli and I wore pretty much the same stuff anyway!
So, ever endeavoruing to help out anyone reading this blog, here is a thorough breakdown of everything we took with us and what was and wasn’t necessary.
Because carrying a bag on your back for over 300km, you want to make damn sure what’s in it is worth it!
Day time trekking clothes: 3 tops, 1 pair of shorts, 1 pair of sports leggings.
Two of the tops were breathable sportswear t-shirts which I alternated, giving the cotton t-shirt away. I only wore the shorts for the first couple of days as it was too cold the rest of the way. I should have also brought a long-sleeved sports top for the day as I ended up wearing my fleece on cold mornings.
Separate evening outfit: 1 strappy top, 1 long sleeved top, 1 pair of thermal leggings and another pair of sports leggings.
Having a completely different outfit for the evening was so nice after a sweaty days trekking. The thermals I layered and I actually could have done with having a thermal top too rather than a cotton one. Don’t underestimate how cold it can get at night, despite the sunny warm days.
Warm weather gear: 1 fleece, 1 padded jacket, 1 pair of gloves, 1 hat and a rain coat.
I bought a warm, yak wool scarf in Muktinath and wore it every evening after that, so well worth bringing one or buying one along the way. It may not seem like much but we found getting in our sleeping bags at the dinner table when it was cold a great alternative to packing extra, heavy layers.
Underwear: 2 sports bras, 1 comfortable non-sports bra, 5 pants and 5 pairs of socks.
Two pairs of socks were thin trainer socks and totally unnecessary, but having three pairs of trekking socks was nice for alternating.
Other: 1 pair of hiking boots, 1 pair of flip flops, 1 visor, 1 thin scarf and sunglasses.
Flip flops or other sandals are so important to ease tired feet in the evenings. Pair with socks for a sexy, warm evening look. I know it’s important to take a hat but the visor mostly annoyed me but that is just my personal issue with hats… I only used the thin scarf once for covering up in the hot springs in Chame, otherwise I could have done without it.
We had stuff washed a couple of times along the way and did everything ourselves once on a rest day, the rest of the time we were happy to be a bit stinky. Everyone’s in the same boat and it’s so much better this way than having a sore back due to extra changes of clothes. I didn’t say packing for the Annapurna circuit was glamorous!
Cosmetics and medicines (for the two of us):
1 bar of normal soap and 1 shampoo bar (LUSH=LOVE).
1 bottle of suncream.
Toothbrushes and toothpaste.
Contact lenses and solution.
We had to buy extra lip balm and hand sanitizer along the way but they were cheap and easy to get. It was our first time using the shampoo bar and we absolutely loved it! As there were hardly any places that had hot showers along the way it is a good idea to keep cosmetics to a minimum.
Gardia pills (for the waterborne disease Gardia)
Ibruprofen and paracetamol (combined)
Bottle of iodine (liquid form)
Diamox (for altitude sickness)
Chlorine tablets and iodine tablets (for water treatment)
We didn’t need to use the Gardia or altitude medication but it was nice to know we had it all just in case. We know a few people who got really sick with the altitude so it’s not something to take lightly. Even Alexis had a funny turn, although it was more drunken baby giraffe than serious! Plasters and tiger balm were very important for blisters and sore muscles and we used the Chlorine tabs everyday for purifying water. While the water looked pretty lovely rushing along the streams from the mountains but we used them just in case. We didn’t need to use the iodine tablets as they taste horrible and we were able to stock up on the former halfway through the trek.
While the trek itself was quite literally the BEST-THING-EVER we took a few things to keep us occupied in the dark and chilly evenings.
Kindle paperwhite (I read Wild and it was the perfect read while trekking)
Shantaram (picked up in one lodge which was not a common occurrence, bring books if you like to read!)
Monopoly deal (best card game ever, available here)
Notebook and pencils (our little mealtime ritual was to write down the days facts and hiking figures)
Music devices and headphones (used surprisingly little)
Cameras and GoPro (used ridiculously often)
Guitalele- Oli’s much loved mini ukelele sized guitar which he lugged around for 5 weeks so he could serenade us on the mountains!
Charging in the lodges is often available although once you get deeper into the circuit there is often a charge. We have a multi-USB charger and it is a complete saviour when there are only a few plugs.
There you have it. I hope I haven’t missed anything too crucial, but if I did it probably wasn’t all that important and nothing really is on the trek apart from a good pair of shoes and a cosy sleeping bag! As it’s such a popular trek nowadays, packing for the Annapurna Circuit isn’t too difficult as you can get a lot of stuff along the way.
Does this list seem long to you? Or are we finally packing wizards? What more would you take on a long trek like this? And which side of the fence do you lie, do you love or hate packing?