When turning the big 3-0, a person usually wants some sort of a celebration. Hopefully a celebration that involves champagne, friends, possibly a penthouse hotel and maybe even a yacht. The average person does not want to spend multiple days at high altitude, with no wifi, sleep, or alcohol, and to have to hike multiple miles/kilometers a day. My husband’s best friend, Grant, had both for his 30th. He had the party on the yacht with fountains of champagne and a stay in the penthouse suite in his home city of Shanghai. This was all two days before my husband, Paul, and I arrived to join him on a trek to Everest Base Camp. Grant’s Shanghai friends got to enjoy the yacht, the booze, and the pool located in his suite, while Paul and I join him in Tibet for a party that included sleeping on the ground, “wet-wipe” baths, and the inability to drink clean water, let alone alcohol.
Grant broached the subject of doing a backpacking trip months prior and begged Paul and I to join him. I thought he was insane. Personally I did not understand why anyone would want to hike for miles at high altitude for their birthday celebration. Paul and I said we would think about it, while silently agreed that we would:
A. Not be able to afford the trip and
B. Have no interest in actually doing it.
Grant then sent us the trip information and we realized through comparison that the trip to base camp booked through China was four times cheaper than if we booked it from the U.S. We did not not know how much longer our friend would be living overseas and if we would ever have the opportunity ever again in our lives to see Mt. Everest or be physically able to hike that much. After about five minutes of discussion we did a completely 180* decision and agreed to join him on his adventure to Everest.
In a later post I will describe the exhausting (but incredible) journey, however I really want to talk about what I packed for the trek. In keeping with my journey into minimalism, I wanted to practice packing the basics for hiking to maximize space, but also make sure I have everything I needed to, you know, not die.
Here is my minimalist packing list for hiking to Everest Base Camp:
- Hiking boots
- Down jacket
- Moisture wicking underwear X5 (Ladies, I cannot stress this enough: GET THESE! Your lady bits will thank you)
- Dry fit shirts (short sleeve) x4
- Dry fit shirts (long sleeve) x2
- Fleece pullover
- Rain coat
- Waterproof pants
- Hiking pants
- Long johns/base layer
- Trucker/ball hat
- Wool socks X4
- Walking poles
- First aid kit
- Backup batteries
- Hand sanitizer
- Travel shampoo, conditioner, soap
- Toilet paper
- Quick dry towel
- Day pack
- Sleeping bag
- Camel back
- Energy bars
- Anti nausea meds
- Baby Wipes
- Sports bras x2
- Playing cards
- Army Knife
- Electrolyte Powder
- Hand warmers
- Travel pillow
- Garbage bags (for dirty clothes)
- Nasal spray
Some of the items are for entertainment purposes during the days we have to stay and acclimate (ie books, playing cards). One of the things I did not bring, but wish I had so I added it to the list was: nasal spray. At the high altitude with the wind whipping your face while hiking your nose dries out and it gets incredibly painful. Same goes for eyedrops as your eyes tend to dry out as well. Our travel group provided the tents, so I did not add it to the list. If you are going backpacking without a guide then add a tent to your list, however you can only go alone on the Nepal side of Everest, as in Tibet you cannot travel without a local guide.
This is what I packed for a week long trek to base camp and did not feel I needed anything more than what I brought. The reason for the limited amount of underwear is I cleaned them when needed with soap and water and then air dried them, hence why you should do moisture wicking. I would recommend everything be moisture wicking as it dries quickly and it gets freezing at night (literally) and you will not want to deal with damp clothes. Traveling through the Himalayas taught me that I do not need much as I believe I do to survive, which reaffirms the whole purpose of my journey into minimalism. Less is more….except for underwear.