5 Decisions You Have to Make Before Your Himalayas Trek

On February 4, 2014 by Oren and Cassie

You don’t have to be an expert trekker to conquer one of the many Himalayan treks available in Nepal. But, you do have to be smart about planning. We’ve compiled these five tips to help get you started… or maybe to quell your fears a bit.


This seems like a no brainer. But you have NO idea how many people we met along the trail who told us they didn’t have the gear necessary to keep them warm. If you’re going in winter, you need long underwear, multiple pairs of warm socks, a hat, gloves and at least a -5 degree Celcius sleeping bag. Even then, we guarantee you’ll be cold as you ascend. The good news is, if you forgot to pack any items, you can buy almost anything you’ll need in Pokhara at Lakeside, the launching point of most treks. (Additional note: Buy and pack toilet paper. The bathrooms won’t have any and most guest houses will charge $2.50 a roll.)


Do not pack 30 chickens.


Trekking can be a completely different experience depending on what time of year you go. We went in the off-season (January), when there are fewer people on the trails, but the weather can be extremely cold and snowy. October and November are the busiest months. We’ve heard stories about so many people on the trail, you couldn’t move. Do the research and decide what time of year you’d like to go. We definitely were cold at night and had to trek through more than a foot of snow. But, there’d also be times when we wouldn’t see another trekker for a few hours. It was a very peaceful experience.


Be ready for a meter of snow if you hike in winter.


Or have a lot of previous trekking experience. I know we all like to think we’re king of the mountain and can go the full 8 days by ourselves. There’s even a trail guide in all of the Nepal travel guides. But seriously, unless you are an extremely experienced in trekker, consider getting a guide. Having a guide not only makes things easier along the way in terms of organizing rooms and food, but they are the ones that can confidently make the important decisions like “there’s an avalanche warning for this section right now and it’s best to wait a few hours.”

I also do not know what we would’ve done without our porter. He carried our main pack for all 8 days without a problem, when at times, I struggled with my daypack. Of course, hiring a guide and porter is expensive. But, there are various ways to get discounts. We volunteered while we were in Nepal and the company we worked with gave us a HUGE discount on trekking.


Your guide and porter become your family on the trek.


You should definitely pack snacks for the trek. You can buy them cheaply in Pokhara before you go. You’ll find them in shops while you’re trekking, but as you go up the mountain, the prices go up. Before you know it, a candy bar will cost $3. Pack enough that you can keep your energy up throughout the day. Some days are long and that Snickers bar is the only thing that’ll keep you fueled.


That cup is 80% sugar, 20% tea.


There’s no set time-table for completing a trek. We chose to do the Annapurna Base Camp trek in 8 days. We could’ve completed it in six days. We know people who did it in five. Others have taken two weeks. We all have time restrictions. But, in my opinion, it’s not worth racing through the experience. Yes, you can push your body to the limit and hike for 8 hours a day. But, will you really enjoy it? Will you even look up and enjoy the scenery? On our way back down the mountain, we spent extra time at the hot springs near one of the villages. It was a wonderful way to relax after reaching base camp. We had the time to do that because of the schedule we chose. Additionally, it’s also a good idea to give yourself an extra day on the trek, just in case the weather doesn’t cooperate.


Make sure to celebrate at the top.

Reaching Annapurna Base Camp was one of the most physically challenging, but overall rewarding activities we’ve ever accomplished as a couple. We hope this list helps inspire the next trekker to lace up those hiking shoes and trek to 13,500 feet. Believe us, it’s totally worth it!

Check out our Himalayas trek gallery!


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