14 Simple Tips that Will Improve Your Everest Base Camp Trekking Experience

Most of us dream about trekking to Everest long before we arrive. I made my first trek to Everest Base Camp in 1998 and have repeated the journey many times since then. It’s an amazing experience and if you can only choose one trek in Nepal it’s my pick as the best option. Here a few simple tips and travel hacks that will improve your overall experience and save you time and money.

  1. Before you arrive – Make sure you get the best rate on your flight to Nepal (Here is how). If you can bring three passport sized photos of yourself. You can get them on arrival if needed but if the photo both is not open it can be a bit of a headache and will put you at the end of the visa processing que.   Send us your ticket information keep up to date of any changes or delays. Our representative will be waiting for you with a sign with your name printed on it.
  2. What to Pack – Here is a list of everything we suggest (Click here). However, the most important thing to bring is a good pair of trekking shoes that you have hiked in previously.  Kathmandu is a great place to buy trekking clothes that are both cheap and of decent quality. If you can bring your own sleeping bag otherwise you can rent one for about $1 a day.
  3. Buy Gear in Kathmandu –  Kathmandu has more trekking shops then you can count and intense competition means you can get great price on gear you might not be able to afford at home. I bought my wife a great down jacket for around $50 that would have cost over $300 in the US.  At first glance a lot of the gear looks similar but quality varies quite a bit and it’s not necessarily related to price ( Here’s what to look for ). If you like someone from Himalayanwonders will accompany you while you shop and help you barter for the best prices.
  4. Take Care of Your Feet –  Bad blisters can end a trek just as easily as altitude sickness. I recommend brining some duct tape or moleskin and treating as soon as you start to feel discomfort and not after it becomes an actual blister. Here’s a great article on how to do it from Backpacker.com – see the article.
  5. Getting a Good Nights Rest – You will probably be surprised at how comfortable the tea houses are on the trek but one bedroom walls are thin and noise carries quite easily. If you’re a light sleeper I recommend bring some foam ear plus for a good nights sleep.
  6. Prepare for Cold and Rain – If it’s sunny you might be surprised at how warm it can get during the day. Most trekkers wear t-shirts and shorts for the first few days while the elevation is still low. When the sunsets the temperatures drop quick. Wear a warm hat while sleeping and take a Nalgene bottle filled with hot water and keep it in your sleeping bag to stay warm.  Even if it looks like a sunny day make sure to carry a poncho in your day pack.
  7. Stay Hydrated –  Make sure to drink plenty of water while on the trail and always keep a full bottle as a spare. You can buy bottled water from many of the tea houses along the trail during the day. Another option is to bring chlorine or iodine tablets and fill your bottle from the local streams. Ask your guide to point you in the right direction on this as most villages have a clearly identified water drinking water source that usually comes out of a pipe or hose along the trail.
  8. Altitude Headaches – A headache can be one of the first signs of altitude problems.  Small headaches are common and should not stop you from trekking or worry you. However, it is worth mentioning to your guide and by all means if your headache gets progressively worse or you have other signs of altitude sickness it’s time to stop ascending or even head down.
  9. Avoid the Sun – Taking care of your skin and eyes is important. Sunburns happen much quicker at high elevation so make sure to apply sunscreen a few times a day and wear a hat. Sunglasses are a must have and if you wear prescription glasses its good to come to Nepal with a pair of prescription sunglasses or at least clip-ons.
  10. Dress in Layers – Layering allows you to easily regulate your body temperature and stay comfortable while trekking.  It’s even better if your layers have zippers so that you have even more control of your body temperature.  You can find some more advice on how to layer and what to bring – by clicking here.
  11. Hire a Porter – While you can carry your own gear it’s a much more enjoyable not to be hauling a heavy pack up the mountain. If your feeling bad about having someone carry your stuff consider that your porter probably travelled several days from his village just to get to Lukla so he could get some work and take care of his family. The money you spend on salaries is an important part of the local economy.
  12. Don’t Rely on the ATM – There are plenty of ATM’s in Kathmandu so getting cash before the trek should not be a problem (although it is Kathmandu).  Once you start the trek the only ATM is in Namche Bazaar and it seems to have problems frequently so don’t rely on it.
  13. Plan Extra Days at the End – If you have any extra days in Nepal plan them at the end of your trek and not the beginning. Inclement weather can delay the flights going out from Lukla and back to Kathmandu. If your held up in Lukla because of bad weather its best not to have an international flight going out the next day.
  14. Go with an Established Tour Company – You probably think I threw this in here just to give our own company a plug so it’s probably better to relate it with a story.  My aunt went on a trek to Everest a few years back and decided not to use our company because it cost $50 more than the independent guide she found. Everything went well until she got back to Lukla where bad weather was limiting the number of flights going out. Our good relationships with the locals meant we were able to get our clients on some of the flights. On the other hand, my aunt was stuck for 2 days and missed her international flight making that $50 look like a lot less of a bargain. She told me this after the fact otherwise I would have tried to help but it’s a good story since it highlights how important having good local relationships is and it’s just one way of many an established company can add value.
Mount Everest Trekking

Mount Everest Trekking