If you follow my social media accounts, you would know that I just spent 10 days in Nepal, the Switzerland of Asia.
I still couldn’t believe that I survived the challenging trip. It was my first backpacking experience; my maiden trekking expedition, and it was undertaken along the rugged Himalayan mountain range!
Although I have lived out of a suitcase travelling regularly as a content creator over the past 7 – 8 years, I have made it a point to avoid backpacking as I did not relish lugging the weight of my luggage on my shoulders and back.
However, this assignment to Nepal left me with no choice but to do it as the terrain was just not conducive for trolley bags.
Thus, packing was a chore for me, as though I was a rookie traveller. With merely two weeks to prepare for the trip, from procuring my air ticket, to applying for Nepal tourist visa, trekking permit in Manaslu Conservation Area and buying trekking essentials, it was a whirl of activity, as you can imagine.
Soon enough, I was on the Malindo Air flight to Kathmandu, and proceeded to Manaslu Conservation Area by helicopter the following day. It was also my first flight on a helicopter.
In short, it was a groundbreaking trip that took me away from my comfort zone.
Being that it was my first backpacking-cum-trekking trip, I had a lot of things to equip myself with, from trekking pole, to hydration pack (water bladder) to trekking boots (I went with Gelert high-cut boots) paired with outdoor socks (also Gelert).
Basically, of all the travel essentials that I owned prior to this trip, only 10% was suitable to be taken on such an expedition.
Thankfully, I did not have to trek the entire trip or camp outdoors as I also spent time in Kathmandu, visiting popular spots like a tourist.
Moreover, during my week-long trek, I put up at a hotel as base and trekked to different destinations in the morning, scaling average heights from 3500 metres up to 4200 metres, every day.
Anyway, this post is not so much regarding my expedition, but about what I packed into my friend’s 75L Karrimor Panther haversack. I believe that my post can be a reference point for those who are planning their first backpacking trip, or amateur trekkers.
Professionals would, of course, take along camping gear such as sleeping bag, tent, stove and medical kit. Boy, am I glad that I didn’t have to lug these as well, in addition to my long list of items!
So, here is the condensed list of what I packed:
2. quick-dry towel
3. hydration pack
5. arm sleeves
6. collapsible bowl + cup
8. foldable backpack
9. travel lock
10. trekking pole
11. UV protection headwear (Buff!)
12. face mask
13. camera + batteries + memory cards + charger
14. toiletries + sunblock + lip balm
15. tissue + wet tissue
16. fork + spoon
17. torch light + extra batteries
18. thermal wear + winter gloves
19. LC Snap by Unicity (as replacement meal)
20. travel WiFi (for city use – I went with Travel Recommends)
21. slippers + masking tape for instant shoe repair
22. aloe vera soothing gel for sunburn
Due to the short time frame to prepare for my trip, I purchased many items online, the bulk of them (#2 – #9) from PTT Outdoor.
I got my windbreaker (#1) from PTT Outdoor effortlessly some time ago and that gave me the trust and confidence to procure from them again this second batch of outdoor gear. Of course, the swift delivery and free shipping were the icing on the cake.
As this was my first trekking trip, I was taken aback to discover that outdoor gear can be pretty pricey, when I did a little comparison from shopping at Klang Valley outdoor equipment stores (Montanic Adventure Store in PJ and Decathlon in KL), when buying the trekking pole and UV protection headwear.
That was the reason I went back to PTT Outdoor, which aims to provide affordable outdoor gear to hikers, runners, trekkers and ordinary travellers like yours truly.
I got about ten items in total (including two pairs of sleeves) and the bill was less than RM300. May I mention again, shipping was free, yet fast?
If you are looking for outdoor gear such as what I got, or other items like hiking bags, sleeping bags, headlamps, camping tents, cookware, etc., you should check out PTT Outdoor for their affordable range of quality outdoor equipment.
This eCommerce site recently emerged as Grand Champion for Ambank Bizrace 2019!
Honestly speaking, packing for this expedition was like a shot in the dark. I didn’t know what to expect at all, but I received solid advice from my trekker friend, who helped me to put together my list of gear to pack. For that, I am grateful.
In retrospect, I was as suitably equipped as I could possibly be, despite the lack of ground information. If I were to relook at my packing list, the hydration pack should be replaced with a thermal flask, for hot water.
Trekking the Himalayan range using the water bladder, I was drinking icy water most of the time, and it didn’t do me good, as I already had difficulty breathing from the high altitude.
Also, my UV sun protection arm sleeves should have hand covers, to ensure that my entire arm and hand are protected from the sun. The summer sun is unforgiving so high up in the mountains. As such, I suffered burns on my hands and face.
A strong sunblock is highly recommended, to be used along with UV protection sunhat and headwear. Without Buff, the burn on my face would be more severe, I’m sure.
And of course, I would take along warmer clothes that are more appropriate for the cold mountain climate. One set of thermals for a week was definitely insufficient. Other than these, I have no regrets with my packing.
A famous quote in Urdu said that: If you go to the mountains and spend one month there, you are able to see nature very closely, how beautiful the world is. That one month completely changes your personality and feelings; life will not be the same again.
I did not spend one month, only one week, but it was enough to change my outlook in life. There are actually many things that are unimportant, as I lived life at a most basic level, including not showering for not one or two days, but the entire week.
At the same time, this expedition made me realise how I have taken for granted so many of the most basic things in modern living, such as clean running water, electricity, and phone service.
After my week-long experience, do you think I am ready to take on further backpacking/trekking challenges? I don’t think I am hooked on it yet, but if the opportunity arises, why not? I am sure that with this experience under my belt, I will be better prepared the next time!
I’ll see you at the “Top of the World” again, one day!