Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Re-Pack Your Backpack: Things You DON'T Need

After all that packing, none of us carried anything more than water, a jacket, an extra t-shirt, gloves, a hat, and maybe some snacks in our own packs. 

Our guide and porters highly encouraged us to empty our packs into their North Face duffle bag for the porters to carry. It was for the ease, safety, comfort, and enjoyment of our trek to Everest Base Camp. Plus, we had enough trouble with breathing, so 30 lbs on our backs would have made it worse. 

Since hindsight is 20/20, looking back at what I packed into my backpack made me realize how much of it was unnecessary. Here are my notes: 

- 3 pairs of underwear (94% nylon / 6% lyrca)
- 3 pairs of merino wool socks
- cleaning /baby wipes
- hand sanitizer
- deodorant
I am putting these things all together because you need to clean your private areas and feet often and change your underwear more often than not. You don't want to get caught in the wild with jock itch or smell too foul for your companions. 

- 4 dry-fit / moisture wicking short-sleeved shirts
- 4 dry-fit / moisture wicking long-sleeved shirts
Since it's important to layer up, having both short and long sleeved shirts is helpful. If I could do it over again, I'd change every 3-4 days. Luckily for those on the trip with me, I only changed my shirts ONCE! Hahaha. So from my perspective, I was doubly overpacked. 

- 1 fleece 
- 1 North Face outer shell jacket
- 1 winter hat
- 2 pairs of North Face convertible (to shorts via zip-off legs) pants
- 1 pair of leggings/tights
Without a doubt this is all necessary because it gets really cold above the tree-line. 

- 1 REI Travel Sack (sleeping bag) rated to 55 degrees; 
- sleeping bag liner that adds 15 degrees of warmth
- 1 pair of fleece pants & 1 (or more) pair(s) of athletic socks
Great for sleeping in since it's nice and warm. 

- 1 light pair of sneakers - excellent for walking to the bathroom in the middle of the night and/or for just hanging in the common room after a long day's trek. 

- 1 pair of basketball shorts - never warm enough to wear shorts, except in Kathmandu
- 1 running/baseball cap (with visor)
- 1 pair of sunglasses (in hard case)
- 1 small towel
- 1 pack rain cover -  extremely helpful as the weather is really unpredictable. It rained the first 2 days of our trek, so we were glad to keep our things dry
- 1 extra pair of boot laces - seems like our original boot laces were very durable, though if you bring extra you can always find a use for it in emergency situations
- contact lenses (daily disposables)
- chapstick - with the wind blowing and your heavy breathing, keeping your lips moisturized and protected from the sun is important. 
- anti-chafe stick
- toothbrush
- travel toothpaste
- laundry soap -  never did laundry
- extra ziplock bags and small plastic bags (for random use) - very handy for separating dirty clothes, random items, or even for use as a cover for your camera in the rain

- Potable Aqua - chlorine dioxide tablets - if I had known about the chlorine solution that you can purchase in any Nepalese pharmacy for 20Rs, I would never have bought all of these. 3 small drops and 30 minutes of curing time will make 1 liter of water potable. 

- 1 first aid kit with various OTC medications, bandages, mylar blankets, and moleskin (important for blisters) - with the variety of ailments and discomforts some of us experienced along the way, this kit become increasingly important
- 1 compass/thermometer - not really necessary, but nice to know the temperature as you climb higher
- matches & fire starter kit - absolutely no use
- 1 headlamp / flashlight - useful on the mountain and in Kathmandu at night, where there are no street lights
- 1 Swiss Army knife - wish I never brought it since TSA confiscated it even though it was packed in my check-in
- electric / current converter
- 1 padlock - the teahouse locks seemed to be ample, and it's not like anyone wants to steal any of your stuff all have the same things. 
- sunblock - extremely important as you are basically walking towards the sun everyday; sunburn happens almost twice as fast in altitude than at sea-level
- insect repellent - I'm pretty sure there were no mosquitoes on the mountain, but maybe in Kathmandu

In terms of food, I feel like we were suitably fed along the way at each of the teahouses. I'd cut back on the snacks and bring the protein and electrolyte supplements. We ended up giving some of the snacks away to the guides and porters. 
- 9 small packs of freeze dried fruit
- 7 snack sized Welchs fruit snacks
- 14 CLIF bars
- 10 sticks of beef jerky
- 5 snack sized almonds/peanuts/cashews
- powdered Gatorade

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