We all know the joy of traveling! You holidays will get spoiled if you can not select proper things to carry in Himalayas. It took you months to plan your trip, now it is time to take off. There is a grin in your face and pure ecstasy overwhelms you as you turn the computer off and bid goodbye to your envious colleagues. Your holidays have started, your flight tickets are booked and your bags are packed, but have you packed well? We bet you would want everything to be as handy as possible.
You might have traveled a lot and very well know what you should carry, however if this is your first time to the Himalayan region- China, Bhutan, Tibet or Nepal; certain items that you choose to carry can help a lot. Think of it as a region, very different from where you currently live, some of these things might not be easily available especially if you are hiking or trekking in remote regions.
Below is suggested list of 10 essential things that you should carry while exploring the Himalayas, this list is derived from experiences and requirements of other travelers, who have been to these regions.
The “must carry” list:
Of course! Most travelers these days carry ATM/Debit/Credit cards or prefer other methods of cashless payments, but please keep in mind that when you are trekking in the remote Himalayan trails, your cards are basically useless. Even today, most restaurants, hotels, travel agencies and teahouses in the Himalayan region prefer cash payments. Imagine yourself trying to pay for a yak ride with your debit card at 12000 feet in the mountains! So be sensible and carry some paper cash with you, just in case.
You might be wondering, why a common thing like a mobile phone charger tops the list in the “must carry” list. Well, how about running out of your smartphone battery, only to find out that the docking pins in your charger does not match the holes in the electrical circuit board in the hotel – utter frustration! Asian countries like China, Bhutan, Nepal use 220-240V electrical outlets to power everyday appliances. So to avoid injury or destroying your appliances, it is good to buy converter pins or adapters that regulates the voltage and makes it safe to use. You are also advised to carry two and three pin adapters with you.
Consider this as something very important, untreated drinking water can make you very sick, which would obviously ruin your entire trip. It would be wise to carry drinking water purification tablets (Aquatabs), these effervescent tablets kill micro- organisms in water to prevent cholera, typhoid, dysentery and other water borne diseases. These days even small portable water filters are common among travelers, invest in one! Remember there is no alternative to being safe.
Bottled water is now more common even in remote trekking trails, they can be bought for cheap at any small stores or shops high up in the mountains. However, disposable plastic bottles are the worst damage to the environment; many hiking trails in the Himalayan region are already hurting from this trouble. You can make a change, buy reusable water bottles before you go out on the trails not only will it save the environment, but you can later reuse the bottle back home too. CamelBak or similar hydration packs fitted to your backpack are also good alternates.
When you trek up into the mountains, it is wise to carry strong sun protection. As you advance higher the sun becomes stronger, so good sunscreen cream is highly recommended. Not only your face, your hands, and neck need equal protection, slather enough sunscreen on your exposed neck and back areas. Long sleeved sports shirts offer good protection for your arms. A wide brimmed trekking hat is also a good option if you are allergic to sunscreen creams.
Consider the fact that you will be spending your nights in teahouses or small lodges in the mountains, while you are on a trek. These guest houses are located in areas where frequent power-outages are a common problem, so handy headlight can be extremely useful. Headlamps are easier to carry, more compact than handheld torches and will keep your hands free for other things. Good compact headlamps offer more battery life, brighter bursts of light and are waterproof.
Did you know that you could be bombarded with a heavy amount of UV rays up in the mountains? The ultraviolet light radiation can lead to short-term loss of vision and long-term exposure to these harmful rays can be harmful to your eyes. There is also a lot of dust that might blow up with wind storms which may make you suffer from dust and various other allergies. So keep a good quality sunglass with UV protection at reach.
The stunning mountain vista sure deserves to be clicked and framed for a memory of a lifetime. Any heavy duty DSLR camera can do a perfect job of taking breathtaking pictures, however, your pro-camera might prove to be a little cumbersome when you are trekking. There are plenty of alternatives to the regular DSLR cameras. Check out this new breed of cameras which are lighter, compact and just as good as any professional camera’s, try Leica T, Fuji X-T1, Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II, they’re simply awesome. For videos, you can always trust your GoPro’s to get the job done.
Imagine getting scratched by sharp rock jutting out in the trails, or getting bitten by some random dog in China or suffering that persistent headache in the mountains. A well-packed compact medical kit will be essential, get a small airtight plastic box and throw in some band-aids, disinfectant/sanitizer, roll-up bandage, some pain relievers like aspirin/Tylenol, Cipro, Amoxicillin and you have a mobile medical kit ready to pop-up anytime you have a problem. Rehydration packets, anti-flu powders should be on the list too.
Himalayan terrain has unpredictable weather. Most trekkers face the sudden wrath of Mother Nature, sudden afternoon rainfalls, and dust storms are common, a multipurpose jacket with the hood that protects you from the wind, rain and dust are a necessity.
There is a long list of other things you will have to lug around when you go on an adventure into the Himalayas. The items on the list above are carefully selected with suggestions from various trekkers, who have visited this region. So give it a thought and pack accordingly, it will make your vacation better, enough said! Happy Trekking!