What to Pack for Everest Base Camp Tour

Last updated: August,20 2019

Packing for an Everest Base Camp Tour in Tibet is very different from packing for a vacation elsewhere in the world. With a completely unique climate, and a very different weather system, it can be a little confusing to know what to take. Some people like to be over prepared, while others take the bare minimum and hope for the best. In Tibet, with its varied climate and weather over the many different parts of this high-altitude region, hoping for the best is not a good idea. Temperatures fluctuate from day to night, and from area to area. While it can be warm in Lhasa, it could be freezing at Everest.

You already know it is cold, but how cold? What if you do not have enough warm clothes? What if it turns out to be hotter than expected? So many different things to think about, and organize. Therefore, a good list of the things you need to take, and what type of clothes would be best is definitely something that every Tibet traveler needs.

A Suitable Backpack

The first thing to think about is your luggage. Unless you are specifically planning to do long treks in the region, a large backpack is not needed. For those taking the trek from Tingri to Everest Base Camp, a medium-sized backpack is a good idea, as you will be trekking for four days, and need to take a sleeping bag and some equipment.

Backpack for EBC trekkingBackpacks for EBC trekking

Other than that, there is no real need to have big backpacks, and your luggage should really be easy to handle and move in and out of the hotels and guest houses. In Tibet, all tours that are not treks are overland tours in vehicles, so you are not going to haul your luggage around with you. Wheeled bags are best, as you can move them easily in and out of places without having to carry them. And canvas duffels with wheels are easier than hard cases, as they are easier to pack.

Tibet Travel Permit and Other Travel Documents

Everywhere you go in Tibet you may be required to provide your ID, passport, and permits. It is best if you keep these in your hand luggage with your valuables, such as phone, notebook, tablet, etc. The Tibet Travel Permit need to be obtained before you travel around the region, and without it you will not be able to enter Tibet.

Tibet Travel PermitTibet Travel Permit for touring EBC in Tibet

Other travel documents, like the Aliens’ Travel Permit and the Military permit, are also required for an Everest Base Camp Tour. These can be issued while you are in Lhasa.

Clothes and Shoes

What to pack to visit EBC in terms of clothes often depends on the time of year you are traveling. For instance, in the depths of winter you will need more warm clothes than in summer, and thick down or quilted jackets are a necessity. Summer can be warmer, although it can still be cold at EBC, so the thickest down jackets may not be needed, although a good warm jacket is needed almost all year round, to protect you from the chill, especially in the evening, and warm clothes are needed there even in summer.

Clothes and shoes for EBC tourClothes and shoes for EBC tour

The best way to keep out the cold at high altitudes is to layer your clothes. Several layers of thinner garments will keep you warmer than a few thick layers, and if it gets too warm, you can always remove a layer or two. T-shirts and thin fleece sweaters make the best layers, with a decent jacket on top to keep out the wind. Windcheaters, or windbreakers are useful jackets to have when the temperature is not too low, but the wind is high. Cold winds can make the temperature feel lower than it really is.

Warm pants are a good idea, and the type used by the military, which can be found in various colors all over the world, are ideal, as they act as windbreakers for the legs too. Moreover, they are light enough to use in summer without getting too hot. If you are traveling in winter, thermal underwear is a good option, as the thermal pants will help keep your legs warm.

The shoes or boots you use can also depend on the time of year and the weather when traveling in Tibet. For walking around areas where the ground is rough, a good, strong pair of boots is needed. Light hiking-type boots are useful, as they have good grip, even in snow, are waterproof in case of rain and puddles, and you should wear them in before traveling. It is also handy to have a light pair of shoes for walking around the hotel or in the streets of Lhasa. Socks should be both warm and normal, so that you can make the choice depending on the weather.

Is sleeping bag needed for an Everest Base Camp Tour?

Even if you are not trekking, a sleeping bag is another necessity for EBC tours. In tent hotels in the Base Camp, there are blankets and quits available, but a good warm to arctic sleeping bag will make sure your nights are comfortable and you can sleep well. Getting too cold when sleeping can also cause illness and altitude sickness.

Food and Drinks

Depending on whether you like the Tibetan food in the region, you might want to take some pot snacks and packet meals, just in case. Not everyone likes Tibetan food, as it has a very unique taste, and western foods are scarce around the Everest region of Tibet. High calorie snacks are a great way to replace lost energy, which the high altitudes make you lose quickly, and can make you feel much better if you start to feel a little altitude sickness. Chocolates, biscuits and cookies, dried fruits, nuts, and dried meat strips are high in calories and have a high protein content, so do well at replacing the lost energy.

Snacks for EBC tourSnacks for EBC tour

Drinking at high altitude is essential to help stave off the effects of altitude sickness, as you will dehydrate faster in the thinner atmosphere of the plateau. Take plenty of drinking water with you wherever you go, and always make sure your water bottle is full before you go out walking anywhere. Bottled mineral water is good, as it has natural minerals that can help reduce dehydration effects. If you are trekking along the 70km route to EBC, then water purification tablets can be quite useful. You can fill up your water bottles anywhere, and the tablets will ensure the water is harmless and drinkable.

Skin Protection and Others

Just as if you were going to the beach in some tropical country, you need to take various skin protection items with you travel Tibet. Tibet is on a plateau that has an average altitude above 4,000 meters, and the air is thinner there. Just as less oxygen in the thinner air causes altitude sickness, so that same thinner atmosphere can also cause sunburn. The UV radiation from the sun has less of a natural filter at high altitudes, which means that you will burn more easily, despite the cold weather. When there are no clouds to cover the sun, it can be very strong, so a good, high SPF sun cream will help to keep your skin from getting burned.

Sun protection items for EBC tourSun protection items for EBC tour

Chapped lips is another factor in the high altitude, as the winds that blow across the plateau can be bitingly cold, even on warm days. Cold winds can seriously affect your exposed lips and skin, so a good moisturizer and some lip balm can stop it from happening. Also take some sunglasses or snow glasses, as the sun is much brighter in the thinner atmosphere, and a good hat to protect the top of your head.

Drugs and Equipment

If you take any regular medication, you should consult your doctor before you go, and take an adequate supply with you, to last more than the entire trip. Prescribed medicines are rare and very hard to find on the plateau, especially outside Lhasa, and if you take a specialist medication prescribed by your doctor, you may not be able to get it in Tibet if you run out.

First aid kitFirst aid kit for EBC tour

A good first aid kit is handy, and should also contain a few extras, such as headache medicines, cold and flu meds, stomach ache treatments, and additional treatments for diarrhea, insect bites, and altitude sickness, if permitted by your doctor. Diamox is a medicine that can help to treat and prevent the symptoms of altitude sickness, and is widely available in China and the rest of the world, though not so much in Tibet. However, before taking it, you should consult your doctor, especially if you are on any regular medication, as there may be some adverse effects.

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