Annapurna Base Camp Trek: A Complete Packing List

Reaching Annapurna Base Camp
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Packing for the Annapurna Base Camp Trek (ABC Trek) can be a bit of a challenge. With high altitudes, extreme temperature changes and unpredictable weather, you’ll need to make sure you have all eventualities covered. You’ll also be hiking for 6 to 12 days with no access to anything other than what you’ve packed.

If you’re struggling with what to pack, look no further than my helpful Annapurna Base Camp packing list. Here, I’ve shared everything you need to pack based on my own trekking experience. It also includes a list of everything I packed and what I wish I had packed.

The weather may vary depending on the time of year you do the trek, but this packing list is suitable for all times of year. Having said that, if you’re trekking during the winter months, remember to pack plenty of warm clothes.

Note: The Annapurna Base Camp Trek is also known as the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek. I’ll refer to it as both in the below.

Carrying your belongings on the trek

Most tour operators will hire porters to carry most of your belongings. You’ll be given a large duffel bag which can weigh up to 10 kg. Anything you don’t want to carry yourself, such as your sleeping bag, must fit in this bag.

You won’t have access to the duffel bags during the day, so you’ll also need a suitable day bag to carry on your back. This bag needs to fit anything you might need during the day, such as snacks, water, layers, and waterproofs.

You need to hire a registered local guide to hike to Annapurna Base Camp
One of our trek guides at Annapurna Base Camp

What to pack: Clothing and footwear

Suitable hiking clothing

Let’s begin with a big and obvious one—what clothes should you pack when preparing for the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek?

This is a big hike and you’ll need to be properly prepared. Trekking in jeans or nice fancy clothes isn’t going to be comfortable or practical, so it’s important to pack suitable clothes for trekking.

When it comes to bottoms, you’ll need either hiking pants or leggings (whatever you’re comfortable with). I’d recommend packing at least two pairs of trekking trousers or leggings to get through the ten days. I took three which was the perfect amount.

One thing I wasn’t prepared for on the ABC Trek was the heat! The first couple of days were very hot and humid as we were at lower altitudes. With this in mind, it’s a sensible idea to also pack shorts.

You’ll also need several T-shirts to wear throughout the week. Cotton isn’t always the most comfortable and can take a while to dry. I suggest packing at least five cooling and quick-drying sports T-shirts. Consider packing one or two long-sleeved options, too.

Layers

The Annapurna Base Camp Trek is prone to all weather. During my ten-day trek, we experienced soaring temperatures, cold temperatures, heavy rain, strong winds, snow, ice, clouds, and sun—pretty much all types of weather conditions!

Packing thin but effective layers is a good way to make sure you’re covered for all basis without having to pack a ridiculous amount of clothes.

When it comes to higher altitudes and colder temperatures, consider items such as a thermal base layer or warm inner layer and a fleece jacket or two. Items made from Merino wool are a great option. They’re known for protecting your body heat while being comfortable.

Outer layer

You’ll likely need to pack a suitable outer layer for higher altitudes and cold weather. A down jacket is a good option as it tends to be lightweight, not too bulky, and it can easily be packed.

I only wore my down jacket in the early morning or when at higher altitudes, but I’m very glad I had it to hand.

You can expect all types of weather at Annapurna Base Camp
Cold weather at Annapurna Base Camp

Waterproofs

Rain is a possibility at any time during the year on the Annapurna Base Camp Trek. I did the hike in one of the driest months of the year but still experienced several rainstorms.

During the trek, there is little opportunity to dry anything. The temperatures are cold and damp at night so once something is wet, it tends to stay that way.

Packing a good-quality rain jacket is essential for the ABC Trek. This will help keep you dry and warm. High-quality jackets also tend to double as windproof jackets.

I also highly recommend packing waterproof trousers and a rain cover for your day pack.

Side note: Our guide suggested we buy ponchos before the trek. They’re actually incredibly handy as they keep everything dry and keep the worst off your rainproof jacket.

Footwear

Next on this Annapurna Sanctuary packing list is an important one – the right footwear. This trek is no walk in the park, and it’s vital to have the correct footwear.

You’ll need shoes with ankle support and a good grip. Hiking boots tend to be the best option, but a couple of people in our group hiked in trekking shoes instead. Make sure you’ve broken in your hiking shoes/boots before the trek. You’ll be wearing them back to back for around ten days and want to make sure they’re comfortable.

Consider what shoes you want to wear in the evening, too. You’ll likely want to give your feet a break from the boots, so packing something like sliders might be a good idea.

I packed a pair of trainers which was totally unnecessary! Sliders would have been much easier and still adequate.

Extra bits

A few other items to consider packing include:

  • Comfy clothes for the evenings/PJs: It’s unlikely you’ll want to sleep in your hiking clothes, so consider what you want to sleep in. I packed a pair of joggers which were ideal for the evenings and sleeping.
  • Warm hat, buff, and gloves: Consider packing these items for colder days at higher elevations. I only needed mine at Base Camp, but cold temperatures can occur any day.
  • Socks and underwear: There will be nowhere to do laundry on the trek, so pack sufficient underwear and socks.
A classic tea house on the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek
Tea houses on the ABC Trek

What to pack: Equipment and essential items

Next up on this packing list for Annapurna Base Camp is what equipment you need to pack. It’s important to pack the right gear for your trek, so it’s worth checking in with your tour operator in case they require you to bring anything specific.

A good day pack

One of the most important things to pack is a suitable day pack. The porters will normally carry your duffel bag between the tea houses, but you’ll be responsible for carrying your own day pack. This will be for anything valuable or anything you need during the day.

I was surprised at how much stuff I packed during the day, but I needed it all. With such unpredictable weather, the bag will need to fit items such as waterproofs, extra layers, sun protection, snacks, medication, water, etc.

At the absolute minimum, your bag should be 20 litres. I used a 24-litre bag, which, if anything, was a little bit on the smaller size. Try and choose a bag that gives your back some ventilation and can be adjusted to fit you properly.

Important note: Remember to bring a rain cover for your bag. The last thing you want is for it to be soaking wet for the entire trek.

Sleeping bag and sleeping bag liner

You will more than likely need to bring or hire your own sleeping bag and sleeping bag liner for the trek. Make sure this is at least a 3 Season sleeping bag as temperatures often drop below freezing at higher altitudes. Most tour operators suggest you have a 4 Season bag. However, if you have a quality liner, then that may be sufficient alongside a 3 Season.

Your sleeping bag must fit into your duffel bag so it’s easy for the porters to carry. I hired mine for $30 through the tour operator.

Some of the tea houses do provide blankets, but these are rarely washed so it’s up to you whether you want to use them. I used them on some of the cold nights over my sleeping bag and had no issues.

Accommodation on the Annapurna Base Camp trek is very basic
Room in a tea house

Pillow and pillowcase

I didn’t bother with this, but many people in my group had a blow-up pillow and/or a pillowcase to cover the tea house’s pillow.

These can be packed very small, so they should be easy enough to fit in. I slightly regretted not having a pillowcase when there were suspicious stains on some of the provided pillows, but you can easily stay inside your sleeping bag.

A towel

The tea houses on the Annapurna Base Camp Trek don’t provide towels, so it’s important to pack your own. The best option is normally a microfibre towel. These are quick-dry and don’t take up as much space as a regular towel.

Most of the tea houses offer hot showers at an additional cost.

Hiking poles

You’ll need to bring or hire your own hiking poles. Whether or not you need them is a personal choice, but the ABC Trek is known for its endless steps which can be tough on the knees.

I didn’t take any and massively regretted this. Thankfully, I was able to purchase some in the village of Chhomrong during the trek. Even the fittest people in the group struggled with their knees, so consider whether or not you may benefit from trekking poles.

Headtorch

Most hikes to Annapurna Base Camp involve visiting Poon Hill at sunrise which involves hiking in the dark. Many of the tea houses also limit their electricity use so a head torch will no doubt come in handy at some point on the trek.

Technical equipment

You don’t generally need any technical equipment for this trek. The path is well-maintained, and there are no technical sections. However, in the winter months, there can be some very heavy snow and you may find crampons useful.

Your tour operator normally provides any technical equipment necessary, but check in with them beforehand.

What to pack: Toiletries and health

Toiletries

You shouldn’t need many toiletries on the trek, but if you want to maintain some standards of personal hygiene, I’m sure you’ll want to pack a few. Here are some of the basics:

  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste & toothbrush
  • Wet wipes (biodegradable if you can)
  • Lip balm
  • Hand cream (that cold weather can really get to your skin)
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Body wash
  • Shampoo and conditioner if you’re planning to shower
  • Tissues
  • Sanitary items (girls – you won’t be able to buy these on the trek, so if there’s any chance of a visit from Mother Nature, pack these in advance)
  • Hairbrush
Sunrise at Poon Hill
Sunrise at Poon Hill

Sun protection

The sun can be incredibly powerful during the day so don’t forget to pack adequate sun protection. This includes body SPF, face SPF, sunglasses and a sun cap.

Toilet paper

You’ll need to bring your own toilet paper on the trek. You can purchase this during the trek, but it’s a good idea to buy beforehand as it’ll be much cheaper in Kathmandu and Pokhara.

Other items

  • Any medications (including medication for altitude sickness, although this isn’t always needed for this trek)
  • First aid kit
  • Electrolytes
  • Hand soap (many of the tea houses don’t provide this)
  • Water purification tablets
  • Plastic bag (in case you have any litter)

What to pack: Extras

Here are a few other items to consider packing for the Annapurna Base Camp Trek.

Power bank

If you’re taking your phone or camera, don’t forget to pack a portable power bank so you can keep them charged. Some of the tea houses offered electricity to charge your devices, but there was often a long wait and an extra charge.

Travel adapter

Some of the tea houses I stayed in allowed you to charge devices in your bedroom. This means you can save your power bank and charge your phone directly. Nepal uses various plug sockets, so pack a global travel adapter to ensure you’ll be able to charge all of your devices.

Reusable water bottle

The sale of plastic water bottles is controlled in the Annapurna Region and is not allowed once you enter the Sanctuary. You’ll still be able to buy filtered water but will need your own bottle to put it in.

LifeStraw

I had resisted buying a LifeStraw throughout my travels but finally caved and bought one for my trek to ABC. I am SO happy I did.

You can’t drink tap water on the trek, and buying filtered or mineral water can be expensive. Granted, you can use water purification tablets, but I personally preferred my LifeStraw. It filters out all of the floaties in the water (if you know, you know) and also doesn’t taste like chlorine.

I’d still recommend taking a separate reusable bottle and water purification tablets. A LifeStraw isn’t much use when you want to brush your teeth or drink electrolytes.

Snacks

You’ll be eating your meals in various tea houses along the trail, but snacks are quite limited. I found a few places serving snacks such as Pringles or a Mars Bar, but they were often very expensive. I wish I had packed some snacks myself.

Views on the Annapurna Base Camp Trek
Views on the Annapurna Base Camp Trek

Passport-sized photos

You’ll need a passport-sized photo for your permit into the Annapurna Sanctuary. Those in my group who didn’t bring one didn’t seem to have any issues, but I’m sure it’s easier for the guides to provide one.

Book, games or cards

It’s a bit of a random one, but if you want something to do in the evenings, consider packing a book, playing cards or even a travel-sized game (some of our group had a mini chess board).

Once you reach the tea house each day, there isn’t always much to do so having something to entertain yourself with might be an idea.

Padlock

I always travel with a padlock in case I need to lock my belongings away or lock my backpack. I didn’t need one on the ABC Trek, but that’s not to say it might not have come in use at some point.

Bungee chord

A bungee cord or little rope can be very handy for drying clothes. Some tea houses have these outside, but they’re often full.

Exactly what I packed for Annapurna Base Camp

Here is the exact list of items I packed for the trek with a few thoughts.

Clothing

  • 3 x pairs of leggings
  • 1 x pair of trekking trousers
  • 1 x pair of shorts
  • 1 x pair of joggers for sleeping/evenings
  • 10 x underwear
  • 3 x sports bras (I wish I had packed another one of these)
  • 1 x long-sleeved t-shirt (most days I was fine in a regular t-shirt)
  • 4 x sports T-shirts (I wish I had packed a couple more)
  • 1 x thin sweater (this was perfect when there was a chill)
  • 2 x fleeces (this worked for me as most days were warm, but you may find you need an extra one when hiking in colder months)
  • 2 x T-shirts for sleeping and in the evening
  • 3 x pairs of hiking socks (I would suggest packing at least 5 pairs, I struggled!)
  • Down coat
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof trousers

Footwear

  • Hiking boots
  • Trainers (absolutely DID NOT need these)
  • Flip flops (sliders would have been better)

Toiletries

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo and conditioner (try and get small bottles)
  • SPF
  • Wet wipes (these are always useful)
  • Moisturiser
  • Hand cream and lip balm (your skin can get very dry on the hike)
  • Toilet paper
  • First aid kit
  • Hand soap

Other items

  • Poncho
  • Portable charger/power bank
  • Adapter and charging cables
  • Headtorch
  • Reusable water bottle
  • LifeStraw
  • Water purification tablets
  • Sunglasses
  • Cap
  • Gloves
  • Beanie
  • Padlock
  • Hairbrush
Snow at Annapurna Base Camp
Snow at Annapurna Base Camp

What I didn’t pack and wish I had

I forgot to pack a few items (or didn’t think I would need them), which I’ve shared below.

This includes:

  • Pillowcase (some of the tea house pillows did not look appealing)
  • Sliders (these would have been ideal for the evenings)
  • Hiking poles
  • More socks (I didn’t have enough socks with me. Take at least 5 pairs!)
  • Tissues (these are surprisingly hard to buy on the trek)
  • Snacks

Hiking shops in Kathmandu

If you have some time in Kathmandu, you can grab some last-minute essentials in the area of Thamel. Here, the streets are lined with hiking shops and markets selling all types of things.

It’s important to know that many of the shops sell branded items such as Patagonia and North Face, however, they are not legit. That’s not to say you shouldn’t buy them, but just be prepared the quality might not be as good.

You’ll also be able to buy essentials in Pokhara, but I personally found Kathmandu had more options.

What to do with valuables on the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek?

Before my solo trip to Nepal, I had been backpacking around Southeast Asia and New Zealand. This meant I was carrying valuables such as my iPad and laptop. It goes without saying that carrying a laptop would not be ideal on the trek. It will be heavy and could easily get damaged.

The best solution is to not bring any valuables with you. However, if you’re like me and don’t have a choice, what do you do with your valuables?

I spoke to my tour operator (G Adventures) who informed me that the start hotel would be able to store these safely. I left both my laptop and iPad in a locker and was also given the key to assure me no one else had access.

I did some research beforehand and this seems like a common occurrence. I couldn’t find any comments online that reported any thefts or missing items, but you’ll need to make a decision for yourself about whether it’s worth the risk.

I kept my passport with me on the trek in a waterproof cover.

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