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gear list needed for himalaya backpacking
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raj nag
(rajnag21) - F

Locale: Currently NY
gear list needed for himalaya backpacking on 06/28/2008 16:21:56 MDT Print View

Hi All,
I'm pretty new to backpacking in general. I figured I could ask you knowledgeable folks about the kind of gear I would need for multi week backpacking trips in the himalayan and ladakh areas.
I plan to make these trips regularly every year with groups of people that do such trips regularly.They use porters etc and are not concerned with weight.But I would prefer not having to hire someone to carry my stuff. So I'm looking for durable items.I currently live in NY.
I've also bought a bora 95 pack(not lightweight !!!!) which may not fit with a light weight approach but given that I know how rough Indian buses and other modes of transport are I really don't want tears etc messing up my plans in the last minute.
I'm looking for any and all suggestions !
This is an example of gear list that I saw on a commercial trekking agency's site:


René Enguehard
(ahugenerd) - MLife

Locale: Newfoundland
Options on 06/28/2008 16:51:44 MDT Print View

There are many different options for your to contend with. Let me start with sleeping bags.

You'll probably want a down sleeping bag as they compress well and are very light. You will obviously pay a premium for these but, in my opinon, they are very much worth it. Western Mountaineering and Montbell come to mind. Some people here will recommend quilts whereas others will recommend straight bags. That's really a personal decision: whatever you're most comfortable with.

If you do go with a bag, try and get one with continuous baffles that is rated for a slightly higher temperature than you need (ex: -10 degrees if you need a -15). The reason for this is that you can shift the down from your bag from the bottom (the part you sleep on) to the top, raising the effective insulation. Moreover, these are lighter. :) You can always wear an extra shirt or sweater to bed.

As for tents you have, again, many options. I rather like double-wall tents as they tend to have less condensation that single wall tents but have more privacy than tarps. Bivies are also an option if you're going to be sleeping by yourself, and they are much lighter, but rule out any kind of partner camping. MSR, Big Agnes, Mountain Hardware, The North Face and Sierra Design all have good models.

Your backpack is similar to mine (Bora 80) and is darn near bulletproof. That being said, it's also heavy as lead. It carries weight like none other though, so I think you might get away with it if you have the rest of your gear light. If you want to go light with your backpack too, it's a trickier question. You need to make sure that all your gear fits inside, even more if you go frameless. GoLite has a good lineup.

I could go one, but there are more knowledgable people around here. :) Hope this helps. Remember, YMMV, and most importantly, pick what you like and will enjoy.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
gear list needed for himalaya backpacking on 06/28/2008 21:50:18 MDT Print View

Hi Raj Nag
You have committed the classic mistake that most of us have either getting into backpacking or lightening our loads, and that is to buy the pack first. The backpack should be the last item you buy after you put together your kit.
No doubt the Bora 95 is a great pack but it will almost guarantee you (unless you are very fit/strong) a miserable time. With a few exceptions most trekkers will carry 10 to 30 lbs and let the porters carry the rest. Hiking at high altitude is hard enough without the extra weight. Obviously if you are used to carry 40-60lbs above 10000 feet than ignore my comments. Otherwise what most do is to buy a strong duffle bag for the porters to carry and use themselves a 25-45 liter bag to carry the day needs, that is rain/wind jacket, spare fleece top,spare hat, munchies,water, small first aid kit, binos and camera and in my case a pair of water shoes that I used in camp and at lunch to give my boots and feet a breather....
Keep in mind that I was in Nepal only for three weeks, however I made a point of checking out the gear that other tourists/trekkers were carrying and in most case the ones with heavier packs were behind the rest and obviously not enjoying themselves, and by heavy I mean 20lbs as opposed to my six or seven including water.
My duffle bag is the blue one you see at the back of the last porter. My total gear is in there (tent/sleeping bag/mat and all my clothing for the 3 weeks there, about 19lbs)

My day bag (ULA Amp, about 10 oz empty, and about 4 lbs there cause I am wearing the jacket)Not a porter

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: gear list needed for himalaya backpacking on 06/29/2008 00:00:54 MDT Print View

I'm going for a year in Asia starting in december (hopefully!) I'm hoping to do ~400 miles without porters in Nepal.

The basics that I'm bringing (which is what I'll have on the colorado trail this summer):

Jam 2
Marmot Helium
silk liner
Patagonia Micropuff jacket
Golite virga rain jacket
alcohol stove
long underwear tops and bottoms
half of a Black Diamond Lighthouse tent

This setup works for me in the US and south america down to about 15 degrees at night and 40 degrees during the day. I figure that if it's colder, i can buy more clothes or stay in more teahouses.

raj nag
(rajnag21) - F

Locale: Currently NY
clarifications on 06/29/2008 08:39:36 MDT Print View

Thanks for pointing that out to me. There's a vital difference here. I plan to live in the general area and plan to do regular hikes in the indian himalayan states. So getting porters to take my stuff up is out of the question. I would be bankrupt before long.
I know some indians and groups who do 7-10 day treks in india this way. The average cost per person is 35-50 $ per day in indian currency. It's a fortune for most indians(including me).
I know I can do "tea house" trek and I plan to do that the first few time to get the "lay of the land". I also plan to take a couple of courses offered by indian mountaineering institutes so I know some basic techniques.
But I need to take gear back so I don't have to ask my friends to carry it back for me.
thanks for that list.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: clarifications on 07/05/2008 09:20:51 MDT Print View

Hey Jack, thought this may be of some help. This is my gearlist for when I went to Nepal (slight modifications but basically all there), and it includes the cost of everything! I had alot of time on my hands then :)...I made this for some buddies a few years ago when I was going and they were asking tons of questions. I did 4 weeks and had an absolute blast. With my base weight at `15 lbs, I didn't use a porter. And it's tough to get lost on any of the main trails.
Oh yeah, I brought 1 pair of underwear because I'm a man..a smelly man.
EBC List

Edited by Steve_Evans on 07/05/2008 09:24:33 MDT.

raj nag
(rajnag21) - F

Locale: Currently NY
some cold weather options on 07/06/2008 21:04:40 MDT Print View

Hi All
I'm thinking of buying either atlas 1225/northern lite backcountry/msr denali ascent snowshoes for my himalayan forays.

Plastic Boots: scarpa inverno or koflach artcis expe

Mixed plastic boots:
La Sportiva Men's Spantik Boots
La Sportiva Trango S EVO GTX
La Sportiva Makalu
La Sportiva Nepal Extreme
La Sportiva Nepal Extreme
La Sportiva glacier

Sleeping bag -Need a -20 degree f down bag(western moutaineering lynx or puma) for winter and
atleast 0 F synthetic for non winter mountain use

I'm thinking either a Integral designs emperor (primaloft) or 4th Dimension Standard by Mountain Hardwear (pgd)

Planning on wearing capilene midweight base layer
Maybe montbell thermawrap parka and pants or
Mountain Hardwear compressor pl hooded jacket and pants or
wildthings parka and pants

Planning on getting exped downmat 9 (winter) and a thermarest prolite 4 (non winter)

Have a outdoor research mentor jacket as WPB layer with a standard goretex ECWS pants. Have not thought of buying bib yet.

Any other choices, please let me know

Richard nisley suggested to stick to primaloft one on most of everything and not think of PG delta. Any one know exactly why ? he didn't have the time to explain. he did .ask me to have atleast .6 " loft in each layer ?

There are other things that I can talk about but I wanted to ask you guys about these choices first.

Christopher Chupka

Locale: NTX
Clothing and boots on 07/11/2008 10:17:10 MDT Print View

If you are doing more horizontal miles than vertical miles I would go with one of the "leather" boots than the plastic. I have worn my Glaciers down to single digits with the RBH VaprThrm socks and was very comfortable, even with thinner socks to reduce bulk. For colder weather I wear my older Lhotse boots, they weigh to much but are super comfortable and darn near bullet proof.

I would look at a pair of softshell pants and a light waterproof/breathable layer. The ECWS pants are tough but my issue pair is heavy and bulky.

I never wear thermals heavier than my Silkweight or Capilene 1. They do add warmth but are great at pulling moisture off the body.

I would go with the Wild Things parka and pants, the Epic shell is tough, lightweight, and breathable. The side zips on the pants are a nice feature.

raj nag
(rajnag21) - F

Locale: Currently NY
himalaya options on 07/11/2008 11:20:33 MDT Print View

Thank you so much for replying to my post. I was starting to think the folks at BPL might be thinking "this guy is crazy" :)
--------------comment added in response
to Christopher's question---------------------------
To answer your question, I plan to do only horizontal stuff.
But some treks will have slightly technical stuff. I may go with a group of people on organized expeditions. But there is quite a bit of glacier walking,climbing up steep ice,kicking steps etc which require rigid boots.I know a few people who go on these trek/s every year and they advised me that It would be useful to have plastic boots for those treks. I don't plan to do more than one or maybe two such treks every year.

Well I don't plan to go alone anywhere.I plan to take a mountaineering course offered by an Indian institute:
and the nols India trip leader course (this is for aspiring Indian outdoor professionals but I thought i could learn a lot of useful things in a short period of time)

It's just that I would like to get all the gear I can now so I don't have to get it through friends or relatives.

I talked to ryan at RBH designs and plan to pick up the vaprhtrm shirt,pants,mitts,socks and sock liners.
Ladakh, a rain shadow region near the himalayas has winters where temperatures go as far down as -40 C.

I would like to do a few winter treks in that region. I will be doing it by taking a professional outdoor company's "package trek".
But I would like to have my own winter gear to do other treks in himalayan areas(I might be owning a small home there ! At that point BPl members are totally welcome to stay there :)).
Since I've written that post(to which to you have replied) , I have gotten nice deals on the outdoor research chaos jacket and and the arcteryx theta sk pants(bibs ??).
I have an OR mentor hard shell.I will need a vest(therma wrap or wildthings ?) and insulating pants(softshell ? compressor or wild things ? ).
Durability is key as If everything gets too heavy, I can split the cost of hiring a porter with somebody. Unfortunately getting gear after I go back will no be that easy.
I will be using capilene base layers(light->mid weight depending on my comfort level).

Edited by rajnag21 on 07/13/2008 12:46:17 MDT.