Travel Guide

Equipment & Clothing

Tibet trekking, trek in Tibet, hike, tibet trekking tours

If you trek in Tibet with a commercial company, they will supply all the necessary camping equipment. Some outfits provide sleeping bags and parkas for use during the trek, a bonus that can save you hundreds of dollars if you have little use for such gear after the trek. If you are organizing a private group, ask your agent whether the necessary tents and kitchen equipment are included in the price quote.

When planning your clothing needs for a trek, think in terms of layers. Layers of clothing will keep you warm, but can be removed gradually to prevent you from over-heating. During spring and autumn the night temperatures in the mountains often dip below freezing, making warm gear essential. In summer the days can be hot, requiring light cotton clothing. Good wet-weather gear is recommended during the rainy summer months. The mountainous regions of Tibet can receive snow any month of the year, be prepared for cold weather if you plan to trek at elevations above 16,000 feet (4880m). Below is a list of suggested equipment, clothing, and accessories for Tibet. 

Equipment

Footwear

Hiking boots should have thick soles and be high enough to provide adequate ankle support. The newer lightweight boots are more comfortable but less durable than all-leather hiking boots. Consider Gore-Tex-lined boots for treks during the rainy summer months. Optional: A pair of sandals or sneakers to wear in camp.

Packs

If you plan to backpack, use a pack with a wide, cushioned waist belt and thick shoulder straps that will comfortably support weight. On commercial treks you only need a daypack to carry your daily essentials. This pack should have padded shoulder straps, a wide waist belt, and a volume of about 1,500 to 2,000 cubic inches.

Duffel bag

Long (36 inches or so), heavy-duty canvas or nylon bag that can be secured with a padlock. Waterproof by lining it with one or two thick plastic bags.

Sleeping bag

A three-season (Spring-summer-autumn), mummy-style down or fiber-filled bag rated to about 10-15ºF.

Inner sheet

A silk or cotton inner sheet minimizes the need to wash your sleeping bag.

Sleeping pad

Choose a full-length, self-inflating, or standard closed-cell foam pad.

Rain gear

Your raincoat should be roomy, mid-thigh in length, and have a water-proof hood. Rain pants can double as wind pants. Gore-Tex, Japara, or high-quality coated nylon materials are best.

Tent

Asturdy, lightweight, waterproof nylon tent with collapsible aluminum poles is best. Dome tents are heavy but well liked for their high ceilings.

Fuel stove

Choose an efficient lightweight camping stove that can burn kerosene, the most readily available liquid cooking fuel in Tibet.

Water Bottle

Take along one or two plastic or metal leakproof quart or liter bottle.

Clothing

Thermal underwear

Bring one or two paris of long-sleeved tops and bottoms made from wool, silk, polypropylene, or a similar synthetic fiber. Short-sleeved thermal tops are good on cool days while trekking. Avoid cotton long underwear.

Cotton underpants

Bring four or five pairs.

Socks

Have at least three pairs of wool/ wool-mix socks, and several pairs of cotton socks. Hand-knit wool socks are available in Lhasa and Kathmandu.

Shirts

Bring a long-sleeved shirt made of wool, flannel, or chamois; a long-sleeved stay-press cotton shirt; and two or three cotton T-shirts.

Pants

Men should plan on taking one pair of loose-fitting wool or fiber pile pile pants and one pair of lighter-weight cotton pants. Women should bring several changes of mid-calf-length dresses or skirts, though loose-fitting pants are also acceptable. Shorts are not appropriate at any time in Tibet for men or women.

Sweater

Choose wool or wool mix with a high neck for extra warmth.

Jacket

A fiber pile jacket is ideal for trekking and evenings in camp.

Insulated coat or parka, with hood

A heavy-duty down or fiber-filled coat is usually not necessary from mid-May to mid-September. During other months most evenings you’ll want to wear one that can fit over bulky clothing, with 14 to 16 ounces of down or 18 to 20 ounces of a fiber-fill material.

Headgear

Bring along a wool or fiber pile ski-style cap or balaclava for warmth. A lightweight brimmed hat straw and felt hats are sold in Tibet’s city markets.

Scarf

Wool or silk is best, or use a fiber pile neck gaiter.

Mittens or gloves

Wool, pile, or polypropylene are best.

Bandanna or handkerchief

Bring several.