Gears to bring for Bhutan Trek
A Guide to packing things for trek in Bhutan
During a typical trek of 5 to 8 hours in average, there is a constant change in temperature, caused may be by weather, or due to change of elevation or in part depending on whether you are walking or have stopped to rest. Adaptation by layering of clothes, in order to combat the changing weather scenario is generally advised.
For high altitude trek, irrespective of the season, it can get cold at any time of year. Having said that, it’s neither wise to pack a lot. Though there is a fine line between overpacking and under, it is best to examine and exercise your discretion based on your own out doors experiences. Light, Basic and Necessary is the mantra.
Light, Basic and Necessary
The underlying philosophy and intent is to recommend you to travel light. Cornerstone of any travel. which arguably assist in overall enjoyment of trip. The art lies in maintaining finer balance between taking not too much or too little, Check list furnished below should stand in good stead while packing your clothes in travelling bags, based on travel duration and travel period.
Trekking Gears –Equipment
On a clear, sunny day, the sun burnt will be an issue, in Bhutan, regardless of the time of the year, sun rays are particularly strong. Bring a hat/cap that shade your head, face and neck from the sun. You should bring a plentiful supply of sunscreen cream – a couple of large tubes of factor 6-10 (depending on your skin sensitivity).This will be more than handful for either High altitude Trek or Low altitude winter trek.
A warm hat will come more than handy for any time of year for use during the cold evenings and morning. A comfortable, warm hat such as one made from Polar Fleece or wool that covers your ears. Make sure that it fits well especially for the high altitude trek.
Good winter gloves or Mittens or both. The situation to use winter gloves arise normally when there is sudden change in weather or you are crossing a high pass which may be snowbound even in the summer. Consider bringing a pair of warm gloves with a waterproof outer shell to protect you from icy wind.
Socks ( 4 Pairs)-
Regardless of the time of year you will be trekking. We recommend you to bring thick woollen socks and in good number whether its for high altitude or low altitude winter trek. And also generally most of the trek entail a few days of cultural tour in prior for acclimatisation, and no cultural tour is complete without visiting Dzong and monasteries. Which requires to take off your shoes and moves around in inner sanctum of Dzong or Monastery in socks and hard floors can get really cold and gets quickly soiled. And woollen and warm socks is what help to protect from cold floor.
It’s the good pair of feet that takes you to places,thus its become paramount to keep it protected against the elements of nature (cold, wind, rough terrain etc). A good quality, hardy, well broken in, water resistant/proof with good ankle support trekking boot is imperative.
Upper Body Gear
Mid – Weight Top-
Irrespective of period you are travelling to Bhutan, this mid- weight top can stand to act versatile for all season wear. Light-weight and quick drying. As we recommend to adopt the principle of layering, this light to mid weight top can be used as base layer. Bring more than one for treks exceeding 3 days.
Shirts or T-Shirts
Add quick drying trekking shirts or T-shirts two pairs or more if the trek exceeds one week.
Warm Jacket –
Shell Jacket –
A strong wind /water proof breathable outer shell from material such as Gortex will be your main warm cold weather protection, and also in case of light showers, so bring a good one, possibly with a hood and large enough to fit your under layers.
Light or mid-weight pant (2 pair) –
Especially trekking during later part of spring, this light or mid-weight can be very useful. Ensure it is well fitted, comfortable and easy to wash. A light or mid weight thermal bottom base-layer that will get you through a wide range of temperatures. Number of pants should be based on your travel duration.
It’s probable to have occasional showers for early september trek, and chilly wind at higher passes during any season, a good shell pants would be a great addition to combat with these elements. Shell garments made from breathable fabrics (Gore Tex or equivalent) are recommended.
Day packs –
A 2500 cubic inch pack should be large enough to carry the following items on trek. a) shell jacket and pants. b) fleece jacket) Two water bottles, with at least 2 quart total capacity. d) camera plus accessories, binoculars, etc. e) first aid kit. You should test-pack your day pack before leaving home.
Duffel Bags –
You’ll need one large duffle bag to hold everything that will be needed for trekking weighing not above 15 kgs. This bag should be durable, spacious etc. And the rest can be stored in office or hotel storage facility, which you can pick up after the trek.
Trekking Poles –
Trekking poles can be good if you need extra support for your knees and/or ankles. Must be collapsible poles. Make sure that they are durable, lightweight + easily adjustable. We can borrow one of ours too.
Sleeping Bag – You will need a 4-season sleeping bag rated to at least zero degrees. A full-length side zip is essential to facilitate vventilation on warmer nights. A cotton or fleece liner adds to the warmth and comfort of a bag and prevents it from becoming excessively soiled. you can bring your own sleeping bag or we can provide at bare minimum laundry charge.
Sleeping Mattress – A mattress is needed primarily to insulate you from the cold ground, and you should take a quality closed-cell foam mat .On all camping treks, we provide light trekking mattresses. However, if you care for extra comfort and have a sensitive back, bring a self-inflatable trek mat.
Accessories & Miscellaneous :
- Travel Wallet Pouch (waist or neck)
- Locks For Duffle Bags
- Underwear – (men- polypro boxers or briefs / women- poly-pro sports bras, cotton or polypro briefs are fine) 3 rotating pairs. As with socks and shirts, you’ll be wearing one, one will be drying from washing and one will be clean and packed.
- Sunscreen: SPF 30 (or higher) LOTS
- Lip Balm with SPF 15 (or higher)
- Insect Repellent
- Personal First Aid Kits (Band-aids, Ibuprofen, Cough Drops, Moleskin, Pepto-bismol, Immodium, Diamox Personal Medications)
- Toilteries – Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Bio-degradable Soap/Shampoo Quick Dry Towel, Moisturizer, Purel Hand Sanitizer,
- Antiseptic Hand Towlettes, Toilet Paper (a small emergency stash)]
- Water Bottles – Two liter capacity
- Snack food – (trail mix, protein bars, GU, candy, powdered drink mixes – don’t bring a whole suitcase, but bring a variety of things you know you can eat while in the mountains to supplement your diet.)
- Power Adapter for electrical gadgets (round pin socket- 220v)
- Reading Glasses or contact lenses
- Photography equipment with extra films, extra memory cards and an extra battery
- Clothing & Gears : as per the list detailed
- Optional: Ipod, Ipad, ear plugs, books, journals, a deck of cards, binoculars, whistle for safety, phone (multiband phone, you can buy local sim-cards and get free incoming calls)
Provided: We use the best trekking and outdoor equipments in the country. Imported brand–name four season tents or expedition tents are used for our treks. Thermal with small foam mattress, blow pillows and hot water bags are provided. We also own and bring Portable Altitude Chambers or GAMOW bags for high altitude treks. These bags are used in emergencies, when one experiences HACE, HMS and other altitude related sickness. Durable and water-proof Kit Bags are provided to protect your gears and clothing. Our staffs are provided with short distance two way radio for communication on the trek. We carry and use refillable Gas Cylinders for lighting and cooking, to reduce impact on our environment.
It is best to bring your own sleeping bag but if you cannot, Wind Horse can provide sleeping bag,as long you pay for its dry cleaning charges. You must request for sleeping bag in advance.
You should bring: Limited trekking gears may be available in shops in Thimphu but you cannot rely on it, plus they are usually more expensive than elsewhere, so bring all your equipments. List of personal equipment in the Check List provided in Pre-departure Information is very useful for planning and most of it is necessary on a long trek. All of your gears, (except perhaps the sleeping bag) should be packed into a strong duffel bag weighing less than 15kg (30lbs).
Bhutan Trek Routes