ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT PACKING LIST

THE COMPLETE EQUIPMENT GUIDE

Annapurna Circuit Packing List – The Complete Equipment Guide 2016-12-23T08:58:52+00:00

This Annapurna Circuit packing list is based on our personal experiences of trekking in the Annapurna region and in Nepal in general. You don’t need every piece of kit listed on our Annapurna equipment list, but we have purposely provided as extensive information as possible so that you can make informed decisions.

The packing list is very long and detailed so please feel free to bookmark this page for future reference.

We have written the list in such a way that it can just as effectively be used for other popular treks like the Everest Base Camp trek and the Langtang trek.

If you have any recommendations or insights from your experience on how we can improve this Annapurna packing list please get in touch.

For those planning to travel light you will be happy to know that some of the items below can be rented or bought in Kathmandu or Pokhara. However it is very important to note that most of the cheaper local equipment is not up to standard for the harsh weather conditions that one can face on this trek.

The packing list includes personal recommendations on gear that we own and use. We believe these recommended items of gear provide the best value for money and deliver the best performance.

Specific Packing Lists

Everest Base Camp Packing List

Click here for a full and detailed Everest Base Camp Packing List. Everything from sleeping bags and hiking boots, to rucksacks and jackets.

Multi-Day trek Packing List

Click here for the complete multi-day trek Packing List. You’ll find all the gear you need listed along with our personal recommendation for each item.

Aconcagua Packing List

Click here for the full Aconcagua Packing List. We have included everything you’ll need to make it to the summit of the tallest mountain in the Americas!

Clothing

An important concept to understand when trekking the Annapurna Circuit is layering. Weather at high altitudes can change quickly and dramatically, as illustrated by 2014 tragic Annapurna Circuit trekking season. The ability to layer up or down as weather conditions fluctuate, from the low altitudes of 1,000 meters in Besisahar to the high altitudes of 5,416 meters at Thorong La Pass, is important.

Moreover, seasonal differences are also an important consideration. You will definitely want warmer clothes if you plan to trek during the cold winter months of October-February. See what to expect weather-wise on the Annapurna Circuit here.

Annapurna-Circuit-Packing-List-base-layerThe base layer, or what is often referred to the next-to-skin or first layer is very important on the higher reaches of the Annapurna Circuit.

The best first layers fit snugly to the skin (reducing air pockets and flow) and consist of high wicking materials to facilitate moisture transfer.

The type of base layer clothing that we recommend is manufactured by Smartwool as they provide some of the best and most affordable lightweight merino wool products.

We recommend getting 2 x top and bottom base layers.

Annapurna-Circuit-Packing-List-second-layerThe second layer, or what we call the insulation layer, sits over your first layer and should be made from fleece material.

You can get an insulation layer for both top and bottom, but as you will need to have outer layer shell trousers, we believe the insulation layer for your legs are unnecessary.

For your torso second layer though we recommend a Polartec 200 Fleece Jacket. These insulation jackets are very good for hiking in as they provide a great warmth to weight ratio whilst allowing effective moisture transfer. The Polartec 100s are lighter but not warm enough for the Annapurna Circuit, whereas the Polartec 300s are too heavy, in our opinion.

The outer core layer, or third layer, consists of a windproof, waterproof and most importantly warm jacket and trousers. These will be used on the upper reaches of the Annapurna Circuit.
Annapurna-Circuit-Packing-List-third-layerWe highly recommend getting a good quality jacket as it is one of the few key items that will ensure your warmth and comfort. We recommend the North Face Nuptse Jacket which is a market-leading winter jacket, but there are many synthetic alternative which are more affordable, yet still effective. In terms of the Nuptse, the warmth and weight characteristics are exceptional but come at an obvious cost. The Nuptse is a lifetime investment as the jacket will last years of active trekking and double well as a winter jacket in the city. Other good jacket brands include Patagonia and Mountain Hardwear.

For your outer layer trousers you should look for fleece-insulated ski trousers. Recommended brands include Helly Hansen, Trepass and O’Neills.

General Hiking Clothes
Annapurna-Circuit-Packing-List-womans-trousersOver and above the three core layers set out above, you will also need to pack hiking shorts and trousers – we recommend convertible trousers like these trekking trousers designed by Craghoppers. Not only will they save you money as you won’t need to buy shorts, but they are also very comfortable. Bring two pairs.

 

 

Trekking Shirts

Annapurna-Circuit-Packing-List-shirtsYou will also need to bring 4-6 trekking shirts (depending on whether you are doing the shorter or longer Annapurna Circuit). We recommend these breathable and lightweight shirts from Hanes. Alternatively, shirts from Icebreakerare good. Do not bring cotton shirts as these absorb moisture. A mixture of short and long sleeve shirts are recommended.

 

 

Wet weather gear
Annapurna-Circuit-Packing-List-ponchoEncountering rain is always a possibility when trekking, particularly during the rainy season (June-September). You should bring full-body, lightweight wet weather gear or a compact poncho rain-suit that can quickly be put on should you encounter rain.

 

 

 

Underwear (Breathable)

To aid the wicking process we also recommend bringing 6-8 x pairs of breathable sports underwear.

For the ladies we recommend bringing 2 x sports bras.

Hat for Sun Protection
Annapurna-Circuit-Packing-List-hatYou need to bring a hiking hat that provides face and neck sun protection. Your hat should be light and easy to bend / fold so that it can fit into your daypack or rucksack. Trekking hats with a neck cover are very good. Here are some trekking hats that we recommend.

 

 

Head Band or Beanie

Annapurna-Circuit-Packing-List-beanieTemperatures get very cold in the evenings and early mornings, particularly as you reach the higher altitudes on the Annapurna Circuit. A warm fleeced beanie or fleeced headband are absolute must-haves. Berghaus and The North Face provide good beanies.

 

 

 

Neckband or Balaclava

Annapurna-Circuit-Packing-List-neckbandA neckband or balaclava that can keep your neck and face warm when temperatures drop below freezing is worthwhile having.

During the out-of-season winter months (Dec, Jan and Feb) we highly recommend bringing a balaclava or neckband.

Here are some recommended examples, we prefer Mountain Airshield Balaclavas, but buffs are great as well.

Outer Gloves
Annapurna-Circuit-Packing-List-outer-gloveOuter gloves are like your outer layer jacket – they act as a shield from the cold and therefore need to be very warm, waterproof and durable. Gore-Tex gloves from Dakine or similar options from The North Face or Black Diamond are recommended

 

Inner Gloves

Annapurna-Circuit-Packing-List-inner-gloveAn inner glove acts as your next-to-skin layer, like the base layer clothing we described above. You should bring a light-weight, quick drying inner glove, ideally made from fleece material.

We recommend Pearl Izumi Thermal Lite Gloves which can also be used as standalone gloves when the weather is moderately cold. Karrimor is another good brand.

Footwear

Footwear is incredibly important as your feet are what get you from A to B. Having comfortable footwear will make your trek far more enjoyable as no one wants to be plagued with foot pain or blisters.

Make sure you properly break-in your boots before trekking the Annapurna Circuit. This means doing at least 2-3 long distance hikes (5-6 hours) in your new boots before arriving in Nepal.

To help you on your way we have listed the 5 pieces of footwear you should bring with you on your Annapurna Circuit trek.

Hiking Boots
Annapurna-Circuit-Packing-List-hiking-bootGood hiking boots are the most important piece of gear on your trek – your feet are what get you around the Annapurna Circuit! Badly fitting hiking boots will result in lost nails, painful blisters and sore feet. Best fit can be tested by putting your foot in a boot without tying the shoelaces. Once in slide your foot all the way forward until the toes hit the front of the boot. You should be able to put your index finger down the back of the boot between your heel. If your finger has lots of room to move then the shoe is too big, if you struggle to get your index finger into the boot then the shoe is too small!

Important characteristics to look out for in a good hiking boot: 1) make sure it is a mid-weight boot (full leather boots tend to be too heavy, however uppers of the boot can be made of leather or leather condura), 2) make sure it has high tops for ankle support, 3) look for rubber soles with deep lugs for best traction, and 4) try get a boot with a lacing system that uses d-rings or speed hooks for further ankle support and quick lacing.

Here are some recommended trekking boots. Reliable brands include Scarpa, Salomon, Berghaus, Hi-Tec and Karrimor.

Trainers (Trekking shoes / sandals)
Annapurna-Circuit-Packing-List-shoesAfter a long day of hiking the first thing you are going to want to do is change into a comfortable pair of shoes. We recommend bringing trekking shoes or sandals. Here are some good trekking shoes or trekking sandals that we recommend. Trekking sandals are great to wear with warm socks.
Hiking Socks

Annapurna-Circuit-Packing-List-hiking-socks5-6 x pairs of hiking socks and 4 x 5 pairs or high wicking sock liners.

We recommend Coolmax hiking socks as they provide very good breathability and have excellent wicking properties.

Do not bring cotton socks as these will lead to nasty blisters.

Thermal Socks
Annapurna-Circuit-Packing-List-thermal2 x pairs of thermal socks for the cold hiking days around the upper reaches of the Annapurna Circuit.

We recommend Smartwool thermal socks as they are very warm, provide great cushioning for the foot and have flat seams (bulky seams result in blisters).

Other good brands include Wigwam and Bridgedale.

Gaiters

Annapurna-Circuit-Packing-List-gaitersGaiters are made from a waterproof material and extend up from your boot to the top of your calve.

Gaiters are used to stop water, dust, mud, snow, ice and small stones from getting into your hiking boots.

Here are some good gaiters you can check out.

Hiking Rucksacks And Duffel Bags

Duffle Bag
Annapurna-Circuit-Packing-List-duffelGuided tours with porters means that most of your gear will be carried for you. If this is the case then we recommend a 80L duffle bag. The best bags are made of laminate waterproof material and have strong zippers that can be easily locked (bring a small bag lock). They should also have easy to access shoulder and hand straps. The North Face Base Camp Duffle is the best duffle bag.
Rucksack

Annapurna-Circuit-Packing-List-daypackIf you are hiking independently or without support then you will want to take a 50-65L rucksack. A top opening mountaineers rucksack is the best. Black Diamond and Osprey manufacture good mountain rucksacks.

Daypack

If a porter or pack animal (i.e. yak) is carrying your duffle bag or rucksack then you will want to have a light-weight daypack to carry essentials – like snacks, camera, suncream, personal items (i.e. money and passport) and hat. The best daypacks have compression straps to reduce weight stress on your back and side mesh-pockets for quick access to your water bottles. The Osprey Talon is our recommended daypack.

Make sure to bring a rain cover for your rucksack and / or daypack. If you decide to use an Osprey bag then make sure you get an Osprey Raincover that matches the bag size for a snug fit.

Sleeping Accessories

Sleeping Bag
Annapurna-Circuit-Packing-List-sleeping-bagYou will need to bring with you a warm sleeping bag as the nights can get very cold. The best types of sleeping bags are manufactured using a duck / goose down, but they also tend to be the most expensive. If you are stretched for cash then a warm synthetic alternative is fine. Just make sure that it has a rating of at least -10 degree C. Look out for a sleeping bag that has a mummy-shape with an insulated hood and draw chord so that it fits the contours of your body. Two-way zippers for better insulation are great. Here are some excellent mummy-shaped sleeping bags. We recommend the following brands: The North Face, Marmot, Highlander, Coleman or Mountain Hardwear.

If you decide to rent a sleeping bag from your tour operator it is worth bringing a sleeping bag linerr for better hygiene and insulation.

Sleeping Bag Liner

If you’re planning on renting a sleeping bag for your Annapurna Circuit trek then we definitely recommend purchasing a sleeping bag liner. Liners are placed inside the sleeping bags for two reason. Firstly, it adds additional insulation and, secondly, it vastly improves cleanliness. Make sure to get a liner that fits your sleeping bag, such as a  mummy-shaped liner for mummy shaped sleeping bags. Here are some good mummy sleeping bag liners.

Inflatable Pillow

This is a ttoally optional accessory. However, if you really struggle to sleep without a comfy pillow then bringing an inflatable pillow may just be the ticket! Try to purchas an inflatable pillow that can double as a neck cusion for your long-haul flights. Make sure the pillow is easily pack-able and small when deflated.  Here are some affordable inflatable pillow examples.

I think we can all relate in some way to the problem of snoring. After a long day trekking you’re going to want to get a good sleep. However, unfamiliar noises and snoring by other trekkers may keep you awake, no matter how tired you are. Therefore, if you’re a light sleeper we recommend bringing with you a good set of ear plugs.

Trekking Poles and Headgear

Trekking Poles
Annapurna-Circuit-Packing-List-polesGood walking poles can reduce the impact on your knees and leg joints by up to 20 per cent. Trekking poles are particularly useful when descending as the load on your joints increases exponentially when going down.

We recommend getting light-weight (around 350 grams per pair) and adjustable trekking poles as they are easy to store and versatile.

Black Diamond walking poles are excellent.
Sunglasses
Annapurna-Circuit-Packing-List-julboThe UV intensity in the Nepal Himalayas is high due to the altitude and glare from snow. You should bring a good pair of UV protection sunglasses (minimum of 80% light reduction). We recommend mountain sunglasses from Julbo.
Headlamp

Annapurna-Circuit-Packing-List-petzl

You will not be hiking at night, but might need to go to the toilet at night or if you want to read after dark – many of the teahouses and campsites are poorly lit or have no electricity at all.

Petzl Tikka is the best headlamp brand. It’s worthwhile bringing spare batteries as well.

Further Annapurna Circuit Packing List Accessories

Water Bottle or Hydration Bladder
Annapurna-Circuit-Packing-List-bladderMany people suffer from dehydration at high altitudes. You should aim to drink 2.5-3 litres of water a day. The water you take in is more important than food! Heatstroke and dizziness is common for dehydrated trekkers.

Water can either be carried in a standard water bottle – we recommend getting 2 x 1L Camelbak Water Bottles.

Or, if your daypack includes space for a hydration bladder then the 2L Platypus Hydration Bladder is a very good product.

Trekking Towel

A small to medium sized hiking towel can come in great use. LifeVentures or Discovery provide good, quick-drying trekking towels.

Pee Bottle or Funnel (optional) – These are ideal for ladies who need to answer the call of nature at night and don’t have easy access to a toilet. Particularly useful when its sub zero outside. See Freshette Pee Funnels
Small Locks – To protect your belongings in your rucksack or duffle bag
Waterproof Ziplock Bags – These come in handy for storing important / valuable items like your money, a passport and electrical equipment
Camera / Videocamera – The scenery in the Nepal Himalayas is amazing! You will definitely want to capture your experience in HD so if you don’t have a good camera now is the time to get one. Here are some recommended and affordable Digital SLR cameras. Remember, you want to make sure your camera is light but still able to capture high quality images. We like the Panasonic Lumex. If you are more inclined to take a video camera then you might want to consider the GoPro Hero 4. The Silver edition is ideal for hiking activities.
Book / Kindle – Bring some Himalayan reading material. Our favourites are Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer or Ed Viesturs’ No Shortcuts to the Top.
Playing Cards – To keep you and fellow hikers entertained in the evenings
Notebook / Journal and Pen – To chronicle your Annapurna hiking experience

Medications and Personal Gear

Water Purification Tablets – Treating water is standard in Nepal. Please don’t buy bottled water as this just adds to the waste problem in the Nepal Himalaya. When using water treatment tablets make sure to add the right number based on the volume of water in your bottle. A pack of one hundred tablets should be more than enough.
Isotonic Powder – Can be used to flavour your water nicely and helps replace electrolytes, improving energy levels and aiding water absorption. Here are some good Isotonic powdered drinks
Diamox – Also know as acetazolamide, is a medication that can be used as a prophylactic (preventative) solution for altitude sickness. It does not cure altitude sickness and should never therefore never be used as a method to continue ascending to high altitudes. It can however help prevent the onset of altitude sickness and is commonly used by high altitude climbers and trekkers. Please seek proper medical advice before taking Diamox. You can read a detailed article on Diamox here.
General Medications – We recommend taking paracetamol or aspirin for headaches (a common altitude sickness symptom on the Annapurna Circuit) and Imodium for diarrhoea (another common problem as food preparation can be a little unhygienic)
Basic First Aid Kit – If you are joining an organised trek, your guide will most likely be carrying a first aid kit. If you are hiking unsupported or independently then a first aid kit is a must. Here are some compact and good outdoor first aid kits: Outdoor First Aid Kits
Suncream / Lip balm – No one wants burnt skin or cracked lips! Be sure to bring 1 x suncream (SPF 30) and 1 x lip balm
Baby wipes – For quick and easy wet washe when no showers are in sight! bring 1 x baby wipes
Toiletries – Toothbrush and tooth paste (note: please use purified water when brushing teeth as bacteria enters cracked gums easily), bring 2 x rolls of toilet paper (this can easily be bought on the trail but the quality is often poor)
Blister Plasters – The dreaded blisters! We recommend taking Compeed blister plasters
Oximeter – This device is useful in testing Sp02 levels, a good indicator of altitude sickness. Here are some Finger Pulse Oximeters
Hand Sanitizer – Great for disinfecting hands before and after eating, or when they get dirty during the hike

Add To This List

If you feel anything is missing from this Annapurna Circuit packing list we would love to hear your suggestions. You can contact us here or leave a comment below.

Tags: Annapurna Circuit Packing List, Annapurna Circuit Equipment List, Packing List for the Annapurna Circuit, Nepal Packing List, Nepal Trekking Packing List, Packing List for Nepal

FAQ

If you have any further questions or queries about this Annapurna Circuit Packing List then please just get in touch and we’ll respond as soon as possible.

Thank you and happy trekking!