Our equipment recommendations for trekking in Bhutan
Waterproof duffle bag:
To carry your main gear we recommend using a 80-90L duffle bag.
Your main gear will be carried by a mule (up to 15kg) .You will need to carry your own daypack. 30-40L is sufficient. We recommend Osprey daypacks.
You will need a 4-season or -20 Deg C sleeping bag and compression sack. We recommend Mountain Hardwear or The North Face sleeping bags.
Trekking poles can reduce the impact on your joints by up to 20%. They are great for going down the steep Himalayan passes! We recommend adjustable Black Diamond trekking poles.
Capacity to carry at least 2 litres of water. Wide-mouthed Nalgene bottles are required as they are less likely to freeze than bladders. A neoprene cover is advisable to help insulate the bottle at higher elevations.
Preferably wide-brimmed for protection, and with a neck cover if you aren't going to be using a neck gaiter.
Warm beanie style hat:
Go for a version of beanie that is either knitted or fleeced for extra warmth.
Neck gaiter or balaclava:
It can get very chilly in the Himalayas. We recommend bringing a neck gaiter or bandana. The most versatile options are made by Buff or Hoo-Rag Headwear.
Choose a pair of high UV protection glasses. Julbo are a great mountain sunglass brand but any brand with high UV protection will suffice.
You will need a headlamp with good light output for any late night toilet journeys or early morning wake up calls. Petzl make market-leading and affordable headlamps.
Hands and Feet
For daily use we recommend lightweight, fleece or quick drying fabric gloves. Berghaus and The North Face make good lightweight gloves.
Insulated heavyweight mittens with safety straps that fit over your liner gloves to provide additional warmth and wind protection. They have to be warm and extremely weather-proof.
3-4 pairs of outer socks and 2-3 pairs of liner socks. We also recommend bringing a minimum of 1 x thick thermal socks for every day you will be trekking over 4,500m. Merino wool is the best material and Bridgedale or Smartwool make good trekking socks.
To wear around camp after a day's trek we recommend bringing a pair of training shoes or sandals.
The snowy conditions in the higher areas of the Himalayas may require a little more grip than your trekking boot is able to provide. This is where micro spikes will really come in handy!
Thermal base layer:
2 x thermal base layer, ideally made from merino wool. No cotton. Recommended brand is Icebreaker.
Long sleeved shirt:
Go for a light or medium weight, moisture wicking long sleeve shirt (x2). Icebreaker, Berghaus and Under Armour make great breathable trekking shirts.
Fleece or Soft shell jacket:
A mid-weight Polartec fleece jacket is ideal for the Himalayas. Berghaus, Helly Hansen and The North Face all make great fleeces.
Hard shell outer jacket:
A water/windproof hard shell outer jacket to protect you from the elements. Goretex material is best. Recommended brands include The North Face, Berghaus and Mountain Equipment.
A good quality, warm, down or Primaloft jacket is required for the cold nights. Recommended brands include The North Face, Rab and Mountain Equipment.
'Lightweight' or 'silk weight' base layer for your legs. Merino wool is preferable. Recommended brand is Icebreaker.
Light or medium weight (x1) trekking trousers. Convertible trousers are an option. Recommended brands include Craghoppers and Columbia.
Hard shell trousers:
To protect yourself from the elements you need a good pair of waterproof / windproof hard shell trousers. Ideally Goretex. Mountain Equipment, The North Face and Rab make good outer trousers.
Odds and Sods
Sun and lip screen:
High SPF sunscreen and lip protection balm. SPF 40 or higher.
Toothbrush and toothpaste:
Ideally travel size.
Wet wipes and hand sanitizer:
Staying clean on any long trek can be challenging. Wet wipes and hand sanitizer are a huge help.
Personal medicines and medical kit:
We recommend bringing Paracetamol and Imodium at a minimum.
Pee bottle (optional):
Useful for late night toilet needs when it is freezing outside.
For light sleepers. Snoring can be pretty bad in camp.
Boiled sweets, nuts, energy bars and dried fruit are all a good shout.
Only required if your main duffle bag or rucksack is not waterproof. Sturdy rubble sacks will also help to keep your kit dry.
Camera and spare batteries:
Unless you are a keen photographer we recommend taking a good quality and lightweight point and shoot camera like the Panasonic Lumix.
Perfect for washing hands and face each day, especially if you don't want to carry enough wet wipes for the entire trip.