Summer can be a very rewarding time for a trek in the Himalayas…comfortable weather, beautiful colours, forests in bloom and a much easier time up and down the hill!
From a gear perspective, while most of the essentials remain the same anytime of the year, but many trek accessories change completely compared to a snow trek. Fundamentally, instead of layering up to bulwark against the cold weather during a winter trek, we need to cover up to protect the skin from the sun and harmful UV rays and manage our sweat more effectively.
Here is our definitive packing list for a summer trek based on our experience in providing gear to hundreds of trekkers over the years and testing a wide variety of outdoor gear available in India over the last 6 years. This list is suitable for temperatures upto -5 * C and for altitudes of upto 13000-14000 feet. Each trek will have it’s minor variations, but you may use this list as a starting point in preparing for your trek.
Backpacks and Luggage:
While what all you carry is important, what you carry it all in is also important. Trekking backpacks are different from regular travel backpacks/ duffles/ carryalls. Main difference is in the how the backpack carrying system (back part of the backpack) is designed – it needs to have a well cushioned back and strap system, rigid frame and a thick hip belt, so that the weight transfer is more even (ref image below). For summer treks, we would additionally pay attention to how the carrying system allows for airflow – superior backpacks use breathable materials and clever designs to allow better airflow, that it does not become to hot and sweaty for your back. Also check if the backpack has a pocket for a hydration pack.
The Deuter Aircontact backpack: An example of an excellent carrying system that distributes weight effectively and allows for great airflow
Shoes & Footwear
Summer also means streams, waterfalls and even rain. Thus, ensuring that your trek shoes are waterproof continues to be important. Even more important is to have breathable waterproofing, so that your feet remain dry as sweat buildup can cause your foot’s skin to blister and peel – a very painful prospect on a trek! Hence, we recommend Goretex waterproofed shoes such as these Salomon X Ultra Mids. Do pay attention to your sock material and avoid cotton ones for the same reasons, as it does not wick sweat well atall.
Ofcourse, you can stick to your mobile phone for your clicking. However, it may be wise to save the phone battery for other needs or it may just prove to be inadequate for doing justice to the beauty in front of you. We recommend a Gopro Max 360 or this Insta360 Go 2 as an ideal trekking camera. These are compact, easy to use and provide better weather protection than your phone. Do carry a power bank for charging or extra batteries, as battery performance may drop in colder weather.
Jackets & Clothing
The main advice here is to ensure that your skin remains covered as much as possible during the trek. The mountain sun can be extremely harsh and your skin can tan/burn/ peel off in no time and just sun screen wont be enough to protect it. Hence, ensure you wear a hat, neck gaiters, full sleeve tees etc to protect these often overlooked parts of your skin. Another important thing to keep in mind is not go overboard in packing clothes. One can easily use trekking tees and pants on multiple days – just lay them out on the tent to dry and air out, after the trek is over.
Hydrating effectively will ensure you are protected from AMS and dehydration. A hydration pack, which is a pouch of water with a tube, can me beneficial in ensuring that you are sipping water continuously. With water flasks, one issue is that you may need to remove your backpack to access it and that can be quite annoying.
Toiletries and Knick Knacks
A lot of this is down to personal preference, so use the above as just a pointer. Do ensure though that you carry the smallest size of toiletries available/ required, including medicines. This will save a ton of weight and space in your backpack.
If you have any questions on the gear and where to procure them, we are always reachable on our helpline number (9004 998 998) or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Residents of Mumbai/ Pune can ofcourse drop in at our stores in these cities for a chat. We are now shipping trekking gear on Rent nationwide, so feel free to drop in a line, wherever you are!