A guide to Adventures, Equipment & Survival

Nepal, Tibet or Bhutan are amongst the most rewarding places in the world to experience breathtaking landscapes of untamed mountain ranges, enormous valleys and wild rivers. The rewards and challenges of sharing this with children are incredible! It’s a life changing experience for everyone.  The joy of children’s spontaneity in interactions or observations helps remind me, it’s the little things. Family centric cultures from babies to the elderly living working and sharing together are to be appreciated and enjoyed. The rich and diverse cultures and history of the Himalayan nations and their beautiful people are some of the most rewarding memories you leave with. To share this with kids in their formative years is priceless…

This article is primarily about getting prepared and considering the right options with equipment and planning to make sure that the trip is a rewarding and enjoyable experience for everyone.

A Himalayan adventure with children may seem like a difficult option initially. With some research of the trekking regions and various options for guided tours, small groups or personalised programs, it’s really no harder than planning any adventurous holiday. We chose to use a guide to help us structure a trip that was suitable for kids and who had experience with guiding all ages. A porter was engaged to carry the majority of their gear except a day pack with essentials as we didn’t want their memory to be of a hard fought struggle carrying a pack through the mountains. Plan an agenda with flexibility to allow time to engage with people, maybe take a bit longer than you thought and not worry about the time. If the weather turns bad for a day, talk about it and include them in the alternatives and options to use the day. We’ve found that by packing a few extra things like a soccer ball or a bunch of handballs meant we could play anywhere other kids were. Bundles of pencils to give away (far better than sweets), packs of cards or UNO for games. Lots of places had chess sets. We also give kids their own compact camera to take photos with and help them keep a bit of a journal of how they saw the trip and their memories. ABC and spotto games are a great way to pass time for hungry bellies and tired legs…

In planning for a Himalayan trip, here is some of the plans and the equipment that we’ve found important to consider.

Health

  • See your doctor and discuss what immunisations are needed to be safe. If you are going to altitudes above 2500m discuss altitude tablets and managing symptoms.
  • I recommend taking a probiotic for your gut health. Also consider some protein powder and electrolyte powders. Gets tasteless and a bit repetitive after a few weeks, but makes a big difference.
  • Water purification tablets such as Micropur Forte which are the best. Take a water filter such Katadyn Vario or Mini with ceramic filter cartridges.
  • Pack a good first aid kit for travelling with all the basics including sunscreen, lip balm and hand sanitiser. Hygiene is a constant challenge with kids, but amplified importance to manage when travelling away from cities. Gastrolyte and something for upset stomachs would also be worth taking.

CLOTHING

  • Merino base layers are incredibly warm, flexible thermal regulation, stretchy, low odour retention, moisture wicking, performance. There are a number of wool weights to help get your layering right.
  • A full seam sealed and highly breathable rain shell such as Marmot Precip or Marmot Minimalist Gore-Tex. It will also be your key windproof layer. Great if it’s packable or rolls down to a compact size.
  • Packing a down or synthetic filled jacket is critical to keep you warm and insulated from the cold. The nights and mornings are cold especially at altitude. It can also be used as a layer under rain shell for colder conditions. For more information on the best down & synthetic options head here.
  • neck gator for warmth and also good for dust, windy days and sun protection. Plus a beanie and broadbrim hat. Sometimes every piece gets used in a single day with changing conditions.
  • A light weight long sleeve trekking shirt like the Kuhl Airspeed shirt has a wide range of uses including sun protection, heat regulation with vents and flexibility. A generic colour makes it easy to use for multiple days and different settings.

  • You may need to get many days out of your walking pants. It can be hot, cold, wet, dusty or pretty much any condition. Look for something that has some room to move, light weight, quick drying and sun rated. Check out the Marmot women’s Lobo’s Pant and men’s Arch Rock Pant They tick every box! A similar pair of shorts or zip offs are handy for lower altitudes which can get hot in the valleys.
  • Socks are a key piece of equipment often overlooked. If you have problems with your feet, it can bring your adventures to a standstill. Good socks such as the Wigwam Merino Comfort Hiker or Merino Trail Mix Fusion will provide you with back to back days of use, keeping your feet dryer with better moisture wicking and thermal regulation. Always good to have a change of socks to wear at night.
  • Gloves to use in the mornings and evenings as that’s when it’s coldest. Soft shell gloves are a great option as they are windproof and water resistant, whilst maintaining dexterity to use your hiking poles.
  • Consider what underwear you take too. There is precious little opportunity to wash clothing, so light weight quick dry antimicrobial options are the best. Consider the Exofficio Give n Go

EQUIPMENT

  • A key piece of gear for multiday walks are trekking poles. Komperdell Explorer Powerlock 3 are ideal. Light, strong and compact to keep you upright on the tracks and support you on the way down as well as up.
  • Properly fitted boots that can carry a loaded pack from 5kg – 20kg (depending on your trip style). I would recommend Gore-tex water proof boots with a Vibram sole such as Scarpa Delta or Kailash men’s or women’s. Excellent midsole and ankle support. Take your orthotics if you wear them to be fitted.

  • The right trekking pack can make or break your trip. Take time here to find the right capacity and back length for your needs. Look at the Osprey Aether, Atmos for men or Osprey Ariel, Aura for women’s fit harness.
  • A down sleeping bag that is rated -5c to -9c depending on the season you are going. However, lightweight, compact, full side zip bag with a hood would be the preference. Many sleeping bags are available in womens, regular and long lengths.
  • For additional warmth and temperature regulation a sleeping bag liner is a key piece of gear to take.
  • A toiletry kit to keep all your essentials together such as an Osprey Roll up washbag that hangs up in the small rooms, has a mirror and lots of zip compartments. Good on the plane too.
  • Pack liners or internal stuff sacks inside your pack ensure your kit stays dry and well organised. Osprey Ultralight pack liners and dry sacks in multiple colours to help manage your gear both clean and dirty.
  • Hydration is super important to manage and monitor. I would recommend the Osprey Hydraulics reservoir with the hose connect kit. Plus a 1litre Nalgene Tritan wide mouth bottle that fits your water filter.
  • A sturdy and reliable water resistant headlight that is light and compact such as Princeton Tec SYNC.
  • Gear Aid – Field Repair kits for all the small wear and tear issues that arise when gear is working hard.
  • Sunglasses, broad brim hat, a buff of some description and a beanie to cover all headwear bases.

FOOD

Unless you are going expedition style with yaks, cooks and camping you will most likely be eating in small tea houses where the food is prepared to order from locally sourced and grown produce. Dahl bat (rice, lentils and stir fried vegetables) is the staple meal, although most tea houses cater for many tastes including pasta meals and even pizza. Keep in mind that all the sweets, drinks and packaged western food you buy has been carried there by porter and there is no recycling. All packaging is burned or discarded.

Some extra things to take with you that can be good to have.

  • Biscuits & muesli bars
  • Chocolate blocks
  • Dried fruit & nuts
  • Electrolytes and protein powder options.

Whichever style of trip you lean towards, do your research before you go and talk with others that have been. Make sure you plan ahead and be equipped for a range of adventures so you can make the most of the opportunities that come along the way. Nepal is for everyone from young children to anyone capable of walking a few hours.  A trek can be as hard or easy as you make it and ultimately very rewarding for those that want to walk the path less travelled.

See you in the mountains.

Namaste!

 

About The Author

Rob Saunders

Rob has worked in the outdoor adventure and climbing industry for over 20 years. A lifelong thirst to experience new places, meet the people and travel their country. Rock climbing, cycling and trekking has taken him on years abroad to North America, Europe, Nepal and the Asia pacific. From climbing big walls to riding the Swiss Alps and trekking peaks of the Himalayas. Currently manages a consultancy firm with his partner and is planning the next adventure with his kids to Nepal in winter.

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