8 Hacks for Your First Trek in Nepal

Resting during a school trek in Nepal | Greg Pike
Resting during a school trek in Nepal | Greg Pike
It’s tricky to decide on a destination for your overseas school program or your Schoolies, especially when you have so many options out there. Why not venture to the destinations less travelled such as Nepal and support communities in need? You’ll be surprised to discover you can easily find all sorts of info about Nepal on Google.

To help you get started, here are some travel hacks from our frequent adventurers to make your first trek in Nepal easier.

1. Down boots are your friend.
The year before I went to Nepal, I hiked the Overland Track in Tasmania. It was full pack trekking, so anything deemed unnecessary for survival was culled. The first evening at camp, one of our seemingly tough group members donned a pair of down booties. It took all of three seconds for me to mentally place these wacky Michelin Man looking shoes on the ‘unnecessary’ list. As it later turned out, this person had been on treks all over the world and knew what he was doing. Fast forward one year and I’m sitting in Gorak Shep with, you guessed it, a pair of down booties on my weary feet. Do not underestimate the power of the weird and wonderful footwear.

2. And so is a hot water bottle.
Hydration is crucial, especially at altitude, so you’re going to have an assortment of water drinking contraptions that adorn your backpack. Fill your bottles with boiled water at night and make use of these steamy bottles of goodness by putting them in your sleeping bag before you settle in. Just make sure the bottles are unbreakable and sealed very tightly.

3. Keep your batteries warm.
Battery life suffers in cold temperatures and you most likely won’t be able to recharge it. Keep them in a sock at the bottom of your sleeping bag each night to help prolong the inevitable.

4. Take it slooooow.
Acclimatisation is serious business and it can be life threatening if not treated with care. While on the trek, drink lots of water, continue to eat even if you lose your appetite and go slow. If you feel unwell at any point in time, don’t hesitate to let your guide know. In the words of the Nepalese, ‘slowly-slowly’ wins the race.

5. You need to train for the trek.
Hiking in the Himalaya requires endurance and fitness. You’ll want to do a mix of day walks with and without a full pack, cycling and cardio workouts for at least 3 months prior to your trek. You wouldn’t want to give up halfway on your trek and miss out on the full experience.

6. Always have two towels handy.
When you wash up in the morning, have 2 towels at hand - one to soak in the water to clean yourself with, and one to dry yourself with because it’s always cold. Tie them to the straps of your backpack during the day and they’ll be dry and ready for use when you’re back in camp.

7. Walk on the mountain side of the trail.
Always walk on the inner edge of the trial (the mountain side). You’ll frequently come across yaks that are sharing the trail with you, which gives living on the edge a whole new meaning, and you need to step aside to let them pass. Keep an ear out for the sound of their bells up ahead.

8. Act on the urge to get up at night.
Yes, it’s warm in your sleeping bag and cold outside. Yes, it’s dark and you need to navigate to the toilet set up by torch light. Once you get past that, you will be a happy person because the crisp, starry Himalaya night sky is a sight to be seen and a memory to capture.

Interested in bringing your students to Nepal? Get in touch and we can customise a program to suit your school's learning objectives and budget.

If you are a student and want to explore Nepal for your Schoolies, you can now register for our 2019 alternative Schoolies, where you can meet like-minded people, help repair a remote school and make a difference in this world.

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