Easily one of the first choices for trekking enthusiasts in Nepal, there is only a handful of them who haven’t heard of Annapurna Circuit. Variance in the topography, culture, and the ecosystem of this circuit in Central Nepal plays perfectly with the constant assembly of glorious mountains, their sated white against the blue of the sky.
Starting from Besisahar inside the Marsyangdi River Valley, the trail will take you through rows of green hills filled with tall, steep gorges, waterfalls that no one could complain about, and fields that promise life.
You’ll reach the barren plains of mystique Manang, located at the edge of the Tibetan Plateau, from where you’ll head towards Muktinath, after having a well-deserved moment at the Thorung La Pass (5,416 m).
After deciding on the trek package that calls your name, or customizing one for yourself, having a heads up on the weather or time of the month that’s best suited for you is highly advised.
The final step would be to prepare all the necessary equipment and gear to ensure your trek would be as remarkable as it’ll ever be. Keep reading so you don’t miss a single thing on the journey that will stay with you throughout your lifetime.
Annapurna Circuit Trek Packing List
The trail spans over 160-230 km in total length and is one of the most geographically diverse terrains that can be found in Nepal.
The circuit includes the tropical climate at the altitude of around 800 meters, all the way to the sub-zero weather above 5000 meters, and everything in between.
This alteration in climate within a matter of few days, as well as your ever-changing surroundings, will certainly demand quite a number of materials to make your time on the trail easier.
Changing seasons should also be kept in consideration, as the contrast of the weather between certain months is very extreme.
The weight that you’ll be able to bear while being on your feet for 6-8 hours a day, ascending and descending varieties of terrain, would be approximately 10 kilos. Porters could obviously be hired, but it’s a no-brainer that you’d have to be smart when packing for the trek.
Below I’ve listed all of the standard absolute essentials, as well as other stuff that I recommend you to carry along.
This section requires the largest amount of space in your pack. Careful contemplation should be made in order to not over-pack.
Carrying at least 5 pairs of quick-drying, easy breathing underwears is a must. There is quite an assortment of the types of underwear these days, for both men and women. Experiment with a handful of them, and bring along your most comfortable and versatile ones.
Ladies! I cannot emphasize how crucial it is to carry at least two sports bras. Great support, comfortable straps, and light, breathable fabric is what you must look out for.
Thermals are an essential, absolutely necessary in the higher altitudes. They should feel snug, comfortable and non-restricting. It should come with a body-heat trapping technology.
Two thermals for the upper body and one for the lower as a base layer should be enough to give you sufficient warmth. You’ll thank yourself for packing these thermals when passing the night in elevation.
Long-sleeved shirts are also an absolute must during a trek. They’re so versatile, comfortable, and better in all means. Great for much-needed sun protection as well.
Short sleeved t-shirts should also be taken along, for those days when the sun’s out and you might feel stuffy. T-shirts are also ideal for travel on the road.
An important tip would be to steer clear of cotton as much as possible. Opt for synthetics, as they’re lighter and are easier and faster to wash and dry.
Fleece is a staple in treks like this. They should be full-zip, has heat-locking but breathable properties, and should pack down nice and compact. Look out for one that has great warmth to weight ratio and allows effective moisture transfer.
An insulating jacket during treks like this is certainly a fundamental item. It’s lightweight, and probably the biggest contender for providing warmth. Investing in a great one should last you through years on end.
Lower body wear
The idea may not seem completely rational to some of us, but investing in a pair of hiking trousers or pants is a 100% worth it. There is numerous kind available in the market.
Keep an eye out for light, quick drying, semi-waterproof, and zip off kind.
There are also some convertible hiking trousers, that can provide you with both pants, and shorts, however you’d prefer them to be.
Woolen or fleece trousers are a vital part of the pack during winter.
However, if you want to sleep completely warm and cozy, even in the highest of elevations, carrying one along with you despite the season shouldn’t be a bad idea. Opting for one that compresses light and small would be ideal.
As the name itself is self-explanatory, a waterproof/windproof trousers made its way to the essentials list, since the climate cannot always be predictable, and it’s always best to prepare for the unseen.
This thing may not be the smallest thing to carry in your backpack, but the extra space is undoubtedly worth it.
- 2 Long Sleeve Shirt
- 2 Short Sleeve T-Shirt
- 2 Long Sleeve Thermals
- 1 Fleece
- 1 Waterproof Down Jacket
- 1 Thermal Trousers
- 2 Hiking Trousers ( or 1 Trousers and 1 Shorts)
- 1 Waterproof/Windproof Trousers
- 1 Fleece or Woollen Trousers
- 2 Sports Bras
- 5 Sports Underwear
Blisters are some of the worst things that can happen to you mid-trek. In order to prevent that, socks are as important as a pair of decent boots can be.
3 Pair of Hiking Socks
3 pairs of regular hiking socks are a safe bet. Snug fit, breathable, light, and moisture-sucking socks should be on the lookout for.
Be sure to pack the ones that you’ve used a couple times for a hassle-free experience.
1 Pair of Thermal Socks
Add a pair of thermal socks to the list as well. Your feet too deserves to be pampered in the sub-zero temperature.
1 Pair of Hiking Boots
Trekking without a pair of good shoes would be equivalent to trekking just for the discomfort. As mentioned earlier, the circuit has one of the most diverse geographies in Nepal. You’ll be required to set foot on firm plains, muddy ground, grainy riverbanks, wet snow, and much more.
You’d surely want to choose wisely for the base of your body that takes you through these terrains day by day. It is suggested that you go for a size that’s a little higher than your normal measurement, like1/2 a size up.
Features such as being lightweight, comfortably cushioned, durable, and a reasonable grip on the outsole should make the cut for the ideal hiking shoes.
Don’t make the rookie mistake of buying brand new shoes right before the trek. Using them a handful of times prior to the trek, and making sure they’re properly broken in will save you and the team you decided to come along with a lot of inconveniences.
1 Pair of Sandals/Flip-Flops
Carrying a pair of sandals or flip-flops might seem like a waste of space for a lot of you, but it’s very much needed during the time duration you’ll spend in the tea-houses and hotels.
While using the bathroom, while in the shower, while taking a walk around the area, while resting in warmer regions, etc there are many ways that this underrated equipment can come in handy.
It’s not really a trek until you are required to sleep in your sleeping bags. A four-seasons bag, with a rating of at least -10 degrees C is one of the best and most versatile ones that you can find on the market.
A cone-shaped sleeping bag, with an enclosed hood and two-way zippers, are the ones that we’d recommend the most.
You can also find warm synthetic alternatives that works well too. The latter is cheaper as well.
A sleeping bag liner is also added on the list since it barely takes up any space in your pack while being very handy where it’s not particularly freezing.
Since the climatic zones in this circuit vary vastly, a sleeping bag liner would feel heavenly in comparison to the full sized bag. Moreover, it can be easily used to provide more insulation, along with the bag itself, if needed.
- 1 Sleeping Bag
- 1 Sleeping Bag Liner
There are quite a number of accessories you should be equipped with but it won’t be of any problem at all since most of these items are rather small and compact to tuck away freely.
Gaiters are protection garments for our legs. They are usually waterproof, and cover a good part of the lower half of our legs, the ankle to the top of our calf to be specific. They act as a barrier from water, snow, stones, mud, and dust. They weigh very little and are very easy to pack away.
6-8 continuous hours on the trail every single can be quite the stress on our body as it is.
Sunglasses aids on taking that stress away from our eyes at the least. The sun gets harsher as the altitude rises, and the glasses block away not only the UV rays but also gusts of wind, snow etc.
Inner and outer Gloves
We list two types of gloves here because one cannot do without the other, and it’s best advised to have both of them on together for the maximum result.
The inner gloves are thin, light, breathable, and hug every crevice of your hand. They’re stretchy and almost feel like nothing after putting them on for a while. They dry quickly as well.
The outer gloves are bulkier, but more effective against the cold too; similar to the layers of our clothing throughout the trek. They’re usually waterproof, extremely warm, and quite durable. These together with the inner gloves feel and work the best together.
You can’t go through this trek without a headband or a beanie and not feel like your head would soon detach from your body due to the cold. The theory is simple behind these, they’re supposed to keep one of the most vital parts of the body warm; the head. They usually come in a woolen material, and you’ll find yourself digging for them in the mornings and nights specifically.
You have no idea how handy these come until the mid-day window at lower elevations arrive. Clear skies during day-time are always a blessing, and the hat will let you gawk at everything around you without you having to squint poorly.
Your face and neck will be nicely protected. They’re also pretty light to travel with.
For some of you confused about why I included the swimsuit in this list, know that you will thank me subconsciously when you’ll arrive at Tatopani.
It’s filled with natural hot spring water, and you’ll visit there towards the end of your trek. Keep in mind that Nepalis are not quite used to explicit get-ups, and would recommend your swimsuits to be as discreet as possible.
A universal adapter will ensure you that your devices will be recharged wherever electricity flows. It comes really handy at tea-houses, airports, etc.
Carrying a headlamp along with you is crucial since most of the places in the circuit might not have the best lighting facilities. Early starts and late traverses are much more convenient.
Another reason to prefer headlamps over anything else is how they allow you to become hands-free. Try and find a solar-powered one or be equipped with additional batteries to last you throughout the journey.
- 1 Universal Adapter
- 1 Headlight
The section includes all the basic medications a general medical stash should have. If you’re on specific prescriptions, bring along the adequate amount of dose with you.
Bear in mind that it might be hard to find a health post that provides anything but the primary medicines around the circuit.
Getting sick is one of the worst things that could happen to you on a trek, so have water purification tablets on you at all cost. Even if it might seem tempting, forget about gulping water straight from the stream, however clear and glistening it might be.
Be equipped with Diamox. Even though the Annapurna Circuit allows for gentler acclimatization in comparison to other circuits, Prevention is always better than cure!
A common misconception, however, is that Diamox cures altitude sickness, which is not the case. Diamox prevents or subdues Acute Mountain Sickness. It does not cure it, and continuing to ascend towards higher altitude while the symptoms still prevail is advised against.
Consulting a professional regarding the correct use of this medicine at a local health post is worth a shot.
Having Paracetamol and Imodium at hand will only do you well. Paracetamol helps with headaches, nausea and other symptoms that could come with fatigue. Imodium deals with sudden diarrhea, which can never be pleasant.
Carrying an insect repellent is also essential. You’ll be on our foot all day, and pesky bites from bugs shouldn’t be your distraction from all the marvel around you.
Trekking along with antiseptic wipes and plasters are more of a general sense, but it is important enough to be mentioned on the list. The wipes and plasters can clean and tuck away any small wound.
Bandages and antiseptic creams can be used in various situations, having a wide range of versatility.
- Chlorine Dioxide Tablets/ Water Purification Tablets
- Diamox/ Altitude Sickness tablet
- Insect Repellent
- Small Bandages and plasters
- Antiseptic Wipes
- Antiseptic Cream
These items are what we all normally require on a daily, or every other day basis, more so than “trekking essentials”. Basically, we need these things on and off the trail. Nevertheless, it’s still important to carry these with you as you traverse the circuit.
- Toilet Paper
- 2 Small Towels
- Toothpaste + toothbrush
- Multi-purpose Soap
- Hand Sanitizer
- Female Hygiene Products
- Lip Balm
- Pee Funnel for Female
The last section in this pack is kind of random and off-the-beat, but I still think they’re all absolutely worth taking with you to the trek. All the items listed below are pretty self-explanatory:
- 2 Water Bottles
- Duct tape
- Compass or GPS
- Waterproof Cover for Bag
- Ziploc bags
- Notebook and Paper
- Pocket Knife
- Lock and Key
There is very little that the Annapurna Circuit Trek cannot provide you with. Undoubtedly one of the best treks in Nepal, and possibly the World, in terms of the places you visit, sights you see, cultures you come across, and altitudes you climb over.
If you’re one of those people who’s getting ready for this rather humbling journey, then we hope the list that we’ve created above would be of some help at the least.
All the items that we’ve mentioned are completely based on our opinion and experience. You are absolutely welcome to save this article for future reference or change some things according to your needs.
Hope this article helped you decide to take up this trek with us for the good. We’re happily present to your service! Do contact us for any further queries.