Boots & Bags for Base Camp

Boots and bags are possibly the two most important pieces of equipment you can have and can make or break the Everest Base Camp trek for you. For this video I’m joined by Kerrie, who works in our Ops team but is also a mountain leader. Kerrie has many years of experience working for outdoor clothing companies, so is extremely knowledgeable about kit.

Boots & Bags for Base Camp

Shoes vs Boots, what’s best and why?

For a trip like Everest Base Camp boots are 100% the way to go. The reason for that is the uneven terrain, not necessarily technical under foot but you need something to support your feet and support your ankles. You also don’t want anything too flexible because excessive foot movement can cause foot fatigue and obviously it’s a multi-day trip so if you’re on your feet every day for 7 or so hours the last thing you need is tired, achy feet and blisters. So definitely boots.


When I’m looking at boots, either assessing my own at home or in shops, what should I be looking for?

Predominantly you want something that fits, you’d be surprised at how many people get that wrong. In terms of boots you need to have ones with full ankle support. You can get some that are called mid boots where the ankle support doesn’t come up as high. Mid boots tend to be lighter, made from fabric and not leather, making them lighter and more flexible. Much like walking shoes this makes them less suitable for the Everest Base Camp trek as well because they are just too flexible. A proper boot will have full ankle support and be nice and sturdy with a nice bit of flex, but you can’t bend it in half. You also need to look at the tread on the sole and have good grip for support.


I’ve got a selection of shoes to look at, could you assess them as too their suitability? To start with, how about my fell running shoes?

I’m afraid they are not the best for Everest Base Camp. While they’re great for running up the fells they don’t offer enough support for multi-day trekking, carrying a pack. As a demonstration you can bend them in half, which is not ideal for a long distance walking boot.


How about my day to day approach walking shoes?

These are better than the fell running shoes. But, what they have in terms of sturdiness they lack in ankle support.


How about these walking boots?

These tick all the boxes. They’re supportive, not too heavy, not too stiff. Like the three little bears they’re just right.


What about mountaineering boots with B2 crampon capability?

They look very Himalayan and are suitable for some higher altitude treks, but not Everest Base Camp. They weigh a tonne and have no flexibility. They’re just not designed for weeks of trekking on the trail.


Moving onto bags, what size do we need for the Everest Base Camp Trek?

You want at least 30 litres. Rucksacks are measured in litres because it is the size of volume that depicts how much you can carry. Don’t get too carried away with size because generally if you buy a bigger pack thinking you might need the extra space, you will just end up filling it with stuff you don’t need. 30 to 35 litres is something that we would call a good minimum for a day pack.


What features do we need to look for on a rucksack for the Everest Base Camp Trek?

Much like the boots, the main consideration with the bag is it fits and the main thing to consider when trying it on is the back length. Some bags will come in different back lengths others will have adjustable compartments on the back, so it’s worth looking at the different adjustable concepts.

The hip belt should fit around the hips. I see a lot of people with it around the waist, but how the bag is designed to distribute the weight is by going through the hips. So, if the hip belt is not quite right then the load isn’t going to be carried properly so you will end up with shoulder pain and back pain. Which if your boots also don’t fit, combined with blisters, means you’re going to have a horrible time.


I’ve brought in a couple of bags to assess. How about this first one. My normal work bag?

Whilst it’s a lovely colour you can see there’s no way of adjusting the fit of the shoulders or the back and there’s no hip belt. So for a prolonged use, over multiple days, it’s not going to cut it.


The next one is my general hill backpack. What about this one?

This certainly ticks a lot of boxes. It’s got adjustable shoulders and an adjustable back support and a nice padded hip belt with what I call snack pockets, although that’s maybe not a technical term. But, it’s often the little pockets and straps that help make it a more useful bag.

In terms of litres, this one is 45 so a perfect size.


My last one is a similar one to the previous one, but a few little differences. What do you think of it?

Again, it’s got all the useful features that we’re looking for. It’s got a hip belt and an adjustable back with a nice bit of ventilation. But again the main thing to consider is the fit and a good outdoor shop can help with that.


That brings me to my last question. Online versus shop. Is it worth going into a shop or can you just buy online?

Buying online has its place. But, if you’ve never had walking boots before or the last pair of boots you bought were 10 years ago then going into a shop and having your feet measured is going to make a huge difference. And the same with the bags.



Kerry works in the Ops department so you can send her any questions about kit, not just for the Everest Base Camp trek, but any of our trips, through our sales team who will pass them over to her.

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