Tav's Top Tips for Trekking to Everest Basecamp

From where to buy your Yak slippers to how to save money on toilet rolls, from how to use the WIFI to where to find the bakery at 5000m. KE Brand &... Read more
Tav's Top Tips for Trekking to Everest Basecamp

From where to buy your Yak slippers to how to save money on toilet rolls, from how to use the WIFI to where to find the bakery at 5000m. KE Brand & PR Manager Tav Kelly shares her top tips for trekking to Everest Basecamp from her Ultimate Everest Trek in Nepal.

“I recently returned from an amazing, challenging, fun, interesting and memorable journey in Nepal called the Ultimate Everest Basecamp Trek. I joined this holiday because I was a solo female traveller and I wanted to share my journey with other likeminded people, plus I liked the security of travelling in a group with an experienced local guide.

Like any adventure that is new, there are highs and lows and things that you learn and pick up along the way. I thought I’d share with you some useful facts and a few things that you 'probably wouldn't know unless you’ve been there and done it’,  that may just make your Everest trek that little bit more enjoyable".


My Top Tips

Buy Yak Slippers and a Yak woolly hat in Namche Bazaar – Although you can find them in Thamel in Kathmandu before the trek, they are more expensive (Yaks live above 4000m) and it’s good to support the local villagers in the mountains. They’re colourful and handmade, weigh nothing, cost about 300 rupees (£2), keep your tootsies and head super warm at altitude and make great presents. I lived in mine from Namche onwards and ended up not even using the ones I had taken with me.


Turn your Nalgene bottle into a colourful flask – Take both a camelback (which is good for lower elevations as the hose can freeze above 5000m) and a 1litre Nalgene bottle. Insulate your bottle with bandages and then cover it with colourful duct tape. Put it this way, I was always the one who’s hot water bottle stayed hot and you’ll never lose it among the nalgene soldiers lined up on the table at teatime.  Plus, it makes everyone elses look boring.


Pack some folded up toilet roll – The higher you go the more expensive things become. On average you will pay 200 rupees for a toilet roll below 4000m. However as soon as you go above you could pay up to 500 per roll – that’s a massive £3 per toilet roll. The amount you blow your nose at this point means you’ll spend a lot of cash. I suggest you fold up toilet rolls from home into food bags (I think I folded about 3 rolls in total) but keep them until you get to the higher lodges. You’ll have more money then for Mars bars and Oreos.


Vicks, strepsils and a buff – Essential Everest Base Camp trekking kit. Vicks – smear it on your buff so when you are walking (or going to the loo) it keeps things fresh and helps you breathe. Strepsils – you will get a cough (everyone does) and a sore throat from the dusty trails and cold air. I packed about two packets and still ran out. Buy lots in Namche if you forget. They are ridiculously expensive the higher you go.


Visit the bakery in Gokyo – The food is pretty good in the lodges, everything from spicy noodles, pizzas and garlic soup. But it does get a little bit monotonous so there's nothing like a hot melted chocolate brownie or apple Danish as a treat. If you are going to Gokyo, visit the 'Bakery' and treat yourself. It’s all homemade and tastes amazing at 5000m.


Hang a suncream stick around your neck – This was such a good idea. A friend told me about this, so I had a sunstick on a shoelace tied around my neck while trekking. The sun is gorgeous and warm, but strong so you can burn your face. Plus your lips get really dry so it’s a handy bit of kit.


Take a jar of marmite – If you are a marmite lover, find room for this in your bag. The toast in the lodges in Nepal is quite sweet and the yak butter makes it even sweeter. If only I’d taken a tub.......


Stay on the inside of the trails - Yaks and Dzo (a Yak/Cow hybrid) rule the trails. You can hear them coming from a long way away with their big Alpine style bells, so I recommend staying out their way on the inside of the trail and giving them plenty of space. I may have just slipped off the trail once while taking a photo after a gentle nudge from a Dzo...lesson learnt.


Treat yourself to a Hot Chocolate (and rum) in Cafe 8848 in Namche – This funky little café also shows films in the afternoon which is great for your acclimatisation day in Namche. The hot chocolate (with rum) here is awesome. If it's not too cold it's nice to while some time away on the terrace watching the donkeys walk by and people shopping.


Pack a small collapsible bowl – This is something I wish I had taken for two reasons. It’s handy to put water from your bottle in to clean your teeth and also to pop some hot water in to wash your face which feels so good when you can't shower for a while. Remember though to pack a teeny weeny camping facecloth. 


Take dried fruits for your porridge – Breakfast can get a bit dull sometimes. There is variety (pancakes, toast etc) but porridge is served most morning and can be fairly bland. I was very happy I’d taken a big bag of dried fruits and chocolate buttons to add a bit of fruitiness.


Yes there is WIFI – It’s hard to believe, but there is WIFI all the way to basecamp if you want it. It’s called Everest Link and normally costs about 600 rupees (£4) for 2mb of data. Just remember to turn off all of your automatic updates, notifications and data roaming, otherwise it will last you about 5 minutes. Turn the WIFI off when you’re not using it and it will last you a whole day if not more. Plus I found out that you can use it in more than one lodge...


Pack a travel washing line with hooks – They're tiny and super handy. It’s pretty much the only way to dry anything if you need to wash it when you aren’t able to hang it outside in the sun. I forgot mine and really wished I hadn’t. Hanging your smalls in the lounge around the yak burner isn't really an option.


Find the secret view from the ridge at Gokyo - You may be tired on your walk up from Machermo, but find the energy to walk up past the 'Bakery' on to the ridge (maybe 100m climb) and you will be blessed with the most amazing view of the Ngozumba glacier, the longest glacier in Nepal. Plus you’ll have incredible views of Cho Oyo too. This isn’t on the itinerary.


Pack some binoculars – You can see climbers on Ama Dablam and Island Peak on the way around and it’s fantastic watching them climb from a distance.


Learn Yak Sh*t with the locals -  Take a pack of cards or buy some in Namche (for about 200 rupees) because the porters and leaders love to join in and it’s such a great way to have some fun in the afternoon while resting in the lodges. Remember to ask them to teach you how to play a fun local game called ‘Yak Sh*t’.


Buy an oil painting from the Universal Art Gallery in Thamel - At the end of your Everest trek you’ll have time to shop til you drop in Kathmandu. Find the Universal Art Gallery as they have amazing paintings and pack your picture really well to take home. I got my oil painting on leather for less than $20 when others were charging $45. You will need to barter though but it is worth every penny.


If you feel inspired by Tav's journey trekking Everest Base Camp then get in touch with us and start your adventure today!

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