Over time I’ve put together several packing lists for different treks, but I’ve never created a female packing list for Nepal for the regular day to day items. Nepal is an interesting country with a quickly changing dynamic. Below I’ve compiled a list of everything a female traveler should bring with them. A good note is to pack clothing based on where you plan to spend most of your time. If you’ll be in Kathmandu or Pokhara, it’s much more liberal. However, small villages are still very modest for women, and it’s best to dress accordingly.
Female Packing List for Nepal (Online)
I wanted to make everything on my list super easy to find online, so I’ve curated this kit! Everything mentioned in it is the items I like to take with me to Nepal. I originally came as a budget backpacker, and the second time, I stayed in more comfort style hotels. These items work for both, but don’t include what I take trekking with me.
I’ve left trekking gear off the list, but you can find more information on specific treks and what to pack in these posts…
- Everest Base Camp Packing List
- Annapurna Circuit Packing List
- Mera Peak Packing List
- Kathmandu Valley Trek Packing List
- Tsho Rolpa Packing List
Itemized Female Packing List for Nepal
Luggage and Bags
Backpack – I have an Osprey Farpoint 55L backpack which I love. Whether you’re a backpacker or not, I highly recommend a backpack. There are rarely sidewalks in Nepal and roads are often unpaved. Having a rolling suitcase will be a nightmare. I personally like this one because it has a removable daypack included.
Purse – I have a small purse that I use when I don’t need to lug around my daypack. It’s just big enough to fit my phone and wallet. I recommend a dark color since dust is everywhere and my light colored purses always get filthy.
Waterproof Laptop Bag – Nepal is a rugged country and computers are expensive. I keep mine in a waterproof bag to make sure it’s always protected and has an extra layer of padding.
Small Waterproof Bags – I believe in bringing some waterproof bags with me on every trip (no matter what country). If it starts to rain, I throw in my wallet, cellphone, camera, etc. These have saved the day so many times. Especially when me and a friend got caught in a monsoon on a motorbike and had to stash two very expensive cameras.
Packing Cubes – I swear by these things. I’m on the move so often that packing my bag is an art form. I love packing cubes because I can pull them all out without making a huge mess. I have my clothes separated by pants, shirts, underwear, etc. I can find everything so easily, and when it’s time to pack back up, it’s easy to get going again.
Backpack Rain Cover – I do recommend a rain cover for your day pack and large backpack. When it rains in Nepal, it pours, so best to have one handy.
Luggage Lock – I always carry at least two small TSA friendly luggage locks. They’re useful for locking up your bag or for a locker in a hostel. Best, they don’t require a key and you can choose the combination.
Ziplock Bags – I’m seriously amazed at how many times ziplock bags have come in handy. I recommend packing a few of each size from snacks to galloons.
Clothing to Pack for Nepal
I really like Eddie Bauer clothing when I travel. I find it’s really good quality, and they have great sales throughout the year. I usually get everything 50% off, and it lasts a really long time. Most of the items I recommend are from there. I also like how a lot of the stuff can be used for everyday and for trekking which is great in Nepal.
2 T-shirts – I always try to choose something that doesn’t show sweat. Nepal can be ridiculously hot at times, and you will sweat…a lot. Also, try not to choose anything low cut although form fitting tops are okay. I like these t-shirts from Eddie Bauer for day to day shirts.
2 Lightweight Pants – I like elephant pants or something similar. While women in cities wear jeans, I always find it too humid to be comfortable in them. I prefer lightweight fabrics and loose fitting pants. I tend to buy these in Nepal because they’re cheaper here.
4 Dresses – I pretty much live in dresses while I’m in Nepal. I like flowing dresses that are really comfortable in hot weather. Try to avoid spaghetti straps or low cut dresses. It’s best to at least have short sleeves or a wide tank. Dresses like this dress are great because it’s meant for travel and even has UV protection. I always wear mine with leggings to stay modest.
3 Leggings – I always wear leggings with dresses in Nepal. A lot of restaurants have seating on the floor and trying not to flash anyone while seated is hard. I also ride on friends motorbikes and sitting side saddle is difficult. Plus, it’s a modest country so I feel more comfortable when dressed modestly.
1 Jacket or Sweater – Depending on the time of year and what part of the country you’re in, it can be cold in the morning or at night. I recommend having one medium layer like a fleece jacket or sweatshirt. A cozy sweater would also work. I usually have a hoodie on in the mornings for breakfast when I’m in Kathmandu.
1 Set of Pajamas – I spend time in dorms so pajamas are key. I would recommend shorts and a tee since air conditioning isn’t always guaranteed.
1 Workout Outfit – I like to have a workout outfit with me everywhere I go. I took a Muay Thai and an aerial silks class in Kathmandu. It’s also good to have for day hikes. I wear leggings and a tank top.
1 Swimsuit – I have a bikini with me and for the most part I felt comfortable. I went to one local pool where women were fully clothed and only guys were in the water swimming. In that situation, I wish I had a one piece simply because I felt self conscious and out of place. If you do wear a bikini, I would recommend one that covers you up (i.e. no thongs or cheeky bottoms).
5 Pairs of Socks – I walk almost everywhere so sneakers are important for me, therefore, I wear a lot of socks. I only do laundry once a week so five is a good number for me.
12 Pairs of Underwear – Again, I do laundry once a week, but I always like to have extra underwear. One time, my laundry place ended up being closed for four days because the owner was sick. So having extra was a life saver.
4 Bras – I like to have one regular bra and three sports bras with me. I like to be comfortable and I find these feel better in hot temperatures, but this is really based on your personal preference.
1 Raincoat – I have a nice lightweight raincoat that doesn’t take up too much room. This is especially important if you’re traveling during monsoon season (May, June, July, August, September)
1 Baseball Cap – This is good for day hikes or just walking around cities.
1 Buff – Nepal is known for it’s dust. A buff is a great way to breathe a little easier. I wear this when trekking or on cold mornings around the city. In the winter, I also wear it to sleep. It’s super lightweight and warm.
Sunglasses – This one probably doesn’t need an explanation but I’d opt for a pair that’s polarized in case you decide to venture into the mountains where there’s snow. Snow blindness is a thing in Nepal, so best to have a good pair.
Sneakers – I recommend sneakers that are super comfortable, match your clothes, and are a dark color. I prefer something like Keds for walking around cities. Again, I didn’t include trekking stuff in this list so I usually have hiking boots with me for days that involve a lot of walking
Sandals – I like Keen’s sandals. They’re ugly in my opinion, but they are comfy, easy to wash off, and good for long walks or hiking. Overall, I choose comfort over style on this one.
Flip Flops – I don’t recommend walking around in flip flops. Streets are uneven, and when it rains, the dirt will get kicked up all over your pants. But, these are great for the shower, inside your room, etc.
Toiletries to Pack
Shower Supplies – Shower supplies are super easy to buy in major cities like Kathmandu or Pokhara. I usually buy soap, shampoo, and conditioner when I arrive. If you’d like to avoid liquids then I recommend J.R. Liggett Solid Shampoo and Beauty and the Bees Conditioning Bar which I’ve used and liked in the past. I like to bring a case for my soap, Angels on Bare Skin (a solid face wash), a razor for shaving, and a microfiber quick dry towel.
Feminine Hygiene – It’s pretty easy to get pads in Nepal so I don’t bother packing any. It’s nearly impossible to find tampons though, so pack them if that’s you preference. I like U by Kotex because they take up the least amount of room in my luggage. Personally, I prefer a Blossom Cup. Yes, it was super weird to use at first, but now I love it. I don’t need to pack any tampons or pads and it’s environmentally friendly.
Makeup and Skin Care – I barely use makeup, but I do use Make Sense Tinted Moisturizer, Lash Sense Mascara, and Covergirl Perfect Point Plus. I bring these with me because I’m picky about brands. If you’re pale, I highly recommend buying any coverup you use before you leave. You can buy lots of great moisturizers and sunscreen there, so don’t worry about packing it. However, I do bring an SPF lip balm with me.
Hair Care – I always bring all hair ties and my hairbrush with me. I also recommend a dry shampoo just in case you come across a cold shower situation.
Tooth Care – Tooth brushes and tooth paste can be bought in Kathmandu when you arrive. I always bring a toothbrush with me in my carry on because my flight to Nepal is really long. I recommend a Steripod toothbrush holder which actually sterilizes your brush while you aren’t using it. I also hate regular floss, so I always bring toothpick flossers. Last, I have an emergency dental filling kit that I carry, just in case I can’t find a dentist right away.
General – I always bring deodorant with me because I don’t like the gel kind and that’s whats easily available in most of Nepal. I also bring a travel sized case of q-tips, an eye mask, ear plugs, and hand sanitizer. I’m a huge fan of Badger Anti Bug Balm because it’s a solid organic bug repellent that works really well. I also bring Travelon Laundry Sheets which take up no room and are good in a pinch.
Medicine, Vitamins & First Aid
Medicine – Most of these items are readily available in major cities. I always like to have them with me in case I’m in an area without easy access to doctors. I ALWAYS carry a high grade antibiotic, a pain killer, cold medicine (for day and night), anti diarrhea pills, Diaresq, and throat drops. If I’m trekking, I carry Diamox (but I don’t use it unless I actually feel sick). In some areas, it’s recommended to have malaria pills, however I have never used them in Nepal.
Vitamins – I prefer to take vitamins over medicine, so I always stock up on immune boosting vitamins to keep me healthy. I like to have olive leaf, activated charcoal (for food poisoning), zinc (for colds), airborne chewables, probiotic gummies (for digestion), and Ceralyte 70 (for quick rehydration).
First Aid – A first aid kit is always a good idea. I recommend having a Swiss army knife, lighter, medical tape, ace bandage, duck tape, antiseptic towelettes, Neosporin, bandaids, and an H20 survival water straw. Some of these may sound weird, but I swear they all come in handy once in a while.
Photography – As a travel blogger, this category is important for me. If you don’t need high quality photos, I’d recommend just using your phone to save space and keep your bag light. I carry a GoPro along with a three way mount, remote, spare batteries, and the charger. The other GoPro accessories are a waste of money in my opinion. I also carry a Canon EOS Mirrorless Camera which I love. It’s smaller than a DSLR. The only downfall is that the zoom isn’t great if you want to shoot wildlife.
Computer – I have a Macbook 13″ which I’m obsessed with. It’s insanely lightweight, and since I work from the road, it goes everywhere with me. I bought mine refurbished from Apple to save money.
Power Bank – I really like my Goal Zero Power Bank. Since I use it so much, I’m thinking of upgrading to something a little more high tech in the future. For everyday use though, it is really great. It’s saved my butt a few times during power outages.
Kindle – I love having a Kindle Paperwhite. I’m not big on going out at night so I generally read before bed. I like that it’s got back lighting, so I don’t have to have any lights on when I’m in a shared dorm. It also holds a battery charge for a long time. I can usually read a whole book before needing to recharge it. The newest edition is advertised as waterproof. I have an older model, but am a little jealous of the new one!
Audible – Don’t like carrying a book or Kindle? Check out audible! You can sign up for a 30-day free trial and get two books free by clicking the banner below! If it’s not for you, you can cancel any time.
General – You’ll need a good power adapter in order to charge everything. I recommend buying a headlamp and batteries in Kathmandu. Sometimes you’ll need to use bathrooms that are outside and seeing at night is not easy. It’s best to have a set of spare batteries for it as well. To protect my phone, I use a Lifeproof case. That way I don’t have to worry about getting it wet or dropping it.
Food – I like to bring a bar of chocolate, Kind pressed bars, and beef jerky with me. That might sound weird but these are my favorite snacks to have on hand.
Sewing Kit – I always carry a mini sewing kit and some patches. I’ve used the sewing kit several times to help fellow travelers repair ripped pants and the patch kit came in handy when I was in Cambodia, and a rat chewed through my luggage during an intense search for peanuts.
Fabric Softener Sheets – This one sounds weird, but I put a couple of dryer sheets in my luggage to make sure everything smells super nice. I keep a few spares in a ziplock bag so I can rotate them with fresh ones over time.
Money – It’s important to have some cash on you. Your bills MUST be new with no tears or creases. I know that sounds insane, but people won’t exchange it if it’s ripped or old. Nepali rupees however can be falling to pieces and no one cares. I like to have $100 USD with me. I don’t exchange it except in an emergency. I get $50 worth in fives and ones just in case I get stuck without an ATM and need to use USD to pay. Luckily, people will accept USD if you don’t have rupees.
Cards – I carry two credit cards and two debit cards. I keep one of each in my purse and one of each in my locker. I’ve had my credit card number stolen twice while traveling in Asia, so having a backup is very important. The debit cards are how I get money out of ATMs. I recommend Charles Schwab if you’re American. For a credit card, I recommend Capital One’s Venture Card. During my first year of travel, I never had to pay for a flight because I saved up so many points (and I had over 10 flights that year including from the U.S. to Asia). You also don’t have to call them every time you switch countries, and I’ve never had my card stop working because I was in another country. Trust me, no one wants to be stuck on a long distance call trying to sort out a credit card problem on vacation.
VPN – I recommend a VPN (virtual private network) if you’ll be using your computer or phone while in the country. A VPN allows you to access websites while using public networks with privacy. If you plan to look at banking apps, booking sites, etc. then I highly recommend it as my credit card was stolen two times in Nepal before getting a VPN. Now, I use ExpressVPN which is inexpensive and easy to use. It costs $8 a month if you sign up for a year or $12 for a single month.
Documents – Obviously, you’ll need your passport. I like to make a copy of my passport and visas, so I can have a copy in my purse. I also order a handful of passport photos so that I don’t have to buy them for trekking permits or anything. Keep a copy of your plane ticket and travel insurance as well. I highly recommend World Nomads for insurance. I’ve used them several times in Nepal and was always reimbursed.
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Michelle Della Giovanna
Writer at Full Time Explorer
I’m just your average New Yorker who quit her job in the fashion industry to explore the world. Come find out what it’s like to trade in five-inch heels for squat toilets.