The Tsho Rolpa Trek is a little different than the other treks I’ve done in Nepal. The area is highly under-touristed which means that there aren’t a ton of places to buy things along the way. In places like the Everest Region or Annapurna Region, it’s easy to grab whatever you forgot as you go. On the Tsho Rolpa trek, that’s not the case, so it’s important to pack carefully. One major thing I noticed is that there are almost no snack shops and very few tea shops on route. So bringing good snacks is crucial. Here’s my Tsho Rolpa Trek packing list…
Note: We went in May when the weather was fairly warm. Those going in October or November should pack heavier layers.
Backpack & Storage
I I have the 40L Alchemist Bag from Eddie Bauer. It’s water resistant, has a tough outer shell that doesn’t rip easily, and is big enough to hold everything I need for a 4-12 day trek. I don’t recommend taking a bag over 55L because typically when you have more room, you fill it up with unnecessary stuff.
Mudder Waterproof Bags
I always carry a few waterproof bags with me to keep my electronics in. That way if it starts to rain, I don’t have to worry too much. These are a life saver especially in May when we got hit with rain at 2pm every single day.
Packing cubes keep my bag super organized. I can take everything out in seconds and find what I want without making a mess. My boyfriend’s bag is always a mess so I’ll be getting him a set when I’m back in the states.
Never underestimate the usefulness of ziplock bags. They’re great for keeping things organized. I put medicine in the small ones to avoid carrying bottles. I use one for snacks and some for toiletries. I always have a few of each size.
Plastic Bag for Laundry
Always have a plastic grocery bag with you to throw your dirty laundry in. I use it just for socks and underwear. I also like to throw a dryer sheet in with it to keep my bag smelling good.
Clothing & Accessories
We both packed super light for this trip because it was only 7 days of hiking. We went in the summer so it wasn’t that cold which allowed us to forego a lot of layers. If you go in the winter, I recommend a set of thermals too.
I recommend Eddie Bauer products because that’s what I wear. To be honest, I couldn’t afford expensive brands when I started out. Eddie Bauer has great sales. At least once a month everything is 40-50% off on their website. I only buy things when they’re on sale. I found that the items are a high quality even though they are much cheaper than brands like North Face and Colombia.
I’m obsessed with my Eddie Bauer Microtherm coat. It’s super warm and folds up tiny in my bag. It also weighs very little making it easy to carry on treks.
Pretty much every time we stopped for lunch or tea, I put my fleece on to keep warm. I also wear it to bed on nights when it’s a little colder.
Raincoat / Poncho
We went in May, so this was key. It rained after 2pm every single day. Most of the time, we reached our teahouse but there were two days that we walked in the rain, so a raincoat is a must.
Quick Dry T-Shirts (2)
I rotate between two shirts while trekking. Quick dry is important because when you stop moving you get cold and don’t want your back to be wet with sweat. It also makes it easier to dry it when you do laundry.
Quick Dry Long Sleeve Shirt
I sleep in this at higher altitudes and it’s great for the day you walk up to Tsho Rolpa Lake.
Lightweight Trekking Pants (2)
I prefer full length pants as long as they are lightweight. This trail does go through the jungle which means leeches. Long pants make it harder for them to get on your ankles.
Short Hiking Socks (2)
I used short hiking socks most days. Just make sure they come over your ankle to avoid blisters.
Long Hiking Socks
I only used long socks at night when we stayed in Beding and Na. In the winter, you may need them more often.
Comfortable shoes are a must. These boots are my favorite. They have great ankle support and keep me from slipping. They’re super comfortable. Any hiking boots you get should be treated with Nikwax once a year to ensure they are waterproofed. These shoes have already been with me on several high altitude treks and they are holding up great!
I used a winter hat in Beding and Na at night and while walking to Tsho Rolpa Lake. In the winter, you may need it more often.
Mostly, I sleep in these, but they’re also good for layering under your trekking pants on cold days. Then as the sun comes up, you can remove the top layer. Again, long ones are good to prevent leech bites.
I hate doing laundry when I trek. As a girl, it feels weird to hang your underwear to dry in small villages so I usually bring enough to avoid washing them.
Two is enough because you can wash one while you wear the other.
Lightweight gloves are important when you’re above Beding. You don’t need heavy ones unless you go in the winter.
I like to take my shoes off when I arrive to teahouses so light flip flops are great.
Toiletries for Tsho Rolpa Lake Trek
Pro Tip: Think about the weight of every item when you choose it. On my first trek, I packed a full sized toothpaste, a heavy hairbrush, and so many excessive items. Find the lightest and smallest version of everything.
Many places don’t have a proper spot to wash your hands so this is very important.
Toilet Paper / Tissues
There’s none in the teahouses so you have to bring your own.
You won’t find pads or tampons very easily. I recommend bringing your favorite kind from home for comfort. You can buy pads in Kathmandu but the brands are limited.
I like to have biodegradable wet wipes with me. It’s hard to take showers on this trail, so wet wipe showers are great. You can also use them in lieu of toilet paper.
Pack a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss or anything else you need. It’s hard to find anything on this trail.
A lightweight comb and small individual packets of shampoo are enough. There’s not a lot of opportunities to shower along the way.
Quick Dry Towel
For the few times you have access to a shower, a quick dry towel is helpful.
Bringing a ziplock bag of detergent is good so you can do your laundry.
I recommend an SPF 50 that’s also sweat or waterproof. The sun is strong at altitude.
It’s hard to find western brands in Nepal and it’s unlikely you’ll find any on the trail.
This is good for your lips as the cold makes them extremely chapped.
You’ll wash your hand in cold water or use a lot of hand sanitizer. I find my hands are always extremely dry when I trek.
I like Badger Bug Balm which is a natural bug repellent. It’s a solid stick, so it won’t spill in your bag and it works very well!
Medication & First Aid
Get a good antibiotic before leaving. This is just in case you get sick along the way.
70-80% of people visiting Nepal get travelers’ diarrhea so be prepared for the worst.
I bring several immune boosting vitamins with me including Airborne chewables, a gummy probiotic (because they don’t have to be refrigerated like most probiotics), olive leaf, zinc, etc. I also bring a cold medicine and pain killer like Tylenol just in case.
Activated charcoal is great for treating food poisoning. I always bring about 10 tablets with me. Talk to a doctor before you take this as it is strong enough to cancel out some prescription medications.
Dehydration is common at altitude, so be sure to have some electrolytes. I like Nuun the best because they taste good. You can buy electrolytes in Nepal, but the taste is kind of gross.
There’s no pharmacy on the way so come prepared with what you need.
Basic First Aid
Bandaids, Neosporin, Asprin, and other basics are good to have.
Water Purification Tablets
It’s very difficult for villagers to get rid of garbage so please bring a water purifier instead of buying plastic bottles. It’s a lot cheaper to bring tablets than to buy water on the trail.
We both got a little sick in Beding because of the fast increase in altitude. We heard a few people coming back say the same thing. Have altitude sickness medicine just in case.
Ankle / Knee Support
I have a bad knee and ankle so I used a brace for the downhill sections. This makes my life exponentially easier and helps manage the pain.
Camera & Charger
I usually recommend a GoPro for trekking, but a lot of this trek takes place at a low altitude and I find the GoPro doesn’t take great photos of the jungle. I took my Canon EOS M3 which is lightweight for a camera. I wish I had a better zoom though, so you may want to bring a DSLR. Whatever you choose, have spare batteries that are charged because there’s limited electricity on this trek.
Phone & Charger
There are spots where you can get service on the way.
Electricity is limited so a solar panel is good for those who carry a lot of camera equipment.
We used my power bank to charge our phones several times throughout the trek.
NTC gets service in about 3 of the villages on the way. Ncell does not get service on this trail. You can read my blog about SIM cards for more info.
There are a few places to charge things so have a power adapter with you.
Movie / Music Downloads
You’ll arrive around 1-3pm each day. Having a few movies on your phone is good. If you like to listen to music as you go, make sure you have some good beats downloaded.
I like to read after trekking. Kindles are lightweight, have a long battery life, and have back lighting so you can read in the dark.
There’s limited electricity so you’ll need a head lamp at night. Especially when you go to the bathroom.
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Snacks for Tsho Rolpa Lake Trek
This trek is almost entirely vegetarian. If you’re a meat eater, make sure to bring dried meat with you. It’s illegal to kill animals in the area, sell or buy meat. However, you are allowed to bring dried meat.
High altitude trekking often has a lack of fruit and veggies so these are important for me.
Again, it’s a vegetarian trek, so extra protein is good. There’s almost no tea shops in between the villages so power bars are a good snack to keep you fueled.
Nuts, dried coconut, raisins, etc. are all great snacks.
Sometimes, you just need a little sugar fix. Finding chocolate on the trail is hard.
Other Items to Pack for Tsho Rolpa
Please avoid using plastic on the trails. It’s much cheaper to bring your own water bottle and refill it. If you want, buy one water bottle at the beginning of the trek and then reuse it as you go.
Map of the Area
Purchase a “Rowaling Valley Map” in Kathmandu. You won’t need it for navigation as the trails are very easy to follow, but it’s good to know what village you are going to and the altitude.
Bring enough money for the trek. There are no ATMs or ways to get money as you go. You can read my post on how much money to bring to Tsho Rolpa.
The GCAP permit can be bought in the Nepal Tourism Board office in Kathmandu. It’s about $30.
Copy of Passport & Visa
Just in case you need it.
Not necessary in April or May as the teahouses have warm blankets. You may want to consider one for October and November as it’s much colder.
This trek isn’t super difficult, but there are only a few places to sleep. This means that you have to go to the next village even if it’s a big increase in altitude. We both got headaches in Beding. In Na, we had the same problem. We did some acclimation hikes to help and took Diamox in Na to get us through the night. It’s fairly easy to go back down in altitude, but I always recommend people to be safe. There’s no roads past Chhetchhet so getting help in an emergency is very difficult. The only emergency rescue available is by helicopter. Therefore, you can consider getting travel insurance.
Download My Tsho Rolpa Trek Guidebook!
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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.
How as the leech scene during the trek?
I am going on 5th oct 2019 and its still raining.
Hey Sam! We went in May during rain and no leeches. The trail is really well cared for so there’s no long grass to walk through. If you go off the trail maybe there would be more.
I just remembered, I got one leech bite on the way back just before we arrived in Simigaun. Still not bad though since I’ve done day hikes where everyone got 3 bites haha!