One of the most important gear of your trek is obviously the backpack. It is important that it has an excellent back (carrying comfort), a sufficient litrage while having a restrained weight. We chose the TFX Cerro-Torre of Lowe-Alpine. It has a capacity of 65 liters expandable up to 85 liters. The highlights of this bag are numerous: a wide range of settings to adjust the backpack to all body types, a clearance at the level of the head, an impressive ease of use and the materials used are strength. This bag may not be suitable for everyone. Indeed, it has no side pocket as it is typed “mountaineering”. Moreover it is not designed to bring a tent outside. For us, it seemed best to bring all our stuff in the bag to not be embarrassed in the tricky passages and to reduce the wind resistance. Many other backpack may well do the job, you can look to the brands: Karimor, Gregory, Deuter, Millet, Osprey, Quechua, …
As for the tent, you should be aware that this trek puts a strain on the equipment (wind, snow, stone floors, …). Mountaineering tent is preferable. The problem is that these tents can weigh very heavy. We chose a tent of the MSR brand: The Hubba Hubba HP. This tent is not a four season tent. However, it has the advantage of excellent resistance to snow and wind. Big plus, it weighs just 2kg. To protect the tent floor, we bought a tent footprint MSR. In order to hang it properly, we brang four additional peaks and 12 meters of 4mm rope.
To recover from a long walking day, it requires above all a good night of sleep. The sleeping bag is very important. Indeed, it should allow you to sleep for temperatures of -20 ° C, being the lightest and the least voluminous. The model that caught our attention is the Bloody Merry of Valandre. For 1kg, its extreme temperature is given for -23 ° C on the manufacturer’s website. We enjoyed the finishing, the comfort and the modularity. We did not get cold even at -15 ° C in a tent. We can only strongly advise you to use a silk sheet to protect the inside of your sleeping bag and win few degrees.
For the mattress, we opted for the Pro-Lite More of Ther-a-rest. This mattress is a must of the four seasons self-inflating mattress. It is thicker than the Pro-Lite version which allows better insulation with the floor which is very important given the temperatures encountered during the trek.
Clothes and shoes
During the trek, you will be confronted with temperatures ranging from -15 ° C to 35 ° C. You will have potentially sun, rain, snow and wind. You will pass through areas with high level of humidity and other completely dry. With such a variety of situations, the choice of clothing is a major point to avoid having a bag of 30kg. We will list from top to bottom the clothes we selected.
It is essential to think about taking something to protect the head against the sun (cap, hat, …) and against the cold (a polar bonnet with WindStopper type technology). We must also remember to take a pair of sunglasses with a good level of protection against UV.
In the first layer, we opted for underwear of the brand IceBreaker. They are made of merino wool that has many advantages. It has anti-odor properties which is important when you wear the same clothes for several days. It dries quickly and is extremely light. IceBreaker brand offers a high quality of finish of its products. They are very comfortable to wear. More specifically, we selected the range BodyFit 150 (for days without the need for heat supply) and 200 (for activities in the cold). We have in our bag: a boxer (150), tights (200), a t-shirt (150) and a t-shirt (200). For socks, we have two pairs of Trek and Expedition Trekking Light of the brand X-Socks.
For the up of the body, we have a multilayer system composed of a micro-fleece, a fleece and a Gore-Tex jacket. For the bottom, we used a convertible pants and an over-trousers in GoreTex. For the hands, we used two types of gloves: light fleece gloves and gloves in GoreTex
The last critical point regards the shoes. You must look at some points when you choose your shoes. You must choose alpine type shoes or shoes for trekking in high mountains. More specifically, they must protect you from cold and bad weather. If you plan to use them with crampons, remember to check that they are appropriate for semi-automatic crampons. GoreTex coating is a guaranty for waterproof.
Food and Water Management
To make your meal, you will need a stove. There are different technologies: gas, liquid fuels, mixed … The use of a gas is possible since the trekkers we met, were using one. If you choose a gas stove, we recommend the brand Primus for the simple reason that it is very easy to find Primus gas bottles which is less true for MSR and impossible for Camping gas. We opted for a liquid fuel stove (petrol, diesel, …): the MSR XGK-EX. This stove is extremely robust, lightweight, powerful and easily fixable. In addition it comes with a windscreen (very important) and a reflector. It can boil a liter of water in 3 minutes. We had two 1-liter bottles and a bottle of 0.6 liter of fuel. The fuel was buy at a gas station in Pokhara. During the trek, we used a little less than a liter of fuel. So there is no need for all these bottles. Just bring one liter of fuel. The real disadvantage of a fuel stove is the smell. Indeed, during the depressurization of the fuel bottle, you often ends up with a little fuel on the hands. After 12 days, the smell becomes unbearable. So plan something to store the stove in something tight and something to clean your hands. To turn on the stove, we had planned: storm matches and a lighter.
For meals, we used a 1.3-liter titanium pot from MSR . In addition, we had two small mugs in aluminum. We used a 2 in 1 spoon/fork from Primus. This set is completed with an Opinel knife.
As for water, we each had a 2L waterbag from Platipus. In case of problem, we planned an extra waterbag. For water purification, we used Aquatabs pills that allow to drink the water after 30 minutes of waiting. To be able to drink directly without waiting, we have invested in a MyBottle from Katadyn.
For food rations, we used mainly freeze-dried. When it is not possible to eat at a local home or in shelters, you will need a breakfast, a lunch and a dinner by day. During the high season, it is possible to restore up to the Italian base camp that leaves 4 or 5 days of autonomy. It is better to have some extra rations in case of bad weather or additional days of acclimatization. In addition to these minimum rations, we advise you to take energy bars, dried fruit (apricots, figs), almonds, sugar candy for munchies during the day or to improve your meal. Finally, we took with us multivitamin tablets to overcome the deficiencies in our diet.
Hygiene and pharmacy
For hygiene, you will need towels for the washes. We recommend the use of microfiber towels. In addition, it is preferable to use a biodegradable soap. Obviously you’ll need a toothbrush, toothpaste and toilet paper rolls.
As for the pharmacy, we took with us:
- Diamox : mountain sickness
- Broad-spectrum antibiotic, anti-inflammatory
- Anti-diarrheal and anti-infective gastric
- Dressing, sterile compresses, eosin, antiseptic, alcohol at 70 °
- Self-adhesive bandage and strap
During the trek, in addition to the conventional compass and the around the Dhaulagiri map, we used the Suunto X10 watch. It integrates an altimeter, barometer, compass and GPS. The altimeter has proved an accuracy quite impressive. To recharge the watch, we had a small solar panel that was offered during the purchase of the watch.
We can only advise you to use telescopic sticks for walking: they are useful in the ascents but mostly in descents because they relieve your knees! We opted for sticks of the brand Petzl but we also recommend the brand Leki.
To be able to read in the evening or when walking in difficult conditions, we each had a headlamp and backup batteries.
We also had 12 meters of 3mm cord which has served us to spread our clothes and to add attachment points for the tent. We also took a washcloth to remove moisture from the tent before folding.
For the mountaineering hardware, we had with us a 20 meters rope in case we needed to rope up, semi-automatic crampons in aluminum for walking on the glacier and an ice ax.
Finally, don’t forget to bring a camera with a large enough memory card and a backup battery in case of problems. On this trek, we had a 450D Canon reflex with the Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens.