Backpacking Checklist for Manaslu- Tsum Trek Himalayan Diamond Adventure

What clothing you pack for the Tsum and Manaslu Larke La pass 5,106 meters trek will depend heavily on the season in which you trek as well as which specific trek you plan on doing. We provide packing advice for the typical trek to Tsum and Manaslu circuit Larke La pass which involves ascending in altitude by almost 3,000m to 5106 meters.

The large variation in altitude, and therefore temperature, makes layering a key concept of the trek. Being able to add or remove layers of clothing while you trek will allow you to readily adapt to the temperature and ensure that you remain comfortable and safe.

Base Layers

As the first layer of clothing you wear, the base layer is important for higher altitudes and colder parts of the trek. This means you will probably not wear it during the first and last parts of the trek. The fit and material are the most important considerations when deciding on a good base layer.

We recommend merino wool base layers as they are very good at wicking moisture away from the body and are retailed at an affordable price.

Insulation Layer

The second layer is the insulation layer and it is usually made from a fleece type material. They are sold for both legs and torso but for Tsum and Manaslu Larke pass trek, only a torso second layer is necessary.

We recommend a Polartec 200 Fleece Jacket, which is very lightweight allowing for easy movement when trekking or climbing. They are also warm but still breathable and well-priced.

Good brands that make fleece jackets include The North Face, Helly Hansen, Columbia, REI and Patagonia.

Outer Layer

This layer consists of a warm and waterproof jacket and trousers often call the outer core layer. These will mainly be used for higher altitudes of the trek or if the weather gets very cold and/or rainy.

As one of the more important and lasting pieces of clothing you will buy, paying a bit more money for a good quality winter jacket should be viewed more as an investment than an expense.

Our recommended brands for jackets are North Face, Mountain Hardware, Eddie Bauer, Rab, Hagloffs and Berghaus. If you are in the USA then the Eddie Bauer CirrusLite is great. For UK readers the Berghaus Tephra is a good shout.

Recommended brands for fleeced ski-like trousers include O’Neills and Trespass.

Hiking clothes are needed in addition to the three layers mentioned above.

Trekking Trousers and Shorts

We recommend taking 1 x pair of hiking trousers and 1 x pair of hiking shorts (for the lower/ warmer stretches of the trek).

There are many good trekking trouser brands, including Craghoppers, Trespass and Columbia.

Trekking Shirts

  • Tsum and Manaslu Circuit Tops-Packing-List

You will need around 4-5 shirts that will be worn on most days. Avoid cotton as it absorbs moisture instead of wicking away sweat, resulting in bad smelling shirts after a few uses. Ideal fabric is a breathable, lightweight and quick-drying polyester, merino or nylon. A combination of short and long sleeve shirts is recommended.

Waterproof Jacket and Trousers

Encountering rain on the trail is always a risk, especially if you plan on hiking from June to September (we don’t recommend trekking in this region during these months).

As a general precaution, we recommend that you bring along some rain clothing – ideally a Gore-Tex membrane hard-shell jacket.

The North Face makes really good waterproof gear. Check out the North Face Resolve Jacket for example.

As for trousers, you can usually get away with a cheap pair of waterproof pull-overs.

Underwear & Bra

Underwear also needs to be breathable and moisture-wicking so we recommend 4 pairs of sports underwear and 2 sports bras for women.

Headwear

  • Hat

You will need a good, wide brim trekking hat that offers protection from the sun.

The best options are ones that are lightweight, easy to pack and cover your neck.

  • Beanie

A beanie is a must need for when it gets cold at night or when you get closer to the Nile,  Mu- Gompa, and Larke La Pass.

North Face and Berghaus make great beanies that will keep your head and ears protected from the elements.

  • Neck Gaiter

A neck gaiter or warmer is another great piece of cheap yet irreplaceable clothing.

It will keep your face and neck warm while also preventing the cold flu as you breathe in the cold mountain air.

The TYTN Microfibre Neck & Head Scarf Bandana is fantastic.

If you plan on traveling in the winter months, you may want to consider balaclava.

Gloves

As one of the most exposed parts of your body, you will want a warm pair of gloves for the colder segments of the trek.

We recommend taking two types of gloves, a lightweight inner glove that can be warm when there is a little nip in the air, and a heavier more insulated pair of gloves.

  • Inner Gloves

Light inner gloves can be used when the temperature is moderate or when performing intricate tasks such as tying shoelaces.

  • Outer Insulated Gloves

Outer gloves or mittens must be warm, waterproof and durable. They don’t need to be super well insulated unless you plan to do some climbing in the region, for example, Larke Peak, but they should keep your hands nice and toasty when in sub-zero temperatures.

Ideally, you are looking for a mid-weight fleeced glove.

The following brands make good outdoor winter gloves: Black Diamond, The North Face, and Outdoor Research.

Footwear

Footwear is without a doubt one of the most important pieces of gear that you need to get right.

Think about it, your feet are what get you to Tsum and Manaslu circuit, so you want to make sure you have comfortable trekking boots.

Aches and blisters are a nightmare that no one wants to experience, so spend a bit more money on some good quality boots and socks.

Top tip: Make sure your boots are well worn-in before starting your Tsum and Manaslu circuit trip. Brand new boots will give you blisters.

  • Hiking Boots

Getting a comfortable boot that is the right size is probably more important than the brand of shoe.

You should be able to fit one finger behind your heels to ensure proper fit. Too much space for your finger means too big a boot and not enough room means too small.

Find a middle to light-weight hiking boot that offers good ankle support and that has waterproof uppers.

Make sure you can tie and untie the laces with ease and check that the boot has deep cut traction on the sole.

Goods brands of boots include Salomon, Hi-Tec, Berghaus or Karrimor. If you want the top of the range, check out Meindl or the Scarpa Kailash.

  • Trekking Shoes/ Sandals

We recommend that you hike in boots instead of shoes as the former provides a lot more support. The last thing you want is a twisted ankle!

However, it is worthwhile bringing a lightweight and comfortable pair of shoes so that you can use them in and around the tea houses after a day's trekking.

If you are a sandals person check out these trekking sandals that can be worn with socks or, if not, here are some great trekking shoes.

  • Hiking Socks

Good hiking socks should be breathable and moisture-wicking, so don’t choose anything made from cotton.

Merino wool is our preferred material for trekking socks. Good brands include Bridgedale, Coolmax, Smartwool, and Point6.

We recommend bringing 5-6 pairs of socks.

  • Warm Thermal Socks

Thermal socks are slightly thicker than standard trekking socks and are used for colder conditions, such as those experienced near or at Ice Samdo, Dharmasala, and Larke La pass.

Smartwool, Bridgedale, and Wigwam all make comfortable and warm thermal socks that are highly recommended.

Bring 1 pair of thermal socks.

  • Gaiters

Gaiters cover the ankle-high opening to your boots and are designed to prevent water, mud, rocks and anything else from getting into them.

Duffel Bag

A duffel bag is the best option if your gear is going to be carried by porters. Your duffle bag should be water-resistant, durable and lockable.

1 large duffel bag (Company will provide).

Lock

Usually, a good idea if you are using porters or carrying around some more valuable stuff – see these TSA Locks

Backpack

1 medium rucksack (45 - 60 liters/3000-3500 cubic inches, can be used for an airplane carryon).

A small daypack/backpack for carrying your valuables should have good shoulder padding.

1 large waterproof rucksack covers (optional).

We recommend having the Osprey Talon 22 is the perfect size for carrying things such as water, sun cream, camera, hats, and snacks.

Rain cover

You should also invest in a rain cover for your backpack /daypack. An Osprey Backpack Rain cover will do the trick – just check that you have the right size for your backpack/daypack.

Sleeping gear

  • Sleeping Bag

Along with your hiking boots, your sleeping bag is another highly regarded piece of gear. Teahouses along the route usually provide basic sleeping facilities with blankets but they are generally not clean and certainly not warm enough!

Once you get above 3,000m in altitude the temperature inside teahouses, especially during the dead of night, is very cold. Most teahouses are not well insulated and do not have heating outside of central yak furnaces in the common lounge areas.

Therefore, a warm 4-season sleeping bag (rated for at least -10°C) is a must! The best sleeping bags are generally made from duck or goose down, but nowadays there are good quality synthetic options too.

Your sleeping bag should be a good fit for the shape of your body (mummy-shaped is ideal) and should have an insulated hood for added warmth.

Our recommendations are the Hyke & Byke Snowmass, TETON Sports LEEF or the REI Downtime.

  • Liner

If you rent instead of purchasing a sleeping bag, a liner will give you a clean environment in which to rest. Any mummy-shaped liner, such as these, will suffice.

Ear Plugs

Earplugs are a good idea to bring with you if you are a light sleeper and hate the snoring of fellow adventurers!

Trekking Poles

For most trekkers, the use of trekking poles is recommended as they significantly reduce the impact and stress on your joints.

If you have trekked with poles before and don’t like the experience then they are not a mandatory requirement.

Lightweight, packable poles such as the TYTN Carbon X or the TYTN Aero Trekking Poles are recommended.

Sunglasses

A good pair of UV protecting sunglasses are a necessity due to the higher strength of UV at altitude and the glare from snow-covered lands and peaks as you approach Mu- Gompa and Dharmasala Larke La pass.

100% UV protection and at least 80% light reduction glasses such as those from Julbo are recommended.

Headlight

A headlamp for getting around the teahouses at night should be brought along as many of the teahouses are poorly lit.

A Petzl Tikkina/ Black Diamond Astro Head Lamp 175 Lumens Output (Octane) with some spare batteries should prove to be useful.

Water Bottle/ Hydration Bladder

As dehydration contributes to altitude-related sicknesses, proper hydration is vital on the trek. You should aim to drink between 2-3L of water a day. Some people like water bottles, but we prefer water bladders.

In terms of the latter, we recommend the Platypus Big Zip Water Reservoir, which fits snuggly into the back of most daypacks.

Alternatively, if you prefer water bottles then bring 2x 1L standard Camelback Water Bottles made from hardened plastic.

Please make sure you purify all the water you drink (more on this below!).

Towel

A smallish towel is useful for drying yourself after a wash. Quick-drying trekking towels are recommended.

Toiletries

1 medium-sized quick-drying towel.

Toothbrush/paste (preferably biodegradable).

Multi-purpose soap (preferably biodegradable).

Deodorants.

Nail clippers.

Face and body moisturizer.

Small mirror.

Wet wipes (baby wipes).

Tissue/ toilet roll.

Anti-bacterial hand washes.

Reading book.

Trail map/ guide book.

Journal and pen.

iPod.

Travel game i.e. chess, backgammon, scrabble playing cards (to help you pass the time at teahouses and/or camps).

1 modest swimsuit.

Voltage converter (from 220 to 110).

Plug adapter (2 round pegs to 2 flat pegs).

Camera

You will want a good camera to document and remember your time in the Himalayas.

Smartphones, despite being a good source of photography nowadays, will just not do justice to the amazing mountain scenery in the Annapurna region.

For something more modern, light and trendy, try out the GoPro, and perhaps you can create a miraculous Annapurna and Ghorepani trek diary-like these on YouTube.

Portable Charger

If you plan on bringing anything electronics like your phone, camera or Kindle, a USB charger is highly recommended! In the 21st century, there is nothing worse than running out of battery and having no means to recharge

Some tea houses have charging facilities but they will likely make you pay and reliability isn’t great.

Check out the Portable Charger by Anker Power Core

Medical

Small, personal first-aid kit. (simple and light).

Aspirin, first-aid tape, and plasters (Band-Aids).

1 skin-blister repair kit.

Anti-diarrhea pills.

Anti-headache pills.

Cough and/or cold medicine.

Anti-altitude sickness pills: Diamox or Acetylzolamide.

Stomach antibiotic: Ciprofloxacin, etc. Do not bring sleeping pills as they are respiratory depressants.

Water purification tablets or water filters.

Extra pair of prescription glasses, contact lens supplies.

Lip balm (At least SPF 20).

Sunscreen (SPF 40).

Practical Items

1 small roll of repair tape, 1 sewing-repair kit.

1 cigarette lighter, 1 small box of matches.

1 compass or GPS (optional).

1 alarm clock/watch.

1 large Ziplocs.

1 small folding knife.

Binoculars (optional).

4 large, waterproof, disposable rubbish sacks.