Authored by Amy Blyth
Are you looking for an extreme trekking challenge? Then you’ll love Nepal’s epic 62-kilometer trek to Everest Base Camp which lies 5,365 meters above sea level.
The Mount Everest base camp trek will take you through tiny mountain villages and pine forests, alongside topaz rivers and across staggeringly-high suspension bridges to the foot of the world’s highest mountain. However, with sub-zero temperatures and altitude sickness to contend with this isn’t a challenge for the faint-hearted.
Having completed the trek myself, here are some important tips and advice for trekking to Everest Base Camp.
Things You Need to Know About the Everest Base Camp Trek
Travel With the Proper Gear
The Himalayas is an extremely hostile environment with unpredictable alpine weather, wild terrain, sheer drops and life-threatening altitudes.
As there’s no motorized transport, the only way down is on foot, horse or expensive emergency helicopter. To stay safe, here are some essential items you’ll need to trek to Everest Base Camp:
Everest Base Camp Gear List
➡ Good hiking shoes – invest in a good-quality pair of waterproof trekking shoes with ankle support.
➡ Thermals and down jacket – temperatures can drop to below minus five on the trek, so pack thermal layers including leggings, a fleece and down jacket.
➡ Sleeping bag – tea houses will supply blankets and pillows, but these can be thin and grubby, so carry your own minus 10 to 20 sleeping bag and liner with you.
Pro Tip: Save money by renting your down jacket and sleeping bag. Shona’s Alpine store in the Thamel area of Kathmandu charges a deposit, plus between $0.50 and $1 per day, for good-quality rentals.
Gear List for Everest Base Camp Continued ...
➡ Rain gear – it can rain, hail or snow at any time in the Himalayas, so pack a waterproof coat, trousers and backpack cover.
➡ Gloves, hat and buff – are essential for protection from the elements. A buff is particularly useful to fend off dust and cover un-washed hair!
➡ Sunglasses and sun screen – alpine sun can be fierce and cause snow blindness, so take factor 50 sun screen, Carmex SPF lip balm and a sturdy pair of sunglasses.
➡ Toiletries and medicine – take painkillers, band aids, lozenges, stomach settlers and rehydration salts to deal with common trekking ailments.
Pro Tip: Buy toiletries before you hit the trail as they can be expensive in the mountains, costing up to $4 for a roll of toilet paper. Showers are also few and far between so take baby wipes as a substitute.
Gear List for Everest Base Camp Continued ...
➡ Flashlight – is essential if you accidently end up trekking past sundown and is handy for trips to the bathroom, as many tea houses have limited electricity at night.
➡ Map – although routes are well sign-posted, always carry a paper map just in case, you can buy one for a few dollars in Kathmandu.
➡ Water bottle – all bottled water on the trail has to be carried up by porters so it’s expensive and difficult to dispose of the plastic waste. Instead, take a robust water bottle so you can top up with boiled or UV filtered water.
➡ Gadgets – take a camera and enough memory cards to capture the incredible mountain views.
Pro Tip: You’ll have to pay for electrical charging and wifi in tea houses, so take a power bar and solar charger with you. You can buy a Nepalese sim card to give you basic wifi access along most parts of the trek.
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) and Acclimatizing
One of the toughest parts of trekking to Everest Base Camp is dealing with the high altitudes, which can literally leave you gasping for air.
Most trekkers experience altitude headaches, fatigue and shortness of breath, but this can develop into potentially-fatal High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) or High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE). The only cure for AMS is to descend, but it can be prevented with these simple tips:
Tips for Preventing Altitude Sickness
➡ Stay hydrated with around three liters of fluid a day.
➡ Above 2,700 meters you shouldn’t ascend more than 450 meters per day, so plan acclimatization days into your schedule. During these stops, hike a few hundred meters higher, then descend again to sleep and this will help your body adjust to the altitude.
➡ Always descend if your AMS symptoms get worse.
➡ Consider taking Diamox, medicine that helps your body acclimatize to high altitude.
You can attend one of the 3pm daily lectures held at the Himalayan Rescue Association in Pheriche to learn more about AMS and read their online guide.
Everest Base Camp Trek Cost
I’m sure you’re wondering how much the Everest Base camp trek costs. Budget roughly $30 per day for food, supplies and accommodations on the trek. You should take plenty of cash because you’ll only find ATMs in Lukla and Namche Bazaar.
Trekking costs will vary depending on whether you join a tour group, hire a porter or trek independently, but here are some guidelines to help you budget for your trip:
Costs for the Everest Base Camp Trek
➡ Every trekker needs to buy a Trekker’s Information Management Systems Card which costs $20.
➡ You’ll also need a Sagarmatha National Park Entry Permit which costs $34, you can buy both of these from the Nepal Tourism Board Office in Kathmandu.
➡ To get a trekking permit you’ll need travel insurance that covers you for hiking up to 6,000 meters.
➡ If you plan to fly from Kathmandu to Lukla to start your trek, as most people do, you’ll need to pay a flat fee of $155 for the 30-minute flight on a tiny, 16-seater plane.
➡ It costs between $20 and $25 a day to hire a porter.
➡ A private room in a tea house typically costs between $1 and $5 per night with a shared bathroom, but you’ll be expected to eat breakfast and dinner at your chosen lodge.
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Amy gives a really good and comprehensive list. It is amazing what some people don’t think of when they are trekking.
I did Trolltunga in Norway a few years ago and even though it was a one day hike, there were so many people I saw who were poorly equipped.
I can imagine that even though the trek to Basecamp is known to be extreme, many people would forget some of the basics.
Also great information on the permits required.
Glad you enjoyed the post Natasha, yes, I think there are always going to be that percentage of people who travel without the proper gear, and tackle a trek poorly equipped. Seems to happen regardless of whether you’re hiking for a day or for a week!
So I think it’s so important to remind people of the basics, especially when they’re heading into an environment which is extreme – and really try to hammer it in!!
Great Amy , its a lovely post ; seems you are a superb hiker ; keep it up :).
Fantastic advice on Mount Everest and as an experience hiker, I would totally agree with everything. One thing you forgot…common sense. ;) – without that, the hike could lead one into big trouble. Thats my tip. Hopefully will get to the base camp one day.
Glad you enjoyed the post Danik – haha yes you’re right, common sense is not so common anymore right!! A very good reminder that every hiker should be aware of their surroundings and act responsibly.
Hope you do have the chance to tackle EBC at some stage :)
Diamox is a life saver in high altitudes. Even after taking this, you must take rest and like you mention – hike gradually. Allow your body to get used to the altitude. Lack of oxygen can be a problem and AMS can hit anyone anytime. I had to abandon one of my trips in Ladakh midway only because I did not take Diamox at the right time. Another local alternative is taking garlic soup, which is as useful as the tablet.
In mountains, always take extra precaution as your body is confused and may behave differently.
Absolutey Anu – sorry to hear that AMS hit you in Ladakh. Though I’m glad to hear that you prioritized your safety and abandoned the trip; I’ve heard of so many people who persist with a trek despite symptoms of AMS, or run up a mountain without properly acclimatizing, not taking the risk seriously. But it will hit you flat, and can be so dangerous if you don’t listen to your body and act responsibly.
Thanks for the tip on garlic soup – I wasn’t aware of that one! Safe trekking!
That sounds amazing. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. How many days did the entire trek take?
Hi Jen, it usually takes 12 days to trek to EBC; eight days from the starting point in Lukla to Base Camp and four days trekking back down :)
This was a very useful post Amy…I loved all your pro tips – practical and helps to save money. I agree Thamel in Kathmandu is a perfect place to rent equipment for even other hikes. I would also suggest some bargaining to get even better rates.
Everest Base Camp trek is a dream trek for me and I hope to do it sooner rather than later. I missed out once on the opportunity but next time I will grab it :)
So glad you enjoyed the post Siddhartha, and thanks for the additional tip of bargaining in Kathmandu.
Sorry to hear you missed out on EBC the first time, but it does mean you have an excuse for another trip to Nepal :D! Hope you have the chance to make it happen soon!
Thanks for such a comprehensive post. The breakdown of costs in particular is very helpful, as are the tips on how to deal with AMS.
This is a trek my husband has always wanted to do so I’m sure we will do it one day, perhaps with our kids if they are old enough. Although we will have to make sure our fitness is up to scratch!
Glad you found it helpful Emily! I hope you do have the opportunity to trek with your family once the kids are a little older :)
This was super informative for all those wanting to explore Everest. One of my biggest fears would be the AMS, because I don’t know how I end up being the first to get sick during traveling. It needs a lot of attention and preparation. The pro-tips were my favorite as they mention things I wouldn’t consider that I have to pay for e.g. charging or WiFi.
Thansk Efthimis, glad Amy’s post was helpful for you. Yes, AMS definitely needs to be taken seriously, but if you travel with altitude tablets, and take the trek slowly to properly acclimatize, paying attention to symptoms, and to the instructions on your guide, you’ll be fine :)
Hope you have the chance to trek soon!
Who would resist Everest Base Camp, right? It’s on my list, too and I am dying to mak those 62 kilometers happen. Thanks for the practical info about the costs – I think 30 USD per day is pretty reasonable. I feel little discomfort about carrying cash for multiple days around, but I guess everyone needs to do that!
I think 30 USD per day is pretty reasonable too – and it’s reasonable enough that a couple of days cash isn’t too bad to have to carry around.
One of those great treks of the world, so definitely something on my list too! Maybe I’ll see you on the mountain!
Amy, this is great! My husband had been there in ’16 and could not stop talking about it for weeks after that :) I hope to go with him oneday! Every one of the tips is important and foremost is managing AMS. Kudos for this comprehensive post on EBC trek.
Glad you enjoyed the post Nisha! It sounds like your husband had a wonderful time on the trek – I hope you have the chance to go with him oneday too!
Wow great tips here! I love hiking and EBC is on my list hopefully to do it in the near future. I didn’t realise you can hire equipment it’s good rather than packing it all from home.
Glad the information was helpful Anneklein! Hope you have the chance to tackle EBC at some stage soon! Yes, definitely helps with packing that you can rent equipment there :)
I didn’t realise how many things you need for trekking, but this guide is fantastic as it shows what you really need. I’m not much of a trekker but I would love to trek the Nepal’s 62-kilometer trek one day as it looks beautiful, just need to train before to be fit enough!
Glad you enjoyed the post Lucy – it’s definitely one of those once in a lifetime treks that I think many people would love to tackle, even if you’re not an avid hiker. To say you’ve been on Everest right!!
Absolutely great information for a trek to Everest Base camp.
Glad the post was helpful for you :) Happy trekking!
It is very useful information about Everest base camp trek. Recent update in regards Everest base camp trekking route, does not need TIMS card any more but have to pay U$D20 for Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality as entrance fees.
Thankyou for the updated information :) Namaste!
Great Information about the Everest base camp trek in detail.No need trekker’s Information Management Systems Card now but instead of this, Pasang Lhamu rural municipality ticket is needed which can issue in Lukla. It cost NPR 2000 and National park permit fee is 3000 NPR now.
Thanks for the updated information Rajesh, appreciate it!
Great article, congratulations for your climb! Plus, amazing and useful tips.
So glad the article was helpful Valentina :) Wishing you all the best for your own climb!
This is really very interesting because gear is the most important for such heights and I would like to do an EBC trek as well.
So glad the article was helpful for you Vansh :) I hope you have the opportunity to climb as Amy did! :)
thank you for the informative post, will definitely come back for more.
You’re welcome, so glad it was helpful :)