January 24, 2015

Ideal Packing List for Chadar Trek

After we successfully completed the Chadar trek in Jan 2015, everyone (people from other batches too!) echoed on the need to pack light on this trek. Many of us didnt even use half the things they carried all the way. One also needs to understand that we were lucky that we didnt have to use most items but had there been an emergency, we would definitely need most of the stuff. I've tried to compile an ideal packing list - nothing more/less. With the following things in your backpack, you needn't worry about anything!!
Packing List:
  1. You need 2 Sets of the following:While trekking you only need one set. The extra set is for an event there is an emergency if you get wet. I didnt fall in water but I used this extra set at night to be more hygienic (you sweat while you walk!)
    • Thermal top and bottom
    • Full sleeves T-shirt
    • Quick dry (gym) pants
  2. Heavy duty winter wear
    • Good quality sweater/fleece jacket
    • Down jacket/Windproof jacket
    • Rainproof jacket and Pants
    • Woollen gloves/liner
    • Windproof gloves
    • Thick/Towel Socks:  3 pairs
    • Thermal/woollen socks: 2-3 pairs
    • Woollen Cap & Neck warmer/Buff OR Balaclava
  3. Gum Boots: The only footwear you need for Chadar is gum boots. Period! Even after reading this on TravelwithNeelima.com I bought a Forclaz 500 shoes as I got them for Rs 1800 (Originally Rs 4999). The shoes are awesome but I didn't wear them at all for this trek.
  4. Polarized sunglasses
  5. Thermal Flask
  6. Toilet paper roll
  7. Soft Face tissues
  8. Food: Avoid taking too much food with you. Talk with your organisers on this. I wasn't expecting hot lunch every day and carried so many things which eventually went to the porters. Thanks to our organisers - I never felt hungry. Just take the following:
    • 250 gms dry fruits
    • Energy bars: 4-5
    • Biscuits: 2-4 small packs
  9. Personal medicines, Eno packs: 2-3, Electrol: 2-3, small moov
  10. Sunscreen
  11. Camera & power banks/extra batteries
  12. Trekking pole & Crampons (optional)
  13. Hand/Toe/Body Warmers (optional): These are great! But many in my batch could easily survive without these. But it can be very useful in case of emergencies. One of my friends who got freezing water in his boots used these to get better relief. There was a porter who felt very sick in the night (Couldn't even get up). I gave him 2 body warmers and I was told he felt better. I feel 4 mini and 2 large warmers per person for emergency. I distributed the left over warmers to the girls I met on my way back.
  14. Extra small bag/big waist pouch (Optional) - In case you are using a porter you will need a small bag to carry some dryfruits, camera, tissues, water, etc.
  15. Extra sleeping bag (optional): I carried a good quality Fleece sleeping bag specially made for sub zero temperatures. I used it a lot. But you can do away with it. You will feel cold anyway (Remember, after -5,-10 its all the same! ;)). Also cold is a state of mind - One of our batch mates didn't even use 1 sleeping bag (provided by organizers)
Other Packing Tips:
  • Buy most of your gear from Leh market - The stuff from there is cheaper and definitely more effective! For Eg:
    • Woollen gloves: You get fundoo adjustable gloves in Leh market which is basically like a bike glove (with fingers exposed). Only this gloves have adjustable cover for your fingers. The wool used was 100% effective for temperatures in Chadar. More importantly, these gloves enables you to quickly click photos when desired.
    • Thick socks: I got these high rise thick/towel socks for Rs 100/pair. I used them more than the 100% merino wool socks I ordered from Ludhiana. FYI high risk woollen socks were for Rs 120/pair (much cheaper than what I paid)!
    • Instead of carrying a trekking pole from Mumbai, I bought it from Leh for 400 Rs.
  • You can keep one bag in Leh. Your mobile chargers, extra pair of travel clothes/Shoes,slippers (Pl keep one! It's painful to wear your shoes every time you wanna pee) Towel, return tickets copy, etc can stay back in Leh. Check with your organisers in advance.
PS: This is my final post on my recent trekking stint. Apologies to readers who come here expecting wedding posts. But I thought this is a different trek than usual and the experience was worth sharing.

Check this out:
Walked on a frozen river - Check!! {Chadar Trek diaries}
Top 10 learnings from Chadar Trek 2015

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