Tips & Advice
- If you don't go trekking often, it's better to rent your gear
- Hiking boots should be reliable & broken in; make sure to bring these from home
- Knock-off shops vary in price and quality; ask our specialists where to shop
- International brand names are just as expensive in Kathmandu as anywhere else!
- Budget at least a full day in Kathmandu before your trek to shop for gear
Wondering what to pack for your trek? Check out our trekking gear list for Nepal.
Quality Brand Names
You can find all the internationally recognized brand names (North Face, Mountain Hardware) for outdoor gear in Kathmandu. If you spend quite a bit of time in the mountains (and you want to invest in good equipment), it may be worth spending on something that will last a lifetime. Items like this tend to be down jackets, Goretex jackets, and backpacks, where you'll get years of use out of these items.
Kathmandu is a mecca for knock-off brand-name trekking gear, where the difference in quality is often hard to tell. Many items are made using the same sewing machines in Chinese factories that are used for brand-name products. Still, you're going to notice small differences in quality: the stitching won't be as strong, the fit may feel slightly off or tight in places, and the zipper is more liable to break (look for YKK zippers). However, for a fraction of the price, you can't really go wrong.
If you don't go trekking in the high mountains too often, it may make more sense to rent instead of buying the necessary gear for your trek. It's also a great way to keep your luggage light if you're not having to carry the gear to and from Kathmandu. For as little as $1 USD per day, you can rent most anything you need—comfortable down jackets, sleeping bags, and backpacks. It's important to rent from a reliable shop, however, to ensure the gear is well taken care of and inspected (and washed) after each use.
Where To Shop
To locate the best and most reliable places to buy or rent essential trekking item, it's best to ask your local specialist who's helping organize your trip. They'll also be able to take you there given many of these small shops are tucked away in the corners of Thamel and quite hard to find. We've also included a few often recommended places, below.
Shona's Alpine, Thamel
You can both buy and rent equipment here (see their location). The nice thing about Shona's is that it's a fixed price store so you don't have to worry about bargaining or wondering if you're getting what you're paying for; they know the mountains and are honest about what you need and what you don't.
They also manufacture their own very good quality down jackets and sleeping bags which are available for purchase (at a fraction of the price you would pay at home) or hire for around $1 USD per day.