Travelling to northern areas in Pakistan for a trekking tour can be the most refreshing and soul cleansing experience. The areas are remote and you want to make sure you already have all the essentials you may need.
Depending upon your trip, you may want to add or subtract some of the things I will mention below. But comprehensively, your packing list should be divided in 3 parts:
Travelling to the mountains mean your long road journey will start from Islamabad, and your main luggage bag will be tied up on the roof. You may not have access to it until 8-18 hours and so it will be helpful to have a smaller day pack/tote bag for the bus ride, with the following essentials:
- Travel Pillow: I have travelled a lot without these; considering them to be an additional item to take care of. But trust me, only after I bought one I realized what an affordable necessity it is; especially when you are going to be spending hours in a van.
- Sleeping Mask & Ear Plugs: You may want to fall asleep in daylight and while the music is blasting. These two will come handy.
- Warm Shawl/Lightweight Jacket: If you are like me, you are bound to feel cold due to the van’s thermostat.
- A change of clothes: who knows you might spill or spoil your tee or trouser. It will be a long jounery on the road
- Gadgets & Chargers: keep them charged. You may not have network, but you will have must-capture views.
- Book & Notepad: goes without saying if you are a reader. And notepad will help you take down some thoughts. The mountains put you in a mood to reflect.
- Mints, Sanitizer, Wet Wipes & Tissue paper: because hygiene on the road is necessary; and toilets you will find on the road will be very compromising. Also, it will be extremely dusty if the AC is busted and you have to open the windows.
- Toiletries: like your toothbrush, toothpaste, facewash, moisturizer, lipbalm so that you can freshen up.
- Snacks: for in between the breakfast/lunch/dinner stopovers
When you start the hiking part of the journey, it is recommended that you carry as little as possible (unless there is no porter service available). Following are the only things you will need to wear/carry:
- Hiking boots/Sturdy Joggers: I cannot emphasize enough on this. Cheap quality, old, weary shoes that are anything other than joggers or boots will NOT work. I have seen people break their shoes right in the start of trek.
- 2 Cargo Pants/Hiking Trouser: if you are going to trek for 3-5days of your trip, 2 pants are enough. Do not wear jeans or light fabric bottoms.
- Full Sleeve Tees: Unless you want two color arms, better to wear sleeves. Carry one for each day of hike, they will get dirty & sweaty after a day’s wear.
- Lightweight Jacket: sometimes when you reach up at your destination it gets fairly cold.
- Hat, Sunglasses, Sunblock: needs no explanation
- ORS/Tang: this is a MUST have. You can forget anything else but this. When you are walking up in the altitude, against gravity on an uneven surface, you need energy, loads of it; every few minutes.
- Refillable Water Bottle: you will be filling it up several times during your hike.
- Snacking Bars/Dry Fruits: for little boosts of energy
- Camera: for the views you’d want to document. No matter how tired you feel, do make an effort to pull out your camera and hit record.
- Hiking Stick (optional): while many will advise you to buy them, do not, unless you are 100 % sure of the quality. Me & many others broke their sticks. You will be much better off picking a stick from the trail, au naturel.
Sight Seeing/Lounging Around The Camp
This is for the rest of your time other than hiking & road journey:
- 4 Tees/Tops
- 1 Comfortable linen pants
- 1 Jeans
- Hoodie/warm sweater
- Warm scarf
- Beanie/warm hat
- Pair of socks: 1 for each day
- Walking shoes/sandals: this is your backup shoe, just in
- Flipflops: your feet will thank you for some air after hours of hiking shoes
- Travel size towel: you dont want to freeze after washing your face
- Flashlight: for finding the toilet at night time
- Pocket Knife: for the animals that might attack you…just kidding.
You are now ready to roll!