Central Asia Trekking – Packing List
First, general advice is to pack light and layer your clothes. The weather in the mountains is always unpredicable; there can be bright sunshine in the mornings, clouds and light wind in the afternoon and rain in the evening. It can get hot or cold very quickly; therefore, it is good to be ready for different weather conditions. Most of the treks by Kalpak Travel are from one to two weeks and we do not offer extreme treks or mountaineering and climbing trips. Thus, you do not need special equipment or special clothes. Since our trekking tours include porters, cooks and guides in the tour price, you do not need to bring your own tent or cooking equipment, and you won’t carry your own luggage, except for daypacks. On trekking routes where it is not possible to use horses or donkeys – for example, on the way to Ala Kul in Kyrgyzstan and Chimtarga in Tajikistan – we use porters. For these parts of the treks, you will be able to give only 7-10 kg of weight to porters. Therefore, during these parts, you can leave part of your belongings in the car and repack again after the route.
This checklist is just a reminder of what you can pack for a Central Asia trekking tour. You can download our PDF checklist to tick things off and so you do not forget small things for your trip.
Large Backpack (50 L +)
For trekking in Central Asia, you can hire stableman and rent horses or donkeys to carry your luggage. For this purpose, and also for carrying your luggage comfortably, please pack your luggage in a large backpack. The backpack should be either waterproof or make sure to bring waterproof cover for it.
Small daypack (20-30 L)
To ride horses or to hike, bring a small daypack where you can store your snacks, water and other nessary accessories.
Sleeping bag (ideally up to -10° Celsius comfort temperature)
The weather in the mountains can change rapidly and the temperatures drop at night. Even though it rarely gets colder than 0° C, it is better to take warmer sleeping bag. It is possible to rent sleeping bags; in this case, we recommend bringing your own sleeping bag liner.
Trekking poles generally make it easier to walk on various kinds of terrain, be it going upwards or downwards, crossing the rivers or just reducing impact of long trekking on your joints.
Good sunglasses and hat
At higher altitudes, the impact of sun is more intense as the air get thinner. Choose good UV protection sunglasses and a comfortable cap or hat.
Sunscreen, SPF 30-50
Good sunscreen is a must for trekking. Bring it with you or buy it in large supermarkets or beauty shops. Do not buy sunscreen in local bazaars, since it can be fake sunscreen and you will just get sunburnt.
Solar flashlights and head torches are very helpful when staying in yurts (portable, round tent covered with felt and used as a dwelling by Central Asian nomads) and homestays outside cities. There can be occasional power cuts or no lights at all, therefore the solar flashlights that you can hang on your backpack during the day are perfect for the trip.
We boil the water during the trip and recommend bringing your own water bottle. In cities, we provide bottled water; however, we generally try to reduce the use of plastic and provide a big bottle of water from which you can refill your own bottle.
Camera and chargers
You will see beautiful landscapes and, to capture this beauty, pack your gear and chargers. You can also bring some dry bags to keep your valuable gear safe and dry. Central Asia uses Europlugs, so you will may an adaptor. If you would like to see how the plugs and sockets in Central Asia look like – check out our post with pictures.
CLOTHING & SHOES
- Trekking shoes
Choose waterproof and breathable shoes that are suitable for all kinds of terrain. Shoes should be comfortable and provide stability and support when walking on rocky or steep paths.
- Flip flops or waterproof sandals for crossing rivers
On some parts of the treks, there are moments where you will need to cross small rivers on foot. For this reason, it is a must to have good waterproof sandals – or, at least, flip flops. Flip flops are also good for giving rest to your feet after hiking or taking showers in guesthouses.
- Sneakers/comfortable shoes
Light trainer shoes or flats are generally good for walking in cities and for going out to eat.
- Trekking Pants
You can bring trekking pants and trekking shorts, since on some parts of the trek it can get hot. There are also trekking pants that can be transformed into shorts by zipping off the lower parts.
- T-shirts, shirts
For trekking, take synthetic short-sleeve t-shirts as they are better for hiking than cotton t-shirts. An advantage of synthetic t-shirt is that it dries faster and does not retain sweat which helps to keep your body temperature. Pack cotton t-shirts for city tours and sightseeing.
All of the capitals of Central Asia are located below 1000 meters a.s.l., which means that the weather in your arrival cities will be hot in the summer, and with the altitude, the climate gets cooler. For cities, it is also practical to pack some light nice shirts/dresses.
- Fleece jacket
Fleece jackets are usually recommended by outdoor companies for second base layer after the t-shirt. They are lightweight and give you warmth in the evenings and cold weather.
- Warm down jacket
A warm down jacket is perfect for altitudes of over 3000 meters and also for the yurt stays when you will go outside at night for WC. There are now very good functional jackets that can be stowed away in a small pouch, and they weigh for example, less than 500 grams.
- Rain jacket and pants
The outer layer of your clothes will be water- and wind-proof jacket and pants. Choose quality breathable clothes as functional outdoor clothes will be hard to get during the trek or even in large cities of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
- Socks and underwear
Lightweight, breathable and also recommended moisture-wicking or non-cotton fabrics.
Bring a lightweight, quick-dry towel for trekking and for homestays.
FIRST AID KIT AND NECESSITIES
- Hand sanitizer
- Prescribed medicine
- Personal medical first aid kit
- Toothbrush, floss and toothpaste
- Shampoo, soap and shower gel (preferably biodegradable)
- Passport – 6 months valid from the end of your travels
- Printout of the E-visa for Tajikistan (if you are going there)
- Insurance, vaccinations record and medical prescriptions
- Copies of all important documents
It is generally a good idea to keep a hard copy and an electronic copy of your important travel documents, such as your passport, visas, tickets and insurance. You can either send it to your email or store in Dropbox and make the documents viewable offline.
OPTIONAL PACKING TIPS
- Getting good night sleep in tents – Inflatable mattress and pillow
During your Kalpak Travel trekking tour we provide sleeping mats, but they are basic flat mats; if you have an inflatable comfortable mattress and pillow, we highly recommend bringing it for your own comfort. You can also just bring a pillowcase and stuff your clothes in it. You can also bring a fleece or reusable emergency blanket for extra warmth in a tent. Earplugs are also great for getting a good night sleep if you tend to wake up from noises in nature or other people snoring.
To add some comfort for your trip, it is nice to relax after long trekking days in your PJs and have slippers to give rest for your feet.
- Headphones, music and books
- Sewing kit – in case you need to repair your clothes during the trek
- Personal hygiene articles
- Lotion/ body cream/hand cream
The climate and air in summer in whole of Central Asia is very dry so you will notice how your skin will need more moisture than usual. Also bringing moisturizing SPF lip balm is advisable.
- Gloves, beanie and scarf
In the mountains, it can get very hot or cold, so, if you are sensitive to cold, it would be better pack light items that will make a big difference. You can also bring a warm bottle to fill up with water and go to sleep in tents and yurts. Yurts are usually heated but only once in the evening, so during the night it can get cool again; therefore, bringing hand warmers or warm bottle can be useful during cold nights.
- Swiss army knife – This often comes handy with its many functions.
- You can also bring your personal cutlery if you find it more hygienic and feel more comfortable using and cleaning your own fork and spoon.
- Toilet paper, tissues and wet wipes just for your own use, biodegradable if possible. In Central Asia you will rarely have a possibility to buy biodegradable products; therefore, it is better to bring it.
- Postcards/souvenirs from your homeland
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