Packing list for travel to Indian Mountains

The basic thing for making your trip to anyplace or mountains is to pack well.

  1. Hat/cap for keeping yourself covered from sunlight.
  2. Sun-screen.
  3. Stole/anything you prefer – to be safe from dust.
  4. Warm Jackets
  5. Inners, socks- woolen ones
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This helps you keep yourself warm and reduces the chances of getting hit by AMS or cold. You must always protect your chest from the cold winds as well, all the time. When the cold is severe it is also important to protect the neck portion as well using full Balaclava.

Clothes you carry, you must consider that you must carry clothes which can be worn in layers as it helps you adjust to the fluctuating temperatures in sun and shades, up there in Leh-Ladakh or Spiti Valley. Yes, in these start and end season months, when the sun is shining then everything appears good and suddenly you enter a shade portion with wind blowing, that is cold enough to have a jacket. Hence, take due care around it and avoid letting the cold flow inside the body in such cases as well. packing-list-for-leh-ladakh-trip

Apart from that, following is the general list of clothes which I prefer to carry on your trips to Leh-Ladakh or Spiti Valley or on Indian Mountains

  • 1. 2-3 Pairs of Inner Thermal Suits.
  • 2. 3-4 sets of Heavy woollens in most part of the year except July and August where one can get away with light woollens.
  • 3. 1 heavy woollen jacket is always handy throughout the year even in the months of July and August (personally I feel) where it can act as a backup. But, you should carry 1 light woollen jacket as well in the month of June to August, may be, there could be days when you need just your light jacket only.
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  • 4. 3-4 pairs of woollen socks. And if going to Ladakh in winters from November to March, you also might need good insulated shoes as well to protect your feet from the cold.
  • 5. Carry at least one or two caps to protect yourself from direct sunlight as it is too harsh in this region. Kids specially should wear caps or hats all the time when out there in sun. Especially, in the month of September and October the UV rays are harshest and you must protect your skin using Hats / Caps and a good high SPF sunscreen lotions.
  • 6. Carry at least 1 Balaclava too to protect yourself from cold entering the head.
  • 7. Sunglasses to protect your eyes from the reflections from snow especially from January to June when there is too much of snow and looking directly at reflecting sunshine from snow will cause sense of irritation in the eyes or watery eyes. So, do carry sunglasses for sure or photo chromatic spectacles.
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  • 8. An extra pair of shoes/gum boots in case people are on bikes and are expecting a lot of water crossings, as suggested by Raunaq in comments below.
  • 9. Hand Gloves, must have in the months of October to June. Always good to carry them with you.

Some more points to consider in details.

Water: Water is the most essential thing while traveling in Leh-Ladakh or Spiti regions, since dehydration can further complicate health issues at such a high altitude. So make sure you are carrying at least couple of liter of water per person all the time and drinking at regular intervals.

Medicines: Carry Diamox if you aren’t allergic to sulfur drugs (helps reduce some of the symptoms of AMS) and medicines for headache, fever, stomach ache, cold and cough syrup. You can also viist a dcotor in advance and take a couple of AMS medicines in case of emergency. packing-list-for-leh-ladakh-trip

Sunscreen lotion: UV rays at high altitude can be quite damaging to the skin, even during the harshest of winter, so don’t forget to carry a good quality sunscreen lotion eg. Lotus Herbal Sun Screen Lotion with rating of SPF30 or higher and apply it properly before going out in the sun.

UV sunglasses: As mentioned earlier, UV rays at high altitude can be quite damaging and this holds true for eyes as well. So having decent quality UV sunglasses is quite essential, especially if you are traveling early in the season or during winter, when mountain passes have a lot of snow cover and sunlight reflecting from the snow can be even harsher!

Lip balm: Dry and cold weather of Leh-Ladakh or Spiti Valley will make your lips dry, which can get quite painful due to cracking and skin coming off, so make sure to carry a lip balm or Vaseline.

Mustard oil: Mustard oil can be used for moisturizing skin, putting it in your hair and for lubricating insides of nostrils, which can become quite dry and painful due to dry and cold winds of Ladakh. packing-list-for-leh-ladakh-trip

Glucose: Carrying water mixed with Glucon C/D is a good idea while traveling at high altitude, as it provides instant energy on the move, when your appetite is likely to be reduced due to AMS and at the same time, doesn’t act as a diuretic, like most caffeinated energy drinks. Carry couple of small packs with you, which you can mix in water, at the beginning of the day.

Chocolates, biscuits and nuts: Carrying couple of chocolates, a pack of biscuits and few hundred grams of almonds, raisins and cashews is a good idea, as these provide instant energy and easy snack and don’t take up too much space. Those who love spicy food, make sure to carry pickle or sauce, since Ladakhi food is a bit bland.

Other personal essentials: Paper soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb and toilet paper. You can also carry your shaving kit and face wash if you have the space and need for these and any other toiletries.

Clothes: Its best to dress in layers, since majority of coldness is due to wind chill and temperatures can change rapidly depending on the place, time and weather. Hence dressing in layers will allow you to add/subtract layers as and when needed. So make sure apart from your regular cloths, you are also carrying a sweater, gloves, cap (protect head and ears from cold winds), warm inners (especially if you are traveling in off season) and if possible, air/water resistant jacket.

Documents and IDs: It is essential to carry at least one government issued identity card and couple of photocopies of it, since it is needed while applying for inner line permit and at certain places, to register at the check post. You should also carry your medical insurance card (if you have one), Maps , your printed itinerary, hotel reservation slips (if you have prebooked), couple of copies of your flight ticket (if traveling by air) and list of important contacts (useful in case your mobile phone stops working).

Chargers for all the gadgets, cameras and mobile: You know this right ? packing-list-for-leh-ladakh-trip

Spare camera batteries: Carry at least one spare set of batteries required by your camera, since in cold environment, batteries can die quickly.

Car charger or battery bank: If you are an avid smart phone user and planning to log your route on your favorite GPS App, then make sure you are carrying car charger or a power bank to keep your mobile phone running throughout the day.

3 socket Belkin Surge Protector: While it is a little large in size, 3 socket Belkin Surge Protector will not only keep your gadgets protected from power surges, but will also allow you to charge multiple devices simultaneously and at the same time, provide the crucial cable length to safely place your gadgets in rooms with idiotic power socket locations (sadly enough, many hotels have this).

Enough memory cards to last you the entire trip: Doesn’t matter if you are carrying a laptop or planning to burn CDs/DVDs at Leh, carry enough memory cards to cover your entire shooting. If needed, borrow from friends but don’t depend on laptop HDDs or worse still, virus infested cyber café computers to copy and save your photographs!

Torch: Not really needed if your mobile phone has one, but if in case it doesn’t, carry a small LED one.

Money: While my recommendation would be to carry enough cash you need, to avoid wasting time withdrawing cash, it may not be feasible for everyone. So please keep in mind that ATMs beyond Srinagar and Manali are only available in Kargil and Leh and they too are few with often long queues in front of them.

Mobile phone connectivity: Only post-paid mobile phone connections from other states work in Ladakh and even from these, only BSNL has presence beyond Leh. So unless you wish to be dependent upon STD booths, carry a BSNL/MTNL post-paid connection. packing-list-for-leh-ladakh-trip

Hope this list helps everyone of us in doing a successful trip to the mountains and more specifically Leh-Ladakh and Spiti Valley travel. Pls fel free to add anything in this list via comment and i'll add the same with your credits.

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