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Find out what was on my lightweight Annapurna Circuit Packing List when I trekked the trail in March 2023.
So, you want to know what I packed for the Annapurna Circuit? Well, you’ve come to the right place!
If you’re anything like me, I’m sure you are reading ALL the information you can get your hands on about the Annapurna Circuit before you hike it yourself. I also have a detailed guide covering pretty much everything you need to know about hiking the Circuit so you should definitely check that out too.
But this post is purely about what I packed, why I packed it, and if I would change my Annapurna Circuit packing list if I did it again. Overall, I was very happy with what I packed and how light my bag was. I didn’t actually weigh my bag but I would guess with my water it was between 7-8kg. Not bad.
But, what you should pack for the Annapurna Circuit varies depending on what time of year you are going. I hiked the circuit in early March so I needed to bring warmer clothes than I would have needed for September, October, or May. But not as many warm clothes as I would if I hiked it between December and January.
It can be hard to know exactly what the weather will be like as it is so changeable so it’s better to be prepared. Keep in mind that you can purchase trekking clothing and gear in Manang as well although the selection is limited.
Here is everything that was on my Annapurna Circuit Packing List.
My Annapurna Circuit Packing List
I am pretty good at packing light because I would rather only bring the absolute essentials so I am not lugging a super heavy pack. My 40L pack was the perfect size for me and I fit everything in without any trouble. I actually had space left. It’s important to have a waterproof bag cover for your bag too because you can get some crazy storms on the circuit.
The fanny pack (wow, I really am an American now) was key for me too because I put all of the important items that I needed throughout the hike in there including hand sanitizer, lip balm, my phone, some toilet paper, my hanky, and snacks. Having this meant I didn’t have to constantly stop to dig around in my bag.
The packing cubes kept my clothing items together in my bag.
- 3 x lightweight tanks
- 1 x lightweight t-shirt
- 1 x hiking pants
- 1 x hiking leggings
- 1 x regular leggings
- 6 x Merino underwear
- 2 x sports bras
- 1 x swimsuit
- 1 x long-sleeve Merino thermal top
- 1 x pair Merino hiking gloves
- 1 x pair woolen mittens
- 2 x pairs of cushioned Smartwool hiking socks
- 1 x pair of warm socks for evening/sleeping
- 2 x pairs of silk sock liners
- 1 x pair thermal long johns
- 1 x lightweight puffer jacket
- 1 x rain jacket
- 1 x poncho
- 1 x Melanzana lightweight hoodie
- 1 x thick fleece sweater
- 1 x buff
- 1 x wooly hat
- 1 x scarf
I packed three hiking tank tops, which I would alternate, plus a Merino T-shirt for evenings at the teahouses and to sleep in. I would also sleep in my Merino long johns as well as wear them in the day when it got really cold.
I hand-washed clothes a couple of times and we paid to get our laundry done in Manang. I would generally get changed once I cleaned up when I was done hiking for the day, and then air out my hiking top and bra on the washing line at the teahouse. That would usually get rid of any sweat smells to be able to wear it one more time. My hiking tops also hang quite low under my armpit so there is less chance for them to smell.
I also alternated my bras and would hand wash these every two to three days. This went out the window once we got above Manang because it was so cold at night so nothing would have dried.
Merino underwear is great because it doesn’t tend to smell, it dries fast and it’s breathable. I packed six pairs because they don’t take up much room and I would handwash them when I had nearly run out of clean underwear.
The buff was essential for road walking as the roads are quite dusty and you get covered in it when jeeps/buses drive past. This is more of a problem on the other side of the pass if you are hiking from Muktinath on. It was also essential for the pass day when I had my face covered up with my buff because it was so cold.
The sock liners were great and mostly stopped me from getting blisters. In 13 days of walking, I got one on my heel and one on the top of my toe so it could have definitely been much worse. I would wash these along with my socks at the end of each day. When it got too cold to do that, I would air them out at the end of the day.
Along with a raincoat, a poncho is also essential. Even with a raincoat and bag cover, you are still going to get soaked if you get caught out in heavy rainfall. Putting the poncho over your bag and body will give you an extra waterproof layer and it packs away small.
If you are hiking in the warmer months, I would recommend bringing some hiking shorts for lower elevations.
Personally, I was pleased I had my waterproof hiking boots rather than trainers or trail runners. They did get wet one day when we were hiking through mid-shin height snow and they do take longer to dry than non-waterproof shoes would, but I was pleased to have the support of boots and I think they were warmer too.
Whatever you wear, make sure that your shoes are worn in. This is very important because getting bad blisters and your feet hurting could really ruin the trek for you.
For the first few days before it got too cold to do so, I was wearing my Teva sandals for some of the hike each day to give my feet a break from my boots. The flip flops were for once we got to the teahouse and I would wear them with my evening/sleeping socks.
- 1 x toothbrush
- 1 x small toothpaste
- 1 x small container day face moisturizer with sunscreen
- 1 x facewash in travel-size bottle
- 1 x shampoo in travel-size bottle
- 1 x conditioner in travel-size bottle
- 1 x small pump bottle of dry shampoo
- 1 x block of soap
- 1 x travel-size body moisturizer
- 1 x travel-size deodarant
- 1 x small sunscreen
- 1 x lip balm with SPF
- 1 x small bug spray
- 1 x hand sanitizer
- 1 x pack of wet wipes
- 1 x travel-size hairbrush
- 1 x menstrual cup
Pretty standard toiletry items. The wet wipes were important for the days between Manang and Muktinath when we didn’t have access to a shower. I didn’t end up needing the bug spray but I heard that there are more bugs when it is hotter at lower elevations.
Sunscreen is very important as is lip balm. I didn’t end up getting burnt because I made sure to reapply both often but we saw some nasty burns and chaffing on people’s faces and lips. It’s much easier to get sunburnt at high elevations, especially if there is snow on the ground because it reflects the sun.
I have personally never tried shampoo and conditioner bars (I know I should though!) but this would be a great option instead of packing small bottles of shampoo and conditioner.
You might want to take some dry shampoo too because when you don’t shower for a number of days, your hair can get really nasty. But that is what hats and beanies are for right?
- Roll of toilet paper
- Kindle and charger
- Wireless headphones
- Phone charger
- Small daily planner and pen
- Kula cloth
- Fleece sleeping bag liner
- 2 x trekking poles
- Microfiber travel towel
- First Aid Kit with Diamox to prevent altitude sickness, Imodium, Ibuprofen, band-aids, antiseptic cream, and travel sickness pills (for the crazy roads).
- Sun hat
- GRAYL water filter bottle
- 3-liter water reservoir
- Few hydration packets
- Mirrorless camera
- Silk eye mask and silicone earplugs
- Cloth handkerchief
- Nepalese SIM card
Taking toilet paper was VERY important because nowhere provided it. You can buy more from small village shops when you need it, along with snacks. My Kula cloth is another essential hiking item for me – it’s an anti-microbial pee cloth that you can use when peeing in the wilderness.
We didn’t want to have to buy bottles of water so we brought my GRAYL water filter and filtered tap water to drink throughout the trek. We would filter our water each morning to fill our water reservoirs and the three liters of water was usually enough for me for the day’s hiking. We could also filter river water along the way if needed. A lot of teahouses also provide filtered water to fill your reservoirs/water bottles at a low cost.
Trekking with a water reservoir was important for me too because it’s much easier to stay hydrated when you don’t have to stop hiking to drink water, and you can carry more water. It also packs better than water bottles. I will say though that on the pass day my hose froze so this is when my GRAYL water filter bottle came in handy as we had that filled up too.
I took Diamox to avoid altitude sickness for five days – in Upper Pisang, Ngawal, Yak Kharka, and Thorong Phedi. It’s up to you if you want to take it but it was definitely worth it for me and Toby. The only side effects we got were occasional pins and needles in our feet and on my chin. Neither of us had any symptoms of altitude sickness for the whole trek, not even a headache. I have had horrible altitude sickness before so I know how debilitating it can be.
Read up on the side effects and maybe try it out at lower altitudes first to make sure you don’t have a bad reaction. You can get it prescribed by your doctor or get it over the counter once you get to Nepal.
I know a lot of people say you don’t need to bring a sleeping bag or liner but I am so thankful that we packed fleece liners because being zipped into those and then covered in blankets was definitely a lot warmer than just having blankets. If you really feel the cold and are trekking the Annapurna Circuit in a colder month then I highly recommend adding a sleeping bag or fleece liner to your Annapurna Circuit packing list.
We got a Nepalese SIM card so we could get better cell service in case of emergency and to have WiFi at teahouses where they didn’t have it. I didn’t have any service for a few days from leaving Manang to arriving in Muktinath.
You may not need gaiters or microspikes depending on what time of the year you are trekking. You can buy both in Manang so if you aren’t sure if you will need them, wait till then to decide.
I’m not usually a big trekking pole hiker but they were essential for this hike for me because of the snow and going downhill after the pass on loose rocks. You can also purchase trekking poles in Manang.
Things I Wish I Added To My Annapurna Circuit Packing List
If I did it again early in the season I would pack two pairs of long johns and two long-sleeved thermal tops so I would have one set for hiking and one for evenings/sleeping. I was wearing the same pair 24 hours a day for around five days which wasn’t ideal. Luckily Merino doesn’t smell too bad.
I would also either pack some coffee bean bags (if I was coming from New Zealand) or my Aeropress with some ground coffee. It would be extra room and weight but it’s not too heavy and I really missed not having real (non-instant) coffee daily.
A Nalgene water bottle to use as a hot water bottle on cold evenings, and some hand warmers would have been nice too.
What I Didn’t Need To Pack
Honestly, I used everything I packed although I only wore the mittens maybe twice – my Merino gloves were proficient.
Purchasing Gear For Your Annapurna Circuit Packing List in Nepal
As I was only traveling with a carry-on backpack for my five-month trip, I needed to purchase a few items on arrival in Pokhara.
You can actually get pretty good quality hiking gear for cheap in Kathmandu and Pokhara and I purchased thermal trekking pants, a thick fleece jumper, a buff, a trekking pole, and some mittens to supplement my gear.
We picked up gaiters, microspikes, and an additional trekking pole each in Manang after heavy snow. You can also get trekking clothes, socks, gloves, and other trekking items in Manang.
I hope this Annapurna Circuit packing list helps you decide what to pack for your Annapurna Circuit Trek! Let me know if there is anything else you think I should have added to my list.
If you enjoyed this post, check out some of my other Nepal posts and travel tips:
- Super Detailed Annapurna Circuit Trek Guide: Everything You Need To Know
- My Ultimate Sri Lanka Packing List
- 10 Best Carry-on Packing Hacks for Stylish Travel
- Summer Packing List for 3 Months in North America
- The Essential Slow Travel Guide For 2023
- 21 Best Tips To Help You Become an Eco Traveller
- How To Become a Housesitter; 10 Best Housesitting Tips
- How to Live an Amazing Life When You’re Not Traveling
- How I Save To Travel: Easy Money Saving Tips