Tips for a Comfortable Stay at the Everest basecamp
Everest basecamp accommodation tips

Think about the most important things that will make your stay at this high altitude environment safe and comfortable. When considering you will be staying in very basic accommodation for the most part of your trek, it might be useful to bring a few comforts to help you sleep better and keep you entertained during the evenings. For the sakes of the environment in the local villages, it really is best to leave any extremely disposable items at home, as the Nepalese still do not have an efficient waste management plan in place. It’s also important to keep in mind that although teahouses do have provided blankets, it may be a good idea to have your own sleeping gear for extra comfortable and cleanliness. This will also be beneficial if you have to stay in a tent for any reason. (Volunteer projects or nights when teahouses are too full). You will find a breakdown of suggested sleep gear for different regions in the next section.

Ensuring a comfortable stay at Everest Base Camp requires careful preparation and attention to detail, considering the challenging environment of the high-altitude Himalayas. Here are some tips to enhance your comfort during your stay:

  1. Proper Acclimatization:
    • Allow your body sufficient time to acclimatize to the high altitude by following a gradual ascent schedule and taking regular rest days to adjust.
    • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and avoid overexertion to minimize the risk of altitude-related illnesses such as altitude sickness.
  2. Appropriate Clothing:
    • Dress in layers to regulate your body temperature effectively, including moisture-wicking base layers, insulating mid-layers, and a waterproof and windproof outer shell.
    • Pack warm clothing such as down jackets, insulated pants, gloves, hats, and neck gaiters to stay warm in cold temperatures.
  3. Comfortable Accommodation:
    • Choose teahouses or lodges with comfortable bedding and amenities to ensure a restful night’s sleep.
    • Consider bringing a sleeping bag liner or sleeping pad for added insulation and comfort, especially in colder environments.
  4. Healthy Nutrition:
    • Maintain a balanced diet rich in carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to fuel your body for trekking at high altitude.
    • Enjoy hearty meals at teahouses or lodges, including local dishes such as dal bhat (rice and lentils) for sustained energy.
  5. Hygiene and Sanitation:
    • Practice good hygiene habits, including washing your hands frequently and using hand sanitizer to prevent the spread of germs.
    • Carry personal hygiene items such as wet wipes, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper for use in teahouses or during outdoor bathroom breaks.
  6. Stay Hydrated and Rested:
    • Drink plenty of fluids, including water, herbal tea, and electrolyte-replacement drinks, to stay hydrated at high altitude.
    • Get adequate rest and sleep to recover from trekking exertion and ensure your body can perform optimally during the trek.
  7. Manage Altitude Symptoms:
    • Be aware of symptoms of altitude sickness, including headache, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue, and take appropriate measures if symptoms occur.
    • Descend to lower altitudes if symptoms persist or worsen, and seek medical attention if necessary.
  8. Stay Warm and Dry:
    • Keep dry and warm by wearing waterproof and breathable clothing and using moisture-wicking fabrics to manage sweat.
    • Use protective gear such as rain gear, gaiters, and waterproof footwear to stay dry during inclement weather.

By following these tips, you can enhance your comfort and enjoyment during your stay at Everest Base Camp, allowing you to focus on soaking in the breathtaking scenery and achieving your trekking goals.

Packing Essentials

Clothing: You will only need a minimum of clothes on the way up to basecamp but can, of course, have a more varied selection at the end of the trip when you pass through Namche again. Cleanliness is relative at best on the trek, and anything that is in regular contact with the body will get filthy very quickly. It is a good idea to keep trekking wear separate from wear that you will use in the lodges.

The following list is by no means definitive, but it should provide a good starting point for your own personal gear selection. Most of it is applicable to any trek in Nepal, so it is not gear that will be wasted on just one holiday. Note my recommendation is that you will not need the latest high-tech thermal gear unless you really feel the cold, as it tends to be heavy and it is better to take several lighter layers which can be added and removed as required.

Packing for the Everest Basecamp trek is a fine art. It is crucial to take all the right gear without taking too much. Weight is a critical consideration at any altitude and with the many walk-in sections on this trek, the need for porters will rapidly become apparent if you are not disciplined in your packing. The other thing to remember is that excessive baggage may incur extra charges on the flight to Lukla and delays with excess baggage are not uncommon.

Sleeping Gear Recommendations

Given the weight and volume of a decent down sleeping bag, it is undoubtedly worthwhile taking a good quality bag rather than hiring or buying a cheaper bag in Kathmandu. Due to the increase in popularity of trekking in the Everest region and the ease of transportation, the price and variety of sleeping bags available in Nepal has improved, and it is now quite feasible to find a high-quality bag for a decent price in Kathmandu during your first days in Nepal.

A final item to consider if you are a light sleeper is earplugs. Due to the design of most lodges, sound travels easily and it can be quite noisy at night and in the early morning with other trekkers and guides coming and going to start their day’s trek.”

Many people also bring along a sleeping bag liner to use in the tea-houses and lodges. They are very light and help to keep your sleeping bag clean and add a few degrees of warmth. When trekking during the colder months, it is also a good idea to bring along a warm hat and thermal underwear.

“Although some amenities are provided at the lodges, it is always nice to have a good sleeping bag to climb into as temperatures drop significantly at night, often as low as -20°C. Sleeping bags can be rented or bought in Kathmandu and are one item that we highly recommend. Down bags are the lightest and most compact; however, their insulating properties decrease dramatically when damp and can take a long time to dry. Synthetically filled bags are effective in the damp conditions and temperatures of the Everest region. A foam mat is also recommended for insulating you from the cold ground and adding comfort. Inexpensive closed cell foam is light and can be easily strapped to the outside of a pack. For extra comfort and insulation, also bring an inflatable ¾ or full-length mat.

Hygiene and Cleanliness

Warm water and soap are not always readily available, so it is a good idea to bring a small quantity of hand sanitizer to maintain hand hygiene. Cleaning your hands before meals or after using the toilet are times when it is most important to maintain hand hygiene for the prevention of food and waterborne diseases. Any soap or detergent you use, whether for personal hygiene, clothes washing, or utensil cleaning, should be disposed of away from water sources. Always use biodegradable soap or detergent for the above purposes.

The standard, setup, and facilities of the toilet at the basecamp might not be comparable to that of yours at home, but it is possible to find some hygiene and clean options around. Porta-Cabin Toilets – these are the common shared toilets used at the basecamp. These are relatively clean and maintained, especially those used by the clients of big expedition agencies. Toilet Tents – some eco-friendly trekking companies who are quite concerned about maintaining the standard of hygiene and cleanliness in the mountain provide their own toilet tent for their clients. Finally, a toilet option is to be used the same as local people “toilet of nature call”. This could be the last option if you are trekking in a remote area without access to a proper toilet.

Maintaining hygiene and cleanliness in the basecamp is quite challenging, but it is one of the essential factors to consider for minimizing the risk of health problems and for maintaining comfort. Follow these tips for a healthy and comfortable stay at the Everest Basecamp.

Challenges and Limitations

During the season, it can be difficult to get a private room at EBC or any of the surrounding lodges. Many of the team sites are on the main paths through the area and often share space in one large open tent. This can make the experience of ‘getting away from it all’ tough for some people, knowing that they are still close to the noise and traffic on the main trail. It is possible for us to trek to the upper Khumbu region for a few days and get off the main trails. There are a few lesser-known valleys with beautiful views that we can explore. However, from EBC, these places will require several days of hiking to reach. This will significantly cut into the climbing time on the main peaks. The team must weigh the value of time spent away from the crowds versus the long hike to get there and back. Because of the higher costs and relative luxury of our expedition, it is likely that it will feel a bit crowded and even hectic at times compared to the quieter trekking and more rugged style of other treks and climbs in Nepal. In the end, it is the high mountains and the experience gained on them that will be the focus of our time in the Khumbu. EBC is just the starting point for the higher and more remote peaks that are our true objectives.

Limited Availability during Peak Seasons

During the peak seasons of March to May and October to November, finding a suitable place to stay can be a challenging prospect. The number of visitors to Base Camp can swell to over a thousand and there are only a limited number of beds available. Local trekking companies often inform their clients that they will have comfortable and clean accommodation while on the trek to Base Camp, however these promises are often kept only at the more expensive lodges where their clients are unlikely to be staying. In the peak seasons, many trekkers arrive at Base Camp to find that the lodge their guide had assured them they would be staying at is already full and they are forced to stay somewhere substandard in a room with poor insulation, a leaky roof, and no view of Everest. Groups of trekkers without a guide can face an even harder time finding suitable accommodation as many lodge owners give first priority to the large trekking companies bringing in guided groups. With the seasons becoming warmer and more precipitation falling as rain rather than snow, the crowds at Base Camp are only likely to increase which will make finding suitable accommodation an even harder task.

Basic Infrastructure and Services

During the summer months from April to May and October to November, when the number of visitors is at its height, it is very difficult to find a place to stay if you have not made a booking. If the number of visitors who trek to the region continues to increase, it may soon be impossible to find a room at the more popular villages. The lodges have been described as “simple, yet comfortable”. Normally bedrooms are wood-panelled and painted a cheerful, bright colour. Each room contains two narrow beds with a foam mattress. The beds are covered with a thick blanket and pillows. While you can use your own sleeping bag it is not necessary to do so because the lodge will provide you with a full set of bed linen and there is no opportunity of it being unhygienic. All you really require is a sleeping bag liner, increasingly popular are silk ones. Bedrooms are normally carpeted so they are not iced cold. As wood is sparse at high altitude, it is essential that a lodge room is not drafty. In mid-afternoon the dining room stove is lit and using solar energy, it retains enough heat to warm the room and your bedroom through the night. This makes the lodge comfortable to sit and relax in, for at least a few hours into the evening. Each lodge has a good sized dining room, often with tables around the perimeter where trekkers can sit and talk, eat and drink. Also prevalent is the postcard of the outside world, a relic from another era, and perhaps the most important social corner of the lodge, the kerosene wick lamp.

Environmental Impact and Sustainability

The trekking industry is under increasing pressure to be environmentally friendly and sustainable. One of the main problems in this region is dealing with pollution. In order to combat the amount of garbage produced in the Khumbu, Himalayas, Sagamartha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC) was established in 1991. Their main objective is to “minimize all forms of pollution and promote the ‘clean’ Khumbu initiative”. Their activities include monitoring the levels of pollution at popular trails and trekking lodges. One of the most successful initiatives that SPCC has taken is to ban the use of plastic bags in the Khumbu. However, despite a few fines to the lodges and shop owners in the region, this message has still not been firmly implemented and alternative methods and education need to be provided to the local community. This is an issue that most trekkers have at heart due to the prevalent amount of litter on the trails so funding to ensure the success of this plastic bag ban would be well supported. SPCC is also responsible for the waste management of the six million tourists that visit the region each year. Their intention is to “minimize the amount of waste associated with the tourism industry in Sagamartha National Park”. They have implemented an incentive-based system to encourage lodges and tour operators to reduce and recycle their waste. The Everest Recycles programme provides containers for biodegradable and non-biodegradable refuse. Lodges are then rewarded with free waste collection if they bring a higher percentage of recyclable rubbish to the refuse transfer station in comparison to non-recyclable waste. To understand the current issues facing the management of waste generated from tourism in Nepal, one must address how the lodges and teahouses are built. The tourism in this region has experienced an exponential increase in numbers since the first American ascent of Everest in 1963. Due to lapse legislations and poor resource management, this has led to deforestation and various forms of land degradation to create open spaces for lodge construction and firewood collection. The belief is that land lease is only temporary and the tree line will eventually rise to encompass Mt. Everest Base Camp. This has a large impact on soil erosion, with studies showing a dramatic increase in soil erosion around areas facing intense human activity. The SPCC runs annual Environmental Awareness Days highlighting these issues to the local people and have had positive contributions from local schools in planting trees and strengthening their message.

Waste Management

The Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), with support from international expeditions, has conducted a number of clean-up campaigns at both basecamp and along the trekking route. However, little has been accomplished in terms of developing a sustainable waste management system in the Khumbu. In 1991, the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC) was established as an autonomous, non-profit organization with the financial support of the United States, the USSR, Japan, Germany, and Switzerland. SPCC has worked to control and prevent pollution in the Khumbu through various initiatives at the local and regional level. However, like the NMA, it has focused primarily on clean-up campaigns as opposed to long-term waste management and prevention.

Everest Basecamp experiences an estimated annual visitation of 35,000 trekkers and support staff. Since there are no roads in the immediate area, generated waste must be transported out by human porters or animals. Trekkers stay in the area for an average of 14 days. The vast majority of these people spend about 7 days trekking to and from Lukla, so this suggests that the main activity of the visitors is to journey to and from the area rather than stay at Everest Basecamp. Expeditions, typically occupying basecamp for 40-60 days, represent a much smaller portion of the annual population. These varied activities and numbers of visitors impact the type and quantity of waste generated. With some activities having a higher turnover of people, it also makes management and disposal of waste a difficult task.

Energy Conservation

Energy use, especially in the form of trash burning, has been implicated as a major source of environmental impact, particularly in the decreased availability of firewood in the middle hills and upper river valleys where it constitutes the principal fuelwood and construction material. A variety of alternative energy sources have been proposed for addressing the energy needs of lodges, including improved wood stoves and alternative fuels, and passive solar, micro-hydro, and wind power systems. Of these, improved wood stoves that are more efficient and release less indoor air pollution are probably the most viable in the short-term. In the long-term, alternative energy systems hold the most promise and can greatly reduce the environmental impact of lodges in the Everest region. Any alternative energy system adopted must be appropriate to local socio-economic and technical conditions. While the potential for alternative energy is high in many areas, the steep terrain and rocky soil constrains resource availability for some methods. For example, solar power would likely be the best alternative for many lodges in upper river valleys where there is abundant sunshine most of the year, and wood resources are scarce. Micro-hydro might be an option for lodges in some locations, but can be prohibitively expensive. An advantage of alternative energy systems is that they can be adopted and managed at the community level. This has the additional potential benefit of building local technical capacity and being conducive to community-based lodge management models.

The study findings have suggested that although the demand for tea houses is still high, there are some suggestions made by trekkers for overall improvements. With the number of trekkers who are looking for alternative forms of accommodation, it is recommendable that future trekking entrepreneurs should at least consider making one eco-lodge in every two to three day trekking distances so that alternative accommodation can be an option for everyone. Eco-lodges were the most popular choice for alternative accommodation amongst trekkers, and findings showed that these are considered as “the best of both worlds” between camping and tea houses.

Nepal’s trekking industry is diverse and brings together travelers from all around the world. Accommodation services play an important role in the trekking experience by providing travelers with some form of comfort and luxurious relief after a long day of struggling around the trails. The study was conducted during the trekking peak seasons and investigated visitors to find an understanding about trekkers’ preferences of accommodation services through several popular trekking destinations.


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