Tibet’s altitude and weather are major factors in how comfortable and enjoyable a trip will be so it is vital to pack all the essential items on a trip to Tibet. This is a packing list that I deem critical for your trip and works in conjunction with my essential guide to Travel in Tibet.

Undoubtedly, Tibet is one of the harshest places for human existence. Weather there is cool in summer, but excruciatingly cold in winter.

Tibet has a reputation as being a place covered in snow with freezing temperatures year round. In reality, Tibet is quite pleasant for much of the year. During the winter months, many areas of Tibet can be quite cold, but for the most part, heavy snow is rare. The Himalaya Mountains generally allow very little precipitation to come over from India and Nepal. Much of Tibet is a large, arid desert.

Packing List for Tibet

Clothes to bring

  • comfortable, broken-in hiking shoes or walking shoes (hiking boots not required on overland journeys)
  • 3 or 4  pairs of hiking pants (at least 1 pair of waterproof/windproof hiking pants)
  • 2 or 3 pairs of cotton socks
  • 3 or 4 pairs of wool socks
  • 4 to 6 pairs of underwear
  • 1 or 2 sets of thermal underwear (tops and bottoms)
  • 1 set of warm pajamas for overnight
  • mid-weight or heavy-weight winter coat (down recommended for travel in the months from Oct—Apr)
  • lightweight hooded rain jacket for any travel done from April thru October
  • warm hat
  • warm gloves
  • scarf (optional)
  • sun hat with wide brim
  • 2 or 3 fleece tops
  • 4 or 5 T-shirts (Mixture of short and long sleeved)

Recommended Accessories

  • small flashlight (torch) or headlamp with extra batteries
  • sunglasses with UV protection
  • 1 liter Nalgene bottle
  • small thermos for tea/hot water
  • day pack that is 20 L to 30 L in size to keep accessible in the vehicle
  • 1 small bag for dirty clothes, etc

Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items

  • sun block/sun screen that is SPF 35 or higher
  • lip balm that contains sunscreen
  • skin moisturizer (optional)
  • anti-bacterial hand sanitizer
  • small hand-held mirror (optional)
  • deodorant
  • feminine products
  • shaving products
  • travel size soap and shampoo
  • toothbrush and tooth paste
  • wet wipes
  • 2 rolls of toilet paper (toilet paper not provided in many public toilets)
  • nail clippers
  • band-aids and moleskin for blisters
  • ear plugs
  • cotton buds/Q-tips

Recommended Medicines

  • medicine to treat travelers diarrhea
  • anti-biotic ointment for minor cuts or blisters
  • personal Tylenol, ibuprofen, cold medicine, antihistamine, etc
  • Diamox / Acetazolamide (Optional….contact your doctor for details)
  • medicine if you are prone to motion sickness
  • prescription drugs (consult your doctor)

Extra Optional Items

  • iPod/iPad/Kindle
  • batteries for personal items (camera, flashlight, etc)
  • plenty of memory cards for your camera
  • passport/money holder
  • extra copy of your passport and Chinese visa
  • protein bars, chocolate, dried fruit or other snacks of your choice
  • electric outlet adapters for Tibet
  • small notebook with pen
  • 3 or 4 small zip-lock bags
  • digital version of Lonely Planet Tibet guidebook

Trekking Journeys

  • 1 pair of comfortable tennis shoes, flip-flops or croc-style sandal to wear after trekking
  • broken-in hiking boots
  • 2 or 3 wicking t-shirts
  • 3 or 4 pairs of trekking underwear that minimize chaffing
  • 1 lightweight, quick-drying towel
  • gaiters (optional)
  • bandana 
  • lightweight rain jacket with hood
  • good quality sleeping bag rated for -12°C to -18°C (10°F to  0°F) 
  • 2 durable trekking poles
  • lightweight hand-held mirror
  • moleskin and band-aids for blisters
  • 70 liter (or bigger) backpack
  • Camelbak water carrier

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