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K2 Base Camp Trek Packing List

As always, when planning a major trip into the mountains, having the right gear is one of the bests ways to prepare yourself for a happy and successful trekking experience.

Showing up unprepared is pretty much a one-way ticket to the ultimate suffer-fest.

Whether you decide to do this trip with Epic Backpacker Tours or not, please, don’t be “that person” who shows up to trek to the base of the world’s second highest mountain with a summer sleeping bag, no down jacket, and city trainers.

You will suffer the consequences, and you will possibly put yourself and your group at risk by being underprepared.

Below, I have assembled a list of everything we recommend our clients to bring on the K2 Base Camp trek.

Keep in mind that we provide each trip participant with a 12.5-kilo porter ”weight budget” for the trek.

This means that you should not have the carry the bulk of your stuff as you move between camps. This porter service allowance is also a game-changer regarding what you can bring and how much weight you actually have to carry on a daily basis.

Click here to see our downloadable PDF K2 Base Camp Trek Packing List if you are just looking for the standard checklist. 

Read on to get our more in-depth packing list suggestions. This is the ultimate K2 Base Camp Trek packing list!

Packs and Duffel Bags

  • Expedition Duffel Bag
    These bags are great for keeping the majority of your “camp” stuff organized. Expedition bags are typically very tough, weather-resistant, and are very easy for the porters to strap onto the mules.
    To make sure you have plenty of space, we recommend bringing a large 100-120 liter duffel.

    This bag is where the majority of your stuff will be, sleeping bag, clothing, alpine boots, spikes, helmet, harness, excess snacks, etc. Be sure to not overpack your duffle (it’s easy to do) as you will have to pay more for porter services if the bag weighs more than 12.5 kilos

    Recommendation: NorthFace Base Camp Duffel XL

  • Trekking Backpack
    Since you will be packing the majority of stuff into your expedition duffel, you do not need to bring a massive backpack.

    This is the pack that you will hike with daily. Going with a 25-36 liter backpack is enough.
    You will use this backpack to carry your daily essentials like water, rain gear, clothing layers, snacks, camera, suncream, and passport. You must have experience using this backpack. Make sure it fits properly and is comfortable to wear for long periods.

    Recommendation: 
    Osprey Talon 36

Boots and Footwear

  • Trekking Boots
    Perhaps the single most important piece of kit you pack is your hiking boots. If you are going to splurge on something, splurge on quality hiking boots.

    For most of the K2 trek, you do not need a serious alpine boot. That said, you want a hiking boot that can take a beating from all of the rocks found on the Baltoro Glacier, stay dry when splashed with water, and crucially, do not give you any soon-to-be festering blisters.

    As always, BREAK YOUR BOOTS IN BEFORE GOING ON A LONG TREK.

    Without fail, someone always turns up to tackle the K2 trek with a shiny new pair of hiking boots. After one day of trekking (also without fail), they have blisters the size of small grapes swelling up on their feet. Break in your boots and save yourself from the day one blister blues.

    Recommendation: Lowa Renegade GTX

  • Alpine Boots (B1/B2) (Optional)
    These more heavy-duty boots are great in case heavy snow is encountered. Also, if you use crampons instead of microspikes, you need a boot that has the welt to receive the crampons.

    Recommendation: La Sportiva Trango Tower

  • Sandals/Tevas/Keens/Crocs
     A pair of camp shoes to change into after a day of hiking is always good. 

    Recommendation: Keen Targhee 3 Sandals

Essential Personal Gear/ Sleep System

k2 base camp trek packing list
  • Sleeping Bag
    A sleeping bag is another piece of gear that you DO NOT want to skimp on. Temperatures can plummet well below freezing at any time of the year, especially around Concordia, Goro 2, and Ali Camp. If you bring a summer-rated sleeping bag, you will be putting yourself in a potentially life-threatening situation. Plus, nobody wants to be cold for days on end. Invest in a good sleeping bag and guarantee yourself many nights of solid (and warm) sleep.

    Recommendation: Marmot Lithium 0 or Mountain Hardware Phantom 0

  • Inflatable Sleeping Pad
    We provide you with a basic ground mat. They do make for a good barrier to the cold ground (you are sleeping on a glacier for most of the trek), but in terms of comfort, you’ll need to bring an inflatable air pad as well.

    Recommendation: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm Sleeping Pad

  • Camping Pillow
    Self-explanatory and an absolute game-changer. Having an inflatable pillow will make you sleep better night after night on the trek.

    Recommendation: Nemo Filo

Safety Equipment and Speciality Gear

For the majority of the trek, some stuff like your climbing harness, helmet, etc will stay in your bag, though this kit is needed for descending Gondogoro La. 

Here is all the specialty kit we recommend:

Personal Clothing and Layering Systems

k2 base camp trek packing list

What is the key to staying warm in the mountains? LAYERS!

Casual clothing for air travel and our time in cities: whatever you need to be comfortable in the plane or in the jeep. 

Other Personal Gear

  • Dry bags (optional)
    Be 100% sure that your most important items are dry.
    Recommendation: Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Bag

  • Camera / Extra Battery
    Recommendation: A mirrorless camera by Fuji or Sony – or just a good quality smartphone.

  • Power Bank and Chargers/Phone Cable: We will have a generator on the trip for charging electronics, but always good to have your power bank as well.

  • Personal First Aid Kit 
    Bandaids, hand sanitizer, lip balm with spf, tampons, strong quality sun cream (50 spf+), antibiotic cream, paracetamol, throat lozenges, electrolyte tabs, moleskin for blisters, antibiotics for stomach/general, earplugs, and Diamox for altitude sickness (optional)

  • Polarized Sunglasses or glacier glasses: The Karakoram sun is strong and having a good pair of polarized sunglasses is essential.
    Recommendation: CAMP Eyewear Trail Polarized Sunglass

Non-Essential Optional Gear

  • Satellite Messenger Device
    Stay connected to people back home
    Recommendation: Garmin In-Reach Mini

  • A Good Book / Kindle and Podcasts (Downloaded)
    These are almost essential items! Bring what you need to stay entertained at camp.

  • Pee bottle – (Optional)
    Wide mouth Nalgene clearly marked “pee bottle”. This is to avoid having to leave your tent at night.
    Recommendation for Women: Pibella Travel Device

  • Combination Lock
    Easily lock your portered bag if you wish. 
    Recommendation: Pacsafe Loc

Toiletries and Personal Hygiene

  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste
  • Bodywash / Shampoo
  • Wetwipes
  • Lipbalm
  • Sunscreen (minimum 30 SPF)
  • Deodorant
  • Fast Drying Microfiber Travel Towel
  • Whatever else makes you feel clean and comfortable

That’s a wrap on our K2 Base Camp Packing List blog.

If you have any specific gear-related questions, drop us a comment below!

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