The Chadar Trek Checklist: Everything You Need to Carry

Before you start packing, a slight reminder: pack light! The Chadar Trek is all about being nimble-footed on frozen water. The cold is unbearable, and the atmosphere is thin and lugging your heavy bags can just make it more difficult. So, just pack the essentials into your rucksack or take a small daypack too (if you have porters to carry your luggage). And just in case you're wondering what these essentials are - we have a checklist for you!

Image Courtesy: Flickr

#1 Clothing

You don’t need to carry too many changes of clothing. Thermals shirts, thermal trousers, woollen gloves, woollen socks and woollen caps are a must. Take necessary jackets, and windcheaters. Raincoats or ponchos are another necessity. The trick is to layer. Wearing one thick sweater isn’t as warm as layering two or more sweaters because the trapped layer of air acts as an insulator and keeps you warmer.

#2 Footwear

Proper shoes are a must.  Waterproof high-ankle hiking boots with proper grips are a necessity because the ice is very slippery. If you like improvising, wear those good ol' rubber gumboots over regular hiking boots. And make sure they are well broken into before the trek. Do remember that even your hiking boots are useless for walking on glass-smooth ice. You will need to fit crampons on them.

#3 Medicines 

Pack in antipyretics, analgesics, antiemetics, anti-allergens, medicines for diarrhoea, altitude sickness, oral rehydration pills and other prescription drugs. A pain relief gel and a couple of band-aids can be handy. Taking water-purification tablets is a good idea too. We always recommend a thorough medical check-up before starting out on the Chadar Trek, because nowhere on the frozen Zanskar will you find a chemist, let alone a doctor unless one is trekking with you!

#4 Others 

  • A water bottle is a necessity. Drink lots of fluids to avoid dehydration.Carry chocolates, energy bars and dry fruits and snack often.
  • Forgetting your sunglasses and sunscreen is folly because in the higher altitudes, UV rays are more powerful. Even if you'll be provided with a sleeping bag by your travel planner, packing in an extra one is always a good idea. 
  • Firewood is expensive. Carry a small portable heater to ensure a more comfortable sleep.
  • Pack in a small pouch of toiletries, and make sure you carry moisturizers, lip balms, toilet papers and a hand sanitizer !Take your own micro-polythene garbage disposal bags and tissue wipes.
  • Carry a torch and extra batteries for it. Also carry extra batteries for your camera, the cold kills the batteries very quickly.


You can take a print out of this list to check off "Everything You Need to Carry" for the Chadar trek -  

The Complete list:

  1. Rucksack/Day pack
  2. Duffel back with personal gear 
  3. Garbage bag (preferably micro-polythene disposable bags)
  4.  Sleeping bag
  5.  Waterproof, high ankle hiking boots or gumboots to wear over hiking/trekking shoes
  6.  Half three-point crampons or front spikes for grip on ice
  7.  Trekking pole
  8.  Seven pairs of thermal, thick wool and synthetic socks and seven pairs of liner socks
  9.  Fleece pants/Inner thermals/Quick-dries/Waterproof outer pants
  10.  Fleece jacket/Windproof jacket
  11.  Raincoat/poncho
  12.  Thermal inners, both lower and upper
  13.  Good waterproof outers
  14.  Wool hat that covers the ears
  15.  Long-sleeved thermal shirts/light fleece shirts for trekking
  16.  Two pairs of fleece/woollen inner gloves
  17.  Outer synthetic water-proof gloves
  18.  Bandanna/Scarf
  19.  Sunglasses with UV protection
  20.  Lip protection + Moisturiser with high SPF
  21.  Two water bottles, preferably with insulated cover
  22.  Headlamp/flashlight with spare batteries - cold kills batteries
  23.  Camera with spare batteries and memory cards - cold kills batteries
  24.  Lightweight toiletries, including hand sanitizer
  25.  Thermos
  26.  Ear plugs
  27.  Personal first aid kit, including medicines for high altitude sickness


Article By: Mohana Das



December 28, 2015

Also, are gaitors necessary for the trek?


December 28, 2015

Wanted to know, what all are my options from where I can buy good Gum boots. I don’t want to buy any expensive stuff as it is only for one time use.
Is it Ok to use only one trekking pole?
At one time, how many layers is necessary/important?

Leave a comment

Contact Form

       You are in good hands with Gypsy Shack! Just fill and submit this short form and we will contact you to design an amazing journey just for you.

It will just take 20 sec.

First Name*
Last Name*
Skype ID
Message to GypsyShack: