Khumbu in the winter doesn’t have to be brutal if you have the right trekking gear for January. The trick is all in the layering.
You’ll want to be super warm in the mornings and evenings, but to avoid sweating profusely, you also need to have the option to remove layers and keep them in your day bag. Down below we’ll go through a step-by-step on certain clothing hacks to optimise your January Gear and keep yourself cosy above 4,000 meters.
First of all, we recommend Merino wool socks, because it keeps your feet so warm! It’s so much better than cotton socks, and it’ll also help in preventing blisters based on the sheer thickness of the material. Choose socks that go up your calf because you’ll appreciate that extra leg warmth.
Another great woolen item to have are thermals. They regulate temperature well and are the perfect base layer. It’s really important to have a couple of these, one for sleeping and another for day use. As every trekker knows they’re the foundation to a well-dressed adventurer. Merino wool thermals are on the pricier side, but, it’s definitely worth the investment if you look at the cost per wear (they last you years) and overall comfort and performance.
On top of the thermals, we’d recommend a mid-layer fleece jumper (or two) to keep in the body heat. Keep an eye on the composition of the material, you don’t want 100% polyester because the cheapness of the material will show at a higher elevation. We really like the Patagonia jumpers, but the brand doesn't matter here, as long as it's not polyester!
We’d suggest having a down puffer vest over your jumper because it’s great for protecting your chest from the incoming winds. It’s also super versatile and lightweight. There is the classic men's vest here and for women, there's a beautiful one here.
Obviously, you'll require a heavy duty jacket as the final layer, however, one thing that most trekkers forget is the importance of a humble Thermos. It's so important to have a warm beverage with you during the day, and even more so at night when temperatures can get below minus 15 degrees Celsius.
Et voila! You have yourself protected for the Khumbu winter. The Norwegians say, “ Det fins ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær”- there’s no bad weather, only bad clothing. So with that in mind, make sure you check the material composition (the clothes must use the warmest fabrics) and you layer with your key basics, and away we go!