- 50L backpack
- 2L water bladder
- 1L water bottle
- 0.5L thermest - amazing for hot drinks
- water purifier (Steripen Ultra)
- water filter/pouch (Sawyer mini water filter)
- sunglasses - so very crucial
- regional trekking map - also rec'd: offline maps
- Kindle (Paperwhite)
- Down sleeping bag rated for -7C/19F (REI Igneo)
- mini first-aid, sunblock, moisturizer, mini towel
Clothing & Footwear
Clothing/gear note: The retail $ damage on these things would be nuts, and the only reason I was able to afford them is because I had worked in the outdoor industry and got everything heavily discounted while under their payroll (and the occasional thrift store gems!). There are many low-priced outdoor gear shops in Kathmandu, Pokhara, and other trekking towns that carry replicas of North Face/Marmot/Mountain Hardwear/etc. base layers, jackets, pants, and accessories for just 10-40% the branded retail cost, and many (though certainly not all) of these products function very well, or even just as well as the real thing. That said, I've seen porters/guides/other trekkers hit the trail with simple shirts, jeans, flip flops, and everything in between. I don't believe there is a "correct way," but I'm fortunate to have solid gear and, much more importantly, that has kept me safe, warm, dry, and will last a long time. A water filter/purifer is highly recommended to minimize the chance of catching water-borne illnesses and eliminate the need for single-use plastic water bottles.
The trail-runners were great and I wore them for most of the trek. Even with temperatures dipping below freezing at high altitude and/or early mornings, with medium-weight wool socks and as long as I kept moving my feet stayed happy. The mid-top boots were welcomed at higher altitudes (4000+ meters), stream crossings, and trekking over ice/snow, and for some additional lateral support, but I am blessed with strong ankles and therefore didn't absolutely need them for this reason. Another benefit with wearing ventilated shoes - MUCH less stink. ;) It's more weight to carry 2 pairs but I felt prepared for the hugely varied and at times unpredictable conditions from 1500 - 5500+ meters.
I think gaiters and microspikes are optional depending on the time of the year and snowfall from previous season. My friends and I started in late March, which is considered early in the trekking season. Folks do trek all year in the Khumbu region, though with the winter cold between Dec-Mar, much fewer people, including lodge/guesthouse owners, are at higher altitudes. We luckily had friends who had just returned from the region and told us that traction device and gaiters would be useful as they had gotten snowed-in at Gokyo (a seasonal town at 4790 m) for 2-3 days in the 2nd/3rd week of March. I would imagine later in April and May these 2 pieces of gear can be omitted to save space and weight. There's always Namche Bazaar - the hub of the Everest/Khumbu region - to get the latest word on trail conditions and weather and to pick up supplies.
Additional notes: The focal length range was tremendous and made for nearly every type of shot possible. The quality from those zooms with the full-frame sensor is impressive, however the weight was undoubtedly on the heavier end. I would certainly consider a lighter setup (ie: 20 or 24mm prime + 70-200 or 70-300mm zoom) or a mirrorless/micro 4/3rd's camera with an all-in-one lens. The GoPro was great fun to have, and the tripod was essential for me to do night and long exposures as well as time-lapses.