Top gear picks from our Great Himalaya Trail trekkers


They spent 152 days of continuous trekking from Kanchenjunga in the east of Nepal to the Yari Valley into the far west along the world’s longest, highest and most diverse alpine walking track.

The Great Himalaya Trail – often described as trekking’s ‘holy grail’ – saw our 2018 GHT trekkers wind through the tallest mountain ranges in the world, where they crossed passes reaching up to 6,000m; encountered nature’s extremes; and overcame challenges on this incredible traverse. So, it’s safe to say that Vince Gayman and Ken Harris are well experienced to share some gear must-haves when trekking in the Himalayas.

Vince’s picks

1. Apple iPhone/iPad: Leaving out his Nikon D7200, which he shoots most of his photos with, Vince is surprised by how much use he’s gotten from these gadgets, even though they’re rarely connected to the internet.

“I use them for more of my photography than I expected but also for quick editing, posting when I can, listening to podcasts, as well as music, games, books and sharing photos with the rest of the group. I charge them primarily with a solar panel.”

2. Arcteryx Bora AR 50 Backpack: “I bought this new before I left thinking, I’m going to be wearing this every day for five months and I want a pack that will be comfortable and durable. I read reviews, wore it around the store – REI of course – and decided to go for it. It’s been great. The other morning I put it on and thought, ‘I can’t believe how comfortable this still feels’, and while it has taken a beating it still looks good. The pocket configuration is just about perfect for me. The capacity is a little large for what I’m carrying, but when we were going over the higher passes in colder weather it was just right.”

3. Salomon GTX 4D Boots: Days of endless wet snow, rocks, mud and dust have seen these boots pounding out miles.

“The route description made me nervous about what to wear on the rugged terrain of snow, scree, rock hopping and long days of walking. On the recommendation of Brant at REI I went with the Salomon. Wow, have they been through a grinder. When this is over, they’ll be done, but my feet are happy and that’s what counts.”

Ken’s picks

1. Canon 50D: You will rarely see Ken without his trusty DSLR either up to his eye or around his neck. He likes it so much he even brought two with him just in case!

These cameras have travelled the world with Ken and shot memories to last a lifetime. The most disappointed Ken’s been during the GHT trip was when he was waiting for his replacement camera to arrive at one of our stops and it wasn’t there.

Nothing like a photographer without his favorite gear. These cameras take a beating and still get the goods.

2. Wide brim hat: It looked worn when he got it, but now it’s the real deal. The wide brimmed canvas hat that has become a signature item.

Photo credit: Ken Harris.

“It provides protection from sun, rain, and cold and goes well with beard. Wouldn’t trade it for any of those high tech fabrics that can’t hold up to the GHT abuse.”

3. Trekking poles: Except for the odd slip here or there, trekking poles have helped keep Ken mostly upright.

“They provide extra strength on the way up and mostly balance on the way down. They have taken abuse on the trail and, although missing the odd part, are still intact and mostly straight.”

4. Polarised sunglasses: Ken stresses the importance of a quality pair of sunglasses which completely cover your eyes to protect your eyes from UV rays and to reduce glare, especially when in snowy conditions.

Photo credit: Ken Harris

Images supplied by Ken Harris.

What’s a gear favourite you would recommend? Let us know in the comments below.

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