What to bring

Here is an indicative and non-exhaustive list of items not to be forgotten for a successful trekking expedition throughout the Wakhan and Pamir.


  • Both light and warm resistant clothes. Warm clothes are essential as temperature in the Pamir are near freezing at night even in August

  • Robust and waterproof hiking boots. Any new pair of boots must be used for at least 15 consecutive days before the expedition to avoid pain

  • Light sandals are absolutely essential. Ideal bring light plastic sandals with fastenings for river crossing that may also be used as sleepers

  • A warm sleeping bag is also essential although blankets are generally provided in yurts

  • Although it may be useful if you are planning to walk off the beaten tracks, a tent is not strictly necessary as there are people settlements and herder's shelters all along the way

  • A large plastic cover for ground protection in herder's shelters

  • A light self-inflating mattress is useful for nights in herder's shelters

  • A bag pack is not necessary if you are planning to hire mules or horses all along the way. It may be more convenient to use large, solid and waterproof bags

  • Water bottle

  • Light gloves and hat

  • A GPS (Global Positioning System) is not really necessary but may be useful and fun to have especially to check the altitude and to estimate distance to the next stop. Choose the one that includes a pre-downloaded map of the area

  • Flash light with sufficient batteries and extra lamp

  • Maps of the area, see here

  • Water purifying pills are not strictly necessary as water is generally abundant, fresh and clean

  • Complete first-aid kit. At the end of your trip, excess medicine may be donated to Dr Alex Duncan, a British Doctor who handles a small clinic in Ghaz Khan near Qala-e-Panj, see here. Bring Diamox if you are subject to altitude sickness.

  • A cooking stove may be useful although it is always possible and more convenient to make a traditional fire using yak or horse dung as fuel

  • Cooking equipment: large cooking pan, plates and cutlery

  • Miscellaneous: matches, cord, Tupperware, sunglasses, sunscreen, compass, thermometer, sponge, sewing kit, toilet paper, washing cloth, toiletries

  • Cameras and lots of films, or several spare batteries and memory cards if you use a digital camera as there is no way to recharge a battery beyond Eshkashem (preferably do so in Faizabad)

  • Gifts for the people: warm clothes (warm socks are appreciated!), small gifts for the children, etc.

  • A satellite telephone may be useful for communicating with the rest of the world, and in case of emergency

  • Condoms are not necessary, unless you like intercourse with donkeys


Although you will certainly be invited to share a meal in most cases, it is essential to bring basic food with you either to share with the people you will be staying with (especially with the Wakhi, as the Kirghiz are likely to refuse your food out of courtesy) or to prepare when staying in herder's shelters with nobody around. Basic food include:

  • Rice, rice and rice. As much as you can

  • A large oil can for cooking rice

  • Tea, tea and tea. As much as you can

  • Salt, sugar

  • Cereals for breakfast such as muesli is a good idea (do not forget the powder milk)

  • Energetic bars, fruit jelly and/or almond paste are also good to have

  • That's all you need!

Forget about bringing pasta as they are difficult to cook and locals do not always like them. Whatever food you choose to take, only bring food that can be easily cooked by locals.

Important: bring a bottle of fuel to make making fire easier (pouring a little bit of fuel on yak-dung helps a lot). Take gasoline, NOT diesel.


The two biggest spending items are typically car rental up to Qala-e-Panj or Sarhad-e-Borghil and pack animal hiring beyond. Prices for car rental are stated in US dollars. Anything else is in Afghanis. Bring lots of small notes in Afghanis for tips and small purchases.