You have finally decided to go on that uber-cool Leh Ladakh trip you always dreamed of. But beware that Ladakh is not for the faint-hearted. Some of the roads are under construction, the weather conditions can be harsh and facilities are low. You might not find everything in Ladakh that you generally do in your hometown. Hence, we are sharing our Leh Ladakh packing list to help you prepare for the same.
A good Leh Ladakh packing list takes into consideration everything you may need on your trip. In the words of Batman, “You need to be prepared for all contingencies.” We plan to help you do the same through this article.
Also, if you’re planning to visit cover Leh Ladakh on bike, check out our epic 14 Day Leh Ladakh Itinerary. It’ll help you make the most of your visit and provide you with some essential insights into what to expect from a Leh Ladakh Bike Trip.
Before we get started on what to pack, here’s a pro-tip on what to pack it in:
Avoid wheeled trolley bags as they’re not supported by the terrain or the roads. They shall not only be difficult to carry in camps but also hotels. Most of the hotels in Leh don’t have elevators. Pack your clothes in a rucksack/huge backpack as it is much more convenient. We took this one as it is budget friendly, waterproof and is huge enough to accommodate everything in this Leh Ladakh packing list.
Without further ado, let’s start with the basic item in our luggage, clothing.
Leh Ladakh Packing List: Travel Essentials
These are basic travel essentials that are generally good to have on any kind of expedition. However, in Ladakh they become an absolute necessity. There cellphone network is not that strong yet in the remote areas and there are frequent power cuts. Keeping these points in mind, make sure you pack the following:
- Offline Map or a print out of your Route
- Flash lights
- Reusable water bottle
- An easy to carry small backpack in addition to regular luggage
- Power Bank – this one from Seagate is a life saver
- Bag Locks
- Caps and Sun glasses
- Safety Pins
- Camera Gear if you enjoy photography
- Multiplug extension cords to charge all of your gear. Your hotels or tents will not have multiple plug points.
- Cash – Because there is only one ATM in Ladakh and it can be closed
Clothes to pack for your Leh Ladakh Trip
The weather and terrain of Ladakh is unpredictable. On our trip to Leh-Ladakh, we experienced heavy rainfall, scorching heat and chilly nights, all in a span of 24 hours! You might not experience the same, but it’s better to be prepared with the clothes that can sustain the harsh weather.
Pro Tip: Wear clothes in layers. This way, if the temperature rises, you can manage but just discarding one or two layers. This is the best way to dress for Ladakh.
Packing a set of thermal inner wear is a must. It is the best way to feel warm and not catch a cold when the temperature is in single digits. Also, pack two sets of thermals so that if one get wet or is in the wash, you can rely on the other one.
Here is a detailed list of every kind of clothing you need to carry:
- Wind and water proof jacket – this quilted bomber is chic, affordable and does the job
- Cotton shirts and tops
- Jeans and trousers
- Woolen Socks and Gloves
- Light fleece jacket
- Thermal Inners – 2 pairs (one to use while the other is in laundry or is wet)
- Quick-dry polyester clothes if you’re participating in water activities like river rafting
- Woolen or warm beanies
- Woolen Muffler or Balaclava
- Small napkins or handkerchiefs
- An extra woolen sweater/jacket
- Sturdy Hiking shoes (regular sports shoes aren’t very promising) – we love these ones from Woodland.
We had a few members in our group who didn’t get the right type of clothes and fell ill due to the harsh conditions. Please don’t be like them. Get the right clothes and ensure an amazing trip for yourself and your fellow travelers.
Leh Ladakh Packing List: Toiletries
Ladakh is still developing for tourism and due to this, your daily essentials might be a little hard to come by. You might get basic soaps and shampoos in the markets of Leh, but it’s better to pack your preferred toiletries from home itself.
There are certain toiletries that you absolutely must carry on you trip to Ladakh. I cannot imagine a single day where we weren’t smearing our faces with sunscreen and moisturizers. We have included the links to some of our favorite brands for your reference.
- A large bottle of Sunscreen with SPF 50+ – nothing lower will work. This one from Nutragena is our favorite
- A Good Quality Moisturizer like this one
- Lip Balms or chap sticks
- Toothpaste and tooth brush
- Tissue rolls
- Deodorants (buy a multipack as one will not be enough)
- Wet wipes
Leh Ladakh Packing List: Emergency Food Supplies
Food is something that you can find on the roads and the remote areas of Ladakh. However, there might be times when the distance or time between the eating joints is farther than your appetite might allow. Hence, it’s better to keep ready to eat, high-calorie, handy food to satiate your hunger.
Chocolates and nuts such as walnuts, almonds, cashews and dates are great sources of instant energy and nutrition. Apart from that, energy bars are also a good option to have between meals. We absolutely love these Granola bars from Nature Valley. They are delicious and have since become a staple in all our trips in India and abroad.
Apart from food, carry reusable water bottles that you can refill whenever you get the chance. Dehydration is a major issue in the mountains. Keep yourself hydrated with water and carry sachets of ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution) to replenish the lost electrolytes.
Leh Ladakh Packing List: Medicines
Pharmacies shall be far and few in the remote areas of Ladakh. Hence, it’s better to create a small bag of medicines for general ailments. We took the following on our trip:
- Headache – Crocin, Combiflam, Disprin
- Vomiting – Domstal
- Diarrhea – Ridol, Lopamide
- Throat Lozenges – Strepsils, Vicks cough drops
- Gastric Disorders and acidity – Pudin-hara, Digene, Gelusil
- ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution) – to replace electrolytes and salts lost due to dehydration/diarrhea/vomiting
- Diamox to help with acclimatization and mountain sickness (consult your doctor before taking this)
- Balm for Muscle and joint aches – Iodex, Volini, Omnigel, Relispray
- Vicks Vaporub – for topical treatment of cough and cold
- Common Cold – Wikoryl for relieving symptoms of cold. It can cause drowsiness. So, take it only after bedtime if you’re planning to drive
- Antibiotics – a strip of Azithromycin 250 mg
- Immunity Booster – Sudarshan Ghanvati tablets from Zandu, Patanjali, Himalaya
- Gut Health – Triphala Tablets from Zandu, Patanjali
- Disinfectant Solution – Dettol or Savlon
- First Aid Kit – Medicated cotton, Bandages, crepe bandage, Soframycin ointment
- Personal medications
- Sanitary napkins or tampons for women
Please note, we are not medical experts and these are the medicines that we took for our Leh Ladakh trip as per the guidance of our doctor. Get this list reviewed by your doctor to be sure.
Additional Packing list for Leh Ladakh Bike Trip
There are certain additional items you must include in your packing list if you’re touring Leh Ladakh by bike or motorcycle. You shall be scaling high peaks on an uneven terrain amid harsh weather conditions. You will also have to account for the items that you motorcycle might need in case of a breakdown or worse, an accident. Hence, it is better to carry a few spares of your bike as you might not find them in the remote regions. Thus, combined with the safety gear for you and your bike, results in a special packing list for exploring Leh Ladakh on bike.
These are the additional items to pack for a Leh Ladakh Bike Tour:
- Saddle Bags: Additional bags that rest on either side of your bike. These bags will store all your other additional items that your rucksack might not be able to. These saddle bags on amazon are highly rated and affordable.
- Helmet: This is an absolute must. You need a full-face helmet that protects you from the cold wind along with protecting your head. Your helmet should have vents to ensure breathability, a quick-release buckle for easy unlocking and should be odor-resistant. An additional sun-visor shall protect you from the harsh sun as well. Hence, this UV resistant helmet from Vega ticks all the boxes.
- Protective Gear: Along with a helmet, you should also carry elbow pads and knee-caps for additional protection. These ones on amazon are highly rated, adjustable, sturdy and stylish!
- Biker Jacket: Get a jacket you can wear on top of your layers of clothes to protect you from the wind and the occasional rains. You can get them in faux leather or polyester.
- Riding Gloves: Woolen or leather gloves mentioned above won’t provide you the grip to drive a motorcycle. These amazing gloves from Pro-biker are perfect and affordable. If you love Royal Enfield, you can buy these stylish, official RE gloves as well.
- Tool kit: Generally, all the tools required for your bike are in the company-provided tool kit. No additional tool kit is required.
- Bike Spares: If you’re taking your own bike to Ladakh, ensure that you carry its spares. Your bike spares must include your brake wire, accelerator wire, clutch cable, 2 spark plugs and one rear tyre tube. Also, get your bike serviced before heading for the trip and get your brake liners checked beforehand.
- Bungee Cords: These are necessary to secure your bags to your bike. So buy reliable bungee ropes like this pack of 24 from Amazon Basics. If you buy cheaper, low quality ones they can break or worse, cause an accident.
- Fuel Bottles: Fuel stations are sparse and you might not see another for miles. So, carry an extra bottle or two of fuel to avoid being stuck somewhere
- Important Documents: Your driving license, inner line permits, motorcycle documents and other personal IDs. Carry the original as well as photocopies of the same for submission and verification purposes.
In A Nutshell
Ladakh is a beautiful place, but it is yet to be fully prepared for the onslaught of enthusiastic bikers and tourists. Hence, follow this packing list to ensure a smooth trip. It shall prepare you for a majority of the contingencies mentioned above and also give satiate certain apprehensions that you might have about a trip to Leh-Ladakh. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask them in the comments below or drop us a DM on our Instagram handle @worldwidewander_org for a quicker response!