Fastpacking and trail running in Nepal

Fastpacking and trail running in Nepal

Fastpacking and trail running in Nepal are authentic adventurous activities that every athlete needs to experience once in a lifetime. Nepal is a fast packer’s dream who wishes to head out, run wild, get high, and touch the height of the heavenly Himalayas in a short period and get prepared for the long-distance trail running competitions.  Trail running has been gaining popularity in Nepal due to the international-level achievement of our trail runners like UTMB legend Dawa Dachhiri Sherpa, Skyrunning Word Series champion Bhim Gurung, trail runner, sky runner, and a 2017 National Geographic Adventure of the Year Mira Rai, Kailash elite trail runner Sange Sherpa, the recent KAILASH FUGA trail running team athlete and a runner up of 2022 CCC by UTMB Sunmaya Budha and the T-8 trail running athlete and 2023 Asian Trail Master Rashila Tamang.

trail runner rashila tamang

Fastpacking and trail running in Nepal is a growing trend in backcountry travel. Nepal offers excellent opportunities for fast-packing enthusiasts and trail runners. Nepal has multiple beautiful trails and remote regions with diverse landscapes and stunning mountain ranges that every trail runner and fast-packer adds to their bucket list. Even elite trail runners like Kilian Jornet and Lizzy Hawker used to come and train in the highlands of Nepal before participating in world-famous trail running events like UTMB.

Walking uphill, jogging on the flat terrains, and running downhill to travel long distances quickly is what fast-packing is all about. Fastpacking combines lightweight backpacking and long-distance trail running into one amazing outdoor adventure. Carrying just enough supplies, and minimal gear with a small backpack for a multi-day adventure rather than normal hiking. But fastpacking is not a running competition like trail running where every runner is timed. The fast-packers are free to stop and enjoy the scenario around, smell the flowers, and gossip with the locals.

trail running in nepal

Fastpacking is a form of outdoor activity for those who have so much to explore but so little time. It’s about stepping outside of your comfort zone, pushing your physical and mental limits, and fully immersing yourself in the outdoors. Relying on your own feet involves covering long distances over challenging terrain at a faster pace that ultimately gives the feeling of immense exhilaration and enlightenment.

One of the best benefits of backpacking is that you avoid the crowds, spend more time outside, and explore more of the remote backcountry. Fastpacking is driven by the desire to discover the distant vistas and do so in a way that departs you from the depressed world to discover a new peaceful world of trails full of forests, mountains, hills, plains, rivers, ridgelines, and valleys. It generates a feeling of great accomplishment.

Even if fast packing is a popular activity in many mountainous places, including Nepal, it’s vital to keep in mind that Nepal’s terrain can be particularly challenging and calls for cautious planning and preparation.

How much fitness and training do you need for fastpacking in Nepal?

Fastpacking in Nepal requires a good level of physical fitness and stamina. It’s essential to train beforehand by engaging in activities like trail running, hiking, and cardiovascular exercises and gradually building your endurance. Additionally, since many fast-packing trails in Nepal involve high altitudes, proper acclimatization is essential to prevent altitude sickness. Ascend gradually and allow time for your body to adjust to the altitude.

What types of trails and routes you will be traversing?

Nepal offers a wide range of trekking trails suitable for fastpacking. Some popular trails include Everest Base Camp, Annapurna Circuit, Langtang Valley, and the Manaslu Circuit. There are also some lower-altitude fast-packing trails like Mardi Himal, Peaky Peak, Poon Hill, Tamang Heritage Trail, Helambu Circuit, Sailung Danda, and many more. Do research and choose the right trail or route that suits your skill level, time availability, and preferences.

What clothing gear is required for fast packing?

The key to fastpacking is carrying minimal and lightweight gear. Remember more stuff means more weight. So, invest in ultralight equipment including a lightweight backpack, sleeping bag, tent, and cooking stove. And clothing required for the expected weather conditions. Consider using lightweight, freeze-dried meals to save weight and cooking time.

What are the essentials in the bag?

Even though your goal is to carry as little as possible, you should never forget to pack some essentials. A map, compass, first aid kit, headlamp, multi-tool, water purification system, additional layers of clothing, and ample food and water supplies are among these. Finding the right balance between losing weight and securing your safety and health is essential.

What are the weather and seasons like in Nepal?

Nepal experiences unique seasons and weather conditions depending on the time of year and the area you intend to fast pack in. The weather in Nepal might change dramatically from one season to the next. Learn about the weather trends along the path you have chosen, and pack clothing and equipment accordingly. Be ready for rapid weather changes, especially if you are traveling at higher altitudes.

What are the permits and regulations required?

All the trekking trails in Nepal require permits, especially those located in the national parks and conservation areas. So it is necessary to check the permit requirements for your chosen route. Obtain them before embarking on your fast-packing adventure. Be familiar with the local regulations and respect the environment, local communities, and their cultural norms and values.

What are the accommodations and resupplies during the trip?

Camping near the trail is a common fast-packing practice. However, there are teahouses or lodges along several routes in Nepal where you can find accommodation and meals. Pre-plan your route and research whether there are any accommodations or resupply stations along the way.

What about the hydration and nutrition for the fast-packing trip?

During fast packing, it’s essential to stay hydrated and properly fueled. Carry enough water, and base your itinerary on the locations of water sources. Additionally, bring nutrient-dense snacks and meals that are light and high in energy. During prolonged physical effort, electrolytes can also be replaced using electrolyte drinks and energy gels.

What are the safety considerations during the fast packing?

Fastpacking may be physically demanding, so be aware of your limits and listen to your body. Drink plenty of water, consume healthy foods, and take breaks when needed. Inform someone about your travel plans and anticipated return date. For increased security, it’s always a good idea to travel with a friend or join a guided fast-packing group.

Keep in mind that fast packing requires experience, preparation, and knowledge. Make sure you have the necessary skills and are aware of the difficulties involved before attempting any fast-packing adventures in Nepal or elsewhere. For the most recent information and advice, it’s usually a good idea to consult with a fastpacking and trail-running company like “Trailmandu. By runners, for runners, Trailmandu offers running adventures in Nepal. Your run becomes the means of discovering and learning about a new nation, culture, and landscape—rather than something you have to fit in while on vacation.