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Spiti Valley and Himalayan Tours

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Due to the varied topographies through which these tours run, with altitudes between 2500ft and some 18,000ft, it is difficult to find one piece of kit that will be ideal for all conditions. On the Spiti Tour, with its great range of altitudes, it is possible to encounter temperatures of 30ºC and 10ºC in a single day.While we don't expect rain at the times of year that we run these tours, it does sometimes happen and this will drop the temperature greatly. Thus it is worth considering kit in terms of layers.

Helmet

Compulsory on tour. As it's difficult to find headgear of a similar quality to that found at home, please bring a well-fitted helmet with you. If buying a new 'lid' specifically for your tour, then consider one with a venting system. If an open-faced helmet is your preference then one with a drop-down visor is ideal. If bringing a basic open-face,remember to bring some eye protection, including clear lenses for low light conditions. Also good for these tours, with a good blend of face-protection and ventilation is an enduro-style helmet. A decent full-face helmet is also perfectly adequate for these tours, but you will appreciate any venting.

Gloves

Summer-style, waterproof gloves like are ideal for all-round use, though will be a little warm at times. If you suffer from cold hands you may also want to back them up with some inner-gloves at high altitude. Alternatively, for the well-heeled, there's the two-glove strategy, using vented summer gloves in the heat and waterproof winter gloves at altitude and if things get damp.

Jacket

A traditional leather bike jacket will be OK, if a little hot, and will require you to bring a waterproof over-jacket, or an over-suit. Armoured textile jackets are generally better than leather, especially those with venting and breathable waterproof linings. It is, however, better to leave any thermal liners at home, instead bringing a fleece that can be worn off-bike in the evenings, or quickly removed should temperatures rise. Another tack is to wear a light, vented, armoured jacket and carry a wind/waterproof over-jacket to bolster heat and cope with rain.

Trousers

As with jackets, armoured textile trousers are probably the way to go, but waterproof ones tend to be very hot, so better go for a cool pair and carry waterproof over-trousers for chilly days. Likewise, protective jeans are ideal when mated to over-trousers.

Boots

Sturdy boots, covering the ankle, are a minimum requirement. We would recommend, though, that you wear 'proper' bike boots with shin protection. Touring-type boots fit the bill well, as do motocross boots and even race boots will be adequate. Waterproofing will be appreciated on river crossings. The ideal Himalayan tour boot is something sturdy.

Other clothing & kit

The list below isn't everything you might need to bring on one of our tours (some undercrackers might also be nice), but highlights things that are best not forgotten. Some of these items (insect repellent, hats, etc) can be bought cheaply in India, but as there may not be the time to nip to the shops on the first day, it's as well to bring them from home.

  • A snood is great for keeping dust out of the nose, for added warmth when needed and can even be worn as a hat to keep the sun off, or warmth in the evenings
  • Sunglasses with UV protection are essential, especially if there is snow around.
  • Bring warm and cool socks
  • A very lightweight sleeping bag (fleece ones are good) is useful, but not essential
  • A compact travel towel is a good idea
  • Long underwear can be useful both for adding warmth and as a sleeping layer
  • If you have a weak back, a kidney-belt may be helpful
  • A fleece is good for both cool evenings and for under-jacket warmth
  • Day bag sufficient to carry a water bottle and rain suit, or tank-bag
  • A money belt, or waist-pack in which to carry valuables, documents and International Driving Permit.
  • A sun hat, especially if you're bald!
  • Very strong bungees or cargo net  in case you tire of the day bag or need to carry that bit extra
  • Basic first aid kit: a few plasters and antiseptic cream (we carry a very comprehensive medical kit)
  • Any regular medication you need
  • Spectacles: bring spares, or your prescription with you
  • Passport photographs two (for Himalayan tours only)
  • Insect Repellent for lowland transfer, we'll be mozzy-free up high
  • Sun Block the sun is fierce at altitude
  • Lip Salve and it's very dry
  • Torch/Head-torch
  • Penknife/Multi-tool
  • Alarm whether on phone or not
  • Watch for telling the time, so you're not late
  • Whiskey for us

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