Taking tech to EBC
You're off on a three week trip to one of the most beautiful places in the world. You'll not only want to take lots of pictures which will take a lot of battery power, but probably get in touch with people at home as you go. This short blog highlights what you can expect to find on the EBC trail to help make this happen.
There are lots of opportunities for a keen photographer
I'd say there is the opportunity to pay to charge your tech at 95% of teahouses on the way to EBC and back. The cost of this changes from place to place with regards to what the item is or how long you want to charge. For example, some offer a mobile phone charge for 300 rupees (Approx £2) or maybe just an hour for the same fee.
My personal recommendation would be to get yourself a good quality power bank which will charge your tech multiple times. It is worth noting the teahouses will charge in the region of 800-1000 rupees (Approx £6-£8) to recharge a power-bank.
What about solar charging?
Personally I've had limited success with charging from a solar pack. It did work, but it does take a lot of light and you do find it becomes a bit of an annoyance constantly seeing if the little light is blinking away. I also had a lead issue and as I hadn't anticipated this by taking a spare my unit was suddenly pretty useless. If you have a solar charger that works well for your tech then it would save you some money whilst on the trek.
What tech to take?
Well this is a personal decision, but do remember there is just a 15kg weight allowance. Drones are prohibited parts of Nepal, and I believe the only way to fly one is by getting a license which off the top of my head was $1000+.
For me my phone is ideal. It has a great camera and I can easily send pictures home. Just chuck it in Aeroplane mode during the day and the battery life should be pretty good. I don't however have an iPhone, which do seem to be more susceptible to suddenly losing their charge (or the perception of how much charge it has) in colder temps.
The other bit of tech I like to take is my GPS watch to track the activity. Purely because 'If it's not on Strava, it didn't happen!'
To charge these I take a powerbank and then pay to charge this a few times throughout the expedition.
Is there a Wifi or data network?
Yes! And it's great. This is a huge relief for people leaving their families for such a long time, plus it means you can continue to send pics home or onto socials. When in country you can buy a Nepalese Sim for not a huge amount of money and this will give you access to the data networks.
Alternatively, most guesthouses have Wifi and you can pay at each guesthouse. This varies wildly, but could be 200-500 rupees for the code to log in (per person). A fairly new development, which for me is the best option, is the Everlink system. You can purchase a 10gb allowance card for about 2000 rupees (£16) and when you arrive at the guesthouse, if they are a participating member of Everlink (of which most are) you simply log in. There is a chance you'll be a night or two without Wifi, but for the bulk of the trek you'll get it which is good to know.
Is my tech safe?
You will have a key to your room so you can keep things locked away. During the day it's best to put the tech in your daypack and keep it in sight. I wouldn't put anything particularly valuable on the Muels / Jopkey / porter bags simply because it could get broken.
Unladen Mules on the trail